In the previous episode we witnessed closely that Manthara (the servant helper of Kaikeyi) mesmerized and brainwashed Kaikeyi by saying that she and her son Bharata were being tricked and plotted into a bad state of affair by coronating Rama to the throne of Ayodhya. Manthara preaches to Kaikeyi that at any cost, it should be Bharata who should rule Ayodhya and not Rama. Kaikeyi gradually becomes brainwashed and at one stage she was brimming with anger against her own husband, King Dasharata. Today let’s continue and see what happened next.
Thus, during her “discourse”, Manthara had suggested to Kaikeyi about the two unasked boons that she had with her, and thus suggests Keikeyi to make use of this opportunity and time to ask for those two boons to King Dasharata. Initially Kaikeyi wasn’t very convinced, but gradually as she was getting brainwashed moment by moment, she was getting convinced to ask for them.
Here is an important lesson for all of us in the modern day: We talk a lot about friendship and companionship in day-to-day life. This Manthara-Kaikeyi episode is the perfect example of bad companionship, and how it can poison our lives slowly. Thus, we should take a moment and try to judge what kind of a companionship are we getting into, because if we get into a bad companionship we would be pulled into unwanted issues and eventually our personal and professional life would go for a toss! This is why we always keep saying that “Satsanga” (Good companionship) is extremely necessary for one’s life to grow both personally as well as spiritually.
Now coming back to the subject, we should now look at what are those two boons! Manthara again guides Kaikeyi in this: The first boon should be that Bharata should rule Ayodhya, come what may! The second boon was to send Rama on exile to the forest for fourteen years! Valmiki Maharishi beautifully portrays this in the following slokas:
“Raamapprabhbhrajanam dhooram nava varshaani pancha cha!
Bharathaha kriyathaam raajaa prithivyaam paarthi varshabhaa!!”
Thus, Manthara says to Kaikeyi that Bharata should be the person at any cost, who would be the next king of Ayodhya (“Bharathaha kriyathaam raajaa prithivyaam”) and Rama should be sent on exile for fourteen years (Here, “Nava varshaani pancha” means “nine + five” = fourteen).
“Chathur dasashi varshaani raame prabhraabhithe vanam!
Roohascha krutha moolascha shesham shaashathide suthaha!!”
Thus through the above sloka, Manthara adds that once Rama is sent to exile for fourteen years and after that if he comes back, nobody in Ayodhya would even remember Rama! Also, by that time Bharata would prove himself to be a great king and will capture the hearts of all the people of Ayodhya! Hence, even if Rama comes back, nobody would want him to take up the kingdom and he would be sidelined!
Why does Manthara specifically mention “fourteen years”? Here is an interesting explanation: Normally, even today many issues would lose its significance or validity if twelve years have passed! People would tend to forget them! This phenomenon can be observed even in today’s courts and judicial processes – If twelve years have passed ever since a crime took place, chances are bright that those cases would be dismissed by the court! (Of course, with exceptions of huge issues like terrorism, big time corruption, etc.) It is thus for this very reason that, Manthara is very careful in choosing the number of years for Rama’s exile – She means to say here that, after twelve years of Rama’s absence in the kingdom, his charm would be lost amongst the people of Ayodhya! In fact, she is extra careful by adding two more years to the twelve!! Thus, it becomes fourteen years of exile for Rama!
Thus after this detailed explanation from Manthara, Kaikeyi gets convinced and prepares herself to ask for these two boons to King Dasharata! She now hurries herself into the “Chamber of Anger” (Kobha gruham)! This “Chamber of Anger” is a part of the huge palace of Ayodhya wherein if any of the three queens of King Dasharata get angry, they go and sit in this particular place! Accordingly, Kaikeyi now goes into the “Kobha Gruha”, removes all her jewels and other ornaments from her body, dresses up herself in a white saree like that of a widow! She is waiting for King Dasharata to come and see her!
Did King Dasharata come? What was King Dasharata’s reaction to his beloved wife’s anger? Did he try to pacify her? What happened next? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out!