During the last episode we spoke about why was Manthara the only woman who was against Rama ever since his childhood days. Thus, Manthara saw this as the right opportunity to take her vengeance on Rama and deny him the kingdom of Ayodhya! She used Kaikeyi as her instrument to get her vengeance fulfilled and thus brainwashed her completely by playing “mind-games” with her, invoking her son Bharata into the picture!
In the psychological science of the modern day, we talk about “mind games”, “emotional blackmailing”, etc. It’s interesting to note from this particular episode of Manthara-Kaikeyi, that all these psychological aspects were known even during the Ramayana period itself!
Thus, the “brainwashed” Kaikeyi is now sitting in the “Chamber of Anger” awaiting King Dasharata’s arrival. King Dasharata learns that Kaikeyi was here and he immediately rushes to see her. He was surprised on seeing her and the way she was dressed up! He immediately goes to her and tries to pacify her by asking her to express her wish freely and that he would grant it immediately!
It is now that Kaikeyi is going to burst out in anger! She slowly asks King Dasharata if he remembers the two boons that he assured to grant her. She now wanted him to grant those two boons right away! King Dasharata still didn’t understand Kaikeyi’s intentions, and he again re-assured her that he would grant whatever she wished!
Now Kaikeyi asks: “The first boon – My son Bharata should be the successor of Ayodhya!! The second boon: Send Rama on exile for the next fourteen years!!” She continues.. “Oh Dasharata! If you are a real ‘Sathya-Prathignya’ (Protector of truth & dharma), grant these two boons to me immediately without asking a word!!!”
King Dasharata was stunned beyond words!! He couldn’t believe his ears for a moment! He slowly replies to her on regaining his breath after a few minutes: “Kaikeyi, do you realize what you are asking? Do you think this is so simple a task for me to execute at the last minute? Don’t you know that tomorrow morning is the ceremony of Rama’s coronation? Why are you asking this all of a sudden? I consulted everybody around me – Right from Sage Vasishtaachaarya to the other saints, to the subjects of Ayodhya, to my three wives including you. It is only after everybody’s approval that this decision was taken! If you had an objection, you should have raised it at that time itself! So please understand what are the implications of this move of yours!”
Kaikeyi gets more furious upon hearing this from King Dasharata, and she replies back: “Oh King Dasharata! I understand everything and please do not try to corner me with all your logic! I’m very clear in what I’m asking! Please do not try to divert the issue now! You’ve promised me twice that you’ll execute whatever I wish! Now don’t go back on your promise!”
King Dasharata was almost in tears by now! He still tries to console his wife: “Oh my beloved Kaikeyi! You may ask me any other wish apart from these two and I shall grant you immediately! But please do not do this! Please try to change your stance!”
Kaikeyi was unrelenting in her demands and replies firmly, “I do not want anything else! I just want these two boons to be granted immediately! If you’re granting me two boons, give these two to me right away! Else, you’ll become a “Nithya-Prathignya” (A person who has failed to fulfil the given word!) The world would accuse you tomorrow that you’ve failed to keep up your words to your own wife! It is up to you to decide!”
“Thou dhou thou cha varam dhyeva nikhsepau bhuhayaamyaham!
Tavaiva prithivee paala chahaase raghunandana!!
Yodvitheeyou varau devaha daddhahpreethena themayaa!
Nava panchacha varshaani dhandakaaranyam aashruthaa!!”
From the above slokas, Valmiki Maharishi beautifully brings out the crux of the conversation between Kaikeyi and King Dasharata. She thus asks the two boons to him that Bharata be the king of Ayodhya and Rama be exiled for fourteen years!
After this series of conversations with Kaikeyi, and upon seeing that Kaikeyi is so stubborn with what she wants, King Dasharata now loses his cool and his demeanor! He now becomes angry at her! What was King Dasharata’s angry reaction? What happened next? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out!