In the previous few episodes we witnessed shocking events that started to unfold at Ayodhya, with Kaikeyi standing firm and determined in the two boons that she wanted King Dasharata to grant her immediately! However and in whatever way King Dasharata tried to convince her, she was adamant in her stance and refused even a little bit to relent. Unable to bare it any longer, King Dasharata finally grants her the boons just to uphold the truth and majesty of the Ikshvaaku Clan and subsequently falls on the ground unconscious! It is at this point that Kaikeyi summons Rama who was amidst the coronation ceremony that was just starting to happen. Rama rushes inside Kaikeyi’s chamber and sees his father unconscious on the floor! He was utterly shocked beyond belief as to what has happened to his father! He asks Kaikeyi the reason for such a happening, wherein Kaikeyi explains in her own wicked way that King Dasharata wants to convey something to Rama but he’s afraid that Rama would mistake him for that! Rama was all the more shocked to hear such words from Kaikeyi and gives his promise that whatever his father’s wish is, it is his duty to execute that without asking another word!
Kaikeyi continues her conversation with Rama. As Rama was looking on, Kaikeyi says, “Oh Rama! Your father is afraid that if he tells this particular thing, he has a doubt whether you would be able to execute it or not!” Upon which, Rama gives his stubborn pledge by saying, “Oh Mother Kaikeyi! I pledge in front of you and dad now! If at all I fail to execute what my father says now, I declare that I would lose all the eligibility to be his son at this very moment! This Rama doesn’t know a second word! My promise is a promise for life! I’ll stand by it! I shall do whatever you want me to do – If you want me to go to the forest forever, I shall do that! If you want me to fall inside a huge ocean, I will do it more happily!”
The moment she listens to the word “forest” from Rama, Kaikeyi now breaks the ice and says, “Oh Rama! You got it right! It is only to this forest that your dad wants you to go for the next fourteen years!”
“Ahothinnaarhathe devi vakthum maameedrusham vachaha!
Priyam tvaa apriyam vakthum vaaneenaascha pravarthathe!!
Thadavashvanthyayaa kaaryam arurena shrutham mama!
Ahamtvi vachanaatraagnyaha apatheyamapi vaavake!!”
Thus Kaikeyi says, “Oh Rama! You needn’t fall into the ocean nor end your life! It is only to that forest you have to go for the next fourteen years of your life! You need to be in exile as my son Bharata will rule Ayodhya happily!”
Upon hearing this shocking instruction, Rama was never unhappy nor shocked! Here is the specialty and the uniqueness of Lord Rama – He takes both happiness and sorrow in the same way with a smile in his face! He continues to reply to Kaikeyi, “Oh Mother! So be it! If this is what he wants me to do, I’m more than happy to execute it! But I have a small doubt here – Is this King Dasharata’s order or yours?”
This particular sentence has two meanings: Rama indirectly says to Kaikeyi “I know that my father hasn’t ordered me to do this! I know it is you who is ordering me to go to the forest! Hence, you can very well say that it is your order! Why do you want to invoke Dasharata into this ploy?” Moreover, Rama continues, “Irrespective of whether my dad or my mother orders me to do something, it is the same for me! I’m going to execute whatever my parents are instructing me to do! It is my ‘Dharma’! Oh Kaikeyi! I respect you to that extent! Please understand that!”
All these conversations are being half-heard by King Dasharata who is now semi-consciously lying on the floor! Tears of sorrow and helplessness are rolling down from his eyes and he tries to stop Rama from going anywhere!
“Aaviseshanikam phaandam krithva raamaha pradakshinam!
Sanirchigaama saabekshaha drishtim tathraa vichaarayan!!
Nasaarcha mahatheem lashmim raajya naashaha apakarshyathi!
Loka kaantasya kaantathvaat sheetharanmethu tatvathaha!! ”
This is a very important sloka! How should Rama be feeling after hearing this shocking order from Kaikeyi? Was he happy or sad? The answer was “Happy”! We all know that only as the darkness of the nighttime increases, the moon (Chandra) becomes more and more beautiful and visible! Here, whom are we talking about? Rama-Chandra! Just when the darkness called “Raajya Naasa” increases more and more, Rama’s moon-like beautiful face glows with all its beauty!
Thus Rama was very happy with what he had to do! He never had regrets that he is denied the throne of Ayodhya! More than succeeding to the throne, he felt happy that he has got the golden opportunity to fulfill his parents’ wishes! Such is the significance of a great son to his parents!
Rama thus goes to his mother Kaushalya, to inform this decision and to get her blessings to leave for the exile! What was Kaushalya’s reaction? What happened next? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out!