Yesterday we witnessed that Kaikeyi orders Rama for his exile of fourteen years and her son Bharata would instead be coronated to the throne of Ayodhya! We also saw that Rama was more than happy (rather than shocked and angry) at Kaikeyi’s decision and accepted the exile with all his glee! Such is an example set by Bhagawan for all of us to follow in our lives – Be it good or bad, take it with a smile! Never go against the wishes of our parents! These two important life lessons were discussed at length in the previous episode.
This is exactly what Lord Krishna explains in his Bhagawat Gita:
“Sukha dukhe same kruthva laabha alaabou jaya ajayau!!”
Here, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna, “Oh Arjuna! Irrespective of it is good (Sukham) or bad (Dukham), Profit (Laabha) or Loss (Alaabaha), Victory (Jayam) or defeat (Ajayam), you should view it in a balance! You shouldn’t be overjoyed and jumping up and down if you come across something good! At the same time, you shouldn’t be crying a lot and getting depressed if you come across something bad in your life!”
Upon hearing this, Arjuna laughed at Lord Krishna and replied, “Ah!! All this is good to listen and say! 🙂 Will this be practically possible?” Lord Krishna replies back, “Oh Arjuna! I’m not telling this just by words! I’ve lived by example! During my previous Rama-Avatar, I’ve been practicing this meticulously and that’s why I’m advising you to follow it!” Immediately Arjuna quipped back, “It’s you!! Not me! 🙂 It is only about normal human beings that I’m referring to – Not you! You can do everything possible and impossible in this world!” Then Lord Krishna again says, “No Arjuna! I was practicing all this only when I was also born as a normal human being!” Arjuna again quips, “Oh my dear Vaasudeva! Those are all gimmicks! We are born in this world as real human beings and are suffering! Everytime you come down to the earth in some form or the other and fool everybody around! 🙂 Anyway, everything is going to happen as per your wish only! Nothing can escape that! So please do not compare your example with ours!” Now Lord Krishna smiles and asks, “Then what about the great Aacaaryas and Aalwaars? They are also normal human beings like you! They were an example of all the good qualities, isn’t it?” This is very important, because, Aachaaryas are also normal human beings like us and we can follow their example easily! Bhagawan’s life can just be a role model for all of us, and of course, in our daily lives we might not be able to follow all what he has shown in his life! 🙂
Anyway, coming back to the context, Rama now goes to the chamber of his mother, Kaushalya to inform her about his decision! He enters Kaushalya’s chamber and Kaushalya is all smiles in welcoming Rama! She asks him to sit and comes with a golden vessel containing nice food and says, “Oh future king of Ayodhya! My dear son! I want to feed you with nice food today!”
Thiyagaraja Swami brings this out in his beautiful and famous composition in the “Thodi” Raaga,
Saaramaina dhivyaanamu! Shatrasamula bhakshanamulu!!
Dhaarashodharaadulado! Thyaagaraaja vinutha!!”
In this composition, Thiyagaraja Swami explains the seven different tastes of food (“Shatrasamula Bhakshanamulu”) that is offered to Rama, who has a divine appearance (“Divyaanamu”)! Thus, Kaushalya is all ready with this kind of “Shatrasamula Bhakshanam” and she comes near Rama! Rama stops her mid way, and he proclaims to her, “Oh my dear mother! I’m very happy with your hospitality, but at the moment I do not deserve this! I’m going to go on exile to the forest for the next fourteen years!”
Kaushalya didn’t understand what Rama was saying! She asks him again.. “Oh Rama! What are you saying my son? Can you explain it more clearly?” Upon which Rama says, “Yes mother! Dad has given me an order through mother Kaikeyi – This ‘Jana Raajya’ will henceforth be ruled by Bharata and the ‘Vana Raajya’ is mine! I’m going to be the king for the forest and Bharata would be the king of Ayodhya city!”
On hearing this, Kaushalya was stunned! She didn’t know how to react! She fell down on the floor with tears in her eyes and crying bitterly! Rama comforts her with his beaming smile and lifts her up. Kaushalya looks at Rama and asks, “Oh Rama! You are talking about ‘Jana Raajya’ and ‘Vana Raajya’! Do you think I’m a fool to believe all your ‘marketing terminologies and gimmicks’’? Who is Kaikeyi to send you on exile? What right does she have to do that? She has plotted this and doomed this great Ikshvaaku dynasty into pieces! If she had such a wish that Bharata should rule Ayodhya, why didn’t she express it before? Why now? And why should my son Rama go to the forest and suffer for her son to rule Ayodhya? What nonsense is this!!”
“Yathi puthra na jaaye thaa mama shokhaaya raaghava!
Nasma dhukhamatho bhuyaha pashyeyam aham aprajaaha!!
Dasha sapthacha varshaani jaathasya thava raaghava!
Adeethaani prakaashanthyaa mayaa dukhka pareekshayam!!”
Thus, Kaushalya cries in anguish that Rama is going to leave for the forest and has been cheated upon by Kaikeyi’s wicked plot! Valmiki Maharishi brings this out beautifully and emotionally in the above two slokas.
The second sloka is very important. Kaushalya says, “Dasha sapthacha varshaani jaathasya thava raaghava!” which means, “Oh Raaghava! (Rama) Was I waiting for ten (dasha) plus seven (saptha), seventeen years to see you go to the forest? I was wishing and dreaming to see you as the king of Ayodhya! All my dreams have been shattered in just a minute!”
Here is a very important and interesting argument that might arise: Kaushalya uses the phrase “Dasha sapthacha varshaani” which might outwardly mean “seventeen”. We’ll get a doubt here regarding Rama’s age: Was Rama seventeen years old when this coronation was announced? In the previous episodes I’ve repeatedly mentioned in various occasions that Rama was 24 years old when this event took place, because, in his 12’th year he gets married to Sita and subsequently at the end of the “Baala Kaanda” we concluded that for the next 12 years, Rama and Sita lived happily together in Ayodhya. Hence, 12+12 = 24. Now why does Kaushalya say that she is waiting for the past 17 years for Rama’s coronation? Isn’t it a discrepancy here? Let’s find out the answer for this in the next episode! 🙂