In the previous episode, we witnessed that Lakshmana (Rama’s brother) was ready to accompany Rama and Sita to the forest and to be of service to his brother throughout the tenure of the fourteen years! Here is the demonstration of the quality called “Seshathvam”, for which Lakshmana is an epitome of! I’ve spoken about “Seshathvam” and “Paarathanthryam” in one of the previous episodes, and the reader may be able to recollect them at this stage.
Thus, Rama gets ready with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana for the fourteen-year exile period. By this time the entire city of Ayodhya came to know this unfortunate happening in the Ayodhya palace and everybody were furious! Sage Vasishtaachaarya was equally agitated and furious! King Dasharata is still not able to come out of the state of shock that he is pushed into! By this time, Sage Vasishtaachaarya arrives near King Dasharata who was lying on the floor semi-consciously! He is all in tears and laments to Sage Vasishtaachaarya, “Oh Guru Deva! Look at this irony! Look who is going to the ‘Vaanaprastha’ (Forest)! I should be going there, whereas, my young son is going! Can there be a bigger tragedy than this? I’ve never even heard of this! In fact, I’ve never even sensed this in the wildest of my dreams so far! How can I see Rama in the attire of a “Tapasvi”? Will the people of Ayodhya accept this? Oh Sage Vasishtaachaarya! Why are you mum? Why don’t you do something to stop this unfortunate happening?”
Sage Vasishtaachaarya was equally in frustration and deep anguish and says, “Oh Dasharata! I understand what you’re going through, my son! More than you, I’ve seen this Ikshvaaku Dynasty for generations after generations! Yes! But, I have a suggestion. Let Sita be here in Ayodhya and let Rama go to the forest! The demand is only for Rama to go to the forest, not Sita! Thus, I shall take over the kingdom for the next fourteen years with Sita at the throne!” Thus, Sage Vasishtaachaarya who is a Brahmin Rishi, says to King Dasharata!
King Dasharata replies him back, “Oh Guru Deva! Being of a high-order BrahmaRishi, if you get this much of anger and frustration, imagine my condition! As a “Kshathrya” how much of anger would I get? How many wars I would have seen and fought? How many enemies I’ve seen all through my tenure as a king? But here, I didn’t have an alternative! Sita’s argument was so valid and pertaining to the Dharma and thus I had no option but to grant her wish!”
Thus, King Dasharata was crying loudly as he was lamenting! The entire city of Ayodhya sank into sorrow and distress! Frustration and sorrow were written in the face of every citizen of Ayodhya! Everybody in the palace including Kaushalya and Sumithra (King Dasharata’s two other wives apart from Kaikeyi) were crying uncontrollably! All the preparations for Rama’s coronation were halted abruptly! Even the animals including the cows and the cats in Ayodhya sensed something wrong and they started to cry!
Thus, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita come out of the palace now, clad in the dress of a “Tapasvi” (Saint). On one hand, Kaikeyi was rejoicing her victory and on the other, Kaushalya was simmering in anger! She fumes and walks into the chamber of Kaikeyi and gives her banter. She says, “Oh Kaikeyi! I never knew that you would be such a misfortune for this great Ayodhya kingdom! If you had such a wish to coronate your son, Bharata to the throne, why the hell didn’t you express it before itself? Why wait till the last minute and break everybody’s heart? Just because your son has to live a luxurious and a happy life, why should I sacrifice my son Rama? What nonsense is this Kaikeyi? What mistake did poor Rama do to you? He respects you more than anybody in Ayodhya! Was that his only fault? You do not deserve any more right even for a minute to be in this palace of Ayodhya! Get out immediately!”
While Kaushalya laments to Kaikeyi, Sumithra rushes in and pulls Kaushalya away from that place and consoles her. Such is the level of distress the palace of Ayodhya sunk into! However, while Sumithra sees Lakshmana getting ready to accompany Rama to the forest, she gives a very important advice to him! This advice given by Sumithra differentiates her from the other two wives of King Dasharata and makes her special!
What was that advice she gave to Lakshmana? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out!