In the previous episode we witnessed that Sumanthra, the charioteer comes back to Ayodhya with some news about the kingdom, post Rama’s departure to the forest. While Sumanthra arrives near King Dasharata, he sees the pitiable state of the king and tries to console him, but all in vein! King Dasharata has gone to a state from where he could never recover! His health has slowly started to deteriorate minute by minute! He didn’t have the capacity and the will power to face the reality! He is crying out loud, calling Rama’s name and regretting his decision! But it’s no more of any use! Rama had already left the palace forever!
At this moment, Kaushalya comes near King Dasharata with sadness written all over her face! Both the parents now were inconsolable! King Dasharata says to Kaushalya, “Oh Kaushalya! Please touch my hand and see! But please don’t touch me with the mindset that I separated your beloved Rama from you! I request you to realize that there was no other option left for me other than sending Rama away! Oh dear Kaushalya! You are also my dear wife! You might be having so much of anger on me! But I’m praying to you:
“Nathvaa pashyaami kaushalye saadhumaa paaninaasplusha!
Raamam me anugadhaa drishtihi adhyaabhi nivarthathe!!”
This is one of the very beautiful and emotional sloka of Valmiki Ramayana. King Dasharata continues his talk to Kaushalya.. “Oh Kaushalya! You know what? My eyes have already gone behind Rama! (“Raamam me anugadhaa drishtihi!”) Now I cannot see you although you are sitting close to me! (“Nathvaa pashyaami kaushalye!”) Now my eyes are not going to come back ever! (“Adhyaabhi nivarthathe!”) Hence, Oh Kaushalya! Please touch me (“Saadhumaa paaninaasplusha!”) Atleast let me check if I have the sense of touch left in my body! Till date, I was under the impression that these two eyes in my body were mine! But today I understood that these two eyes were that of Rama’s! That’s why they went after him!”
King Dasharata continues to lament to Kaushalya.. “Oh Kaushalya! I’m wondering how am I able to hold my breath even after Rama had left me! This very birth of mine is a waste without seeing Rama’s face even for a minute! I’m missing the way he walks towards me! I’m missing his sweet smile! I’m missing the way he calls me ‘Oh my dear father!’ I’m missing his beautiful and soft talking! I’m missing that dear hug that my Rama gives me whenever he comes to see me! You know what Kaushalya? Rama is more affectionate towards me than you! But now, that affection, love, compassion, everything is gone! Without all these things I feel that there’s no point that I live in this world further! Let my heart stop beating! Let me end my life immediately!”
While lamenting like this, King Dasharata declares, “Oh Rama!! I really wonder how your tender heart and soul had the courage to leave your mother and father, just because of one promise that I had made! You had that courage of obeying every small word of your beloved father! Oh my dear Rama! Now I declare! If at all I have numerous births again in this world, I would love to be your father in each of the birth I would take! I would love to have you as my son in every birth that I take!”
Thus, King Dasharata cries and cries as Sumanthra, Sage Vasishtaachaarya and Kaushalya look on helplessly! They too were in tears unable to bear the separation of Rama and also on seeing this pitiable state of their beloved king!
As his health deteriorates further, King Dasharata slowly remembers a curse that he had received long back in his life – This story might be known to all of you, wherein one day, King Dasharata goes on his usual hunting spree to a forest. On the pretext of hitting a deer with his sharp arrow, by mistake he hits a small boy who was gathering some water for his age old blinded parents. The arrow hits the boy and the boy falls to the ground dead! Upon seeing this, King Dasharata was shocked beyond words! When the boy’s parents came to know the truth, they curse King Dasharata – “Just like how we suffer from our dear son’s death, you’ll also one day realize this suffering because of the separation of your son!” It is this curse that is coming true in King Dasharata’s life now!
Thus by narrating this to Kaushalya, King Dasharata’s pulse slowly starts reducing. He couldn’t hold on any more!
“Puthram vyasanajam dukham yathetham mama saampradham!
Yevanthvam puthra shokena raajan kaalam karishyasi!!
Tasmaan maa aagatham bhadre tasyodhaarscha tathvathaha!
Chakshyurjaamthvaam cha pashyaami kaushalye thvamhimaam sprusha!!”
Thus, unable to bare the separation of his beloved Rama, King Dasharata finally ends his life and reaches heaven!
“Haa! Raaghava! Mahaabaaho! Haa mahaayaasa shaasana!!”
Thus, King Dasharata cries as he leaves this earth, “Haa Rama!! Haa Lakshmana! Haa Sita!! Haa Kaushalye! Haa Sumithre!! Just because of one person – Kaikeyi, who is a “Kulavaamsini, I’m going to leave everybody behind!” As King Dasharata’s life comes to an end, everybody in the palace were crying out loud and the entire city of Ayodhya plunges into darkness and mourning!
As the entire city of Ayodhya is mourning their great King Dasharata’s demise, let us also give some time for this bad event to sink down a little bit in our hearts! Let’s wait for another 24 hours to find out what happened next at Ayodhya!