The "Ayodhya Kanda" which I will be talking about is a very important chapter as its the turning point or the knot of the Ramayana Epic.
Everything is going fine. All four sons are very well educated, thanks to the two great rishis. Dasaratha, having a great feeling of pride and happiness in seeing that all his four sons are like four arms and he was more happy because all these children were born to him when he was no longer young. Among all the four sons the eldest son Rama was his favorite.
Rama, the great Rama, Oh! Can we describe his qualities in words, and that too within this ten minutes. Ramachandra moorthi - Aajanu Baahum, Aravinda dalayata aksham long and beautiful arms, handsome, very pleasing, with the face of the charming moon. " Raakaa chandra samanana Ram" Sri Rama has learnt from their Kula Guru Vashishta and Viswamitra all the arts like archery, using weapons etc., In addition, they taught him all the Vedas and Dharmas. Not only that Both the Brahma Rishis taught him the Brahma Vidya - so Sri Ramachandra moorthi is a realized person - a Brahma vith. He is the one who talks the first - Talk softly - With a pleasing voice and having never felt the pride of a successful warrior - would never tell a lie- Help any one who is in need - never felt jealous - never selfish. Spend his time with learned people and wise elders . Plays Veena - "Akanitha gunaghana bhooshitha Ram" IN SHORT - A PERSON OF ALL GOOD QUALITIES AND ONLY GOOD OF EVERYTHING A character who is welcomed everywhere.
King Dasaratha, who knows all these qualities (kalyana guna ganangal) thought that Sri Rama is the best fit to rule the kingdom which was unanimously decided by all his fellow country men and wise men. Dasaratha thought about an auspicious day, and the very next day was Pushya. He calls Rama & tells him, Bharata is away to KaiKeya and this is the right time for your coronation. I know he loves you & is dedicated to you but
"Even the minds of those who follow no other path but that of Dharma, who have been taught all the rules of conduct; even they, I say, are very rarely happy at the sight of the good fortune which has befallen to others. The mind of the man is unsteady and so I have decided to hold the coronation tomorrow".
Rama spoke no words, but, stood still. He prostrated once again to his father and left the court. All are happy and there are joys in every ones heart in Ayodya Every ONE No! Except ONE.. and that is the maid Manthara. Being a truthful servant of Kaikeyie She says that only Kaikeye 's son Bharatha is to be crowned as yuvaraja and to keep complications away Rama has to be exiled to forest. She poisons the mind of Kaikeye & Kaikeye acts exactly as told by manthara.
Kaikeyee reminded Dasaratha of the two boons - which she has earned for doing the service to Dasaratha - when he fought against Sambara asura - on the request of Indra.
Dasaratha becomes helpless and bounded by his promise. Rama, who does "pithurvakya paripalana says" I have made up my mind to obey my father, since, to me, it is the ultimate Dharma".
Unperturbed as he always by pleasure or pain, happiness or sorrow, by the sway of the opposites, Rama stood calm. There was not even a trace of disappointment or anger in his face. Infact, Kambar in his Ramayana describe the face of sri Rama as "andralanrnda Thamraiyai Vendrathamma", meaning that Sri Rama's face was beautiful, much beautiful than a fresh lotus flower which was blossomed on that day.
It was decided after great debate, Lakshmana and Sita devi would accompany him to the forest. It was Sita who convinced Rama that she should accompany him. "A Pativratha, if she is separated from her husband, is not fit to be alive".
In the case of Lakshmana Mentally Rama had already decided to take Lakshmana with him as both of them were inseperable from childhood.
In this important Kanda, we learn many things.
Firstly the picture of a perfect person
Sri Rama, having born as a human being, has
lived an example life by demonstrating the way to live - as it was mentioned in Sri Bagwad
Gita, where God says " that " Naran" who treats the honor and dishonour,
cold and heat, pleasure and pain and who is free from attachments, is very dearer to
me" (tulya ninda stutor mouni, santhushto yena kena chit!! Aniketha Siramathi
Bhaktimanyo Prio Naraha!!).
In the present world we only come across JACK OF ALL TRADES BUT ,
Secondly moha is the cause of all grief
King Dasaratha, loved his youngest queen Kaikeyee, until the time she was doing things which were pleasing to him. But, once she mentioned something against him, then, he started hating her totally. This mind of Dasaratha reflects that even though he has learnt Dharma and others, he is not able to practice, when it comes to his own actions. Love - Too much love on everything-causes great grief --. (Aasaithaan Azivirku Kaaranam.....?)
Thirdly about Prarabhda.
Prarabdha meaning - the fruits of the actions of the past. King Dasratha had a curse that he has to suffer the separation of his son, since, he by mistake killed the one & only son of an aged and disabled parents. So, it is evident that the past actions will have some effect in the current birth, and one must have to undergo the results of the past actions.
Fourthly the lesson from Sumithra , Lakshmana's mother.
Sumithra blesses Lakshmana and asks him to always serve his elder brother. This reminds us of the ancient rule: Serving those who are elders is the surest path to heaven.
Fifthly the lesson of Universal brotherhood and acceptability of individual human
Rama always considered all his four brothers to be equal. He had a very broad minded outlook that gained him very good friends. No. More than friends.. Good brothers When he met Guhan who helps him crossing the Ganga river Kambar mentions that "Guganodu Aivaranoom" meaning, with the introduction of Guha, the four brothers became five brothers. This is a good example of how successful a person can become if he accepts his brothers and united they be, unlike Mahabaratha where king Duriodana loses all his brothers since he fought against his own cousin brothers.
Finally we learn that never a person should never act against his or her true nature.
If only Kaikeye never got influenced by the wrong preaching of manthara, if she had acted as per her inner self she would have never become a sinner.
I end my speech here and suresh will tell us about the other chapters of Ayodhya kanta.
Sri Rama Jayam
Rama is extremely grieved at the calamities that have struck in short period of time. I feel that Kama is more powerful than Dharma, Artha and Moksha. Otherwise how could the king have banished me to the forest. Rama expresses fear that the king who has sacrificed his Dharma and Artha because of his Kama may leave them soon. Rama expresses that it may be due to the karma of Kausalya in her previous births that she is suffering separation from his son at her old age. Rama was shedding tears at the thought of his father and mother and the happenings in Ayodhya. He also suggests Lakshmana that he should return back to Ayodhya and take care of the mothers and the king from any more evil that may be caused by kaikeyi. Lakshmana declares that he cannot live without Rama for a single amount and says he doesnt even wish that heaven which doesnt have Rama there. Rama is pleased and he says that Lakshmana I need you by my side in the same way as you need me. Thus they spend the night.
In the morning they continue their journey into the Dandaka Forest and reach the Ashrama of sage Bharadwaja. Sage Bharadwaja is able to recognise with his inner eye who Rama actually is. Rama briefly narrates to the sage about the incidents that had happened and the need for his Vanavasa. The sage is pleased with Ramas visit. He offers to Rama to spend his Vanavasa in the Sages Ashrama itself. Rama humbly denies stating that since the Ashrama is very near to the city lot of people from the city may come to see them which would disturb the serenity and peace of the Ashrama. Bharadwaja realises this and directs Rama to a hill called Chitrakuta to spend his Vanavasa.
Rama starts on his trip to Chitrakuta. The forest is extremely beautiful with variety of flowers, the fragrances generated by them, pleasant sounds from the running of the river and the noises made by various birds and animals. They reach Chitrakuta and Rama locates a place in the hill for them to build their hermitage. Lakshmana builds a beautiful hut for them and Rama performs the Vastu Shanti rites for entering into a new house by offering the flesh of deer to the god of Fire. The place had abundant food, the river Malyavati was flowing near their Ashrama the natural beauty wad heart rending and they were enjoying their time in the forest not even a trace of sorrow in them of sacrificing the pleasures in the city. Such was the beauty of Chitrakuta.
Sumantra returns back to Ayodhya to see the city in a sorrow struck state. He rushes to see the King who is waiting for Sumantra to return. Sumantra explains to the King in detail about the incidents till he left Rama. Dasarata faints in between and asks Sumantra various questions about How Rama walked on the hard ground , What did he tell me before he left and a series of questions. He asks to Sumantra to talk about Rama which could only bring a semblance of peace to him. The King is broken and his queen Kausalya tries to console him. There is no enemy worse than sorrow since it has the power to completely destroy all the good qualities in a man. When your enemies hurt you can show your valour by fighting back with them. But when the gods will that certain events should take place one cannot alter the course of fate. Saying thus Kausalya tries to console the King.
The king now tells the queen of an incident where by he unknowingly killed an young ascetic boy whose parents were blind. Then the parents curse the king that his death would come as a result of separation from his son. That night Dasaratha dies in his sleep. The king lived for five nights after Rama left and when he learnt that Rama would now return only after a long span of fourteen years his heart cracked and unknowingly he died.
The ministers and the Guru Vasishta decide upon the next course of action, which is to bring Bharata and Shatrughna from their vacation to their Grandfathers home in the country Kekaya. Vashishta advises the messengers that they should not utter anything regarding the happenings in the country, since the death of the King was not officially declared then. Hence they go along with the routine gifts that are take to greet a king by another. The messengers go and submit to Bharata about the summon from the Guru Vashishta. Bharata who is scared of the bad dreams that he had , enquires about the welfare of each and every one of his kins in Ayodhya to which the messengers tactfully answer without disclosing anything. Bharata starts to Ayodhya and is deeply concerned of the bad omens that he comes across during his trip.
As soon as he reaches Ayodhya he runs to the Kings palace to meet his father. The king is absent in his palace. He immediately thinks that the king must be in the palace of Kaikeyi. Such was the love the king had for Kaikeyi. Without a second thought he rushes to Kaikeyis palace. He is even more concerned there by noticing his mothers palace which is without its usual decorations. He enquires his mother about the whereabouts of his father. Kaikeyi declares to Bharata that the king has attained that state which all living beings should attain one day. Bharata is shocked by the suddenness with which it was told and he recovers after a while and starts grieving about his misfortune to have missed his father during his end. He says Rama is the most fortunate one who must have stayed near the king at the time of his death. Now he asks what did my father spoke before he died what was he thinking. Kaiakeyi replies that the king spoke three names Rama Lakshmana and Sita. He uttered only one sentence. Fortunate will be the people who will see Rama that Handsome son of mine with Sita and Lakshmana returning to Ayodhya. Bharata is surprised to see that Rama was not there when the king died. Also he feels strange about the absence of Sita even if Lakshmana had gone along with Rama. He is asking Kaikeyi about this, when Kaikeyi without realising the misfortune that had fallen on her explains to him in detail about what happened in his absence that lead to the death of the King.
Bharata is not able to grasp the what Kaikeyi had told him. He is not able to withstand the shock and faints. It is said here that the Nature which is ever kind allowed him a respite of few moments by letting him faint. When he recovers he is so angry and the hatred he has towards Kaikeyi is explained by the way he addresses her. He addresses her as woman instead of calling her mother. I will willingly kill you myself and the reason why I am not doing it is because then Rama will not look at me and would attribute to me the sin of killing ones mother. He asks Kaikeyi what wrong did I do to you for you to have brought such an infamy to you. How could you do this to Rama who loved you so much Mother Kausalya was treating you as her loving sister. How could you do this to her. How could you think even for a moment that I would accept the kingdom, with my father dead and brother banished to forest did you think I would dare to sit on the throne that was graced by my father. I would rather die than contemplate such s sinful act. Your father is such a noble man. Flawless is your ancestry ? How could such a daughter be born to that Great man. I will this very moment go to the forest and bring back my beloved brother and make him the king and serve him for my rest of the life.
Bharata then goes to see the ministers and the queens explains and pleads them of his innocence. He declares to them his intentions of going into the forest to bring back Rama and asks the necessary arrangements to be made. He performs the last rites for his father and he broke down while performing the rituals. Guru Vasishta now explains to Bharata about the nature of this life. Three pairs visit every man they are hunger and thirst, sorrow and delusion, birth and death. A man cannot escape unless he realises that these are transient and inevitable. If a man is prepared for them and tackle them properly then they will fail to take firm hold of his power of thinking. Man should realise that the world is characteristic of these and similar opposites and life is an eternal warfare between these and intelligence which should be prepared to subdue whenever they threaten to gain ascendancy. A man who is born has to die and that is the law of nature. It is true that the king died under tragic circumstances but no one can alter the course of fate. Then Bharata performs the last rites for the father.
Bharata and Shatrughna come across Manthra and she is pointed out to the princes as the root cause of all the calamities. Shatrughna decides to treat her royally. However Bharata intervenes and saves Mantara by saying that we should what Rama would have done now.
Now all the ministers gather and they explain to Bharata the dangers for a kingdom without the King and since Bharata is the heir apparent now he has to take up the kingdom. Bharata firmly refuses I do not approve of this sinful act of my mother and states his decision to go into the forest and try to bring Rama if possible otherwise I will replace Rama in the forest instead and Rama will comeback to rule the country. Vashishta admires his young pupil who seemed as great as if not greater than Rama in adhering to Dharma.
Bharata with all his mothers and the entire army proceed to the forest. They meet Guha on the Way. Guha is concerned about the intentions of Bharata only to know the greatness of Bharata and helps him to cross the river Ganges. Bharata now reaches the Ashrama of Bharadwaja. The sage is delighted by the Dharma these noble men are following. He the directs Bharata to Chitrakuta as he did for Rama.
Rama and his team is having a pleasant stay in Chitrakuta. Suddenly they are amused by the panic created among the animals and the shock felt in the ground. Rama thinks that some prince is coming into the forest for hunting. He asks Lakshmana to find out what is happening. Lakshmana is angry at seeing the army that is coming under the flag of Ayodhya. He thinks that Bharata is coming to destroy them. Hearing this Rama becomes extremely happy and explains Lakshmana about the greatness of Bharata.
Bharata finally reaches the residence of Rama in Chitrakuta. He is not able to express his feelings and falls in the feet of Rama. Rama is also taken aback by the sight of Bharata dressed in treebark with matted hair and had grown thin beyond recognition. Bharata tells Rama about the happenings after he left. Rama is sorrow struck knowing the death of Dasaratha. Rama performs the final rituals for the deceased king.
Bharata appeals to Rama to come back to the country. You have always granted the wishes of every one. It is up to you keep up your reputation. Rama says fathers have every right to command their sons to act according to their wish and this applies to their wives also. Bharatha now recasts his words and ofofers the kingdom at the feet of Rama and pleads him to take it. Rama is unmoved and he has no intentions of returning back. Barata reminds of the duty of Kshatriya to protect his subjects.
He gives a lenghty talk to Bharata about the impermanence of life limitied by space and time.
Man delights at the sight of sun rise and again when the sun sets Seldom he realises that it has eaten away a day of his life. There are various seasons in a year, which frequently change. Each season has its own speciality. Whilst these seasons are enjoyable in a variety of ways one has to realise that these take away large slices of one's life. The night which passes will never come back.
Men become old, their skin gets wrinkled and they lose their power of thinking and death claims them. Death walks with us in the longest journey of life which we undertake. Your life and mine are eaten away by time. So do not waste your time by contemplating on anothers life. Think of the Lord. Our father has shed his old and serene body and is now in the Brahmaloka. It is not correct for us to grieve over his death. It is our duty to fulfill his last words and save him from not becoming an Adharmi. Saying thus Rama tries to console Bharata and also firmly reiterates his stand that he will not return before the end of his vanavasa.
The ministers and the Guru try to persuade Rama and they all realise that it is impossible to do that. They also convince Bharata. Bharata then says " you have commandned me. You are my father now and I should do what you ask me to do. But one thing is certain I will not accept the kingdom for myself. Then Bharata takes Rama's Sandals and says, "These sandals will take the burden of ruling the world. They will rule the kingdom as your symbols and I will by your representative. Till you come back I will live thus wearing tree bark and deer skin living outside Ayodhya eating fruits and roots. Then after the vanavasa is over if I don't see you then I will ennter the fire and end my life"
Then they all return back to Ayodhya and Bharata starts residing in a place outside Ayodhya called Nandhigrama and starts ruling as a representative of Rama.
Here ends Ayodhya Kanda.
JAI SHRI RAM