In the previous episode we witnessed that Kaikeyi finally breaks the ice with King Dasharata by asking him the two boons that he had granted her once upon a time. Accordingly, her demands were that, her son Bharata would rule Ayodhya henceforth, and Rama be sent on exile for the next fourteen years! Upon hearing this, King Dasharata couldn’t believe his ears for a moment and subsequently tries to console his dear wife and to make her withdraw this compelling stance! However, Kaikeyi was a strong woman with stiff attitudes and eventually King Dasharata’s consolations didn’t work! She stuck to her stand and refused to bow down!
King Dasharata now becomes extremely furious with Kaikeyi and says the following:
“Kaikeyim abhraveeth krudhhaa nirdhahanniva tejasaa!
Nisamse dukha chaarithre kulasyaascha vinaasine!!”
King Dasharata fumes in anger and says, “Oh Kaikeyi! You wicked woman! You’re a disguise to the entire Ikshvaaku dynasty! (“Kulasyaascha vinaasine”) Do you know whom are you trying to send to the forest? Do you think the people of Ayodhya would let you scot-free? The moment this news goes out of these four walls, you’ll be banged and stoned to death by the people of Ayodhya! So understand the seriousness of what you’re talking and demanding!”
Kaikeyi never seemed to be convinced even with the harsh words of King Dasharata! She replies, “I don’t care about if I’ll be alive or dead! I don’t care if the people of Ayodhya hit me or beat me or stone me on the streets! Don’t try to divert the issue and don’t try to blackmail me! Grant the two boons that I had asked for! I don’t want to hear anything else from you!”
“Apasyatasthu me raamam nashtam bhavathi chetanam!
Dristenlokho vinaa suryam sasyam vaa salinam vinaa!!”
King Dasharata still doesn’t want to give up. He now pleads with Kaikeyi with his folded hands! Imagine! An invincible king known for his extraordinary powers and his abilities, bowing with folded hands to an ordinary woman! King Dasharata pleads with Kaikeyi, “Oh Kaikeyi! You asked two boons right? Fine! I’ll grant you one of them! You asked for Bharata’s coronation! I shall grant you that! No problem! Atleast please take back the other one! Please do not send Rama to the forest! What wrong did he do to you? Why are you punishing this child like this?”
King Dasharata breaks into tears and continues further, “Don’t you know Kaikeyi? Rama is our dearest child! I know that you adore and love Rama more than even I do! Yet, why do you want to met this out to him? And you know what? How do you think I would be able to continue my life without seeing Rama’s beautiful handsome face? Do you know how young I am today? I’m not 60,000 years old! Upon seeing Rama’s beauty, I feel that my age is just 30 and I’m a youngster! Oh Kaikeyi! Please do not send Rama to the forest! I cannot live even for a moment without seeing Rama’s face! I feel that my entire birth is a waste without being in the vicinity of Rama!”
Thiyagaraja Swami has brought out this emotion of King Dasharata beautifully through the following famous “Krithi” (Musical Composition):
“Eti janmam idi Ha! Oh Rama!!
Eti janmam idi enduku Galigeno? Entani Sairintu Ha! Oh Rama!!
Saatileni Maara koti laavanyuni! Maati maatiki juchi maatalaaduni taana!!”
The above song is one of Thiyagaraja Swami’s masterpieces, tuned to the Raaga “Varaali”, which in itself a very emotionally touching tune! In the above piece, Thiyagaraja Swami says, “Oh Rama! What is the use of this human birth in this world, if I’m unable to see you, or converse with you? What is this destiny of mine all about, if I’m unable to experience your beauty?” This is how King Dasharata is also now lamenting! He is venting out his distress caused by Kaikeyi! Thus King Dasharata says to Kaikeyi that he would grant one out of the two boons and requests her to take back the other! He further continues to say, “Oh Kaikeyi! Even after listening to your strong words, I’m still alive! This in itself is a miracle! Please pay heeds to this old man! I request you!”
Upon saying this, King Dasharata now falls on the feet of Kaikeyi and prays! However, Kaikeyi was still stubborn in her stance! She just moves away from that place a little bit and reiterates her stance once again!
King Dasharata is now rendered completely helpless! He has tried every possible way in his book to try and convince his wife, but all in vein! Hence, at last King Dasharata accepts his defeat with the heaviest of his hearts and grants her the two boons and eventually falls on the floor unconscious! Kaikeyi sniffs victory and she is overjoyed!
At this sad note, we shall wait till the next episode to find out how Kaikeyi took over the proceedings from this point and to dictate terms!