Episode 103 – “Eti Janmam Idi Ha! Oh Rama!” – King Dasharata stands defeated by his own wife Kaikeyi!!!


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!

Episode 102 – Kaikeyi STUNS King Dasharata with her two boons!!!


During the last episode we spoke about why was Manthara the only woman who was against Rama ever since his childhood days. Thus, Manthara saw this as the right opportunity to take her vengeance on Rama and deny him the kingdom of Ayodhya! She used Kaikeyi as her instrument to get her vengeance fulfilled and thus brainwashed her completely by playing “mind-games” with her, invoking her son Bharata into the picture!

In the psychological science of the modern day, we talk about “mind games”, “emotional blackmailing”, etc. It’s interesting to note from this particular episode of Manthara-Kaikeyi, that all these psychological aspects were known even during the Ramayana period itself!

Thus, the “brainwashed” Kaikeyi is now sitting in the “Chamber of Anger” awaiting King Dasharata’s arrival. King Dasharata learns that Kaikeyi was here and he immediately rushes to see her. He was surprised on seeing her and the way she was dressed up! He immediately goes to her and tries to pacify her by asking her to express her wish freely and that he would grant it immediately!

It is now that Kaikeyi is going to burst out in anger! She slowly asks King Dasharata if he remembers the two boons that he assured to grant her. She now wanted him to grant those two boons right away! King Dasharata still didn’t understand Kaikeyi’s intentions, and he again re-assured her that he would grant whatever she wished!

Now Kaikeyi asks: The first boon – My son Bharata should be the successor of Ayodhya!! The second boon: Send Rama on exile for the next fourteen years!!” She continues.. “Oh Dasharata! If you are a real ‘Sathya-Prathignya’ (Protector of truth & dharma), grant these two boons to me immediately without asking a word!!!”

King Dasharata was stunned beyond words!! He couldn’t believe his ears for a moment! He slowly replies to her on regaining his breath after a few minutes: Kaikeyi, do you realize what you are asking? Do you think this is so simple a task for me to execute at the last minute? Don’t you know that tomorrow morning is the ceremony of Rama’s coronation? Why are you asking this all of a sudden? I consulted everybody around me – Right from Sage Vasishtaachaarya to the other saints, to the subjects of Ayodhya, to my three wives including you. It is only after everybody’s approval that this decision was taken! If you had an objection, you should have raised it at that time itself! So please understand what are the implications of this move of yours!”

Kaikeyi gets more furious upon hearing this from King Dasharata, and she replies back: “Oh King Dasharata! I understand everything and please do not try to corner me with all your logic! I’m very clear in what I’m asking! Please do not try to divert the issue now! You’ve promised me twice that you’ll execute whatever I wish! Now don’t go back on your promise!”

King Dasharata was almost in tears by now! He still tries to console his wife: “Oh my beloved Kaikeyi! You may ask me any other wish apart from these two and I shall grant you immediately! But please do not do this! Please try to change your stance!”

Kaikeyi was unrelenting in her demands and replies firmly, “I do not want anything else! I just want these two boons to be granted immediately! If you’re granting me two boons, give these two to me right away! Else, you’ll become a “Nithya-Prathignya” (A person who has failed to fulfil the given word!) The world would accuse you tomorrow that you’ve failed to keep up your words to your own wife! It is up to you to decide!”

“Thou dhou thou cha varam dhyeva nikhsepau bhuhayaamyaham!

Tavaiva prithivee paala chahaase raghunandana!!

Yodvitheeyou varau devaha daddhahpreethena themayaa!

Nava panchacha varshaani dhandakaaranyam aashruthaa!!”

From the above slokas, Valmiki Maharishi beautifully brings out the crux of the conversation between Kaikeyi and King Dasharata. She thus asks the two boons to him that Bharata be the king of Ayodhya and Rama be exiled for fourteen years!

After this series of conversations with Kaikeyi, and upon seeing that Kaikeyi is so stubborn with what she wants, King Dasharata now loses his cool and his demeanor! He now becomes angry at her! What was King Dasharata’s angry reaction? What happened next? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out!

Episode 101 – Why is Manthara the ONLY person in Ayodhya who is against Rama?


In the previous episode we witnessed that Manthara was brainwashing Kaikeyi to go and ask King Dasharata for the two pending boons granted to her. Initially Kaikeyi was hesitant to do it as she felt guilty of asking a selfish favor to her own husband! However, Manthara never relented in her effort. She made sure that Kaikeyi was cornered emotionally in all ways possible and after lot of brainwashing, Kaikeyi finally decides to go forward to ask for the two boons to King Dasharata. Thus, she goes into the “Chamber of Anger” (Kobha Gruha) and sits, waiting for King Dasharata to come to her!

Before we move further to whether King Dasharata came to see Kaikeyi or not, we need to check out on a small interlude – A very important question might have arose within the readers as to why is this Manthara the only person in the entire Ayodhya city who was against Rama? What made her so angry about Rama that she even goes to the extent of stopping the all-important coronation ceremony at a crucial juncture? Why does she want to take such revenge? Let us discuss the answer for this in today’s episode.

This Manthara, as we know, being an old woman, had a bent back (Manthara is often referred to as “Kooni” in Tamil, because the word “Koon” in Tamil means “Bent back”) Since her back was bent, she was not able to walk with her back upright. Rama, when he was a five-year-old child used to make fun of this woman who was having this peculiar way of walking. Hence with his small bow and arrow he used to point at her bent back and hit it with small arrows containing small balls of sand! When she tries to lift herself after he hit her back, she gets angry and the little Rama used to make fun of her! By this act of little Rama, she felt insulted! It was this small incident that she had in her mind for so many years now like a dormant volcano! Thus, finally she got the golden opportunity now, to take revenge on Rama and satisfy herself!

We might be wondering, why was Rama affected just by one small “Leela” (Child-play) that he did to this woman, whereas, Krishna never gets caught when he plays like this with everybody around him during his childhood! This is a very interesting comparison here – Comparison between “Rama Leela” and “Krishna Leela”. I’ve discussed a similar comparison in one of my earlier episodes between the lives of the two incarnations of Bhagawan – Rama and Krishna, and here is one more interesting comparison!

We might have never heard of “Rama Leela” at all in any instance, whereas we might have heard loads and loads of “Krishna Leela” and all those child plays by Lord Krishna were like this only! For instance, little Krishna, while roaming around with the cows, suddenly would tie a bunch of small crackers to the tail of a cow and light it up! When it bursts with a thudding sound, the cow gets terrified and runs around and upon seeing this, little Krishna would laugh out loud and clap His hands! 🙂 🙂 Similarly, we all know that little Krishna used to go and steal the butter from each house, without the knowledge of anybody – All such plays were done by this “notorious” little Krishna, and he never gets caught by anyone, nor anybody takes any revenge on him! But here, just because little Rama did one small play, this Manthara takes him for a ride!

Anyway, this is just for a comparison purpose to have some fun! Of course, every divine incarnation of Bhagawan has specific purposes to be fulfilled on this earth – Be it Lord Rama, or Krishna or anything else! Thus in order to fulfill that important purpose, Bhagawan has his own divine “Leelas” or ways to fulfill them!

Thus, Kaikeyi prepares herself to ask for the two boons and is waiting for King Dasharata to arrive at the “Kobha Gruha”. King Dasharata learns that Kaikeyi is here, and he immediately rushes to the Chamber of Anger, and sees Kaikeyi in fury written all over her face! King Dasharata was concerned and asks her what happened. He says, “Oh Kaikeyi! What happened to you? Is there any problem? Please tell me! I’ll fulfill whatever you desire, right now! Please ask me whatever you wish for!”

This is one big weak point of King Dasharata – if someone comes to him, the first sentence he utters to them is “Please ask me whatever you wish for! I’ll grant that for you!” We might remember that this was the same dialogue he used for Sage Vishwaamithra when he arrived, and eventually he got himself strangled! Now he is committing the same mistake to Kaikeyi as well! Here, the important lesson for us to learn is that, if a decision needs to be taken, it shouldn’t be impulsive or emotional. It should be taken with a bit of deliberation and thinking over!

We shall elaborate this point, in the subsequent episode in more detail. Now what did Kaikeyi ask him? Did she ask him the two boons directly? Let’s see the next series of events that took place in the next episode!

Episode 100 – Manthara preaches to Kaikeyi: “Ayodhya for Bharata and a Fourteen-year exile for Rama”


In the previous episode we witnessed closely that Manthara (the servant helper of Kaikeyi) mesmerized and brainwashed Kaikeyi by saying that she and her son Bharata were being tricked and plotted into a bad state of affair by coronating Rama to the throne of Ayodhya. Manthara preaches to Kaikeyi that at any cost, it should be Bharata who should rule Ayodhya and not Rama. Kaikeyi gradually becomes brainwashed and at one stage she was brimming with anger against her own husband, King Dasharata. Today let’s continue and see what happened next.

Thus, during her “discourse”, Manthara had suggested to Kaikeyi about the two unasked boons that she had with her, and thus suggests Keikeyi to make use of this opportunity and time to ask for those two boons to King Dasharata. Initially Kaikeyi wasn’t very convinced, but gradually as she was getting brainwashed moment by moment, she was getting convinced to ask for them.

Here is an important lesson for all of us in the modern day: We talk a lot about friendship and companionship in day-to-day life. This Manthara-Kaikeyi episode is the perfect example of bad companionship, and how it can poison our lives slowly. Thus, we should take a moment and try to judge what kind of a companionship are we getting into, because if we get into a bad companionship we would be pulled into unwanted issues and eventually our personal and professional life would go for a toss! This is why we always keep saying that “Satsanga” (Good companionship) is extremely necessary for one’s life to grow both personally as well as spiritually.

Now coming back to the subject, we should now look at what are those two boons! Manthara again guides Kaikeyi in this: The first boon should be that Bharata should rule Ayodhya, come what may! The second boon was to send Rama on exile to the forest for fourteen years! Valmiki Maharishi beautifully portrays this in the following slokas:

“Raamapprabhbhrajanam dhooram nava varshaani pancha cha!

Bharathaha kriyathaam raajaa prithivyaam paarthi varshabhaa!!”

Thus, Manthara says to Kaikeyi that Bharata should be the person at any cost, who would be the next king of Ayodhya (“Bharathaha kriyathaam raajaa prithivyaam”) and Rama should be sent on exile for fourteen years (Here, “Nava varshaani pancha” means “nine + five” = fourteen).

“Chathur dasashi varshaani raame prabhraabhithe vanam!

Roohascha krutha moolascha shesham shaashathide suthaha!!”

Thus through the above sloka, Manthara adds that once Rama is sent to exile for fourteen years and after that if he comes back, nobody in Ayodhya would even remember Rama! Also, by that time Bharata would prove himself to be a great king and will capture the hearts of all the people of Ayodhya! Hence, even if Rama comes back, nobody would want him to take up the kingdom and he would be sidelined!

Why does Manthara specifically mention “fourteen years”? Here is an interesting explanation: Normally, even today many issues would lose its significance or validity if twelve years have passed! People would tend to forget them! This phenomenon can be observed even in today’s courts and judicial processesIf twelve years have passed ever since a crime took place, chances are bright that those cases would be dismissed by the court! (Of course, with exceptions of huge issues like terrorism, big time corruption, etc.) It is thus for this very reason that, Manthara is very careful in choosing the number of years for Rama’s exile – She means to say here that, after twelve years of Rama’s absence in the kingdom, his charm would be lost amongst the people of Ayodhya! In fact, she is extra careful by adding two more years to the twelve!! Thus, it becomes fourteen years of exile for Rama!

Thus after this detailed explanation from Manthara, Kaikeyi gets convinced and prepares herself to ask for these two boons to King Dasharata! She now hurries herself into the “Chamber of Anger” (Kobha gruham)! This “Chamber of Anger” is a part of the huge palace of Ayodhya wherein if any of the three queens of King Dasharata get angry, they go and sit in this particular place! Accordingly, Kaikeyi now goes into the “Kobha Gruha”, removes all her jewels and other ornaments from her body, dresses up herself in a white saree like that of a widow! She is waiting for King Dasharata to come and see her!

Did King Dasharata come? What was King Dasharata’s reaction to his beloved wife’s anger? Did he try to pacify her? What happened next? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out!

Episode 99 – Manthara convinces Kaikeyi to ask for two “Boons” to King Dasharata


In the last few episodes we’ve been witnessing that Ayodhya is in a festive mood yet again, thanks to the coronation ceremony of Rama scheduled very soon! The entire city is celebrating and rejoicing the festive mood as Sage Vasishtaachaarya and other important maharishis in King Dasharata’s courtroom prepare themselves for the big event! Rama and Sita, according to the instruction of Sage Vasishtaachaarya offer their prayers to Lord Narayana before the commencement of all the rituals. Meanwhile, the wicked old woman, Manthara comes to know what is going on and with all her frustration, rushes to meet Kaikeyi. It is to be remembered that Manthara is the servant (Daasi) of Kaikeyi. She barges into Kaikeyi’s chamber and explains about Rama’s coronation and how her son Bharata has lost out to Rama on this. Initially Kaikeyi couldn’t understand why is Manthara talking all these nonsense to her and why is she differentiating between Rama and Bharata! It is only at this point, Manthara starts to brainwash Kaikeyi by repeatedly saying that herself and Bharata would eventually be chased out of the kingdom as all the prominence would only be given to Rama and his mother Kaushalya if he is coronated and thus this coronation ceremony should be stopped at any cost! This should not proceed further!

After a few moments of brainwashing, Kaikeyi loses her thinking power completely and gets completely carried away with Manthara’s words! She slowly asks Manthara as to what should be done now!

“Swaarthamabhlubhaye praapthe dahyamaaneva manthare!

Bhavishyathi cha kalyaani kimidham paridhamsathe!!”

Yathaavai bharatho maanyaha tathaa bhooyobhi raaghavaha!

Kaushalya thaatharitthamcha mama sushruche bahu!!”

Thus from the above slokas, Manthara says, “Just how I’m a servant to you today, you would also become a servant to Kaushalya eventually in the future if Rama is coronated! Oh Kaikeyi! Please understand this! Dasharata and Kaushalya are trying to plot against you and your son Bharata!”

“Eva mukthvaa tathaa devyaa mantharaa paapa darshini!

Raamaartham upahum santhi kaikeyi idam abhraveeth!!”

Upon hearing all this from Manthara, Kaikeyi slowly starts to ponder upon! She is now getting completely brainwashed and Manthara is beginning to taste success already in her mission! Even today in the area of “Marketing”and “Sales”, when the sale has to be done to a customer, the most important job of a salesperson is to make the customer think! Once that thinking happens, it’s very easy to convince the customer to buy your product! Similarly here too we see that Kaikeyi starts to think and Manthara rightly captured this moment! Thus, Kaikeyi slowly asks Manthara, “What should I do now to stop the coronation from happening?”

“Puraa devaasure yuddhe saha raakshasadhippathihi!

Aagacchathvaamupaadhaaya devaraajascha saakshyakrith!!

Sasambra ithighyaathaha shatamaayo mayaasuraha!

Tushtena tena dadhyauthe dvou varau shuba dharshane!!”

Manthara now guides Kaikeyi as to what to do. She says, “Oh Kaikeyi! Now you’ve asked a valid question! Don’t you remember that in your early days of marriage, you had saved Dasharata’s life during a war with the ‘Raakshasaas’? Don’t you also remember that King Dasharata at that time, had offered to grant two unconditional boons to you and you’re still yet to ask them? Now is the time to ask for those two unconditional boons! (“Dvou varau shuba dharshane”)”

Kaikeyi was still not fully convinced with Manthara’s explanation. She asks back, “Oh Manthara! You are asking me to ask for two selfish boons to my own husband? Saving his life during the war was my duty! I have performed my duty without expecting anything in return! Of course, out of immense happiness, he had granted me the boons. I agree! But how can I take my beloved husband’s happiness and use it for my selfish needs? I’m not going to do all this!”

The moment Kaikeyi was backing out, Manthara again intervenes. She says, “The time has come now to ask for them! Whatever you think of doesn’t matter now! Past is past! If you’ve to survive in this palace… I don’t even care about you! If your son Bharata has to survive in this palace any longer, you need to ask for those two boons now!”

The moment Kaikeyi heard the phrase “Your son Bharata” from Manthara, she got completely entangled into the “Puthra Vaatsalya” (Attachment towards her son)She now gets completely convinced by Manthara’s arguments!

Thus Kaikeyi prepares herself mentally to ask for two boons! What are those two boons? What did Kaikeyi ask King Dasharata? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out!

Episode 98 – Manthara poisons Kaikeyi’s pure heart!!!


In the previous episode, we witnessed that while Rama and Sita were praying together to Lord Narayana (as per the instruction of Sage Vasishtaachaarya) an old woman by name Manthara, who was the helper of Kaikeyi comes into the picture. She learns about Rama’s coronation and becomes furious and agitated. With all her fury she walks up the stairs and reach Kaikeyi’s room. Kaikeyi was getting herself ready for the function with all her happiness.

“Saa dahya maanaa krodhena mantharaa papa darshini!

Utthista moode kinjeche bhayam tvaam abi varthathe!!”

Thus, Manthara, the disgusting woman (“Papa darshini”) enters Kaikeyi’s room and shouts at her: “Hey moodaathma (Foolish woman)!! Get up! (“Utthista moode kinjeche”) You are a big time loser! You’re going to lose everything in life and yet you are so happy and dressing up yourself? I never knew you were such a fool on this earth!”

Kaikeyi was perplexed on hearing Manthara’s sudden gush of words and she looks surprised for a moment! She then asks, “Oh Manthara! What happened now? Why are you shouting like this? What is wrong?” Upon Kaikeyi’s question, Manthara replies back, “Oh Kaikeyi! You do not know what is happening? Your son is not coronated to the throne of Ayodhya! Your son has lost the battle of succession!”

“Jaayasya puthramaathmaanam maancha vismaya darshane!”

Manthara continues in her explanation, “Oh Kaikeyi! You’re acting as if you don’t know anything! Please try and save your son’s future! Don’t sit like this as if nothing is happening around you!”

Kaikeyi didn’t understand all this for a moment! She replies to Manthara, “No! Yesterday evening I saw Dasharata and he had mentioned to me that my son is going to be coronated today morning! What is wrong now?”

Manthara didn’t understand Kaikeyi’s explanation and she again asks back, Your son is to be coronated? It is Rama who is going to be coronated! Not Bharata! What are you blabbering?”

Upon which, Kaikeyi replies,

“Raamevaa bharatheevaa vishesham nopalakshaye!

Tasmaad dhusthaasmi yad raajaa raamam raajya vishekshyasi”

Kaikeyi reiterates to Manthara, “Oh Manthara! Don’t you know! Rama is my son! Bharatha is also my son! I see no difference in both of them! I’m happy that my son Rama is going to the king of Ayodhya from tomorrow! Thus, Kaikeyi was so pure in her heart that she has never differentiated between the four children! It is this pure heart of Kaikeyi that was poisoned by this wicked woman Manthara! Alwar describes this beautifully in one of his “paasurams” in Tamil:

“Kalakkiya maa manathanalaal kaikesi varam venda!

Malakkiya maa manathanalaai mannavanum maraadhozhiya!

Kolakkumaraa! Kaaduraiyappoo!”

Thus Alwar says here, “Kalakkiya maa manathanalaai”, which means, the brainwashed, mesmerized Kaikeyi, asks for the two boons to King Dasharata (“Kaikesi varam venda”). Here, “Varam” means boon. Thus accordingly, King Dasharata couldn’t deny the two boons that he had promised to Kaikeyi, as we all know! This is what Alwar says in the next line – “Malakkiya maa manathanalaai mannavanum maraadhozhiya!” Accordingly, now Kaikeyi orders Rama to march towards the forest! (“Kolakkumaraa! Kaaduraiyappoo!”)

It is thus; Manthara poisons Kaikeyi’s heart slowly and slowly! She continues to preach Kaikeyi:

“Upasthaasyathi koushalyaa daaseevartham kruthaanjalihi!

Puthrasya tava raamasya presyathvam hi gamishyathi!!”

Manthara says, “Oh Kaikeyi! How can you say Rama and Bharata are both your sons? Just think for a moment! Once Rama takes up the throne, you would be a servant/helper to his mother Kaushalya! Your son Bharata won’t stand to gain anything from it! All the respect will go only to Rama and Kaushalya! You and your son would eventually be chased out of the palace after few years!” (“Upasthaasyathi koushalyaa daaseevartham kruthaanjalihi!”) Here, “Daasee” means servant! Thus, Manthara speaks whatever shouldn’t be spoken to Kaikeyi, and slowly brainwashes her! Thus she finally says, “Oh Kaikeyi!! Atleast now, get up and go, do the needful!”

Kaikeyi slowly becomes thoughtful and asks Manthara, “What should I do now?” Manthara is extremely happy upon hearing this question from Kaikeyi! What was her guidance to Kaikeyi? What did she ask Kaikeyi to do? Let’s wait to find out till the next episode!

Episode 97 – Rama prays to Lord Narayana – Manthara hurries to meet Kaikeyi!!


In the previous episode we witnessed that the entire city of Ayodhya was colorful with the festive mood as Rama was getting ready for the coronation ceremony. Sage Vasishtaachaarya prepares himself to commence the rituals associated with the auspicious ceremony and as a first step, he asks Rama to offer a prayer to Lord Narayana, who’s divine idol was in the palace of Ayodhya for many generations now. We saw in due course of the last episode, the history of this idol of Lord Narayana, which is now the presiding deity of the important temple of Srirangam, in the city of Tiruchirapalli.

Now proceeding further from this point, Rama along with his beloved Sita goes inside the temple where the idol of Lord Narayana was present and prays together. At this point, Sage Vasishtaachaarya tells Rama to pray for the successful conduct of the coronation ceremony! Rama thinks to himself, “Oh! This Vasishtaachaarya is asking me to pray for the coronation ceremony to take place successfully!” If this is the case, this Ramayana story would be over by this episode and we won’t have anything to write and witness further episodes in the blog!!! 🙂 🙂  Rama continues in his prayer, “If everything goes as per this Sage Vasishtaachaarya’s wish, how will I fulfill the purpose for which I was born? How am I going to go and kill Ravana? Where is this Manthara? Why is she not going to meet Kaikeyi still? Oh Lord Narayana! I’ve come to this earth with a purpose, and it is you who can help me in fulfilling that purpose! Hence, please send this Manthara to meet Kaikeyi soon!” 🙂 

Thus, Rama and Sita offer their prayers to Lord Narayana. Valmiki Maharishi beautifully describes it with the following sloka:

“Saha pathniyaa visaalaakshyaa naaraayanam upaagamath!”

Thus, Rama takes Sita who has long and beautiful eyes (“Visaalaakshyaa”) and offers prayers to Lord Narayana. It was only once Rama starts his prayer, things start moving quickly, as Manthara arrives at the scene for the first time. This Manthara is an old woman who is the servant/helper of Kaikeyi. She incidentally passes through that particular place where people were talking about Rama’s coronation ceremony. Upon hearing it, Manthara was shocked and furious and she goes straight into Kaikeyi’s dwelling place. She did not like Rama to be coronated! (I shall explain the reason in the subsequent episodes). While she was going towards Kaikeyi’s room, she was making plans as to how to stop this coronation ceremony from taking place!

“Nyaathidaasi yatho jaathaa kaikeyaarthu saboshithaaha!

Praasaadham chathra shankaasam aaruroha yadhirchayaa!!

Avi dhooreshthithaam drishtvaa dhaadreem prappascha manthara!

Utthamenaadhi samyukthaa harshenaartha phalaasathi!!”

Here, Valmiki Maharishi beautifully describes the entry of Manthra into the scene. He says, this woman passed by this place “by chance” (“Aaruroha yadhirchayaa”). This woman with wicked intentions climbed up the stairs to reach Kaikeyi’s place (“Praasaadham chathra shankaasam”)!

Thus, Manthara enters into Kaikeyi’s room with all her fury and anguish. Why was she so furious? What did this Manthara converse with Kaikeyi? Did Kaikeyi entertain her? Was she successful in brainwashing Kaikeyi? Let’s wait to see in the next episode!

Episode 96 – Why did Rama particularly incarnate at Ayodhya? A brief history of the present day shrine at Srirangam!!


In the previous episode, we witnessed that the city of Ayodhya is all delighted and eager to witness the coronation ceremony of their beloved Rama. Preparations were afoot for the function to commence. Sage Vasishtaachaarya, along with the other important sages at King Dasharata’s courtroom get together and fix up the auspicious day and time for the event to take place. It was decided that the very next day was auspicious in the month of “Chaithra” (Around April-May, of the current calendar), during the season of spring wherein all the trees blossom beautifully and the nature is in it’s full attractiveness!

“Dheerga bhaahum mahaa sathvam mattha maathanga gaavinam!

Chandra kaanthaananam raamam atheeva priya darshanam!!”

Thus, Valmiki Maharishi explains here that Rama – The prince of Ayodhya who was so handsome and attractive to people both by his external as well as internal beauty, was getting ready for the grand event which was about to commence.

Finally, it is early morning of the day of the event, and Sage Vasishtaachaarya enters into the palace to start the auspicious rituals. As per the tradition, he first asks Rama and Sita to start with a prayer to the shrine of Lord Narayana, which was in the Ayodhya palace for numerous generations. In one of the earlier episodes, I had put forth an unanswered question: Why did Lord Rama take birth particularly in this “Ikshvaaku” family in Ayodhya and not anywhere else? Of course, the main purpose of Bhagawan’s incarnation as a normal human being, (as we all know) is to kill Ravana, however, Bhagawan could have accomplished this mission by being born anywhere in the world! But why did he particularly choose King Dasharata as his father and Ayodhya as his dwelling place? Let us see the reason in today’s episode and this is very important:

The main reason as to why Bhagawan chose Ayodhya and the Ikshvaaku clan for his incarnation is to worship this particular deity of Lord NarayanaThis particular deity of Lord Narayana is none other than the presiding deity of one of the greatest and the most significant Shri-Vaishnava temple of Srirangam, in the town of Tiruchirapalli, in the south-Indian state of Tamil Nadu, India. Thus, the presiding Shri Ranganaatha Swamy of Srirangam was initially present at the “Paarkadal” (The ocean of milk). From there, Lord Brahma took it to his Sathya Lokha and was worshipping the idol for a very long time. It was after so many years that King Ikshvaaku, one of the ancestors of Rama and King Dasharata, during his visit to Brahma’s Sathya Lokha saw this beautiful idol and requested Lord Brahma that he take it to the “Manushya Lokha” (Earth) and worship it from there! Accordingly, Lord Brahma was happy with King Ikshvaaku’s request and sends the idol with King Ikshvaaku. Thus, King Ikshvaaku brings it down to the earth and installs it in his palace in AyodhyaThe same palace where Lord Rama is at present now! Thus, this idol was there at Ayodhya for innumerable number of years across so many kings of Ayodhya and Ikshvaaku Dynasty. Thus, all the kings of Ayodhya were worshipping this idol of Lord Vishnu, until King Dasharata at the moment!

However, Lord Vishnu was thinking to himself that all the kings worship him and perform all the rituals as per the “Shaastras”, but he was still not satisfied with all that! He had a feeling that none of the kings were performing the rituals and puja as per the liking of Bhagawan! Thus, Bhagawan was disappointed! He was thinking as to how to solve this problem – Finally he himself came to the conclusion that if there should be someone who should do the rituals in the way that he should be satisfied, it is he himself who should do it! 🙂 He cannot expect anyone else to do it according to his satisfaction! Thus, we can see here that, the person who has to be worshipped should be Lord Vishnu, and also the person who will do the worshipping should be Lord Vishnu as well!! It is for this main reason that Bhagwan incarnated in Ayodhya – In order to be the worshipper of this idol of Lord Vishnu! Of course, as I had mentioned before, Bhagwan would have killed Ravana had he been born anywhere else, however He wouldn’t be able to worship this particular Lord Vishnu’s idol had he been born somewhere else!

It is this same Lord Vishnu’s idol that Lord Rama gifts Vibhishana (Ravana’s brother) after the war and after his coronation in Ayodhya. Lord Rama had immense love for Vibhishana and says to him “Oh my dearest Vibbishana! You can take this great idol of Lord Vishnu to Sri Lanka and keep it with you!” Thus, Vibhishana takes this idol with him and proceeds towards Sri Lanka. It is when he crosses over the river Cauvery and this beautiful place between the two rivers of Cauvery and Colleroon (Kollidam), Lord Vishnu himself says to Vibhishana that he would like to be here for the rest of the years! Vibhishana was sad that he would miss Rama’s gift very badly and prays to Lord Vishnu that He comes along with him to Sri Lanka. However, Lord Vishnu replies, Oh Vibhishana! I’m touched by your immense devotion! However, I feel that I should be only at this place and I cannot come with you to Sri Lanka. But please do not worry! I shall do something special for you – Normally, I reside in an east-westerly direction, but at this place I will reside towards the southern direction, facing Sri Lanka! Thus in this way my blessings would be coming to you continuously and uninterrupted!” It is only because of this reason we see even today that Lord Ranganatha Swamy of Srirangam, is facing the southern direction! The idol is almost 16 foot long! Thus, as the famous “paasuram” of Aalwar in Tamil says,

“Kuda disai mudiyai vaithu kuda disai paadham neeti vada disai pinbu kaati then disai ilankai nokki…”

Thus, as per the Aalwar’s paasuram, Sri Ranganaatha Swamy is lying down towards the southern direction even today, to bless Sri Lanka and Vibhishana who is ruling it! Thus, this very idol of Lord Vishnu was once at “Paarkadal”, then transcended to Lord Brahma’s Sathya Lokha and then came to Ayodhya and now to Srirangam!

It is this deity that Sage Vasishtaachaarya asks Rama and Sita to worship now! Accordingly Rama goes inside the room where this idol was placed, taking Sita long with him. What did Rama pray to Lord Vishnu’s idol? What did he ask to him? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out! 🙂

Episode 95 – Ayodhya goes into celebration mode – For the third time now!


In the previous episode we witnessed that Sage Vasishtaachaarya gave his approval for King Dasharata to coronate Rama to the Ayodhya throne. It is after this approval that King Dasharata goes to the people of Ayodhya and ask their opinion on this matter and all of them in unison approved King Dasharata’s decision to coronate Rama as his successor. Thus the entire city of Ayodhya started to rejoice this decision by their beloved king and were eagerly waiting for the coronation ceremony of Rama to take place. Accordingly, Sage Vasishta and others in King Dasharata’s courtroom try and fix an auspicious day and time for the ceremony to take place. Luckily, since the very next day was an auspicious one, it was decided that Rama would be coronated to the throne the next day itself!

Ayodhya swung into action and preparations were afoot to get ready for the ceremony! The people of Ayodhya were eagerly waiting to see their beloved Rama as their king and waiting for the “Rama Rajya” to commence! King Dasharata was overwhelmed with joy beyond words and asks the people of Ayodhya as to what did they see in Rama, that they want him to take over so quickly! The people describe Rama’s external and internal beauty and thus declare that if at all someone should rule Ayodhya, it should be Rama only! In the last episode we saw the beautiful description of Rama’s external beauty with the help of Thiyagaraja Swami’s famous composition, “Saamaja Vara Gamana!” Today we shall witness the internal beauty of Lord Rama. Valmiki Maharishi gives a beautiful description as follows:

“Vyasaneshu manushyaanaam brijam bhavathi dhukhithaha!

Utsaveshu cha sarveshu vitheva pari dushyathi!!

Sathyavaari maheshvaasaha vriddhasevi jithendriyaha!

Smitha poorva bhaasheecha dharmam sarvaathmanaa shruthaha!!”

Thus the people of Ayodhya narrate: “Oh Dasharata! All of us know our Rama very well! He doesn’t even know anything other than speaking the truth! He is straightforward and transparent in his approach towards everything! In every house of Ayodhya, for whatever auspicious event that takes place, it would be Rama to come and take part with all of us! Even before a father feels happy and smiles, Rama would smile! Similarly, if there is any sad happening at any house in Ayodhya, even before a mother sheds tears, Rama would shed tears and console the whole family! Oh Dasharata! For us, Rama is our son, our relative, our beloved friend, etc. more than just our king! Thus, Rama is a person who takes care of every family in Ayodhya as his own family! Thus, if there is ever a king for Ayodhya, it should only be Rama!”

Thus by hearing this from the people, King Dasharata was overwhelmed and he now consults his ministers and other great “Rishis” (Saints) in his courtroom! Everybody are overwhelmed with King Dasharata’s decision! Thus, the preparations begin and Ayodhya enters into the festive mood once more – For the third time now! It should be remembered that Ayodhya was in festive mood when Rama was born and when Rama’s marriage was announced!

Sage Vasishtaachaarya gets ready for the coronation ceremony to commence and first up, he asks Rama and Sita to have bath in the holy river of Sarayu and perform a very important duty, before proceeding towards the coronation ceremony! What was that most important duty? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! 🙂


Episode 94 – “Saamaja vara Gamanaa!!” – Ayodhya hails King Dasharata’s decision!!


In the previous episode we had commenced with the discussion on the “Ayodhya Kaanda” wherein we witnessed in the opening chapter that Bharata and Shathrugna leave for “Kekeya Desha” to spend some time with their uncle. Meanwhile, King Dasharata was in deep thought about the future of the Ayodhya Kingdom and thus he calls for the court session. He expressed his wish in the previous episode that he wants his eldest son Rama to be his formal successor and he be coroneted as early as possible. Sage Vasishtaachaarya was presiding the courtroom and he was listening carefully to the wish of King Dasharata.

Sage Vasishtaachaarya was both thoughtful and happy at the same time – Thoughtful because, being a “Brahma-Rishi” he was able to foresee a danger that is coming through with this decision, and happy because Rama was getting ready for a major responsibility! He thus conveys his consent and approval for King Dasharata’s wish. He says, “Oh Dasharata! We should have done this much before! However, it is only upon my instruction you had sent Rama along with Sage Vishwaamithra to the forest, and of course subsequently the marriage took place and now let us not delay further! Let’s proceed in making Rama succeed to the throne!”

Upon hearing this from his “Guru”, King Dasharata was spell bound with happiness! He thanks Sage Vasishtaachaarya for his approval.

Now, it is the time to appease the subjects of Ayodhya about this big decision. Accordingly, King Dasharata calls for a “Darbar(A public hearing) and he announces his decision of Rama’s succession! In the present day, we talk about “Democracy” but it is very interesting to note that the art of democracy was in practice even in those days!

“Praapthya varsha sahasraani bahuun yaayunshi dheevathaha!

Jeernasyaashcha shareerasya visraanthi abhirojaye!!”

He says to the people of Ayodhya, “Oh my dearest people! I’ve given my 100% into protecting the kingdom and ensuring your welfare for the past 60,000 years! Now I feel that I’m old and I should retire to the ‘Vaanaprastha Ashrama”. I do not know if I still have that valor in my body so as to wage and fight wars, as I’m getting physically weaker by the day! (Jeernasyaashcha shareerasya) I’m thinking of coronating my eldest son Rama to the throne as my official successor and as the next king of Ayodhya! I want your suggestions on this!”

Thus King Dasharata expresses his decision to the people of Ayodhya. Normally, what should have been the people’s reply? Atleast for a name sake they should have said “Oh Dasharata! You’ve done a fantastic job so far! We wish that you may continue for a few more years!” However, the people of Ayodhya did what was unexpected! They rose up in unison and replied, “Oh! Old man! Please retire immediately!”

King Dasharata was shocked for a moment! He asks his people again, “Oh my dear people! Why are you so angry on me? Have I caused trouble to all of you in all these years of my rule?” Upon which, the people reply back, “No King Dasharata! This is not the point here! We are all waiting to see Rama as our king! We are eagerly awaiting the ‘Rama-Raajya’! We are eagerly waiting to see our Rama as our king!”

King Dasharata is very happy upon hearing the response from his people. However, he wants to hear more about Rama from them! To hear something good about his son, any father will be interested! That too, if the common people are appreciating his son, what is stopping King Dasharata from hearing more from them? So he asks back, “Oh my dearest people! What do you find so much good in Rama that you want him urgently as the king? What are the features of Rama that you like the most?”

Upon which, the people reply,

“Icchaamohi mahaabaahum raghuveeram mahaabalam!

Gajena mahathaayaantham raamam chathraavruthaananam!!”

The people of Ayodhya describe Rama’s significance – Rama is not an ordinary child, but is an invincible and a divine force! He has infinite strength (Raghuveeram Mahaabalam!) We want to witness the beauty of Rama sitting on the elegant elephant (Gajena mahathaayaantham) and at this time, while Lakshmana fans the “Chaamaram” (A type of a hand fan) for Rama, we want to look at His glorious face in the middle of this. (Raamam chathraavruthaananam)!

The people of Ayodhya go on to describe about Rama’s unique appearance and features – They say that they are itching to see Rama walking towards them like a confident lion, with his broad shoulders and confident, yet handsome face! Saint Thiyagaraja sings the following famous and the beautiful composition at this context:

“Saamaja vara gamana – Saadhu hrut!

Saarasaabhja Paala Kaalaateeta Vikhyaata!!”

Saint Thiyagaraja describes the beauty of Lord Rama – He says, Lord Rama is a majestic person with the majestic gait (Gamana) of a huge elephant (Saamaja)! He is like the sun who causes the hearts of His “Bhakthaas” (devotees) to blossom like a lotus flower with love and devotion! (Hrut – Saarasaabhja) and thus his name and fame transcends the entire world and time! (Kaalaateeta Vikhyaata)!

Thus, the people of Ayodhya were extremely happy with King Dasharata’s decision to coronate Rama to the throne! The entire city of Ayodhya goes into celebration mode once again! Let Ayodhya be in the celebration mood for today! We shall wait till the next episode to find out what happened subsequently! 🙂