Valmiki Ramayana

Mother Kaikeyi objects

Indeed, Kaikeyi was convinved about the injustice being done to her son Bharat! She was angry and did not come out to greet her husband Dasharath. Therefore, the king himself went to her chamber and inquired about her well- being. In fact, the king loved queen Kaikeyi the most!

But today the words of Manthara had done their trick. Queen Kaikeyi reminded Dasharath about the two boons he had promised her years back. The king remembered and was in fact pleased to grant the boons on that auspicious day. And as the fate had it, Kaikeyi asked:

  1. Of the first boon, O my beloved husband, I ask that instead of Ram, Bharat be given the throne of Ayodhya, and,
  2. Of the second boon, I ask for the banishment of Ram to the forest for fourteen years.

The king was not prepared for such unusual demands. He tried to persuade the queen to ask for something else, but no. Kaikeyi was firm in her resolve. The king went for compromise in granting the throne to Bharat, but pleaded with his queen not to insist to send Ram to the forest. But still, no. Kaikeyi was firm on both the counts.

King Dasharath was heartbroken on listening to the resolve of Kaikeyi to send Ram to the forest for fourteen years. He could not imagine, even in dream, that his most beloved son Ram would be put to such an acid test. He knew that the separation from Ram would be the last thing his old and frail body could tolerate.

With a heavy heart, he pleaded with his wife, "O Kaikeyi, what has possessed your kind heart! Why has your love for Ram disappeared! Please say that you are speaking in jest, and that you are not serious about your two demands."
"Ask for anything else. Ask for many palaces and jewelry, ask for army of thousand of elephants and horses, ask for my life, but spare my Ram from the hardships of forest and banishment to the life of a recluse. I grant Bharat the throne of Ayodhya."

But, no. Kaikeyi was firm as a rock in her demands. Said she, "Come what may, you must keep your word of honour. If you fail, you will see my corpse at the sunrise next morning." She also reminded the King about the lofty tradition of keeping promises even at the cost of life in the Raghu dynasty.

The news reached the chamber of Ram and Sita, as also all around the palace, that something grossly inopportune has happened to the king, and that he is ill in the chamber of Kaikeyi. The prime minister - Sumant - was summoned by the king to fetch Ram to the chamber of Kaikeyi.

When Ram reached there he saw his father lying semiconscious on the floor full of grief and pathos. His eyes were filled with tears of desperation and sorrow. Ram pleaded with Kaikeyi to tell him what had happened to his father.

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