KING DASARATHA’S DECISION TO CROWN RAMA THE KING
The wedding ceremonies and the union of the four sons of Dasaratha with the daughters of King Janaka and that of his brother were completed amidst great joy.
The Sons of Dasaratha returned with their brides to Ayodhya.
The cup of happiness seemed to be full.
One day King Dasaratha noticed that he had gray hair and that the crown on his head did not fit well. He decided that it was time for him to crown his worthy son Rama king and successor to the throne.
King Dasaratha shows us that however capable one is, one must know when to make a graceful exit. He did not wait for anyone else to tell him that he was getting on in years and as such was not capable of ruling the kingdom ably.
He called his Queens and Ministers and decided to have Sri Rama crowned King. All the Queens agreed that it was the best news they had heard in years and as such they enthusiastically plunged themselves into the arrangements for the happy occasion.
Manthara was the special maidservant of Queen Kaikeyi. The following episode shows us what harm bad company can do to one.
Queen Kaikeyi loved Rama as dearly as she did her own son. To Manthara as a servant it should have made no difference whether Bharata was to be made king or Rama. After all she was going to remain a servant.
However a bad companion enjoys taking their mate on the wrong track whether he receives any benefit or not.
Manthara started by informing Kaikeyi that Rama was to be crowned king the next day. When that had no effect, as Kaikeyi was aware of the fact, and happy for it, Manthara added a lie. She said that preparations had started in the Kingdom long before Kaikeyi had been informed. The seed of doubt had been implanted.
When one is confused and one’s security is threatened, one makes even a bad companion one’s Guru and guide and unfortunately that is what Kaikeyi did. Manthara convinced Kaikeyi that if Kaikeyi were not to make her own son Bharata king, the position that Kaikeyi had acquired in the kingdom would be reduced to naught.
But how was Kaikeyi to achieve her ends? Manthara reminded Kaikeyi of the two boons that Dasaratha owed her, when Kaikeyi had saved his life.
Hence Kaikeyi asked Dasaratha to install Bharata as the King, and banish Rama from the Kingdom for 14 years.
According to Hindu scriptures, bad company is instrumental for most major catastrophes of human origin.
The nature of fire is to burn and to give out heat. If one goes close to it, however strong one may be, one cannot help but feel the heat too.