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Epic Power

Birth of the saviour

In part three of this retelling, the story takes us to the beautiful and virtuous city of Ayodhya, seat of power of the great king Dasharatha and explores the story behind the birth of Lord Rama

Valmiki composed twenty-four thousand stanzas (popularly known as shlokas) and taught them to Lava and Kusha, the sons of Rama and Sita. They both sing the ballad among the groupings of sages and saints and won many laurels. Rama on hearing that the boys are singing on the streets of Ayodhya brought them to his palace and summoned all his brothers and ministers to listen to the ballad. Rama himself was astonished as the ballad sung by these youngsters narrates the legend of Sita.

The story of Raghu Rama who incarnated in human form on the earth itself is Ramayana. Spread over the entire universe, the Sri Ramayana is an accomplished one to make everyone holy and pious. Reading Ramayana is nothing but serving Sri Rama himself. Reading Ramayana ensures wiping out of all sins, provides virtue to those who desire to be virtuous, provides funds to those who have the ambition to accumulate wealth and provides lust to those who have the desire for lust. Valmiki started telling the story of Rama right from his birth till his holy demise as he was empowered to do so by Lord Brahma.

Ayodhya

In the Kosala country adjoining River Sarayu where all the people lived happily, there was a glorious city with well-devised royal highways called Ayodhya. The city was surrounded with gateways and archways. This greater Ayodhya with its natural beauty in all aspects overtook the famous Lakhimpur. The city could be compared to the heavenly capital of Amaravati. As God manifested there in the form of a human being, the city came to be known as Ayodhya. Wherever there is Mahavishnu, that itself is paradise and in his service, there is nirvana. Ayodhya was ruled by king Dasharatha who belonged to the Ikshvakas dynasty and was supposed to be greatest of his bloodline.

Ayodhya was home to the Vedic scholars who always worship ritual fire. The Brahmins of Ayodhya were known for their charity and they used to donate all their wealth as and when anybody asked for it. None there had any necessity to beg or borrow from anyone. Reciting of the sacred theology, the Vedas was their everlasting routine.

The Kshatriyas, evincing keen interest in the teachings of Brahmins were leading their lives and turned towards the Brahmins, the scholarly class, for intellectual and religious support. The trading class, Vaishyas were supportive of the king and helped in improving the state's economy. The Sudras, the working class, while performing its own duties, was always working for the other castes.

The city of Ayodhya was well protected by the king. The ministers of king Dasharatha were intelligent, religious, virtuous, believers of justice who were capable fighters, most valorous and noble. They made the rulership meaningful with their virtuous, skillful and efficient administration. Accompanied by such effectual and good-natured ministers, the illustrious king Dasharatha ruled the earth.

In fact, without any distinction, everyone who lived in Ayodhya was good in every aspect. In the glorious city of Ayodhya, all are exuberant and virtuous, scholars are learned, people are satisfied with their own riches and they advocate for truthfulness alone.

Dasharatha plans to perform Ashvamedha Yagam in pursuit of children

King Dasharatha had three wives, namely Kousalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. They were daughters of the king of Kosala, king of Magadha and king of Kekaya respectively. Despite having enormous wealth and everything at their doorstep, Dasharatha and his three wives were not begotten with children. The various rituals appeasing the gods that they performed did not help in this regard. One day, he told his ministers that he intended to perform an elaborate Vedic ritual, Ashvamedha Yagam, the horse sacrifice, as enshrined in the scriptures to beget children. He also elicited their opinion with a request to show him a way out to get children.

Brahman scholars along with Sage Vasishta and all other important personalities in their turn blessed and honoured king Dasharatha. Saying that any activity that would be undertaken by a great, honest and candid person like him would be successful, the ministers assured king Dasharatha that they would stand by him.

At this point of time, minister Sumantra told king Dasharatha that he would give an idea to him to have children. He advised Dasharatha to invite Sage Rushyasrung to fulfil his desire of having children.

Sumantra detailed the importance of Sage Rushyasrung and beseeched the king to invite the sage to preside over the planned Vedic ritual, for that Sage's entry into any kingdom is auspicious for that land and people.

Dasharatha invites Rushyasrung

Dasharatha, on hearing the advice given by his minister Sumantra, in turn briefed his royal teacher and Chief Priest Vasishta about it. Vasishta told him that all that Sumantra uttered was true and suggested Dasharatha heed to his advice. Dasharatha went to Rushyasrung and requested him to come to Ayodhya and after his acceptance to come along with his wife Shanta, Dasharatha made all the necessary arrangements for the ritual.

Dasharatha entered Ayodhya along with Rushyasrung

The citizens of Ayodhya, on knowing of the arrival of their king Dasharatha along with the Sage Rushyasrung, became jubilant and in accordance with the commands of the king, decorated the city gorgeously. On reaching his inner palace chambers, Dasharatha worshipped Rushyasrung and made him comfortable.

He was also very happy as his devotions were now becoming a reality and he would soon have his own children. For the excellent treatment he had received, Sage Rushyasrung also felt immensely pleased and filled with gratitude to his host.

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