Rāmāyana | Ayodhyā Kaṇḍa | Chapter 18

18. Kaikeyī’s Demands

[Rāma finds Daśaratha sorrowful and upset. He did not speak to him. When he asked Kaikeyi about it, she tells about the background and informs about her demands. Rāma agrees to them.]

Rāma saw his father reclining on the auspicious seat with Kaikeyi and had a dry face and pathetic look. 18.1

He with a well composed mind, after first saluting the feet of father with great humility, he saluted his mother Kaikeyī’s feet. 18.2

Daśaratha with eyes full of tears said "Rāma" and the king was not able to look at him or say anything further. 18.3

Having seen very rarely this appearance of his father, Rāma was scared as if he has stamped a serpent. 18.4

The king with senses devoid of pleasure, emaciated because of sorrow and grief, with an agitated and upset mind was taking tortured breaths. He was like a ocean full of agitated and beating waves, like a sun caught in an eclipse, like a sage who has told a lie and was without lustre and Rāma was scared to see him like that. 18.5-18.6

After worried thinking about the reason for the sorrow of the king, Rāma became agitated like a ocean during the full moon. 18.7

Then that Rāma thought over about his father to whom he was devoted and thought, "Why is my father not replying to my greetings today like all other days." 18.8

"At other times on seeing me, my father even though angry used to get calmed down but today even after seeing me, why is it that he is sad?" 18.9

Depressed and extremely sad Rāma with a face of diminished lustre, after saluting Kaikeyi asked her. 18.10

"Without intention have I committed an offence? Why is my father angry with me? Please tell and show kindness to me." 18.11

"Why does he who is always with love to me, today dejected? Today he is with a pale face and depressed look. Why is he not speaking to me?" 18.12

"Is his mind or body sick? Does some great distress trouble him? Surely one cannot always have pleasures." 18.13

"Has some misfortune befallen on the lovely Bhārata or the very powerful Śatrughna or to any of my mothers? I hope not." 18.14

"If the great king is not happy with me for not obeying his words, I do not want to live even for a second." 18.15

"For a man, if his father, who is his root of origin and who is his God, exists, how else can he conduct himself?" 18.16

"Did you speak harsh words to him out of wounding of self-respect or due to anger, which has upset his mind?" 18.17

"Oh great lady, I am asking you repeatedly the reason for this negative emotion of the king, which has never happened. Please tell me the reason." 18.18

When the great Rāma asked like this to Kaikeyi, then she replied without shame and with evil intentions in mind. 18.19

"Oh Rāma, the king is not angry and he does not suffer from any sorrow but he is hesitating to talk to you some matter existing in his mind, due to his fear of you." 18.20

'He is not able to speak something which is not liked by you, due to his great love to you and so you should fulfill the promise that he has given to me." 18.21

"Earlier he had honoured me by giving two boons and now like a common man he is repenting for giving them to me." 18.22

"The king after saying, "I shall give you two boons", now desires to construct a dam, after the water has flown away." 18.23

"Oh Rāma, truth is the corner stone of Dharma and virtuous people agree to this and so you act so that the king does not sacrifice the truth due to anger." 18.24

I shall tell you everything, if you tell me that "I would obey what the king says, whether it is auspicious or inauspicious." 18.25

"If you promise me that whatever the king tells you, will not go in vain, I shall tell it to you as the king is not willing to tell it to you." 18.26

Hearing the words uttered by Kaikeyi Rāma was greatly depressed and he told the great lady in presence of the king. 18.27

"Oh great lady, what a pity, such words from you are not fit to be told, because on hearing the words of the king I would jump into the fire or even consume strong poison or get drowned in the ocean as he is my worshipful father who would desire only good to me." 18.28-18.29

"Because of that Oh great lady, please tell me in words the desire of the king. I, Rāma am promising and Rāma never repeats anything twice." 18.30

Kaikeyi with sincerity told Rāma, who is the votary of truth, these very cruel words which are not fit to be told by a lady. 18.31

"Oh Rāma, earlier in a great war between devas and asuras when your father was wounded I saved him and he promised me two boons." 18.32

"Using those two boons, I requested the king to perform the coronation of Bhārata and your departure to Daṇḍakāraṇya forest today itself." 18.33

"Oh best among men, if you and your father want to protect the oath, then please hear my words." 18.34

"As per the oath of your father, which you have heard, you enter the forest for fourteen years." 18.35

"Bhārata would be consecrated with the preparations made by the king for your coronation." 18.36

"You occupy the Daṇḍakāraṇya [punishing forest] for fourteen years after sacrificing your coronation and wearing matted hair and cloths of bark." 18.37

"Bhārata will stay in the capital of Kosala country [Ayodhyā] which is blessed with various types of gems and horses, chariots and elephants and rule this earth." 18.38

"For that reason the king greatly under the control of mercy has face showing sorrow and is not competent even to see you." 18.39

"Oh son of the Raghu clan, carry out these words of the king and see to it that you adhere to truth and liberate him." 18.40

After hearing these words which hurt, Rāma never felt any sorrow but the king was greatly pained to see the calamity which fell on his son.

This is the end of Eighteenth Sarga of Ayodhyā Kanda which occurs in Holy Rāmāyaṇa composed by Vālmīki as the First Epic.