Rāmāyana | Ayodhyā Kaṇḍa | Chapter 24

24. Kauśalya's Permission to Rāma

[Kauśalya further tries to argue with Rāma, but Rāma tells her that her duty is with her husband. With a sorrowing mind Kauśalya permits Rāma to go to the forest.]

Kauśalya seeing The Rāma is bent upon obeying his father, told the following words with tear filled eyes, which are full of Dharma. 24.1

"How will darling of all Rāma who is a follower of Dharma who has never seen a sorrow, who is born to me and Daśaratha, live on grains collected from the ground." 24.2

"When his servants and maids are eating food and blessed with ample amount of food, how will he like an orphan live on fruits and roots?" 24.3

"Who would believe that the Virtuous and affectionate Rāma would be banished this way and hearing which who will not tremble." 24.4

"Oh Rāma, who is the joy of the world, if you are required to go to the forest, It would be said that destiny which rules everything in this world, is indeed very powerful." 24.5

"If you who were born out of my body disappear like the wind, I will certainly wail with sorrow which are my offerings to the fire and shed tears due to anguish which are my oblations in the fire of my worry and tears. Oh son, when your thought again and again returns to my mind, this intense sorrow would be produced. Such a fire of sorrow tires me out and burns me like the dead trees of a forest are burnt by fire." 24.6-24.8

"Which cow will not follow its dear calf wherever it goes and like that I will follow you wherever you go my son." 24.9

"As soon as his mother spoke out these words, the best among men heard them and he became extremely sad and spoke." 24.10

"After being deceived by Kaikeyi and after I go the forest, if you also come with the king will not live further." 24.11

"If a woman deserts her husband it is a very cruel act and so do not ever think of any such action." 24.12

"It is an eternal dharma that as long as the king, who is the son of Kākutstha clan lives. You should do him service." 24.13

The well-meaning Kauśalya who heard these words from Rāma, greatly pleased told "be it so." 24.14

Greatest among the upholders of Dharma, Rāma heard what his mother told and told his very sad mother as follows. 24.15

"It is the duty of you and me to obey the words of father, as he is to you, king, husband teacher and the greatest God who protects you." 24.16

"After spending my time in the great forest for fourteen years, I will return with joy and obey all your orders." 24.17

When her dear son told like this the eyes of Kauśalya were filled with tears and she who liked her son very much told. 24.18

"Oh Rāma, it is very difficult to live in the middle of co-wives, Oh son of Kākutstha clan, if you have decided to go to the forest, take me also along with you like a wild deer." 24.19

Seeing her crying this, Rāma told these words while he himself was crying "As long as woman lives, her husband is like a God to her and also her lord." 24.20

"To me and to you, the king is our great lord who can command us. How can we say that we are without any lord as long as that lord of the world lives?" 24.21

"Bhārata who is a great follower of Dharma also speaks sweetly and as he is attached to Dharma, he would be obedient to you." 24.22

"After I go away the king will be very sad due to my parting and at that time please put in efforts and be alert that he would not be stuck by even little grief." 24.23

"See to it the extreme grief does not affect the health of the king who is old and ensure always that you are with a composed mind." 24.24

"Though a lady is greatly virtuous, observes fast and also follows all rituals, if she does not follow her husband, she would go towards sinful existence." 24.25

"But a lady who serves her husband would go to the highest heavens, even though she does not salute the Gods nor does worship to them." 24.26

"It is the Dharma of the wife that she looks after her husband and keeps attention to his welfare and this has also been truth mentioned from ancient times and mentioned in the Vedas and declared in Śruti." 24.27

"Oh mother on my behalf do fire sacrifices and do worship of Gods with flowers and also worship Brahmins who do great penance on my behalf." 24.28

"Spending time this way, please wait for my arrival with love, taking food as per need and doing service to your husband." 24.29

"You will get all desires fulfilled when I come back, if the greatest among the followers of Dharma is able to live till that time." 24.30

When Rāma told like this with her eyes filled with tears, That Kauśalya who was distressed on account of what her son told him. 24.31

"I have not been able to dissuade from your firm resolution of going to the forest and it would be greatly difficult to spend that time." 24.32

"You may go with a concentrated mind, may the lord keep you safe always. I would only be relieved of my sufferings when you come back." 24.33

"Oh great one, after you become satisfied after accomplishing your objectives and fulfilled your undertaking given to father, and when you come back, I will get peace." 24.34

Oh son, your going away, disregarding my words, is what has been prompted by fate and cannot be understood by the world." 24.35

"Oh great warrior, you may go now and come back safely. Oh son, return later and make me happy with your sweet voice." 24.36

"Oh little son, how happy it would be, if it is the day of your return wearing matted locks and dress made of bark." 24.37

She after seeing him determined to live in the forest and that great lady after seeing him with an excellent mind and after talking to Rāma who had auspicious qualities, wanted to perform rituals to ensure prosperity of Rāma. 24.38

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