Rāmāyana | Bala Kaṇḍa | Chapter 18

Sargam [Chapter]: 18
Daśaratha's Sons Birth and Education

[Daśaratha bids farewell to all the guests including Riṣyaśriṇga. Rāma was born to Kausalya, Bhārata to Kaikeyi and Lakshmana and Śatrughna to Sumitrā. They are well educated in all Vedas as well as warfare. One day when Daśaratha was talking about the marriage of his sons, Sage Viśvāmitra comes to Ayodhyā. The King promises that he would fulfil any requirement of sage Viśvāmitra.]

When the great King Daśaratha completed his horse sacrifice, devas received their share and returned to their places. 18.1

After completing the rules of penance of the yajña, along with his queens, King Daśaratha returned to Ayodhyā along with his servants, army and chariots. 18.2

The other very pleased kings, honoured fittingly by King Daśaratha, after saluting the great sage Vaṣiṣṭha returned to their own countries. 18.3

After those blessed kings left to their own places, the armies of the kings, the dignified army of Daśaratha shined. 18.4

When the kings have departed, the great Daśaratha, preceded by the greatest among Brahmins, entered his city. 18.5

After that, Riṣyaśriṇga, who was duly honoured, along with Santha his wife, accompanied the great King Romapāda, left to his country. 18.6

After sending back all his guests, the King with a balanced mind started thinking about begetting sons and living happily. 18.7

Six seasons were over after the fire sacrifice and in the twelfth month which was Chitrā, on the Navamī day [ninth phase of rising moon], on the star belonging to Āditi Devatā [Punarvasu] when five of the nine planets were in exalted position, in the Karkitaka Lagna, when planet Guru was with moon, Kausalya gave birth to the Lord of Universe, who was blessed with all good signs and who was a part of Lord Vishnu and he was received by all the world and was there to perpetuate the Ikshvāku clan. 18.8-18.10

With a son of immeasurable lustre Kausalya glowed with lustre like Āditi, who had earlier become mother to Lord Indra, who wielded the Vajra. 18.11

Really valorous Bhārata was born to Kaikeyi, who was one fourth part of all virtues of Lord Vishnu. 18.12

Sumitrā gave birth to Lakshmana and Śatrughna, who were skilled in use of all weapons and having some facets of Lord Vishnu. 18.13

The treasure of graciousness Bhārata was born in the Meena Lagna and in Puṣyā [poosa] Nakṣatra. On the following day Lakshmana and Śatrughna were born in Karkaraka Lagna in Aśleṣā [Aayilyam] star. 18.14

Endowed with all good qualities, worthy and bright resembling the Pūrva Bhadra [Poororathi] and Uthara Bhadra [Uthrattathi] stars, four sons were born to the great king. 18.15

At that time Gandharvas sang melodiously, groups of Apsarās danced in great joy, sound of celestial drums were heard from the sky and there was rain of flowers from the sky. In Ayodhyā, there was a great tumult among men and festivities took place. 18.16-18.17

The highways, which was crowded by men, was thronged by actors and dancers. Vocalists and musicians singing on instruments raised great and loud music. 18.18

The King distributed gifts to the bards, eulogists and genealogists and gave Brahmins charities in thousands. 18.19

After eleven days were completed, the eldest illustrious son was given the name Rāma, the son of Kaikeyi was given the name Bhārata, one son of Sumatra was called Lakshmana and the other son was called Śatrughna by Vaṣiṣṭha, who was greatly liked. 18.20-18.21

Brahmins and other citizens were offered meals and Brahmins were given heaps of unlimited and abundant jewels and other rituals normally done at birth were performed. 18.22

Among them, the eldest Rāma was like a torch to his father and gave him extreme pleasure, like the highly revered Brahma giving pleasure to all beings. 18.23

All the sons of Daśaratha were greatly heroic and gained great expertise in Vedas and all of them were interested in the welfare of the people and had great knowledge with great virtues. 18.24

Among all of them, Rāma was greatly lustrous, truly valorous and pure; looked like moon and was liked by the entire world. 18.25

It was acknowledged that he was an expert in riding on elephant, riding on the back of the horse, driving a chariot and was also a great archer. He was always devoted to his parents and served them. 18.26

Lakshmana was prosperous, from his childhood was attached to his elder brother Rāma, remained always friendly and was greatly liked by all people. 18.27

He was auspicious and did service to his brother; he offered even his body to him and he was like the soul of Rāma moving in another body. 18.28

Rāma, the greatest among men, did not get sleep without Lakshmana by his side and if presented with good food, will not eat it, unless Lakshmana was by his side. 18.29

Whenever Rāma went for hunting in the forest on a horse back, Lakshmana followed behind him holding his bow and arrow. 18.30

Similarly Śatrughna, the younger brother of Lakshmana, became dearer than life to Bhārata and also liked him more than his soul. 18.31

Daśaratha was greatly pleased by his four sons like Brahma was pleased by devas. 18.32

They, who were enriched with knowledge having all good qualities, were modest and knew everything, were far sighted. Daśaratha, the King of the world, rejoiced for having these glorious sons and looked like Lord Brahma. 18.33-18.34

They, who were like tigers among men, were engaged in studies of Vedas, did service to their parents and were greatly proficient in archery. 18.35

The soul of Dharma, Daśaratha was discussing about their marriage along with his priests and relatives. 18.36

One day, when the illustrious and noble King was discussing about this with his counsellors, the mighty sage Viśvāmitra arrived there. 18.37

He, desirous of seeing the King, told the gate keepers, "Go and inform the King about the arrival of Viśvāmitra, son of Gādhi, born in the Kauśika clan." 18.38

Having heard those words all of them became excited, hastened to the king's apartment out of fear. 18.39

They, having reached the royal palace, informed the King Daśaratha, belonging to the Ikshvāku race, about the arrival of sage Viśvāmitra. 18.40

Having heard those words, King Daśaratha was greatly pleased and went to receive that Indra like Brahmin along with his ministers. 18.41

Then seeing the shining lustrous sage Viśvāmitra, who had fully completed his penances, with a cheerful frame of mind, made offerings to the sage with respect. 18.42

Having received the offerings, which were as per the scriptures, the sage enquired about the welfare of the kingdom and his own prosperity. 18.43

Viśvāmitra, who was a great follower of Dharma, then enquired about the king's treasury and the welfare of his subjects, relatives and friends. 18.44

Then he asked, "Are the tributary kings submissive to you? Whether all enemies have been conquered? And whether the rites needed for propitiating the gods and human beings are properly performed? 18.45

That great sage, Viśvāmitra, according to the protocol, approached sage Vaṣiṣṭha and other distinguished sages and enquired about their welfare. 18.46

All of them, with a joyful heart, entered the king's palace and were duly honoured by the king, each according to his merit. 18.47

Then the very generous Daśaratha, who was greatly pleased with the arrival of sage Viśvāmitra, after worshipping him, spoke. 18.48

"Oh great sage, your coming is like a man with a parched land getting nectar and a birth of son through his wife to one without children, recovery of lost wealth and a very great achievement to me. Welcome to you." 18.49-18.50

"Oh Viśvāmitra, the model of righteousness, what are the things that I should do to satisfy you? I consider your arrival as lucky to me. I consider today that my birth and life have become fruitful and I have accomplished all objectives of my life." 18.51-18.52

"Formerly you were called a royal sage and with your great austerities you have obtained the status of a Brahmin sage; in several ways you are worthy of my worship." 18.53

"Oh sage, your arrival has caused me wonderment; t has conferred great purity to me. By your coming, I have attained the effect of undertaking a pilgrimage." 18.54

"I desire that you tell me the purpose of your visit and I am be blessed to achieve the objects of your desire." 18.55

"You need not have any hesitation to tell me as to what you desire and since you are my God, I shall fulfil the same to you." 18.56

"Oh Brahmin, I have obtained great merit today. By your coming here, I have realized my Dharma." 18.57

Having heard what Daśaratha spoke in a very humble manner which was comfortable to the mind and which was very pleasant to the ears, the great and divine sage experienced great delight. 18.58

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