“Being under the control of passion and lust, Rama’s father, Maharaja Dasharatha, wanted to fulfill Kaikeyi’s cherished desire, thus he did not go through with Rama’s installation ceremony.” (Sita Devi speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 47.12)
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कामार्तस्तु महातेजाः पिता दशरथस्स्वयम्।।
कैकेय्याः प्रियकामार्थं तं रामं नाभ्यषेचयत्।
kāmārtastu mahātejāḥ pitā daśarathassvayam।।
kaikeyyāḥ priyakāmārthaṃ taṃ rāmaṃ nābhyaṣecayat।
“How was He able to tolerate it? That’s what I’d like to know. I mean I am enraged at the moment seeing people in positions of power trying to steal a victory from a politician. They won fair and square; everyone knows it. The theft is taking place right in front of everyone’s eyes. Just unbelievable.
“It was worse with Shri Rama, I must say. Reading the Ramayana, I understand the spiritual component to it, that this is God’s avatara, an ideal man on earth, showing the way. But it was one injustice after another. What stopped Him from just destroying the entire world in retaliation?”
1. His kingdom
The eldest son of King Dasharatha was prepared to ascend the throne. Commence the abhisheka ceremony, which is something like the modern-day tradition of inauguration for a prominent leader. The father wanted it. The brothers were in agreement. The citizens overwhelmingly supported the decision.
It was also within the tradition of succession. One pious ruler in charge for a while, and then he passes on the responsibility to his eldest son. But this time things took a dark twist. Dasharatha was caught between two responsibilities. One as a leader of the people and two as a man of faith and honor.
He had previously offered two boons to his youngest wife, Queen Kaikeyi. Upon hearing of Rama’s imminent ascension to the throne, she decided to cash in. This was after a little deceitful persuasion from her servant, Manthara.
The end result was that Rama lost the kingdom. He would not become the new king. He also had to leave and not return for fourteen years. No taking His army with Him. Live in the forest like an ascetic, with the appropriate garb.
2. His father
Rama left without issue. No anger. No resentment. Better to have the father remain true to his word, to give proper confidence to the people in the legitimacy of their government. As the Supreme Lord, Rama possesses vairagya to the fullest extent. He is always renounced; no matter the situation.
That resolve was tested when Dasharatha departed for the heavenly world. He could not bear the separation from his most beloved son. The king died the most glorious death through a perfect consciousness of the Supreme Lord.
3. His wife
The stipulation was only for Rama to leave the kingdom, but His wife Sita Devi insisted on accompanying. She refused to live in royal luxury while her husband suffered. She followed like a shadow, giving the ideal example of devotion to both God and husband.
Unfortunately, this presented a risk in the exile period. Rama had to defend against enemy attack. Sita was so beautiful that a rival king was prone to stealing her away. That is exactly what ended up happening. Through a ruse set up by Ravana of Lanka, with the help of his servant Maricha, Rama was left without the association of Sita.
4. His army
When Rama left the kingdom, He gave up rights to use of the army. You leave one company for another and you certainly can’t expect to use the previous company’s car anymore. This is the forest, and Rama only had His bow and arrow set.
This caused a problem in the subsequent search for Sita. How would He find her? Through the heroic efforts of Hanuman and the Vanaras of Kishkindha, she was eventually located. But how would Rama win her back? He required a fighting force capable of defeating vile, man-eating ogres.
5. His wife’s reputation
Sugriva, Hanuman, Jambavan, and other leaders of the Vanara army helped Rama to march to Lanka and eventually defeat Ravana. The Supreme Lord reclaimed what is rightfully His, the goddess of fortune. Everyone happily returned to Ayodhya, where Rama officially became the new king. The wrong from fourteen years prior was corrected.
Yet even while ruling things were not perfect. A citizen in the kingdom cast doubt on Sita’s chastity. They offered criticism that Rama accepted a woman who had stayed in someone else’s home. Never mind that Sita was blameless. Never mind the test of fire she passed proving her chastity.
Yet we know from authority that despite these many tragedies, great souls like Shri Hanuman daily read from the Ramayana. They derive the most pleasure from that historical tale presented in beautiful Sanskrit poetry. Good eventually wins over evil, and the Supreme Lord can never be defeated, no matter how much the world takes from Him.
Since so much from Him taking,
A pitiable condition making.
No longer the regal life,
And then without His wife.
No army commanding,
Alone in forest standing.
But good eventually to win,
All victory found in Him.
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