“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)
कामार्तस्तु महातेजाः पिता दशरथस्स्वयम्।।
कैकेय्याः प्रियकामार्थं तं रामं नाभ्यषेचयत्।
kāmārtastu mahātejāḥ pitā daśarathassvayam।।
kaikeyyāḥ priyakāmārthaṃ taṃ rāmaṃ nābhyaṣecayat।
Friend1: One thing I’ve noticed is that people get really upset when they feel they are cheated out of something.
Friend2: Please elaborate.
Friend1: Let’s use an example that is easy to understand. Say that you are on line to purchase something.
Friend2: The checkout line at a supermarket.
Friend1: Sure. There is an impending snowstorm. Several feet set to drop. The store is more crowded than usual.
Friend2: Oh yeah, that always sends people into a panic. The news stations love when a severe weather event occurs. They can warn people to stay home. They can send reporters out into the field, to make it look like they are brave and sacrificing in order to get vital information to the people.
Friend1: You are on this line, growing impatient by the minute. Then someone comes along and cuts. They head straight to the front, hoping to checkout and leave the store.
Friend2: That happens every now and then.
Friend1: The common reaction is outrage. The people get very upset.
Friend2: They will yell at the person trying to cut. “Back of the line, pal.”
Friend1: Line-cutting is on a lower scale, but then you have someone stealing money from investors. You could have a politician blatantly cheating to win an election.
Friend2: Stopping the vote-count in the middle of the night. Lying about how many ballots there are remaining. Bringing in more votes from the backdoor, through suitcases. Sometimes this occurs within plain sight, as if daring the other side to raise a challenge.
Friend1: People become outraged; at least those who are aware of the theft. This brings me to the situation in Ayodhya. You have Queen Kaikeyi essentially stealing the throne.
Friend2: Provide the backstory.
Friend1: King Dasharatha is the leader in Ayodhya. Another in a long line of pious rulers dating back to King Ikshvaku. Dasharatha is ready to pass on the throne to Rama, who is the eldest son. Everyone agrees with the decision. It aligns with standard protocol, as well.
Friend2: Rama is the son Dasharatha longed for. That great leader was worthy of receiving an avatara of the Supreme Lord as a son. Rama is a complete incarnation of Vishnu, while the other three brothers are partial incarnations.
Friend1: One of those brothers was born to Queen Kaikeyi. She inserted emotion and past history into the situation. A new development, she asked that Bharata, her son, be made the next king instead. She also demanded that Rama be forced to leave the kingdom and not return for fourteen years.
Friend2: Kaikeyi had always been favorable. Only at this moment did she turn, after instigated by the devious servant named Manthara.
Friend1: Whatever the cause-and-effect, the damage was done. She stole the kingdom from Rama. She gave it to Bharata, who did not want it. The forced separation from Rama was too much to bear for the king; he left his body soon thereafter.
Friend2: A tragedy in one sense, a celebrated passing in another.
Friend1: I am just wondering how Kaikeyi survived. She implemented one of the greatest steals of all time. How did the people let her live? How did she remain in the kingdom?
Friend2: It is said that Bharata never spoke to her again. Shri Rama held no resentment or grudge. The people followed Rama’s lead. They would not do anything impious.
Friend1: Okay, but come on! You can’t let someone get away with that.
Friend2: Technically, there were no rules violated. She simply cashed in on boons previously promised to her. If anyone was to blame, it was Dasharatha. That is how Sita Devi viewed the situation. As Rama’s beloved wife, she did not take too kindly to the unfair treatment of her husband.
Friend1: People didn’t curse the king, then?
Friend2: If Rama left without issue, without holding a grudge, then there really isn’t anything more to do. This is the way saintly people are. They tend to side with lawful and legal action. Arjuna had every right to take over the kingdom by force, to not give any respect to Duryodhana. But he instead waited for a fair fight, to settle the dispute in the proper way.
Friend1: But don’t the good people get taken advantage of in this scenario? Why play by the rules when others don’t?
Friend2: Because we are not the doer. The Supreme Lord coordinates everything. Every wrong is eventually made right. We may not see the result manifest in our lifetime, but the truth cannot be denied. Everywhere are His eyes, as the Supersoul is not absent from a single space.
How Kaikeyi allowed to stay,
When behaving reprehensible way?
That Rama out of kingdom kicking,
After servant Manthara tricking.
Because peaceful was the transition,
Patiently awaited transfer edition.
That Sita’s beloved husband steady,
So citizens reluctant until ready.