“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।
“Here is something I have always wondered about. I guess you could say this is a flaw within human nature, but I tend to not look well upon someone who is arrogant. Especially if they are accomplished, if they are known for having done something extraordinary, it is pleasing to hear when they thank others.
“For instance, if someone is being honored for their performance in a specific dramatic presentation, they might give thanks to their cast members, their family, their spouse, their mentors, and so forth. It is both a reflection of honesty and proper etiquette. We all need some help. Not everyone will reach the same outcome given the identical input variables. Life is not necessarily a straightforward math equation.
“When we take this to the realm of spiritual life, we see many people who have accomplished extraordinary things. Maybe they have opened up temples of Vishnu-worship across the world. Perhaps they have many disciples who spread the glories of the holy name, singing the maha-mantra wherever they go: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
“Maybe the saint has authored a book which is widely read, even many years after their passing. What I am trying to say is that such people have legitimate justification for feeling proud. They are demonstrably superior to others in specific areas of achievement.
“How does such a person remain humble? How do the accolades not go to their head? How do they remain grounded, knowing that others approach them for wisdom, guidance, and assurance? If I were in a similar circumstance, I would have a hard time.”
One example we can study is Queen Kausalya, described in the Ramayana poem of Valmiki. By any objective estimation, she would have to be considered an exalted personality. She was blessed to give birth to the avatara of Vishnu known as Rama. This was the prince regent of Ayodhya, the long-awaited son of King Dasharatha.
Kausalya follows dharma, giving full support to her husband. She follows the duties assigned to her without question. She offers full love and attention to her son, though there are other queens in the kingdom. Rama has three younger brothers from those other queens.
As exalted as Kausalya is, she feels as if she is heartless. She makes this admission in the open, during a very difficult time. She has just learned that her beloved son is leaving her. Rama must swiftly exit Ayodhya and not return for fourteen years.
As Rama’s wife Sita Devi later described it, King Dasharatha wanted to fulfill the cherished desire of Queen Kaikeyi. This meant that her son, Bharata, would be the next king instead. Kaikeyi asked that Rama simultaneously live in exile, so as to not interfere with the new line of succession.
Kausalya considered herself heartless given the fact that she remained alive after hearing the news. In her mind, if she was actually devoted to Rama then she wouldn’t be able to survive the thought of separation. She would leave the world then and there, without hesitation.
There is no proper justification for blame. There is no mark against the queen, despite her thinking so. But the episode reveals the mentality of the saintly person. As great as others may take them to be, as high an estimation as can be established, the pure devotee always thinks that others are more loyal, that they are serving better, that there is a higher standard which can be reached. This exemplifies the timeless nature of bhakti, how it can provide ever-increasing happiness, in a linear movement of upward mobility in allegiance and dedication.
Possible increasing dedication,
View of others predication.
That serving in superior way,
Myself embarrassed to stay.
Like Kausalya over news grieving,
That Rama now kingdom leaving.
Wondering why not bursting the heart,
Upon thought of beloved son to depart.