“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।
“Isn’t it insulting to describe Dasharatha’s interaction with Kaikeyi as ‘succumbing to passion and lust’? I understand that is the exact terminology used within the Sanskrit verse, spoken by Sita Devi one time, but perhaps the interpretation is not correct.
“We are talking about the equivalent of a four-star general here. A true war hero. A person relied upon by the demigods in their perennial battles with the asuras. Dasharatha earned his name by fighting against the ten directions simultaneously. Not just backwards and forwards. He could see up and down, as well.
“While tragic, the Kaikeyi affair facilitated Rama’s departure from Ayodhya. This set the wheels in motion for the plan of the demigods, who wanted the king of Lanka defeated. Shri Rama, the avatara of Vishnu, would not attack without justification. He followed dharma as closely as possible in order to set the proper example.
“I don’t see how people can blame Dasharatha for what went down. His offering of boons to Kaikeyi aligns with the saintly character. An intelligent person remembers good deeds done in their favor. They are grateful for outside assistance. Otherwise, they would be a miser; only taking and exploiting.”
The verse in question is Sita Devi recounting the brief history that led to her residence in the Dandaka forest. It is only understandable that she would not describe the incident in the best light, considering that she was part of the collateral damage.
Kaikeyi’s wish to banish Rama from the kingdom affected many people. Her own son, the supposed direct beneficiary, was mortified when he later learned what happened. Bharata decided to never speak to Kaikeyi again.
If things go wrong within a family, we sometimes witness sentiments such as the following:
“I hate that person. Seriously, they are the worst ever. What horrible luck I had to be stuck with them. It is a curse; not a blessing. No one is as unfortunate as me. I will never speak with that person again. They are the worst human being. I hope for only bad things to happen to them in the future.”
This does not necessarily mean that the person on the receiving end is bad or unjust. It also does not mean that the person speaking these words really believes everything they are saying. It is out of frustration, and sometimes the intensity of the language only indicates a greater level of appreciation and affection underneath the surface.
In the same way, Dasharatha actually passed through this world in the most glorious way. His mind fixed on his beloved son, he achieved an end envied by yogis and transcendentalists alike spanning generations. Dasharatha was not worried about the kingdom. He was not attached to the beautiful companions living in his midst. He was neither drunk with power nor obsessed with future succession.
It was only Rama, and in that way Kaikeyi’s desires actually helped the king to speed up the retirement process and move on to the next life. This is the ideal aim for every living entity, to be totally united with God, whether in close physical proximity or not.
Through queen’s wish delighted,
Entire time with Rama united.
Sadly departing though,
Glorious achievement so.
Since thought of Supreme in mind,
Highest destination to find.
So whether criticized or praised,
By his devotion raised.