Dasharatha

Dasharatha was a descendant of the Raghuvanshi-Ikshvaku-Suryavansha dynasty and the Maharaja of Koshala Kingdom as mentioned in the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. His capital was known as Ayodhya.

Dasharatha
King Regnant of Kosala Empire
King Dasharatha grieves inconsolably at his obligation to banish Rama to the forest.jpg
King Dasharatha grieves inconsolably at his obligation to banish Rama to the forest
Maharaja of Kosala
PredecessorAja
SuccessorRama
BornNemi.
Ayodhya, Kosala (present-day Uttar Pradesh, India)
DiedAyodhya, (present-day Uttar Pradesh, India)
Consort(s)Kausalya
Kaikeyi
Sumitra
DynastyRaghuvanshi-Ikshvaku-Suryavanshi
FatherAja
MotherIndumati

Dasharatha was the son of Aja and Indumati. He had three wives; Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra and out of the union born Rama (One of Vishnu's most popular incarnations), Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. King Dasharatha was incarnation of Dronavasu Brahmin, who received a boon from Lord Vishnu in his first life in Satya Yuga.

Early lifeEdit

Dasharatha was the son of King Aja of Ayodhya and Apsara Indumati of Heaven. His birth name was Nemi, but he acquired the name Dasharatha as his chariot could move in all ten directions, fly as well as come down on earth and he could fight with ease in all these directions.

Dasharatha became the King after his parents died. He was a great warrior who single-handedly conquered the whole earth with his prowess and defeated and slew many Asuras in war.

Dasharath had three queen consorts, namely, Kaushalya , She was Dasharatha's Chief Queen consort/ Patrani/Agramahishi/Pattapurani/Pattadevi/Pattamahishi or Mukhya Maharani of Kosala Empire, Sumitra and Kaikeyi, the latter two of them are other Queen consorts, but they are not Chief Queens. Kaushalya was from the Kingdom of Dakshina Koshala. Sumitra was from Kashi. Kaikeyi was from Kekeya Kingdom. Having an immense desire to beget a son, Dasharath promised Kaikeyi that the son she bore would succeed him as King of Ayodhya after she pleaded with him in the Kop Bhavan.

Boons To KaikeyiEdit

A maid of Queen Kaikeyi named Manthara convinced her that the throne of Maharaja Dasharatha belonged to her son Bharata and that her stepson—crown prince Rama (the hero of Ramayana)—should be exiled from the kingdom. The ugly maid also reminded her of the promise made to her by Dasharath when she saved him in the great war against the Asuras, that she was promised 2 boons and she could use them to make Bharata king.By crowning Rama as king, Dasharatha would be doing injustice to her as she wanted Bharata to be king.

Thus, after this conversation, Dasharatha is reminded by Kaikeyi about the two boons he has yet to fulfill for her. She talks of the time when she saved him from the demons during a celestial battle against Sambasura, an enemy of both Indra and Dasharatha. During a fierce battle between the two, the wheel of Dasharatha's chariot broke and Sambasura's arrow pierced the King's armor and lodged in his chest. Kaikeyi, who was acting as Dasharatha's charioteer, quickly repaired the broken wheel and then drove the chariot away from the battlefield. She nursed the wounded King back to health. Touched by her courage and timely service, Dasharatha offered her two boons. However, Kaikeyi chose to ask for those boons later. King Dasharatha is obliged to fulfill them. Kaikeyi demands that Bharata be crowned king and Rama be sent to the forest for fourteen years. Hearing this, Dasharatha falls into a swoon and passes the night in a pitiable condition in Kaikeyi's palace.[1]

Putrakameshthi Yajña to beget sonsEdit

 
Dasharatha give Payasa to his wives

Dasharath performed a yajña with the help of Sage Rishyasringa, an expert of Atharvaveda on the advice of Vasishtha.

The Yajña was the Putra-kameshti at the bank of Manorama river. Dasharath and Kaushalya had a daughter Shanta, who was Rishyashringa's wife. As the conclusion of the Yagna drew near, Agni sprang out from the Yagnakunda (sacrificial fire pit) and handed Dasharatha a pot of kheer (payasa), advising him to distribute it among his queens.[2]

Kaushalya ate half the kheer, Sumitra ate a quarter of the kheer. Kaikeyi ate some and passed the pot back to Sumitra who consumed the kheer for the second time.

 
Dasharatha with his four sons

Thus the queens conceived after the consumption of the kheer. Since Kaushalya had consumed the largest portion she gave birth to Rama. Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharata. Sumitra, who had consumed the kheer twice, gave birth to Lakshmana and Shatrughna.The part Sumitra took from Rani Kaushalya resulted in birth of Lakshmana,close to Rama. The part Sumitra took from Kaikeyi resulted in birth of Shatrughna, close to Bharata.

Killing of Shravan KumaraEdit

After Rama's departure to the forest, Dasharatha lies in his bed with a wailing Kaushalya. He suddenly remembers an incident which had occurred in the past. He narrates to Kaushalya about how, by accident, he had killed a young boy named Shravana mistaking him to be an elephant. Dasharatha who was then a crown prince had gone hunting on the banks of River Saryu. He was an expert in hunting by determining the direction of sound and heard the gurgle of an animal drinking water. Mistaking it to be water flowing through the trunk of an elephant, Dasharatha shot an arrow. He became mortified when he heard a human cry as the arrow found its target. Dasharatha hurried there to find a boy lying sprawled on the banks of the river with an arrow lodged in his chest. The boy forgives Dasharatha for his unintentional unrighteous act and demands that he pull the arrow out of his chest. He also tells him to take the pitcher of water to his blind parents who must be waiting for him. The boy dies. Dasharatha approaches the blind couple and tells them about their son's unfortunate death. The parents, grief-stricken curse the prince: "Just as we are dying due to the separation from our beloved son, you too shall have the same fate." Dasharatha concludes the chapter by saying that his end is near and the curse has taken effect.[citation needed] The place where Dasharatha killed Shravana is now known as Shravan Kshetra.[3][4]

 
Bharata fainted during his father Dasratha's cremation.

Portrayals Of Dashrath In Mass MediaEdit

Dasharath has been portrayed by several actors in different television adaptations of Ramayana:

Year TV Series Channel Country Played by
1987–1988 Ramayan (TV series) DD National India Bal Dhuri
1997-2000 Jai Hanuman (1997 TV series) DD Metro India Deep Dhillon
2000 Vishnu Puran Zee TV India Rishabh Shukla
2002 Ramayan (2002 TV series) Zee TV India Gajendra Chauhan
2008–2009 Ramayan (2008 TV series) NDTV Imagine India Pankaj Kalra
2012–2013 Ramayan (2012 TV series) Zee TV India Rishabh Shukla
2015–2016 Siya Ke Ram Star Plus India Dalip Tahil
2019–2020 Ram Siya Ke Luv Kush Colors TV India Ankur Nayyar

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Mani, Vettam (1975). Puranic Encyclopaedia: A Comprehensive Dictionary With Special Reference to the Epic and Puranic Literature. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 0-8426-0822-2.
  2. ^ "The birth of Lord Rama". www.telegraphindia.com.
  3. ^ "Lord Rama's father King Dasharatha was cursed by an old couple- Here's why". Zee News. 10 November 2016.
  4. ^ May 23, SUBHASH MISHRA; June 2, 2008 ISSUE DATE:; May 24, 2008UPDATED:; Ist, 2008 14:45. "An unfinished ancient tale". India Today.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)

External linksEdit