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Ramayana Reflections – 3

Ramayana Reflections – 3

Kaikeyi felt happy on hearing the news about Rama and she handed
Manthara a priceless jewelled necklace as a gift.

“Last night the king told me that he is going to appoint my son as the
prince regent” said the exuberant Kaikeyi, “So why are you agitated?
These are happy moments!”

Manthara became furious and she threw away the necklace, and
admonished the queen. “Your son?” she asked sarcastically, “Are you
sure it’s Bharat that the king is going to appoint? You do not realize
that Ram will be made the king and Bharat will simply be the servant
of Rama.”

At this moment, Kaikeyi said these famous words: “I do not see any
difference between Rama and Bharat. Therefore I am happy that Rama is
being anointed for the crown by the king.” (2.7.35)

It’s pertinent to note that it’s the same Kaikeyi, who a few minutes
later, sees a huge difference between the two princes- Rama and
Bharat. One who saw both Rama and Bharat as same, soon realizes that
Rama is a threat to the wellbeing of her own son. What transpired in
this discussion? How did Manthara convince Kaikeyi that this was an
unjust move by the king? And more importantly it’s sobering to note
that bad association is destructively powerful!

Manthara began to laugh loudly. “I feel sorry for you, oh gentle
queen,” she said, “but can’t help laughing to see how childish you
are. My heart grieves in pain to see your plight, yet I laugh.”

Manthara’s laughter was intentional; she wanted to make Kaikeyi feel
like she is an idiot. When someone laughs at your gullibility, you
feel mocked and hurt. Also Manthara was out of her ‘window of
tolerance’; she couldn’t tolerate losing control of the situation. She
was livid and wanted to express her anger viciously. But for obvious
reasons, she couldn’t allow her disproportionate fury to get violent.
So she laughed- as a release, but to also indicate that she was
contriving a more creepy conspiracy.

Manthara then revealed to Kaikeyi that her mind was weak and
disturbed. “To feel happy at an enemy’s prosperity is like praising
the arrival of death” said the evil maid servant. “Don’t you realize
that Rama is afraid of Bharat because he has equal right over the
kingdom? And don’t you know that those who are afraid of us, only give
us pain and suffering?”

Just see the irony here! Manthara is afraid but thinks its Rama who is
fearful. And she is about to give pain and suffering to others’
because of her fears- so she is right in her analysis of fear!

To be continued…

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