“Put on soiled clothes, keep your hair dishevelled, and lie forlorn on
the floor in the anger room” said Manthara. Her sly smile gave away
her malicious intention. “The emperor loves you madly and he wouldn’t
tolerate seeing your distressed condition. He would offer anything to
placate your wounded heart. Don’t be tempted by the gold, riches, and
other distractions that he’d surely lure you with. Stay focussed on
the goal and ask only for Rama’s banishment, and Bharat’s appointment
as the prince regent.”
Kaikeyi surrendered to Manthara’s evil ploy and rushed to the Kopa
bhavan- the room of wrath.
The pastime reveals the danger of accepting shelter of people with
malevolent purpose. Kaikeyi could have clarified with the king about
the reason why he sent away Bharat and why is he appointing Rama in
haste. If she didn’t trust her husband, there were elders in the
kingdom like the head priest Vashistha and the sagacious minister
Sumantara. A lot of trouble could have been avoided if she had taken a
second opinion. However, blinded by Manthara’s ill advice, Kaikeyi
played havoc in the palace that eventually led to Rama’s banishment.
Moreover, emperor Dasharath’s painful death in separation of Rama, and
total rejection of the crown by her own son Bharat, sobered Kaikeyi.
In fact, Bharat rejected his own mother and even said that had she not
been his mother or in a woman’s body, he would killed her for her
unpardonable crime! The person for whom she destroyed the peace of
Ayodhya, himself rejected her and her terrible plans. The irony and
the gravity of her folly haunted her day and night. Kaikeyi spent
every moment of her next fourteen years in deep regret and shame.
Meanwhile, the innocent Dasaratha excitedly rushed to his favourite
queen’s palace. Valmiki muni repeatedly describes the scene in
Ayodhya. It’s amazing how even ordinary citizens in Ayodhya wore
golden crowns and diamond earrings- a far cry from modern times when
people have helmets on their heads and ear phones tucked on their
ears, as they drive their two wheelers on a polluted traffic!
Overwhelmed with a desire to enjoy Kaikeyi’s company, Dasaratha
hurried, but to his dismay, she wasn’t on her favourite couch. He
enquired from the other servants and soon learnt about her anger. This
doubled his anxiety and he quickly ran to Kaikeyi, only to find her in
a wretched and pitiful, sobbing condition.
“Oh my dear wife, what calamity has struck at this hour?” asked the
concerned king and began cajoling her with sweet words and offers of
gifts and love.
To be continued…