Valmiki Ramayanam Ayodhya Kanda (This Version) 1st sarga (contd)
Dasaratha was very pleased with Sri Rama’s competence and eligibility to be the king. In addition Sri Rama was his favorite. He had a great desire to see Rama, who was beneficial to the people like a rain cloud (पर्जन्य: इव), and who the people loved even more than himself, crowned as a king in his lifetime.
He thought “He is as valourous as Yama and Indra, as wise as Brihaspati (the great lord – Jupiter, the guru of the Devas), and as firm as the bearer of the earth (Mahidhara – Vishnu), and more virtuous than me. It will be heavenly to see him as a king in my lifetime. ” He discussed this matter with his ministers (saciva) and decided to make Rama the Crown-Prince. He also mentioned some evil omens in the sky which when combined with his old age, might be taken to mean that he had not long to live.
समानिनाय मेदिन्या: प्रधानान्पृथिवीपतीन्।
Kosala was a large kingdom consisting of many cities (nagaras) and rural areas (janapadas). So Dasaratha invited all the kings (Prthvipati), chieftans and residents of these areas and seperately and sounded them out on his choice of the crown prince. But he did not invite either kekeya raja (Asvapati) or mithiladhi pati (Janaka), with a view to letting them know later.
The well adorned Dasaratha looked like Prajapati recieving his subjects. All the kings sat facing Dasaratha, on the thrones assigned to them. There he shone like Indra surrounded by the Devas.
Valmiki Ramayanam Ayodhya Kanda (This Version) 2nd sarga.
Dasaratha addressed the assembly in a dignified voice as deep as a kettledrum (dundhubhi). He stated his intentions, reasons and decision with great clarity and requested the assembly for their feedback.
यद्यप्येषा मम प्रीतिर्हितमन्यद्विचिन्त्यताम्।
अन्या मध्यस्थचिन्ता हि विमर्दाभ्यधिकोदया।।2.2.16।।
It appears that a king seeking a consensus in this was was customary. No one was surprised.
The assembly of brahmins, kings, chieftans and people had a long discussion among themselves and were very much in favour of Sri Rama’s coronation as the crown prince.
Dasaratha wanted to make sure that they were not saying this to please him. So they explained in detail the virtues they saw in Sri Rama and why they felt that he would be an appropriate heir to the Ikshvakus.
(Much of what they said is the same in meaning as we have already discussed. Interesting new ideas are that Rama was an expert at music (gandharve), had fine eyebrows and that he had Copper Coloured Eyes (Tamraksha). This tells us that Valmiki was aware of Copper and that good eyebrows and copper coloured eyes were considered favourable features. Rama and Dasratha, as father and son are also compared favourably to Kasyapa and Marica).
They wound up their speech saying that on account of his virtues, Rama, was the choice of everyone from old women to the king of Devas.
It is also not very surprising that the people of Kosala would prefer Kausalya’s son, since she was their princess. There is a possibility that they would not have liked to be ruled by Bharata, the son of the princess of Kekeya. So while Kaikeyi was quite likely unaware of state-level compulsions, Dasaratha was well aware of them. He possibly kept his own relatives (Kaikeyi’s father) Asvapati and (Sita Devi‘s father) Janaka away from this discussion so that he could sense the pulse of the people. Maybe he knew quite well that Rama loved Bharata so much that he would support Bharata’s conquests with his wealth and army. See : Bharata, Takshasila, Puskalavata. Rama’s Purvajas the Ikshvakus were both united and expansionist and so never fought amongst themselves.
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