Dasaratha`s desire for a child

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Dasaratha`s desire for a child
Dasaratha`s desire for a child

Untold stories of the RAMAYANA

Chapter 1: Dasharathas desire for a child

Ramacandra appeared in the Iksvaku dynasty. He is known as IksvakuKuladhana. Kula means "dynasty" and dhana means "property" or"valuable jewel." So he is the jewel of the Iksvaku dynasty. Dasaratha was known as such because he could fight in ten directions simultaneously. Dasaratha was such a great fighter that sometimes India would summon him when there was a fight with the demons. So Dasaratha would go to the heavenly planets and fight with the demons. And these demons were so expert with Maya, they would create darkness, expand into various forms, etc. 

So Dasaratha wouldfight in ten directions, and when you looked at his ratha, hischariot, it would look as though there were ten kings and tenchariots fighting simultaneously. Dasa means "ten" and ratha means"chariot". That is how he got the name Dasaratha. So Dasaratha was famous for fighting for demigods and righteous kings. And hemarried Kausalya. From Kausalya, only one daughter was born. She was named Shanti, or "peace." But Dasaratha had no peace, because he only had one daughter, and that daughter would only get married and go to another dynasty. 

The Vedic system is that when a woman marries, she belongs to the husband's gotra or family line. So if Shanti married another dynasty, she would belong to it. What about the Iksvaku dynasty? Dasaratha was so worried. Then he married Sumitra. At least Kausalya had a daughter, but Sumitra had no child. Then Dasaratha was getting old. He gave up the idea of producing dynasties. As he was getting older he saw that some less-powerful kings were doing small yajnas, so he did big yajnas. They were trying to get their name known because once Dasaratha diedKosala would be broken. 

The kingdom of Kosala started all the way from what they now call the Dalai lama's line. From up in thenorth, in Tibet, all the way down to the river Godavari in AndhraPradesh. So this was Kosala, practically it was the whole of India,not the democratic India but the Vedic India. So he was very worried that this kingdom will be broken to pieces and some small-timers will become emperors. Then Vasistha advised him to go to Kaikeya. This kingdom was right on the border of Afghanistan. They now call it the Sind region. Kaikeyi was the only daughter of the king of Kaikeya.The king's name was also Kaikeya. And when Dasaratha came for marriage negotiation, Kaikeya told him, "You have two queens, and they both have no children. Now you will marry my daughter, but what will happen to her if the other wives have children?" Dasarathareplied, "I don't think they will have children because they have had none up to now. I am also getting old. They're not going to get any child. Only Kaikeyi will get a child." So Kaikeya said, "That's all right, but you must give this in writing." There is a system in the Kshatriya marriage known as kanya-sulka. Sulka means "will". When you accept a virgin in marriage, you must give in writing what properties she will enjoy as your wife if you are a Kshatriya. Thisis kanya-sulka, the "will of dowry." So Dasaratha wrote kanya-sulka. He said, "Whoever is born to Kaikeyi will enjoy my kingdom, even ifmy other wives produce children later." This kanya-sulka was known to three people. Of course, now we all know it, but at that time only three people knew it. Vasistha knew it, Dasaratha knew it, and Kaikeya knew it. It was kept a secret because otherwise, they would blame Dasaratha, "What is this? He is giving the kingdom to a younger woman." So this kanya-sulka was kept secret. But at the time of the marriage, due to great attachment, Kaikeya told his daughter this secret, that whoever is your son will rule this kingdom. Kaikeyi kept this at heart. Once Vasistha advisedDasaratha to perform Ashvamedha-yajna. He was telling him, "If youperform asvamedha-yajna, then all the demigods will personally cometo accept the oblations." There are two kinds of offering oblationsto the yajna. One is that Agni will take the oblations and offer them to different destinations. Another is that the devas will personally come into the sacrificial arena. They will stand in thesky holding their hands open, and when you offer in their name inthe fire then the harvest will get up from the fire and go intotheir hands. And they will eat it right there in front of everyone,. 

These types of sacrifices are considered first-class because the devas have come in person. So Dasaratha should perform Ashvamedha, and all the devas will come. And then Dasaratha willtell them, "You have your kingdom only because of my fighting. Sowhy don't you continue my dynasty and give me blessings that I canget some son?" That was the plan. There was a big arrangement forasvamedha-yajna, and wherever Dasaratha's horse went, no-oneobjected. Asvamedha-yajna means that you have to select a horse with certain lakshanas or qualities. The ears have to be a certain way, the nose a certain way. There has to be a black part behind the tail. The hooves have to be a certain shape, 35 degrees bent. There is a whole description in karma-khanda. So you have to findout that horse, and after finding it you have to tie a golden leafon his head. There it will be written, "This horse belongs to KingDasaratha. He will perform ashvamedha-yajna, so everyone should donate liberally. And whoever stops this horse will have to meet the army of King Dasaratha." So this horse will go around the whole world, and if any king dares to stop the horse there will be one army which is following about 100 meters behind the horse. 

 They will have to meet that army. This army would consist of the best fighters in the army, all the generals, and if one can defeat that then more armies would be sent. In this way, the challenger would have to fight and prove that he is the emperor. So Ashvamedha-yajna was already started, and then when the yajna was going on, Sumantra (the minister of Dasaratha) came to Dasaratha and said, "I remember one incident when Sanat-kumara came to our assembly, when you were a prince." At that time Dasaratha was not married, and Sanat-kumarawas visiting Dasaratha's father, Aja. Sanat-kumara made some predictions. "Maharaja Dasaratha will become very famous throughout the three worlds, and he will perform a Putra-kamesti yajna, a sacrifice for getting a son. So in this sacrifice, theyajna-purusha, the personification of fire, will come there and givehim some sweet rice. And out of this sweet rice, Dasaratha will get the Supreme Lord as his sons." This was predicted by Sanat-kumara. At that time Dasaratha was just an unmarried prince, a brahmachari. So Sumantra was a very old man and he suddenly remembered this. He came to Dasaratha and said, "You are doing Ashvamedha for getting a son, but Sanat-kumara told you that you should do putra-kamesti." Sothen there was confusion over which yajna should be performed. InTreta-yuga everything was yajna. For material benefits, for spiritual realization, for anything tretayam yajato makhaih. Makhameans "yajna". Now Dasaratha got confused. So he went to Vasistha'shouse and prostrated himself before him. "Guru maharaja, we havespent 60% of the treasury, and now we come to know that this is not the proper yajna, that there is another yajna. How am I supposed to do this?" So then Vasistha said, "Oh yes, I remember too now.Sanat-kumara said this. It is not a very expensive yajna, but the purohit, the priest who performs the yajna must be a very special person. That is the difficulty. That person must have not seen a woman until the time of his marriage. He should not have even known what a woman is. Such a great personality must perform the yajna. 
  Then only can the putra-kamesti be performed with the purnahoti andwe will get a son." Then Dasaratha said, "You must tell me wherethis person is." Vasistha was a walking encyclopedia because he hadbeen there three lifetimes with the same remembrance. There isno-one in this world who knows better than Vasistha. So Vasisthasaid, "Yes, there is a person like that." Das aratha said, "Who isthis person? He has never seen a woman or known what a woman is until marriage? At least he must have known about his mother! Whatkind of a person is he, that he has never heard of a woman yet he hastaken birth?" (full-width)

Posted by Iswara Puri das  

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