Stories of Ramayana

Dasaratha`s 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
directionssimultaneously. Dasaratha was such a great
fighter that sometimesIndra would summon for him
when there was a fight with the demons.So Dasaratha
would go to the heavenly planets and fight with
thedemons. And these demons were so expert with
maya, they wouldcreate 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 wasfamous for fighting for
demigods and righteous kings. And hemarried
Kausalya. From Kausalya, only one daughter was
born. Shewas named Shanti, or “peace.” But
Dasaratha had no peace, becausehe only had one
daughter, and that daughter would only get
marriedand go to another dynasty. The Vedic system
is that when a womanmarries, she belongs to the
husband’s gotra or family line. So ifShanti married to
another dynasty, she would belong to it. Whatabout the
Iksvaku dynasty? Dasaratha was so worried. Then
hemarried Sumitra. At least Kausalya had a daughter,
but Sumitra hadno child. Then Dasaratha was getting
old. He gave up the idea ofproducing dynasties. As he
was getting older he saw that some lesspowerful kings
were doing small yajnas, so he did big yajnas.
Theywere trying to get their name known, because
once Dasaratha diedKosala would be broken. The
kingdom of Kosala started all the wayfrom 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 worriedthat this kingdom
will be broken to pieces and some small-timers
willbecome emperors. Then Vasistha advised him to go
to Kaikeya. Thiskingdom was right on the border of
Afghanistan. They now call it theSind region. Kaikeyi
was the only daughter of the king of Kaikeya.The
king’s name was also Kaikeya. And when Dasaratha
came formarriage negotiation, Kaikeya told him, “You
have two queens, andthey both have no children. Now
you will marry my daughter, but whatwill happen to
her if the other wives have children?” Dasarathareplied,
“I don’t think they will have children because they
have hadnone up to now. I am also getting old.
They’re not going to get anychild. Only Kaikeyi will get
a child.” So Kaikeya said, “That’s allright, but you
must give this in writing.” There is a system in
theksatriya marriage known as kanya-sulka. Sulka
means “will”. Whenyou accept a virgin in marriage,
you must give in writing whatproperties she will enjoy
as your wife if you are a ksatriya. 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 knownto three people. Of
course, now we all know it, but at that timeonly three
people knew it. Vasistha knew it, Dasaratha knew it,
andKaikeya knew it. It was kept a secret, because
otherwise they wouldblame Dasaratha, “What is this?
He is giving the kingdom to ayounger woman.” So this
kanya-sulka was kept secret. But at thetime of the
marriage, due to great attachment, Kaikeya told
hisdaughter this secret, that whoever is your son will
rule thiskingdom. Kaikeyi kept this at heart. Once
Vasistha advisedDasaratha to perform asvamedha-
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 itto the different destinations.
Another is that the devas willpersonally come in 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
ofeveryone,. These types of sacrifices are considered
first-class,because the devas have come in person. So
Dasaratha should performasvamedha, 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 horsewith certain lakshanas or qualities.
The ears have to be a certainway, the nose a certain
way. There has to be a black part behindthe 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 asvamedha-yajna, so everyone
shoulddonate liberally. And whoever stops this horse
will have to meetthe army of King Dasaratha.” So this
horse will go around the wholeworld, and if any king
dares to stop the horse there will be onearmy which is
following about 100 metres behind the horse. Theywill
have to meet that army. This army would consist of
the bestfighters in the army, all the generals, and if
one can defeat thatthen more army would be sent. In
this way the challenger would haveto fight and prove
that he is the emperor. So asvamedha-yajna
wasalready started, and then when the yajna was
going on, Sumantra (theminister of Dasaratha) came to
Dasaratha and said, “I remember oneincident when
Sanat-kumara came to our assembly, when you were
aprince.” At that time Dasaratha was not married, and
Sanat-kumarawas visiting Dasaratha’s father, Aja.
Sanat-kumara made somepredictions. “Maharaja
Dasaratha will become very famous throughoutthe
three worlds, and he will perform a putra-kamesti
yajna, asacrifice 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 getthe Supreme Lord as his
sons.” This was predicted by Sanat-kumara.At that
time Dasaratha was just an unmarried prince, a
brahmacari.So Sumantra was a very old man and he
suddenly remembered this. Hecame to Dasaratha and
said, “You are doing asvamedha for getting ason, 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, forspiritual 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 notthe proper
yajna, that there is another yajna. How am I supposed
todo this?” So then Vasistha said, “Oh yes, I
remember too now.Sanat-kumara said this. It is not a
very expensive yajna, but thepurohit, the priest who
performs the yajna must be a very specialperson. That
is the difficulty. That person must have not seen
awoman until the time of his marriage. He should not
have even knownwhat 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 isuntil 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?”

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