UPAYUKTHA ENGLISH- Local to Global; Your own Digital Media Sri Rama Katha Article Series-66: King Dasharath, Queen Kaikeyi and the two boons

Sri Rama Katha Article Series-66: King Dasharath, Queen Kaikeyi and the two boons


 -Venkatesh R Vedanthi

Kaikeyi was one of the three wives of King Dasharatha and the Queen of Ayodhya, Also, mother of Bharata. She was the daughter of Ashwapat, King of Kaikeya, a long-term ally of Kosala.

Kaikeyi was raised by her nurse, Manthara. She married King Dasharath. Manthara accompanied Kaikeyi  to Ayodhya as a dependable maid upon her marriage to King Dasharath.

She persuaded Dasharath to take her with him in a war against Samhasura, an enemy of both Indra and Dasharath. During the battle between the two, the wheel of Dasharatha’s chariot broke and Samhasura’s arrow pierced the Dasharatha’s armour and lodged in his chest.

The courageous queen quickly repaired the broken wheel after which she drove the chariot from the battle field. She nursed the wounded King back to health. Dasharath offered her two boons because he was touched by her courage. However, the queen made a decision to ask for those boons later.

A long time passed and all three Queens gave birth to sons. Ram, the son of Kausalya, was Dasharath’s favourite son. When he turned 16, King Dasharath decided to  crown Rama as the King. Manthara was anxious that Kaikeyi would lose her status as Chief Queen at Court if Ram ascended the throne (making Kausalya the Queen Mother) and decided to instigate problems.

She fuelled her  jealousy and reminded Kaikeyi  that Rama’s coronation would allow Kausalya her former status as the most important of Dasharath’s Queens. Ultimately, Kaikeyi’s ardent desire to retain superior status over Kausalya motivated her to demand both boons granted to her by Dasharath.

By one boon she asked to anoint her son Bharata to the throne of Ayodhya and for second boon she asked for Ram’s exile from Ayodhya for 14 years. Dasharath with great reluctance, granted the boons to help keep his promise. Soon after sending Rama into exile, the grief-stricken Dasharatha died of a broken heart, six days after Rama left Ayodhya.

Moreover, Bharata swore not to ascend the throne since it was his older brother’s birth right. So, Kaikeyi’s desire never bore fruit. 

Moral of the story

We may learn following from the above incidence of Ramayana- 

1. The King Dasharath gave two boons (reward) to queen Kaikeyi for the good work done. But she requested king to permit her to  exercise the option at a later date. King Dasarath accepted Kaikeyi’s request to exercise the option at a later date in good faith. He never thought that she would misuse the same for wrong purposes. It would have been desirable that King Dasarath might have taken minimum precautions to ensure that the Kaikeyi would use the same for right purposes which is good for everybody. 

This is even more important if somebody has the right to exercise the boon at a  future date. In the future, the King may not have resources or not able to meet the commitment. Another aspect to be seen is that whether exercise of the boon would affect other people? The king’s dharma(Raja dharma) is to see that he treats all his people equally. Here by accepting the Kaikeyi’s demands, no doubt King Dasarath fulfilled his promise, but it affected - the entire kingdom, Lord Rama’s parents, Sita, people of the kingdom etc., The entire Ayodhya  was filled with sorrow.

The lesson we draw from this incident is that King  should not give blanket boon (or word/commitment)  to anybody without analysing the effect of the same and before committing the same, King has to take necessary precautions or set conditions to ensure that the same is not misused. Adequate safety steps / conditions should be attached to the boon including provision to refuse / not to honour in case of misuse. In such a scenario, it is not necessary for the King to honour his commitments in the larger interest of the kingdom and its people.

The corollary of the boon in today’s times is the election manifesto of the political parties. They promise so many things including many freebees before the election without analysing its effect including the financial implications. By honouring / implementing  those promises after the election, the essential works are neglected.  As the government will not be having sufficient revenue to meet this expenditure, government would resort into borrowing which will increase the tax burden on the citizens. 

2. There is lesson to be learnt as far as personal finance is concerned. Many people stand as guarantor for the loans taken by others. This is a financial commitment. At the time of the person standing as guarantee for the loan of other person, the financial position of the borrower as well as the guarantor may be sound, but what will happen tomorrow, nobody can forecast. When the financial position of the borrower weakens and borrower who has taken the loan is not able to repay the loan, the financial institutions will fall back on guarantor and invoke the guarantee and ask him to repay the loan.  At a later date the financial position of the guarantor could be weak and he may not be able to repay the loan. At that time, the financial institution may attach the salary of the guarantor including attaching his properties. This will affect the entire family of the guarantor, similar to the Lord Rama’s family and the people of Ayodhya. So, the lesson we draw from this is that before standing as guarantor for the loan of some other person, a thorough analysis has to be made including the capability of honouring the commitment when the financial institutions invoke the guarantee clause at a later date. They have to be careful before signing the loan papers as guarantors.

-Venkatesh R Vedanthi

General Manager (Retired), Reserve Bank of India 86005 44676

Had 38 years of experience working in Reserve Bank of India (RBI) spread across various functions of RBI.

Consultant in Risk Management, Regulatory Compliance.

Visiting faculty at Southern India Banks’ Staff Training College, National Institute of Rural Banking and other banking training colleges.

Trustee in Panchjanya Foundation, Bengaluru, an NGO contributing in the area of Health and Education. 


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