taking the centrestage …

Ramayana III: The Two Promises

on October 17, 2012

And so, the four princes came back to Ayodhya with their brides …




The four princes: Rama, Lakshmana, Bharat and Shatrughna



Narrator: The palace was full of happiness and laughter. The young princes and their wives performed their duties and had time for fun too. King Dasharath’s kingdom was ruled well. Everything was peaceful.

Rama: Come brothers, let us ride to the eastern corner of the kingdom to check on its welfare!

Bharat: And there is some good hunting there too!

Rama: First we finish our work, then we may have some time to hunt!

Kaikeyi: Yes Rama, you are right. I am proud of you, my son. Bharat, do learn from your brother!

Bharat: Yes, yes. Bigger is better, right!

Narrator: The King and his sons ruled well. Rama was not only his first born, but a good leader too. He was loved by the people. He had all the qualities of a good king.

Dasharath: It is time I retired. I think Rama will make a good king. It is time for me to party!

Kaikeyi: I think so too. Rama is the best trained, most disciplined and most loved of all. He will be a good king.

Dasharath: I will announce it, as long as you don’t change your mind. One never knows about your moods!

Narrator: Dashrath was right. Kaikeyi knew Rama was the right choice for king, but her moods were unpredictable. Her childhood nurse and trusted companion Manthara was plotting to have her own nurseling, Bharat, crowned as king. She made the queen think that she wold become less important if Kaushalya’s son Rama became king instead of her own son Bharat. And Kaikeyi, of the unpredictable moods, lost her commonsense and went off to her Palace of Sulks. Jewels  strewn all over the palace, forming a clear path to where she lies, crying. As if she was dying. The King could not win.

Dasharath: I cannot bear to see you so. What do you want?

Kaikeyi: Two promises – I have two promises due. One to make Bharat the King. Two: send Rama to the forest for fourteen years.

Dasharath: Diltoot! My heart will break! But promises must be kept. So be it!

Narrator: Dasharath keeps his promise, but cannot face his son. Kaikeyi calls him and tells him what must be done.

Kaikeyi: Your father made a promise, and it must be kept. You must go to the Jungle so Bharat may be king. When he comes back from his holiday, that is. He is visiting my dad, you know. You must go for fourteen years.

Rama:Obedience is a virtue, mother and I will obey.

Narrator: So Rama prepares for the Jungle. Not much packing to be done.

Sita: Rama, I want to come too. I will be bored without you.

Lakshmana: I will come too – we make a good team.

Rama: Well, I can say no for a while, but really, it will be much nicer if both of you are there with me.

Narrator: The three of them may have danced a jig together. Or may have looked at each other deeply and meaningfully, eyes full of promise and respect. Or they may have sat through the evening discussing how unfair it was that Ram would not be King. We will never really know which. But the fellowship was formed.

But what about the people of Ayodhya? They wanted their beloved Rama to be king.

People: Rama, Don’t go! Rama, Don’t Go! We love you! You are to be our King! We will come with you! Rama, Don’t Go.

Rama: People, you have your lives to live. Come as far as the city gates, where the jungle begins. Then go back and prosper. I will be back in fourteen years.

Narrator: And so, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita walk away. The people follow them for a bit, and then turn back. Sad music may have played, or maybe it was the fading echo of people chanting: Rama! Rama!

(song plays in the background: Ban chale Ram Raghurai)


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