TWO BOONS OF KAIKEYI
After returning to Ayodhya, Rama and Sita lived happily. Rama looked after the welfare of the people, never lost his temper and always helped others. As Dasaratha was growing older, he told Vasishta that he wanted to handover the kingdom to Rama and gave orders for the coronation of Rama. During this time, Bharata and Shatrughna were away from Ayodhya on a visit to their maternal grandfather. All the three Queens rejoiced at the news of Rama’s coronation. Kaikeyi loved Rama as her own son, but her maid Manthara was unhappy. She wanted Bharata to be the king, so she devised a wicked plan. She tried to poison Kaikeyi’s mind by telling her that once Rama was crowned King, Kausalya would become all-powerful and would make Kaikeyi her slave. At last Kaikeyi fell prey to her evil ways. Her mind was filled with suspicion and she agreed to Manthara’s plan.
Gurus to explain to children: Kaikeyi was basically a good natured woman, but was poisoned by the venomous counsel of her maid whom she considered loyal and wise. That is why we must always be careful of the company that we keep. We must never blindly follow our friends or agree with whatever they say or ask us to do, even if they are our best friends and we trust them a lot.
We must use our own discrimination and decide upon what is really good for us and for everyone around us.
Values to be imbibed: ABC of life is Avoid bad company and Always be careful / Discrimination to precede decision.
Manthara reminded her of two boons which Dasaratha had promised to grant her when she had helped to save his life in the battlefield. When Dasaratha went to inform Kaikeyi of Rama’s coronation, She was in grief and anger. When he enquired, Kaikeyi asked for two boons which he had promised earlier: first boon, she insisted that Bharata should be crowned king and second boon, Rama should be sent on exile for fourteen years. Hearing this Dasaratha was extremely upset and fainted. The next morning, when Sumanthra, the minister came to inform that all preparations were ready for coronation of Rama, he found Dasaratha lying sorrowfully on the floor. Kaikeyi asked Sumanthra to bring Rama immediately. Rama came and asked his father the reason for his agony but got no reply. Kaikeyi told him about the two boons she had asked from Dasaratha. Rama immediately accepted with a smile and promised to obey the commands of his parents. He only requested mother Kaikeyi to see that Bharata’s rule would bring happiness to his father.
Gurus to explain to the children about:
a) How honouring one’s word is very important. Rama decided to leave Ayodhya immediately, to keep his father’s word.
b) How Rama showed equanimity. He did not lose his balance, nor did he get angry when he heard about the boons.
He was calm and composed even when everyone else was upset.Gurus to tell children: You should always keep your promises; however you should always be careful when you make promises because once you give your word, you cannot go back on it.
You should not get upset or angry when you lose in competitions, sports etc. Instead you should try and improve yourselves.
Values to be imbibed: Value of Promise / Maintain Equanimity even in times of adversity
He then prostrated before Dasaratha and Kaikeyi and went to Kausalya. Lakshmana was furious at the news, but Rama told him that his duty was to obey his father.
Guru to explain to the children about: How Rama was an obedient son; not only did he obey his father’s command but also advised Lakshmana as to how an ideal son should behave
Values to be imbibed: Obedience to Parents and elders / Practice and then Preach : “Be, Do and then Tell.”
Kausalya wanted to leave for the forest with Rama, but he said that her duty was to serve her husband Dasaratha. He asked Kausalya to feel equally happy that Bharata would be crowned King. Lakshmana wanted to accompany Rama to the forest, he agreed. When Sita too wanted to join him, he explained to her that life would be difficult in the forest. However Sita was resolved to follow Rama into the forest.