Kingdoms of Kosala and Ayodhya
There is a kingdom named Kosala very near to Ayodhya Puri.
The king of Kosala had a beautiful daughter known as Kausalya.
The king was aware of the valor and great qualities of Dasharatha, the king of Ayodhya Puri.
He decided to get his daughter Kausalya married off to the great king Dasharatha.
The king of Kosala sent an invitation to Dasharatha in Ayodhya.
When the messenger arrived on the banks of Sarayuji, King Dasharatha was performing water sports (जल क्रीडा) along with his friends.
His close associates played along with him in the waters of Sarayuji.
It was late in the evening and the bards were offering lyrical praises on the king, set to melodious tunes.
The flames of evening lights glowed in small pots, covered with exquisite gems.
The cavalry and other foot soldiers stood with attention around the fortified Vedic city of Ayodhya Puri.
The whole atmosphere was musical and the air was fragrant with joyous moods.
Ravana Learns about His Death and Future
It was at the same time, the demon king of Lanka was in conversation with the Creator Sri Brahma.
Ravana questioned the Creator, “Who will be the cause of my death? Please answer me in all Truth”.
The Creator replied: “It is going to be the Supreme Lord Rama.
He shall be born to Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya.
His father is currently ruling the pious city of Ayodhya.
His mother happens to be the daughter of the King of Kosala at the present moment.
The King of Kosala is planning to get his daughter married off to Dasharatha.
That is the current state of affairs.”
Ravana traps Dasharatha
Ravana did not waste a moment.
He immediately contacted the demons of the water kingdom through his demonic powers.
Now, in Ayodhya, every dear associate of King Dasharatha drowned because of the fatal attack of the water demons.
The friends and well-wishers drowned in the waters of Sarayu.
However, the minister of Ayodhya, Arya Sumantra and King Dashratha, somehow managed to hold on to a broken boat.
They held onto the boat until the waters of Sarayuji merged into the main flow of the Ganga river and finally the waters threw the two friends into the oceanic waters.
Meanwhile, Ravana entered the capital city of Kosala through Ayodhya Puri.
Ravana abducts Kaushalya Devi
He attacked the kingdom and abducted Kausalya Devi, by exercising force.
Ravana was also expecting the Devatas or the deities of heaven to attack him during the course of abduction.
Hence, he dumped the princess into a box and handed over the box to a Whale-fish known as the “timingala”(तिमिंगल Whale fish).
Timingalam is a huge aquatic whale, fish mentioned commonly in all our Vedic scriptures like Valmiki Ramayana, Ananda Ramayana, Mahabharata, and other stories of Puranas.
Then, Ravana proceeded to his own kingdom of Lanka.
Timingilam carried the box around in the ocean.
Suddenly, some water enemies attacked the whale (Timingilam).
Therefore, it attached the box containing the princess to a wooden float and proceeded to fight the water enemy.
Meanwhile, from the other direction, the two friends Sumantra and King Dasharatha came along, holding tightly, with great difficulty, the broken piece of a boat.
The three of them (King Dasharatha, Princess Kaushalya, and Minister Sumantra) somehow floated around for a while.
Then the wooden piece holding Kaushalya, as well as the broken boat, carried its passengers to a nearby island.
The three lay on the island for a while, resting.
The uncomfortable water level forced them to regain consciousness, to gasp for breath.
Soon, the three became familiar with each other.
King Dasharatha weds Queen Kaushalya
Later, King Dasharath and Princess Kaushalya realized the play of destiny.
On the island itself, both princess Kaushalya and King Dasharatha entered into the wed knot through a process called Gandharva Vivah (गंधर्व विवाह).
Gandharva Vivah is the process through which the man and woman marry following a mere process of acceptance of the wed-knot.
This process can take place in dire circumstances, in the absence of friends, relatives or any witness.
The Vedic processes find Gandharva Vivah, a legitimate process.
Kings of the olden days would adhere to this process, although such a process of marriage is normally not accepted as legal, within the jurisdiction of Naimittika rules or rules pertaining to time, place and circumstance.
Gandharva Vivah fell within the Dharma system till the closing years of Dwapara Yuga.
But, with the new social structure for Kaliyuga, this form of covenance came to be unacceptable.
The Gandharva Vivah follows the same accountability and responsibility as the other forms of legal marriages prevalent.
Many people consider the “live-in” type of agreement as legal.
But, this claim is far-fetched because no one sees the type of accountability, commitment and responsibility in modern-day so-called ideologies like “live-in”.
After the marriage, all the three entered the box in which queen Kausalya lay earlier.
The outer lid of the box was also closed.
Timingala (the whale returned), after defeating the enemy.
It somehow discovered the box lying intact at the edge of the shore.
The whale then happily dragged the box back into the oceanic waters.
Sri Brahma Laughs at Ravana
Meanwhile, Ravana, who was completely oblivious of what was happening at King Dasharatha’s end, summoned Sri Brahma.
He boastingly jeered at the Creator and said “ I have proved every word of what you said to be false.
I have drowned Dasharatha and captured Kausalya. So, how can Ram kill me now!”
The Creator could not control his laughter and uttered “ Om Punyaham (ओम पुण्याहं).
What does that mean?
The creator exclaimed: “That which is auspicious has prevailed.”
The astonished Ravana, now retorted, “Excuse Me grandsire, What did you just mutter?”
To this Sri Brahma, who was still smiling away, said, “ For your information, King Dasharatha is already married to Queen Kausalya.”
Sri Brahma summoned His dutas (दूत) and asked them to bring the box that was being pushed around by the whale in the oceanic waters.
Sri Brahma in front of Ravana, opened the box.
Lo, three beings emerged out of the Box, “There stood Sumantra, King Dasharatha was in the middle and to his left was Queen Kaushalya.
They were wearing garlands made of leaves, normally found in regions along the sea-shore, indicating that the two were now married.”
This is how the King of Ayodhya wedded His first Queen, Kaushalya, the princess of Kosala.
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