The great Ikshavaku clan
On the banks of the great River Sharayu, is the kingdom of Ayodhya, also known as Saket, the very same Vaikuntha available on this material platform. Ayodhya is also known as the city of Aparajita (अपराजिता a city that is undefeatable or cannot be won over). None can invade the city, where all the citizens are supremely protected. In the dynasty of Maharaja Manu, which is also known as the solar dynasty of Ikshavaku, Lord Rama appeared as the 35th king in the line of descent. Suryadeva appeared as the first king, followed by King Manu followed by king Ikshavaku, followed by a great king called Khatwanga. The successors of this king were King Aja, King Dilipa, King Mandhata, King Anshuman, King Bhagiratha, King Kakutstha and so on. Each of the kings ruled for more than 10,000 or even 20,000 years each. None of these kings considered the kingdom as theirs. They had the strong conviction that they were appointed by the Supreme Lord as heirs to the throne and hence ruled the kingdom as mere representatives of the Supreme Lord, on behalf of the Lord. Such was the purity of their intention.
What is the most important quality for recognition?
The son of King Aja was King Dasharath who went without an issue for more than 60,000 years. His most intimate friend and prime minister was Sumantra and he had the great sage Vashishta as his Kula Guru (कुल गुरु family preceptor). Apart from Vashishta there were 8 more enlightened sages who would direct the king on various matters and adorned important positions in the court of Dasharath. The king would never take a step without first consulting these eight beings and eight chief ministers who were regarded as the most brilliant beings to have ever walked on the planet. The whole population of earth, especially the population of Ayodhyaji was immersed in an ocean of bliss, under the able rule of King Dasharath. King Dasharath only worried about his citizens and the welfare of the kingdom. Other than this he did not worry for anything else. There are 32 shlokas in the Valmiki Ramayana that describe the eternal qualities of Sri Rama, in the initial chapters of Valmiki Ramayana. Astonishingly, there are 10 shlokas describing the divine qualities of King Dasharath, the father of the Lord. King Dasharath had all the qualities of an ideal ruler. Sri Rama was born to King Dasharath after 60,000 years. For a son to be recognized as a good human being, he should be obedient to the father who himself is walking on the path of Dharma. Unless the son walks on the footsteps of a good father, he cannot mature or blossom into an ideal being. There is no point in a person being recognized by the society. It is important for a person to be first recognized by his parents, parents who have walked the path of Dharma. It should be such that the parents pray to the Lord for the same son or daughter in every forthcoming birth. Only such a son or daughter is worthy of being recognized. In current times parents are cursing their fate for having given birth to children. This is the state of Kaliyuga. Neither parents nor children pass the candidature of principled beings.
How great was Ayodhyaji?
King Dasharath was recognized as one of the most prominent emperors in the Solar Dynasty in the Ikshavaku line. King Dasharath was known for performing sacrificial Yajna for the welfare of his kingdom. He was the primary upholder of Dharma. He had hypnotized the entire population with his goodness and large-heartedness. He was obedient to the rishis. The rishis were happy because of the service rendered to them by King Dasharath. The Rishis were convinced that King Dasharath would never go against the Dharmic principles. Just like King Manu wrote the Manu Smriti and guided the entire human race, King Dasharath, a reincarnation of King Manu, guided the entire population by establishing Dharma in the kingdom. Ayodhya was known for being an Astika state (आस्तिक राष्ट्र), a kingdom which did not have a single atheist, it was a state which had 100% of its population as literate. Not only that, most of its population was well-educated and was proficient in fine-arts and philosophy, without exception. The famous poet Kamban writes about the kingdom of Dasharath that it did not have any shops that sold locks and keys. Nobody had any pity, he said; naturally, because there were no beggars. There were no tuition teachers who gave specific training to weak students because all the citizens were highly proficient in the Shastras, languages and mathematics. There was perfect implementation of the Varna-Ashrama system. Brahmanas, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas only engaged in professions that were delineated to them as per the Shastras. Nobody did the other man’s work. For example the Brahmanas never did business and the Vaishyas did not do the job of security men. Everything went the way as per the Dharma Shastra-prescription.
King Dasharath yearns for a son
Envy was unheard of in the city of Ayodhya. Everybody was fully happy and contented. People never desired for anything that the other man had. There was no man who was either physically or mentally challenged. You would not find a single liar in the city of Ayodhya. Such was the greatness of the kingdom of Ayodhya which was fully prosperous. It had only one shortcoming and that was King Dasharath did not have a son for a very long time. It was under these circumstances that King Dasharath consulted his dear friend and minister Sumantra. He expressed his desire of giving the kingdom of Ayodhya it’s heir-apparent. Sumantra narrated an interesting story to King Dasharath that he had heard from the eternally child-like brahmacharis, the mind-born sons of Brahma namely Sanat, Sanatana, Sanak, and Sanandan Kumaras. Sumantra told the king that there was a sage known as Rishya Shringi, the son of sage Vibhandaka. A Yajna is supposed to be conducted under the auspices of this very sage and no one else, if one yearns for a male child. The Yajna is known as “Putra Kameshti Yajna” (पुत्र कामेष्टि यज्ञ). When this sage conducts the sacrifice on behalf of the expectant king, there will appear a god, a Devata, appearing from the sacrificial fire and handover a cup of sweet-rice which is to be consumed by the queens. Only under these conditions can the queens bear a child. King Dasharath got interested in the whereabouts of the sage and was anxious to have the Yajna-proficient sage in Ayodhya so as to conduct the important child-bearing Yajna. The king consulted 8 ministers and the 8 brilliant rishis in his court so as to get the Yajna underway.