Ananda Ramayana describes King Dasharatha and his 3 chief wives, Queen Kaushalya, Queen Sumitra and Queen Kaikeyi.
Ravana Tries Killing Kaushalya
Once, Ravana challenged the Creator, Sri Brahma, that he would conquer his own death.
So, he decided to kill the parent’s of Sri Rama, Maharaja Dasharatha and Queen Kaushalya as destiny chose the couple to parent Ravana’s death.
Although Ravana did his best to kill King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya, they managed to survive!
Both emerged in front of him alive, in the presence of Sri Brahma.
Seeing the King and Queen alive, right infron of his eyes, initially puzzled Ravana for a moment.
However, later, that surprise turned into wrath.
Ravana drew out his sword and brandished it in the air.
He charged ahead to kill King Dasharatha and Queen Kausalya.
The Creator, Sri Brahma, immediately stepped forward and stopped His demon grandson.
Sri Brahma said “ Dare not do this, in front of my eyes.
You had only captured Kausalya. But, now there are three people who have emerged from the box that once only contained the captive queen.
These three are King Dasharatha, Sumantra and the Queen.
Now these three will multiply and become more.
They are only going to produce more of your enemies”, warned Sri Brahma.
Sri Rama, shall emerge from Dasharatha and Kausalya.
He shall surely slay you. You cannot dream to stop this event from happening.
So, whatever you may try to avoid death, it is all going to be in vain.
Therefore, make arrangements to take queen Kausalya, Sumatra and Dasharatha back to Ayodhya Puri.
At Least do one decent job, you foolish demon,”, thundered the Creator.
Seeing the events unfurl, Ravana was getting restless and visibly disturbed.
Ravana then ordered his attendants to lock the three of his visitors in the box and take them back to Ayodhya.
King Dasharatha Marries Kaushalya
All the inhabitants of Ayodhya Puri and Kosala were happy to see the return of their queen and the king.
The king of Kosala arranged for the formal marriage of his daughter Kausalya with King Dasharatha.
As a dowry and gesture of love for his daughter and son-in-law, the king of Kosala gave away his entire kingdom.
Right from that moment, even the lineage of kings who ruled the kingdom of Kosala notched the position of the rulers from the Solar Dynasty.
They were accepted as Raghuvanshi ( रघुवंशी From the clan of King Raghu).
Dasharatha Marries Sumithra and Kaikeyi
Shortly after these events, King Dasharatha married the princess Sumitra.
Princess Sumritra belonged to the kingdom of Magadha (Modern day Bihar).
After years, King Dasharatha also accepted princess Kaikeyi as his third principle wife.
Queen Kaikeyi was the daughter of King Aswapati, who ruled over the Kingdom of Kekeya
King Dasharatha married 700 other princesses of various kingdoms as part of a diplomatic alliance.
Anciently, marrying the princesses of many kingdoms was proven to be a great political strategy for the powerful rulers.
King Dashratha also was a generous king.
He donated land, cows and other useful commodities, as part of his welfare activities.
Soon, he became the undisputed monarch of a great kingdom.
Years rolled by and King Dashratha aged with time.
King Dasharatha had everything that wealth could buy.
But, he was bereft of progeny.
This lack of progeny, became the cause of concern and deep perturbation for the king.
He felt that life was a wasteful endeavor.
He had everything and yet he felt that he was the most unfortunate being.
Dasharatha fights against Danavas
Meanwhile, there was a great strife between the Devatas (gods) and the Danavas (demons) for dominion over the three Lokas.
The two parties fought for the lokas namely heaven, earth and the nether worlds.
There was a common belief in the entire universe that whoever among the gods and the demons had the support of king Dasharatha, shall finally emerge as victorious.
This was an unspoken law written in the hearts of the living entities.
So, the wind-god, carried the message to king Dasharatha.
Following that, King Dashartha, without any room for doubt, joined the cavalry of the Devatas, against the Danavas.
What ensued was a mighty battle.
Kaikeyi and Dasharatha
During the war, the spindle of the king’s chariot wheel gave way but the king fought valiantly, unaware of this discomfiture.
Queen Kaikeyi, was also adept at war and she accompanied the king in the battle.
Dasharatha’s Life in Danger
Fortunately Queen Kaikeyi, who was also on the same chariot, saw the spindle getting ripped away.
She observed that the chariot was cracking up because of the stress it was exposed to.The queen was a powerful and valourous woman.
So, she put her index finger right at the centre of the dismantling wheel.
The finger played the part of the spindle.
Though she experienced great pain, she continued to hold the chariot together, as the war raged ahead.
Why did the queen have to suffer the pain of an injured finger?
Why did she have to undergo so much bodily pain, especially while trying to keep her husband focussed on the war, not letting him know as to what she is going through?
There was a great reason.
What goes round, comes around. It was the play of Karma.
When Devi Kaikeyi was still in her teens, she had played a prank on a certain yogi.
The yogi was resting under a tree, she smeared the face of the yogi with black ink, just for the fun of the game.
When the yogi got up, startled, he saw a great deal of black ink dripping from his face and saw the laughing princess Kaikeyi standing in front of him.
Queen Kaikeyi kept laughing, unable to control her laughter. She did not apologize for the crime she committed.
So, the yogi immediately cursed the princess. “ Oh insensitive princess, I curse you right now.
You shall also have an invisible black mark smeared across your face.
Because, of which even your son will detest looking at your face.
The entire kingdom will look at your face and spit, because of the blotch in character that you will develop in course of time.
Time shall take the shape of a thunderbolt and pull you down.
This shall happen and no one can stop this from happening.”
Thus Kaikeyi was cursed.
The queen’s finger that held the wheel to the chariot, qualified as the precursor to the fruition of the yogi’s curse.
Time was only getting queen Kaikeyi closer to the curse.
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