Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Dasharatha - The Father of Rama


Dasharatha was a king of the Surya (solar) dynasty and the father of Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana. He was said to have many wives (the number was put as high as sixty-thousand). The principal ones were, Kausalya - the mother of Rama, Kaikeyi - the mother of Bharata, and Sumitra - the mother of the twins Laxmana and Shatrughna.

King Dasharatha had been childless for many years. He performed the Ashwamedha sacrifice (some say the Putra-Kameshti sacrifice), for obtaining issue. Out of the sacrificial fire, life giving nectar emerged, which he gave to his first two wives Kausalya and Kaikeyi. They in turn gave half their portion each to the third wife Sumitra, which is why twins were born to her.

Dasharatha wanted to crown his eldest son Rama as his successor. However, he had promised to grant three boons to his wife Kaikeyi (who had saved his life in the battlefield). Acting on the advice of her hench-woman Manthara, she asked that her son Bharata should be crowned the successor and that Rama be sent on a fourteen year exile to the forest to allow her son to consolidate her rule. Despite Dasharatha's pleadings, she would not budge.

Rama was a dutiful son and he renounced the Kingdom and went on his exile, accompanied by his wife Sita and his brother Laxmana. Heart-broken, King Dasharatha died of grief.

Last Modified At: Fri Nov 5 20:43:12 2004