Dasharatha- (Nemi) (Sanskrit: दशरथ, IAST Daśaratha, Indonesian: Dhasarata, Tibetan: ཤིང་རྟ་བཅུ་པ, Khmer: Dasarath, Malay: Dasarata, Burmese: Dasagiri, Yuan: Dattaratthah, Tamil: Tacaratan, Thai: Thotsorot, Lao: Thotarot, Chinese: 十车王, Telugu: దశరథ, Daśaratha ?) was, according to Ramayana, the king of Ayodhya and a descendant of the Ikshvaku dynasty (also known as Suryavamsha or Raghuvaṃśa). His life story is narrated principally in the Hindu epic Ramayana. He was a descendant of Raghu and was the father of prince Rama, the principal character in the Ramayana. Dasharatha was the son of Aja and Indumati.
Yajna to beget Sons
Dashratha performed two yajnas with the help of Sage Rishyasringa on the advice of Vashistha. One was the Ashwamedha and other was the Putrakameshti. As the conclusion of the Yagna drew near Agni sprang out from the yagnakunda and handed Dashratha a pot of kheer advising him to distribute it among his queens. Kaushalya ate half the kheer, Sumitra ate a quarter of it. Kaikeyi ate some and passed the pot back to Sumitra who consumed the kheer a second time. Thus the princes were conceived after the consumption of the kheer. Since Kaushalya had consumed the largest portion she gave birth to Rama. Sumitra gave birth to Lakshmana and Shatrughna. Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharata.
Boons to Kaikeyi
Dashratha is reminded by Kaikeyi about the two boons he has yet to fulfill for her. She talks of the time when she had saved him from the demons during a battle. Dashratha is obliged to fulfill those boons. Kaikeyi demands that Bharata be crowned the king and Rama should be sent to the forest for fourteen years. Hearing this Dashratha falls into a swoon and passes the night in a pitiable condition in Kaikeyi’s palace.
Incident of Shravan Bal
After Rama’s departure to the forest, Dasharatha lies in his bed with a wailing Kaushalya. He suddenly remembers an incident which had occurred in the past. He narrates to Kaushalya about how, by accident, he had killed a young boy named Shravan mistaking him to be an elephant. Dashratha who was then a crown prince had gone hunting on the banks of River Sarayu. He was an expert in hunting by determining the direction of sound and heard the gurgle of an animal drinking water. Mistaking it to be an elephant Dasharatha shot the arrow. He became mortified when he heard a human cry as the arrow found its target. Dasharatha hurried there to find a boy lying sprawled on the banks of the river with an arrow lodged in his chest. The boy rebukes Dashratha for his unrighteous act and demands that he pull the arrow out of his chest. He also tells him to take the pitcher of water to his blind parents who must be waiting for him. The boy dies. Dasharatha approaches the blind couple and tells them about his unfortunate death. The parents, grief-stricken curse the prince “Just as we are dying due the separation from our beloved son you too shall have the same fate.” Dasharatha concludes the chapter by saying that his end is near and the curse has taken effect.
Following his narration of Sharavan Dasharatha passes away in the night due to pain and misery of his separation from Rama. His funeral rites are performed by Bharata and Shatrughna who were called back from Kekeya.
- Singaravelu Sachithanantham (2004), The Ramayana Tradition in Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur: University Malaya Press, ISBN 983-100-234-2
- 印度两大史诗研究, ISBN 7-301-04897-1
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- Ramayana, translated in English by Griffith, from Project Gutenberg
- Ramayana by Valmiki
- Ramayana by Tulsidas