in the Ramayana
a symbolic interpretation is attributed to a character, one is saying that the
characters constantly display the qualities attributed to them.
was the king of Ayodhya. It is through the character of this great truthful king
that the narration of the Ramayana takes
off. Hence King Dasaratha is the very roots of the tree that is the Ramayana.
have already seen earlier that Hindus prescribe three
different paths to purify one’s personality and to link oneself with the
unquenchable Bliss that we may call God.
Dasaratha had three queens.
Dasaratha’s eldest queen Kaushalya had a strong intellectual bent with a power
to reflect and introspect. There is a unique serenity about her that comes
through her character. One may therefore believe that Queen Kaushalya is a
traveler on the spiritual Journey through the path of knowledge.
second queen of King Dasaratha, Queen Kaikeyi is the most controversial of the
three queens. She is vibrant, in fact activity itself; hence one might say that
she was predominantly a Karma Yogi or a follower of the Path of Action.
one is not careful to follow the tenets laid down for those who are followers of
the above path, there is
a possibility that one may be led astray. As the story of the Ramayana
unfolds one will see that Kaikeyi lost her direction because of the
influence of bad counsel.
Dasaratha’s third queen was Queen Sumitra. Queen Sumitra is seen as a
character always serving, always giving of herself with love. One does not hear
her ever complaining despite the unfair blows life sometimes inflicts upon her.
one can safely assume that her path was that of devotion and love.
kingdom of Ayodhya was fulfilled in every way but one. It had no heir to the
throne. King Dasaratha therefore performed a great sacrificial prayer, which
proved fruitful. A bowl of milk materialised as a result of the great sacrifice.
MILK OR KHEER
milk is symbolic of God’s Grace.
to Hindu philosophy, one has to put one’s efforts into any activity in order
to achieve one’s desire. The human being can only perform and pray. The grace
finally descends from God.
the portion of the milk was given to the eldest queen - Kaushalya. She gave
birth to Rama. Rama means, one who delights all. Since Kaushalya stands for
knowledge, Rama is symbolic of Wisdom or Gyan.
means not only wisdom. Gyan is an experience; an ultimate state of being where
one knows, without any doubt, that one is an integral part of the Infinite.
is the knowledge that we human beings owe our existence to God, our Father, and
in spirit we are One.
marks the end of the struggle of man’s journey towards perfection.}
was given a quarter portion of the blessed milk. Kaikeyi, who stands for
activity in life, gave birth to Bharata. ‘Bharata’ means one who would come
to have great administrative skill. Bharata symbolically stands for ‘Dharma’.
according to Hindu philosophy, Dharma comprises all the duties that an individual
should perform depending upon his position in life and upon which act or role he
may be playing for the moment. Hence a person’s dharma towards his family is
different from his dharma towards his profession, society, nation,
soldier’s dharma differs from a doctor’s. A doctor’s duty is to give life
whereas a soldier’s may be to take it.
dharma is present, there is social harmony; where it is absent, discord and
Dharma is that which promotes common well-being
even though it may appear in a dishonorable clothing.
of the portion of the milk was given two times to Sumitra. She had two sons
Lakshmana and Shatrughna.
name Lakshmana means one who is endowed with all marks of auspiciousness.
means the destroyer of all enemies.
these brothers inherited the qualities of compassion and service from their