Monday, February 26, 2024

Ramayana – 7: From exile to the death of Dasaratha

 The coronation was planned for Pushya day in the month of Caitra in Pramoda year when Rama entered his 25th year. Rama was informed of the Pattabhisheka the previous day, i.e., on the day of Punarvasu. He and Sita conducted the necessary rituals for the function. The night passed by. That was when Kaikeyi made her dreadful demands to Dasaratha. As a result, the next day (when the coronation had to take place) Rama was informed that he must leave the country and live in the forest like an ascetic for 14 long years.

Lakshmana decided to join Rama in exile. Sita insisted that she too would join. Rama’s mother Kausalya was inconsolable. She expressed something that contains a clue on Rama’s age at that time. She said,

दश सप्त वर्षाणि तव जातस्य राघव |

असितानि प्रकान्क्षन्त्या मया दुह्ख परिक्षयम् || -२०-४५

(Meaning: “Oh, Rama! I have been waiting for seventeen years after your birth with the hope that my troubles will disappear at one time or the other.") (VR: 2- 20-45)

As one who had been waiting to see her son taking the crown, it was difficult for Kausalya to accept that he had to renounce the crown and go to the forest. In this context she said she waited for 17 years since his birth to see the day he was crowned. She said,

dasha sapta ca varSaaNi tava jaatasya raaghava |”

The word Jaatasya has been debated by scholars as to whether it refers to his birth or second birth during Upanayana. If it is taken to mean birth, 17 years of age doesn’t fit with other inputs we have seen so far. Rama was married for 12 years at the time of exile. If he was only 17 years old at the time of exile, it means that he was married in his 6th year. The age difference with Sita being 7 years (as told by Sita to Ravana that she was 18 and Rama was 25), Sita was not even born when he was married!! Such an absurd derivation will have to be made if we assume that Kausalya meant his age as 17 years at the time of exile.

Moreover, there are two contexts (discussed earlier) on his age as 25 at the time of exile. We also had an input from Sita’s version that he was exiled on the 13th year of his marriage. There is also the version from Mareecha on his age when Vishvamitra brought him to the forest to destroy the demons.

The year of Rama’s Upanayana

Taking all this into consideration, we must understand that Kausalya was referring to his second birth, i.e., Upanayana time. Already we know that Rama completed 24 years as of Caitra Punarvasu when he was informed of the coronation. Deducting 17 years from that, we get the year 7 as completed age when he had upanayana. In other words, his upanayana was done on his 8th year. This was Pramādi or Ananda year, corresponding to 5106 BCE. In Caitra Pramādi Rama completed his 7th year. In Caitra Ananda he completed his 8th year. In between these two years his Upanayana took place. In the absence of information on the month we are not able to give the exact date.

Exile date.  

On the morning of Pushya in Caitra Rama was informed of the exile. He immediately informed his mother, Kausalya and obtained her permission. Then he informed Sita and tried to persuaede her to stay back but relented after she insisted that she would accompany him. Then Lakshmana also decided to join. Rama distributed his wealth to rishi-s. The sequence of these events appear to have happened on the same day.

By that evening, Rama departed to the forest. In that context, the planetary positions are mentioned.

त्रिशन्कुर् लोहित अन्गः बृहस्पति बुधाव् अपि |

दारुणाः सोमम् अभ्येत्य ग्रहाः सर्वे व्यवस्थिताः || -४१-११

{Meaning: Trisanku, Lohintanga, Brihaspati as also Budha and all other planets assumed a menacing aspect and got stayed with the moon. (VR: 2-41-11)}

The day being Pushya, the Moon was on Kataka (cancer). It was joined with Mars (Lohintanga) and Jupiter (Brihaspati). The simulation also shows the same confirming that we are proceeding in the right way of decipherment.

Rama’s exile

Budha (Mercury) was the 12th lord in his natal horoscope. The 12th house indicates exile. The Lord of that house, namely, Mercury was just crossing into Aries in the star of Ketu. It was in 0 degree of Aries which is recognized as Baalya avasta signifying trouble. The star lord Ketu was in the 12th to Mercury (which was the 10th house from the 12th) and was in the star of Mercury, namely Revati. Thus, there was mutual parivartana of the 12th lord and the 12th from the 12th lord which aggravates the 12th house significance of confinement and exile. This is indicated by Valmiki in the above quoted verse.

Other planets also assumed a menacing aspect, says Valmiki. Saturn was in Saade Sati. Rahu casts its aspects on Kataka (It is also likely that Rahu joined Saturn as the simulation doesn’t show the exact position of the nodes). Venus, the 4th lord signifying home was in the 8th in the star of Jupiter.

Trisanku is not a star of the zodiac, but in summer (Caitra month) month it will be visible in direct south after sunset. It must have shone brightly as though it was casting a menacing aspect.

In the next verse it is said that Vishakha appeared in the sky, veiled in the mist (VR: 2-41-12).

Vishakha is in line with Trisanku in the south. It will appear overhead in the latitudes of India while Trisanku will appear in direct south of it. This combination can be seen even today in the summer months, confirming our contention that we are looking at the same part of the sky as it was during Rama’s time.

Vishakha was the Kula-nakshatra of the Ikshvaku-s (VR: 6-102-36). That is the reason its appearance has been specifically mentioned.

1st day night: They stayed on the banks of Tamasa River. Rama didn’t eat anything and took water only. The next morning, he deceived the residents and went to the forest.

2nd day: After travelling a long distance in the chariot driven by Sumantra, Rama crossed the rivers, Vedasruti, Gomati and Syandika. By that night he crossed Kosala city. Rama stayed under a fig tree on the banks of river Ganga on that night.

Rama met Guha on the banks of Ganga (near Shringaberapura). The date was 19th December, 5091 BCE (Pramoda, Caitra, Aslesha, Shukla Dwadasi.

3rd day: Crossed the river Ganga with the help of Guha. That night was spent on the base of a tree.

4th day: Reached Bharadwaja ashrama at the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna. The date was 21st December, 5091 BCE. It was Pramoda year, Caitra Shukla Chaturdasi, Purva Phalguni star.

Spent the night at the ashrama. The rishi told Rama about Chitrakoota, located at 60 miles from the Ashrama.

5th day: Crossed the river Yamuna and stayed on the banks of Yamuna. Sumantra left for Ayodhya after hearing from Guha that Rama departed for Chitrakoota.

6th day: Rama proceeded to Chitrakoota and built a Parna shala and entered it. The day was 23rd December, 5091 BCE. Pramoda, Caitra Pournami in Hasta nakshatra. That night the Full moon was eclipsed.

That night Dasaratha passed away.

The fear about the dreadful combination came true.

On the night (December 24th early morning) in 5091 BCE, Dasaratha died at the time of Lunar eclipse while Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana was sleeping in the newly built leaf-hut in Chitrakoota.

Reproducing the time that he feared very much.

Dasaratha’s death time

Here I have not changed the tithi to the next one because, in Caitra, Full moon is possible in Hasta nakshatra. Since Dasaratha spoke about affliction to his birth star by Rahu, eclipse is indicated. In the absence of knowledge of the exact position of Rahu, we must deduce that the moon was eclipsed when it passed close to Rahu. The eclipse could have lasted for a few minutes and was partial. Since eclipse has to be indicated I picked out 2 am when the Pournami was still running and moon was at a distance when eclipse was possible.


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