Thursday, 23 June 2011


Sumantra was born in the charioteer clan. He was a childhood friend of King Dashrath. From his suggestions, Dashrath used to run his kingdom. He was also the chief among all the state servants of Ayodhya.

Travel, marriage, oblations, crowning ceremonies etc. whatever grand occasions those might be, all the programs were conducted under the supervision of Sumantra. Lord Rama also used to honour him as his father. The queens also showed full respect to Sumantra.

Taking permission of Rama's crowning from Guru Vashishtha, King Dashrath consulted Sumantra and it was decided that Rama would be crowned the very next day and Sumantra at once began his preparations to organize the grand celebrations. But on the day of the celebrations, seeing the king waking up late, Sumantra went inside the bathroom. There he saw the King lying flat and unconscious on the floor and Queen Kaikayee was standing besides him. That moment marked the beginning of the miseries for Sumantra. By the order of Kaikayee, Sumantra called Rama in where Rama was asked to go on a 14 years exile. Hearing those words, Sumantra sank in deep sorrow and because of the anguish, he could not utter even a word.

By the king's order, Sumantra boarded along with Rama, Lakshman and Sita on the chariot and took them to the forests. The chariot reached Shringverpur in the way. There at the banks of the Ganges, Rama washed his curly hair with the milk of the Banyan tree and gave them tussock form. That had a tearing effect on Sumantra's heart. He told Rama of Dashratha's order and begged him to return to Ayodhya. He even tried to frighten them with the hardships that they might face. But he could not succeed in coaxing them, though they all regarded Sumantra as their father and even at that moment, their respect for him did not diminish but nobody was ready to return to Ayodhya. Then Sumantra himself begged to accompany them in exile. But it was not just for Rama to allow Sumantra to accompany them during exile. Sumantra felt strange at that moment. His eyes could not see anything, his ears failed to hear anything and his tongue refused to utter anything.

Thus, convincing him in every way, Lord Rama sent Sumantra back to Ayodhya. But Sumantra could not raise even a step. Again and again, he came back to Rama. At last leaving Sumantra in his condition, Kevat began to sail his boat. When Nishida Raja came back after escorting Rama for some distance, he found Sumantra still lying on the sand of the bank. He was writhing like a fish without water. He then somehow arranged to carry Sumantra back to Ayodhya with some of his men. All along the way, Sumantra felt anxious as with what face will he go to the Ayodhya palace. What news will he deliver to the people of Ayodhya, king Dashrath and the Queens. Hence he entered Ayodhya only when it was dark. Leaving the chariot at the gate of the palace, he entered it and went to Dashrath. He tried his best to console the king, but even his heart failed him. So delivering the message, he said at last:


That Rama had not returned hearing the message, King Dashrath at once gave up his life orphaning the entire Ayodhya. Sumantra had to bear patience then for from then onwards he would have to look after the empire of the supreme Lord Shri Rama. Bharat also returned from his maternal grandfather's home. Having performed his father's cremation at Chitrakoot, Bharat at once set out to convince and bring back Rama. He returned from there with the slippers of Lord Rama. He installed those slippers on the throne and himself stayed at Nandigram in a hermitage to spend a hermit's life. Now the burden of the entire kingdom fell on Sumantra. With patience, he managed to look after the heritage of his Lord. Even after becoming the king, Lord Rama always respected Sumantra as his father and appointed him as the head of ministers.

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