Mumbai: King Dasharatha, a brave successor of the Suryavanshi lineage and Lord Rama’s father died of grief triggered by his son’s separation. Rama, the eldest son of Dasharatha, was forced to leave the kingdom of Ayodhya by his step-mother Kaikeyi. Unable to accept Rama’s absence, Dasharatha sunk in a deep pool of incurable depression.
According to legend, while Dasharatha was in the death-bed, he recalled an episode from the days of his youth when he rode to a forest for hunting.
He narrated the tragic event to his beloved and first wife Kaushalya, who was extremely concerned about his deteriorating health. Sensing the arrival of death, Dasharatha expressed regret over the unintentional killing of a young boy named Shravana.
What had really happened?
Dasharatha was a skilled archer. He could aim at his target just by listening to the sound coming in from the direction. Shravana was on the banks of the river Sarayu to fetch water in a pitcher for his blind-parents. The sound of the gurgle in the water attracted Dasharatha’s attention and he aimed his arrow mistaking Shravana to a deer.
As soon as he shot the arrow, he could hear the cry of a human. Dasharatha realised that the target hit by his arrow wasn’t a dear but a man. He rushed to his aid but by then Shravana was badly injured. Before breathing his last, Shravana asked Dasharatha to take the pitcher full of water for his parents.
When he reached out to Shravana’s parents, the Prince of Ayodhya, loaded with a sense of guilt, admitted to killing their son unintentionally. But the old couple, that had lost its only child forever, couldn’t bare the loss and cursed Dasharatha by telling him that he would meet the same fate and yearn for his child one day.
Thus, separation from Rama led to the untimely demise of King Dasharatha.