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Story Of Kaikeyi And Her Boons From King Dasharatha In Bengali Ramayana

The stories in Bengali Krittibasi Ramayana is slightly different from Valmiki Ramayana. The story of Kaikeyi and her boons from King Dasharatha is an integral part of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana. The story is slightly different from the original Ramayana. Here is an expanded version of the narrative:

King Dasharatha, the mighty ruler of Ayodhya, had three queens: Kausalya, Sumitra, and Kaikeyi. Among them, Kaikeyi was especially dear to him. Kaikeyi was not only beautiful and charming but also brave and skilled in warfare. She had once accompanied King Dasharatha to the battlefield against the fierce demon Sambhara.

During the battle, King Dasharatha was severely wounded. Despite the intense pain, he continued to fight valiantly. Kaikeyi, who possessed knowledge of the Sanjivani mantra—a powerful healing chant—rushed to his aid. She treated his wounds with the mantra, alleviating his pain and helping him recover quickly. Grateful for her timely intervention and care, King Dasharatha expressed his deep gratitude.

"O beloved queen," said King Dasharatha, "you have helped me in my time of dire need and saved my life. Your bravery and devotion are unmatched. Ask for a boon, and I shall grant it without hesitation."

Kaikeyi, humble and wise, decided to consult her maid, Manthara, who was known for her cunning and shrewd advice. Manthara suggested that the queen should not ask for a boon immediately but reserve it for a more opportune time when it could be of greater advantage. Trusting Manthara's judgment, Kaikeyi conveyed her decision to the king.

"My lord," Kaikeyi said, "your generosity touches my heart. However, I wish to keep this boon for a future occasion when I might truly need it."

King Dasharatha, respecting her wishes, agreed without pressing further.

Time passed, and another incident showcased Kaikeyi's unwavering loyalty and love for the king. One day, King Dasharatha's nail became severely infected, causing him immense pain as blood and pus oozed from it. The royal physician examined the king and declared that the only cure was to have someone suck out the pus, a task that required great courage and dedication due to its unpleasantness.

Kaikeyi, without a moment's hesitation, volunteered for the task. Her love for the king outweighed any revulsion she might have felt. She sucked out the pus and spat it out, bringing immediate relief to King Dasharatha. Deeply moved by her sacrifice and unwavering devotion, the king once again offered her a boon.

"O noble queen," he said, "your act of selflessness has eased my suffering. Ask for anything, and it shall be yours."

Kaikeyi, maintaining her earlier stance, replied, "My lord, I will ask for my boon when the time is right."

King Dasharatha, though curious, honored her wish and did not insist.

Years later, as the time approached for the coronation of Prince Rama, King Dasharatha decided to make his eldest son the crown prince. This joyous news spread throughout the kingdom, filling the hearts of the people with happiness. However, Manthara, sensing an opportunity, approached Kaikeyi with a malicious plan.

She reminded Kaikeyi of the two boons that King Dasharatha had promised her. Manthara, with her venomous words, poisoned Kaikeyi's mind, making her believe that the future of her own son, Bharata, would be jeopardized if Rama ascended the throne. She advised Kaikeyi to use the boons to ensure that Bharata would become the crown prince instead of Rama and that Rama should be exiled to the forest for fourteen years.

Kaikeyi, influenced by Manthara's manipulation, reluctantly approached King Dasharatha to claim her boons. The king, bound by his promise and unaware of the brewing storm, agreed to fulfill her wishes. The two boons Kaikeyi demanded were:

Bharata should be crowned as the crown prince.

Rama should be exiled to the forest for fourteen years.

King Dasharatha, heartbroken and devastated, had no choice but to honor his word. The events that followed led to profound sorrow for the royal family and set the stage for the unfolding of the Ramayana's epic journey.

Thus, the boons that Kaikeyi had reserved at Manthara's behest played a crucial role in the epic, illustrating themes of duty, loyalty, and the far-reaching consequences of one's actions.