Kaushalya

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Kaushalya / कौशल्या

Kaushalya was the queen of king Dashrath of Ayodhya and mother of Ram. In spite of having three wives, Dashrath had no sons and decided to perform the Ashvamedh sacrifice. The year having passed, the sacrificial horse returned, and after circumambulating it, Kaushalya performed the sacrifice with three strokes of the sword. According to the custom, she spent the night watching over the dead horse. The sacrificial rites proceeded and from the fire a celestial being emerged who handed king Dashrath a divine beverage, which was divided among his four wives. Kaushalya received half of the beverage. Soon she delivered and the son born was Ram, an incarnation of Vishnu. When Ram told her about his going to exile, she fainted and was nursed tenderly by her son. She expressed her desire to go with him as she could not live without him, but Ram convinced her that her place was with her husband, who needed her most now. She reluctantly gave Ram her permission to go. For Sita she had made a special package of things that she would need in the forest for her personal use. When Ram, Lakshman and Sita left, she wept bitterly and followed their chariot on foot for some distance and then was forced to return to her husband. Having lost sight of Ram's chariot, the old king fell down feeling faint and Kaushalya assisted the king to rise. The king then asked his attendants to take him to Kaushalya's apartments, where he spent the long night. Seeing the king plunged in grief, Kaushalya, who too was deeply afflicted by her son's departure, spoke bitter words to the king. Sumitra, the king's second wife and mother of Lakshman, consoled her with soothing and encouraging words, after which Kaushalya begged her husband's forgiveness for having spoken so harshly. Dashrath's death plunged her in deeper sorrow and when Bharat re-turned from Kekay, she was at first cool to him, doubting his intentions, but the latter dispelled her doubts by refusing to accept the throne. She then embraced him. Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi had accompanied Bharat to Chitrakut to meet Ram and they too were unsuccessful in convincing the latter to return to Ayodhya. On Ram's return to Ayodhya, she went to Nandigram to receive him.


Ramayana

Ahalya · Rama · Bharat · Laxman · Shatrughna · Dashrath · Kaushalya · Kaikeyi · Sumitra · Shurpnakha · Janak · Sita · Ravana · Urmila · Meghnad · Vibhishan · Angad · Hanuman · Kumbhakarn · Marich · Mandodari · Vasishtha · Vishvamitra · Bali · Sugriva · Sampati · Jambvan · Manthara · Jatayu · Shabri · Lanka · Neel · Nal · Panchvati · Lav Kush · Tadka

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