Rama leaves home to assist Viswamithra.
King Dasaratha welcomed Viswamitra much as Indra would welcome Brahma, and as he was doing so, the King stated (while caressing Viswamitra’s feet): “I am really fortunate among men. Your presence here can only be explained by the virtue of my predecessors who came before me. Your beautiful face brightens up my day just like the sun shines to drive away the gloom of the previous night. My emotions are overflowing.
You were born a king, and through the practice of tapas, you have become a Brahma rishi. And you have traveled here in search of the location of my home. Is there anything I can do for you that is within the scope of my abilities? “If such is the case, command, and I will obey.”
When Viswamitra heard these words spoken by Dasaratha, his heart was brimming with happiness and his countenance lit up. He said, “O King, the wisdom you provide is fitting for you.” What else might you say about yourself besides being born into the Ikshvaku lineage and having Vasishtha as your Guru? You said “yes” before I asked. “The delight that this brings me cannot be contained.” And without further ado, he proceeded to explain the purpose of his visit.
Viswamitra said, “I am now in the process of offering a sacrifice.” Maricha and Subahu, two formidable Rakshasa, contaminate it just as it is getting close to being finished. They throw impure blood and flesh over the holy flames. We, like other rishis, had the ability to destroy and curse them. However, doing so would mean throwing away all of our tapas.” If you are willing to part with Rama, the oldest of your combative boys, our problems will be solved.
He will develop into a man of magnificent stature under my watchful eye. These Rakshasas won’t have a chance against him, and as a result, his reputation will increase.
Just entrust Rama to my care for the next few days at the most. Do not deny my request. Please keep the commitment you made to me, even if I didn’t ask for it. There is no cause for concern about Rama’s well-being.
You will become famous across all three realms forever. “What I suggest is something that Vasishtha and your other ministers would endorse.”
Dasaratha was overcome with dread and worry, and his body shook. It was a difficult decision for him to make: he could either hand up his beloved son to the Rakshasas to be sacrificed, or he might put himself in danger of drawing the wrath of Viswamitra.
Dasaratha was left dumbfounded and mute for a brief period of time as a result of the shocking event. After he had recovered from the shock, however, he pleaded with the wise man not to insist on getting what he wanted and said: “Rama has not yet reached the age of sixteen in its entirety. How is he going to battle against Rakshasas? What good would it do to bring him along with you? What does he know about the sly ways that Rakshasas play? It would not be fitting for me to dispatch a youngster to do battle with them while I myself am here and my army is prepared to go.
What kind of protection can a lad provide for you and your yaga?
Please enlighten me about your adversaries. I will carry out your commands and attend to your every need while accompanying you at the helm of my soldiers. “Please enlighten me on these profaners.”
Viswamitra provided a description of Maricha and Subahu, along with their lord, Ravana. In addition to this, he reiterated his demand that Rama accompany him everywhere he went.
The rejection was continued by Dasaratha. He replied, “Separating from Rama would be the same as dying to me.”
“I and my troops will follow you wherever you go.” Why, it appears to me that the work that has been offered is extremely difficult for me to do. So, how is my child going to handle it?In fact, I am unable to send him. To answer your question, yes, I am prepared with my army.
The fact that Dasaratha attempted to retract his hasty statement infuriated Viswamitra. The King’s entreaties and explanations only served to fuel the rage that was already burning inside him.
The wise man responded, “This behavior is unworthy of your heritage,” and he meant it. “Tell me whether this is your last word,” the question said. I’m going to turn around and go back the way I came. “Having deviated from the Way of Truth, may you have a long and happy life with your family and friends.”
The earth trembled, and the gods were terrified of the many outcomes that might result from the sage’s anger.
Now turning to the King, Vasishtha spoke softly to him, saying: “It is unbecoming of you, King, to go back on a promise you made in the past. If you were born into the Ikshvaku line, you have little chance of succeeding. After having previously said, “I will do,” you are now obligated to carry out the commitment. In the event that you are unsuccessful, the merit of all of your wonderful talents and actions will be lost.
Send Rama and Lakshmana with the wise man, and send them both. You need not be concerned about their well-being in any way. No Rakshasa will be able to harm them so long as Viswamitra is watching over them. Rama shall be protected by Viswamitra in the same way that the drink of the gods is protected by the wheel of fire. You have no idea of the power that Viswamitra has; he is tapas manifested in human form. He is the master of every weapon, and he is the bravest of the brave and the smartest of the wise. There is no one in the three realms who can match him in terms of their spiritual or martial power, and there never will be anyone who can. When he was king, he petitioned the gods to grant him mastery over all available weapons. He understands all of time, from the past to the present to the future. You may be wondering why on earth he would desire the princes in that case. Even though he is perfectly capable of looking after himself and his yaga, he has come to ask for your assistance because he believes it will be to their benefit. You should not be hesitant. “Send along your young men to assist him.”
After hearing the sage Vasishtha’s advice, Dasaratha had a better understanding of the situation and made up his mind to send Rama and Lakshmana.
Following that, the two princes were taken into the presence of the wise man. They were bestowed with blessings by the King, the Queen Mothers, and Vasishtha, who then sent them with Viswamitra.
A soothing wind was blowing, and the inhabitants of the skies scattered beautiful flowers all about. Sounds of good fortune were picked up.
The two young men, each holding a bow in his hands, marched confidently on each side of the sage.
Valmiki and Kamban take great pleasure in the image of the two princely students born to put an end to the Rakshasa race marching out to their first adventure under the guardianship of a great rishi who had also been a renowned warrior. This rishi was a teacher who could create a new world. And beside him, with their heads held high, were two princely pupils born to put an end to the Rakshasa race.
They moved, each in their own unique way, with swords of triumph dangling from their waists and bows and arrows fastened on their powerful shoulders.