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Rama Banished to Forest

Laxmana who was watching all the proceedings with some emotions, said, “O brother, Sita and you are like mother and father to me. A child cannot remain alive separated from his parents. Let me accompany you both so that I not only can serve you, but also protect you from the predators and the demons of the jungle. Otherwise, who would look after you when you sleep under the open sky or a small make-shift hut? Will not the tender body of Sita-Ma suffer with efforts of labour all alone! O Rama, take me with you otherwise I would suffer like a fish out of water.”

All eyes were wet with tears of distress and grief, except those of Kaikeyi and Manthara. The love between the brothers and supreme sacrifice of dutiful Sita made every heart heavy with tons of grief and pathos.

Next day the trio Rama, Laxmana, and Sita gave up the royal silk and the valuables and put on simple clothes fit for the forest life: robes of sanyasin. Sita still looked pretty without her ornaments, but every heart in Ayodhya was filled with despair and remorse. Every eye was wet with the tears of separation and sorrow. The palace was filled with the silence of grief. Around the palace every inch of land was occupied by the people of Ayodhya. Some were sitting in the path, others were lying down as if to prevent their beloved to leave. Nobody was in a mood to allow them to depart. It was difficult to control the crowd, it was equally difficult to control the emotions.

But promise was a promise, not only for the royal family, but for every citizen of Ayodhya. Everyone knew that although Kaikeyi was harsh in her demands, but she could not be faulted on that account alone. She had every right to demand her two promises which the King Dasharatha must keep, come what may. If it created tragic condition of gloom and helplessness the people were willing to suffer stoically, without violence or revenge. Kaikeyi never was threatened, no, nobody ever thought of harming her. But the crowd made the departure of our heroes very slow. Rama advised all to remain calm and collected; to support the would-be king Bharata, and to look after the ailing king Dasharatha and the helpless queens.

The night fell even as Rama-Laxmana- Sita could barely cross the limits of the city. It was painfully slow process to leave the people. At this juncture, minister Sumanta drove his chariot towards Rama and said, “My Lord, the people are asleep. Let me take you across the border quickly without much ado.” Rama agreed and thus leaving all tired people behind, Rama-Laxmana-Sita fled far off under the cover of night sky.

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