When Rama returned to Ayodhya after his wedding, King Dasharatha decided to coronate him as the King of Ayodhya. The people in the kingdom rejoiced upon hearing this and immediately started the festivities for their new king. Queen Kausalya, Rama’s mother was absolutely delighted and gave her blessings. However, not everyone was happy with this announcement. Manthara, Queen Kaikaeyi’s housemaid was saddened upon hearing this news. And she became very angry when she saw that Kaikeyi was actually happy with this development.
Now Queen Kaikeyi, the mother of Bharata was one of the three queens of King Dasharatha. Manthara had been her maid since childhood and wanted to see Bharata become the King of Ayodhya. So she slowly started poisoning Kaikeyi’s mind with hateful speech and describing how they (she and Bharata) would lose all power if Rama became the king. Eventually, Kaikeyi was completely brain washed by the sinful Manthara. She hatched a plan to banish Rama to the forest for 14 years (Vanvaas) and have Bharata be coronated in his place.
When Kind Dasharatha came to Kaikeyi’s chambers to share the news, he found her full of wrath. She was lying down on the floor with all her ornaments strewn on the floor. Seeing her in this state, King Dasharatha asked the reason for her anger and discontentment. Immediately, Kaikeyi said to the king that she would come out of this state only if he promised to fulfill her wish. King Dasharatha who was blinded by her love and youth agreed to fulfill her desire even without knowing what she wanted. Then Kaikeyi said, “Remember the battle between the Gods and Demons? The one in which you were rendered unconscious and I had saved your life? Well, you had granted me a boon at that time where I could ask for anything I desire and you would grant it. That time has come now. And if you don’t grant my wish, I’ll give up my life. I want you to make my Bharata the King of Ayodhya and banish Rama into an exile in the forest for 14 years!”
King Dasharatha was shocked beyond all measure upon hearing Kaikeyi’s cruel demands. He tried to dissuade her using all his powers but to no avail. Kaikeyi remained adamant and continued to threaten the king about taking her own life if her desire was not fulfilled. Finally, the distressed Dasharatha gave in to her demands and summoned Rama to his quarters. When Rama arrived, Kaikeyi spoke to him of her wishes and how Dashratha had given her the boons to fulfill them. Rama was not perturbed at all with this news but decided to leave for the forest immediately. He calmly asked her permission to meet his mother Kausalya and wife Sita, before going to the forest. When his brother Lakshmana heard the news, he became terribly angry towards Kaikeyi. However, Rama consoled him and said that it was his duty to follow his mother’s wishes. Upon hearing the news, Sita immediately decided to follow her husband Rama. Even though Rama, tried to talk her out of it considering the perils of Vanvaas, Sita was very firm in her decision. At the same time, Lakshmana also decided to accompany them. Finally, Rama had to bow to their resolve and the trio headed out to begin their 14 year long exile. Dressed in simple rags, without any ornaments or riches by their side, they headed out of the city of Ayodhya towards the river Ganga. In the meanwhile, unable to bear the pain for losing Rama, Lakshamana and Sita, King Dashratha breathed his last is great agony and sorrow.