All of us know that Ramayana is about Sri Rama’s story wherein Kaikeyi asked for boons ordaining Rama to go to the forest, Sita humbly following Him, her falling in love with a deer, Ravana taking her away, Rama waging a war with Ravana and eventually getting Sita back.
Beyond this, Ramayana is a great benefit to our everyday life too. How? If we read Ramayana carefully, chapter by chapter, we can realize the import of the story in our daily life, as conveyed by the great Maharshi.
The first part of the epic talks about a prosperous Ayodhya. The overflowing Sarayu river, the abundance of grains, the devoted king and the devoted subjects, the affluence of the people – all these signifying a wealthy and prosperous land of Ayodhya is clearly depicted.
One day, Dasharata addressed the masses and expressed his wish to crown Rama and retire from his regal duties. The citizens rejoiced. Rama was then informed about the crowning ceremony scheduled for the following day. The whole city was agog with this happy news – decorations and preparations for the crowning ceremony were on.
Hearing this news, Kaikeyi’s aide, Manthara (Kuni) rushed to Kaikeyi ‘Hey! Did you hear that Kausalya’s son Rama is going to be crowned?’
Kaikeyi, being a noble person at heart immediately gifted her with a necklace.
‘Rama is like my own son! I love him even more than Bharata. What difference does it make crowning Rama or Bharata?’
Manthara said, ‘Oh! My dumb Mistress! Don’t you realize that if Rama becomes the king, even Kausalya’s servants will disrespect you? You will be trampled once Rama is crowned. Bharata will be doomed!’ Saying thus, she poisoned Kaikeyi’s mind so much so that the latter merely submitted to her - ‘What should I do now?’
Manthara said ‘Long ago, when you assisted Dasharata in a war, he granted you two boons. Exercise them! One, let Bharata be crowned. Two, have Rama exiled for 14 years.’
Kaikeyi was ready to ask these boons.
That night, when Dasharata came to her harem, she lay there as if in abject misery. As instructed by Kuni, she asked Dasharata for the two promises. It was a blow to the king.
Dasharata pleaded with her to take back her request. He beseeched her, ‘Let Bharata rule. But don’t separate Rama from me. You know I can’t live without him.’ Kaikeyi was stubborn.Begging with Kaikeyi all through the night, Dasharata was completely wrecked by grief and swooned.
At dawn, Kaikeyi summoned Rama and explained Dasharata’s promise to her. ‘Your dad has given me a word that you shall go to the forest!’ she said.
If we read this part of the story, we find that the whole town was plunged into grief. Rama leaves for the forest and the entire Ayodhya follows him. Wails of sorrow sound in every home and there is inauspiciousness all over. The queens Kausalya and Sumitra wail, Vasishta cries, the whole kingdom is in tears as they see Sita following Rama to the forest.
As Rama leaves the kingdom, he halts on the bank river Sarayu for the night. The citizen who have followed him, lie down to sleep. Rama sheds tears seeing their pitiable plight – Such a flourishing and happy kingdom as Ayodhya now bears a deserted and orphaned look! The scene is now transformed into a gloomy one. There is inauspiciousness all over. The king, who ruled for 60,000 years, passes away. The queens are widowed. Bharata renounces the kingdom and is disturbed because of the false blame on him.
In a moment, the whole scenario has turned topsy-turvy. Who is the reason behind this? Is it God? Fate? The king’s misconduct? No! It is thanks to the woman with a hunchback (Kuni) named Manthara.
Introducing an insignificant character called Manthara, Valmiki shows how she could cause a whole kingdom, its king, princes and everyone to crash.
Any organization or setup should be wary of the fact that it could be shaken to its roots by sinister designs of even lowly employee from an insignificant corner.
This important management precept which is a part and parcel of our everyday life is being eloquently taught to us by Ramayana.
Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that
the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you
ask anything in my name, I will do it. --
- John 14.13-14