The Story of Kalidas(Raghuvansh)

This is a chronicle of the Raghuvansh, the dynasty founded by King Raghu. There are thirteen cantos in this book, of which the first eight relate to the pre-Ramayan period. Vaivaswat was the first king of the Sun Race {Surya Vansh). One of his later descendants was the mighty king Dilip of Ayodhya. He had no son. This made him unhappy though he was the richest and most powerful king of his times.

By: Poonam Sharma

Posted on: 19/10/2020 View : 38

The Story of Kalidas(Raghuvansh)

This is a chronicle of the Raghuvansh, the dynasty founded by King Raghu. There are thirteen cantos in this book, of which the first eight relate to the pre-Ramayan period.Vaivaswat was the first king of the Sun Race {Surya Vansh). One of his later descendants was the mighty king Dilip of Ayodhya. He had no son. This made him unhappy though he was the richest and most powerful king of his times.

One day he entrusted the affairs of his kingdom to his ministers and with his queen, Sudakshina, went to see Guru Vashishtha, He asked Vashishtha to tell him the cause of his being childless. Guru Vashishtha told the king that ’’Once while you were returning from the heaven, you did not pay proper respects to Kamadhenu. It is the effect of Kamadhenu's curse that you are childless. Kamadhenu has since gone to the lower regions but her progeny, Nandini, is here with me. Both of you should serve Nandini with a pure heart. If she is pleased with your devotion, your wish is sure to be fulfilled”.

King Dilip and his queen undertook to abide by the instructions of Guru Vashishtha and stayed on in his ashram.The queen worshipped Nandini with great devotion. The king took her to the forest for grazing. Wherever she wandered, he followed her like her shadow. He fed her with green, juicy grass; fanned away flies and mosquitoes and brushed her body with his loving hands. Not for a moment did he leave her. When Nandini stopped anywhere, the king also stopped there to wait on her. The king forgot everything and devoted himself, heart and soul to her service. He ate when Nandini had eaten and even drank water after she had drunk it.

In this way, twentyone days passed by. On the twenty second day while grazing grass, Nandini entered a cave in the Himalayas. A lion caught her. When the king saw it, he brought his bow into position and stretched his arm to take out an arrow from the quiver. No sooner did his fingers touch an arrow, than they were stuck fast to it. He could not free his hand to shoot the arrow.

When the lion saw the king helpless, he spoke in a human voice, ”0 King, 1 am Kumbhodar, the servant of Lord Shiva and the protector of this forest. Don't try to kill me. I am lucky to catch this cow today. Go your way and don't try to save her."The king entreated the lion to spare the life of Nandini and eat him instead but the lion would not agree. At last the king lay down before the lion and refused to budge Suddenly there was a shower of flowers from the sky. The king heard Nandini speaking sweetly, "Arise, O my devotee, I am pleased with you. Ask a boon that it may be granted to you."

The king asked that he be blessed with a son. Nandini said, "Take my milk in an earthen cup and both of you drink it. Your wish shall be fulfilled." In the evening, the king and the cow returned to the ashram. The king narrated the events of the day to the queen. He milked the cow. After feeding her calf, both of them drank it out of an earthen pot.

They took leave of Guru Vashishtha and returned to Ayodhya. In course of time, a lovely son was born to the queen. The news spread like wildfire and people were mad with joy. The birth of the boy took place under the most auspicious influence of the stars and he was destined to become a mighty emperor. He was named Raghu. As a child, Raghu was a prodigy. Within a short time, he acquired the knowledge, necessary for a prince. When he grew up, he married a beautiful princess.

King Dilip had already performed ninety nine Ashwamedh yagy’cis. The preparations for the hundredth yagya were being made. The responsibility of protecting the sacred horse was entrusted to Raghu. Indra was afraid that he might be dethroned by King Dilip, as he was accumulating the merits of one hundred Ashwamedh yagyas. To protect his position, he stole the sacred horse. In the absence of the horse, the 100th yagya could not be completed. Raghu came to know about the theft through Nandini. A fierce battle was fought between Indra and Raghu. Though Indra highly praised Raghu's valour, yet he refused to return the horse. Nevertheless the merit of one hundred Ashwamedh yagyas was granted to King Dilip.

When the yagya was completed. King Dilip entrusted the kingdom to Raghu. The Raghu dynasty was named after him. Raghu looked after his kingdom properly and efficiently. People were happy and prosperous under his rule.

When winter came, the king made a grand plan of conquest. After conquering Bang, Kalinga, Mahodar and others he reached Malayachal. He subdued Pandavraj in the south. In the west, he crossed the Durbar and the Sahya mountains and swept over all the land up to the coast of Sind. The Himalayan kingdoms of Kabul and Kamboj were also run over. In the east, he marched up to Pragjyotish, now-a-days called Assam. After these conquests, he returned to Ayodhya and performed Vishwajeet Yagya. After the completion of X\\q yagya, he gifted away his entire wealth in charity. Once Kautsa, the disciple of Rishi Vartaatu, visited the king to collect fourteen crore gold coins as Guru-dakshina. King Raghu had already gifted away all his wealth and had kept only earthen pots for himself When Kautsa saw the circumstances of the king, he was reluctant to demand anything. The king, however, gave his word that the Guru-dakshina would be offered to the rishi.

The king made up his mind to attack and plunder Kubera, the god of wealth. A^that time, the treasurer came to the king and reported that in the night there had been a rain of gold in the treasury and it was now full of gold. The king was delighted to hear it and offered the Guru-dakshina to Kautsa. By the grace of the rishi, the king was blessed with a son who, like his father, was an embodiment of perfection and virtue. He was called Aj.

When Aj grew up. Raja Bhoj of Vidarbha invited him to his sister Indumati’s swayainvar. AJ departed for Vidarbha with royal paraphernalia. On the way he killed a wild elephant. This elephant was Priyamvad, son of the king of the Gandharvas, who was transformed into a wild elephant as a result of Rishi Matung's curse. Priyamvad was much pleased with Aj on being released from the animal form. In gratitude, he presented a weapon called Sammohan to Aj.

At Vidarbha, Aj was given a warm and joyous reception by- Raja Bhoj. Indumati's swayamvar was a gala affair where princes from far and near kingdoms were present. Many rishis and munis graced the occasion. Indumati, with a garland in her hand, slowly made a round. Whenever she hesitated before a prince, he was cheered up, but as she passed on, his heart sank in gloom. Ultimately she came before Aj and put the garland round his neck. Her selection was applauded by everyone.

Aj's marriage with Indumati was celebrated with great pomp and show. After the ceremonies were over, the royal couple departed for Ayodhya. On the way, the rejected suitors of Indumati attacked Aj in full strength. Aj used Sammohan Vv^hich was given to him by Priyamvad and defeated them. They reached Ayodhya without any harm.

After some time. King Raghu expressed his desire to entrust the kingdom to Aj and retire to the forest to lead the life of an ascetic. Aj did not let his father to do so. However, Raghu entrusted the kingdom to Aj and started living as a common man at the outskirts of the capital. In course of time, a son was born to Aj and Indumati. He was named Dashrath. Once Aj and his queen were strolling in a garden. As if from nowhere, a garland fell on Indumati. It was a garland from Narad's Veena. As soon as Indumati saw it, she left for her heavenly abode.

The unexpected death of Indumati caused much anguish to the king. He wept so bitterly that all women of the city were moved and joined him in his lamentation. It was a heart¬ rending scene. Rishi Vashishtha saw the scene through his divyadrishti and sent a message to the king that Indumati was a fairy from the heaven; that it was on account of a curse by some rishi that she came to the earth as a woman and spent her days as his queen; and that it was ordained that she would go back to the heaven on seeing heavenly flowers.

After the passing away of Indumati, AJ ruled his kingdom for eight more years and then entrusted it to his son Dashrath.Eight kantos of the book cover the above story. The story of the Ramayan is narrated in the 9th part. The main events of the Ramayan are; performance of Putreshti-yagya by King Dashrath; the birth of Rama and his three brothers; Killing of Tarka, Sitaswayamvar; Rama's exile; Kidnapping of Sita; the Rama-Ravan war and the conquest of Lanka; Rama's return to Ayodhya by Pushpak viman; crowning of Rama as king; abandonment of Sita by Rama and her stay at Valmiki's ashram; birth of Luv and Kush; Rama's Aswamedhyagya; arrival of Luv and Kush in Ayodhya; caving in of the earth and disappearance of Sita; enthronement of Luv and Kush.

The last king of the Raghuvansh was Agnivarn who was very licentious. As he suffered from consumption, his queen, who was in the family way, took the administration of the kingdom in her hands.

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