Chapter VI - King Dasaratha and His  Reign on Ayodhya

Lava and Kuśī continued the story. 

King Daśaratha was an exceptional charioteer in the clan of Ikṣvāku.  Well-versed in the Vedas, a strategic thinker and heroic in personality, he reigned over the kingdom of Ayodhyā with respect and affection towards all.  Righteous, self-restrained and given to ritualistic sacrifices, he was comparable to a Maharṣi.  His reputation was spread throughout the entire world.  He was a strong leader, and had no enemies.   And he had plenty of friends.  He was a success in all respects; he was like Indra in opulence, and like Kubera in wealth.  Always truthful and always in pursuit of the three goals[1]in life, the King ruled the kingdom as Indra ruled Amaravati in the heavens.  King Dasaratha protected his people and the land, just like the great King Manu had protected and nurtured the earth in earlier times.

The people in the kingdom were happy, learned, truthful and righteous.  They were content and not greedy.  Nobody was poor.  Everyone was with their families.  No one was desperate for food, wealth, cows or horses.  Hardly a person existed who was a beggar.  No one was miserly, cruel, unscholarly or irreligious.  All men and women were dutiful and disciplined. They were cheerful in conduct, and faultless in their character: each was like a Maharṣi!  Nobody was dirty.  Everyone smeared their bodies with fragrant sandalwood and used flower essence.  They dressed with appropriate head-covers and wore flower garlands.  They wore precious ornaments on their ears.  They had neck ornaments, wrist bangles, and armlets. No one ate unhygienic food. No one refused to give alms.  Everyone was sensible and courteous.  Each family maintained its own sacred fire, and everyone conducted their prescribed rituals.  No one was mean-spirited, or resorted to stealing or any immoral conduct.  Everyone maintained the rigor of social customs in marriage and child birth.  

The Brāhmins restrained themselves from sensory allurements.  They were busy in performing their own duties every day.  They would give alms and were engaged in their studies.  They lived a disciplined life and sustained themselves on charity.  It was rare to find a non-believer, someone untruthful, or someone unskilled in the Vedas.  No one exhibited jealousy, and no one was incapable.  It was hard to find anyone illiterate.   Everyone was well cultivated in the six branches of Vedic knowledge, and there was no one who would not keep a vow.  Everyone was kind; nobody was miserable.  Rarely was there a person who was disoriented or afflicted.  All people were blessed with splendid complexion and were loyal to the king.  People obeyed the social classifications[2] and worshipped the divinities as prescribed in the scriptures. They welcomed visitors warmly, and exhibited gratitude and generosity.  Following the path of righteousness and truthfulness, all people lived a long life blessed with their families, children and grandchildren.  The Kṣatriya followed the lead of the Brāhmaṇa, the Vaiśya followed the lead of the Kṣatriya, and the S’ūdra was busy in his work, supporting the three higher classes.

The city was well protected by the family of the Ikṣvāku clan, as did King Manu achieved in olden times.  Highly sensitive fire-brand warriors who were skilled in archery and war-craft kept a watch on the city as lions would watch a cave.  High quality horses were imported from Kamboja, Bahlika, Vanayu and the Indus area.  Elephants like Airavata, Mahapadma, Anjana, Vamana, Bhadra, Madra, Mriga, and cross-breeds among these, were brought in from the mountains of the Vindhyas and the Himalayas.   Massive elephants roamed the streets, ever ready for action.  Ayodhya was true to its name[3].  Residing there, the glorious King Dasaratha ruled the entire kingdom.  Having successfully vanquished all his enemies, King Daśaratha ruled his kingdom like the moon rules a field of stars.

“In this manner, the great city of Ayodhyā, true to its name, adorned by arches and gates, blessed with beautiful houses and a teeming population, was ruled by King Dasaratha, who was comparable to Lord Indra of the heaven!’

[1] Dharma, artha, kama – righteousness, wealth, children

[2] A four-tier classification is referred to in the Vedas: Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra, in that order.

[3] In Sanskrit, “Ayodhya” translates as “unbeatable.”