Sumantra is the charioteer and an important minister in Dasaratha’s court. Prosperity and contentment reign in the kingdom of Ayodhya under Dasaratha’s righteous rule. The only regret for Dasaratha is that he has no children. He wishes to perform Aswamedha yagna to beget children. He consults with his ministers regarding this. Sumantra then remembers a piece of information that Sanatkumara had foretold in Krita Yuga in the assembly of learned sages. Incidentally, Sumantra seems to have served the Ikshvaku kings since very ancient times. Sanatkumara then had said that Dasaratha, a future king in the Ikshvaku race, who would remain childless for long, would beget four sons who would uphold the tradition of their lineage when he conducts the Aswamedha yagna under the auspices of sage Rishyasringa. It was told that he would befriend the king of Anga region, one Romapada, and would request him to send his daughter and son-in-law Rishyasringa to Ayodhya for the conduct of the yaga. It is thus clear that things will happen at the appropriate and ordained time in the lives of people even as the auspicious words of wise sages become true in due course of time, pointed out Sri Krishnamurthy Sastrigal in a discourse. Accordingly, Dasaratha honours Rishyasringa and invites him to Ayodhya and preparations for the Aswamedha yagna begin in full swing.
At the same time, the celestial beings headed by Brahma are assembled to receive the sacrificial offerings. All of them are anxious about dealing with Ravana’s atrocities. Brahma had granted him invincibility against death from any being on earth or heaven, except humans whom he treated as despicable and worthless. Now Brahma propitiates Vishnu to provide a solution to this dilemma and Vishnu promises to eradicate Ravana. The Lord chooses to be born as four sons to Dasaratha who is performing yagna according to Vedic rites. A divine being comes out of the fire with a bowl of payasam and orders Dasaratha to give it to his wives who would soon beget sons.
Great planning takes place and celestial beings also decide to help Vishnu. They are born as monkeys and bears to assist Rama in killing Ravana.
Corrections and Clarifications
The following sentences need to be recast with the respective italicised words given in brackets.
1.) He wishes to perform Aswamedha yagna to beget children. (a yagna ).
2.) Sanatkumara then had said that Dasaratha ,…, would beget four sons … when he conducts the Aswamedha yagna under the auspices of sage Rishyasringa. ( a yagna).
3.) Accordingly, Dasaratha honours Rishyasringa and invites him to Ayodhya and preparations for the Aswamedha yagna begin in full swing. (Aswamedha yagna followed by putra kameshti yagna).