CHENNAI: The theory of Karma implies that every individual is answerable to his actions, both good and bad. By this it is understood that each one will have to face the consequences of all deeds one performs — the rewards in the case of the former and the punishment in the case of the latter and this is manifest as the joys and sorrows one experiences. Nowhere is this most convincingly illustrated than in the life of Dasaratha whose last days were plunged in the unbearable sorrow of separation from his beloved son Lord Rama, pointed out Kalyanapuram Sri R. Aravamudhachariar in a lecture. Every person is morally responsible for his or her acts, words and thoughts, so each person’s Karma is entirely his or her own. An individual has the capacity to shape his future by treading the present in the right manner and the truth of the saying “As a man sows, so shall he reap” is the basis of the law of Karma.

Having had the unique fortune of being the father of the Supreme Being, Dasaratha missed the privilege of having Him at his deathbed. The circumstances that caused the separation from Lord Rama had left him in a state of extreme distress. It was then that he recalled the incident in his youth when as a skilled archer who could target by mere sound without perception, he had once aimed an arrow at what he presumed to be an elephant drinking water in a nearby lake. On hearing the agonised shouts of the victim he ran to the lake and realised his misfortune — he was the cause of the death of an only son of aged and blind parents. The victim cried out helplessly at the thought that they will have no one to protect them after his death and requested the king to carry the water to his parents, as his dying wish.

The righteous Dasaratha took the water to the old couple who became equally shaken and shocked and in inconsolable grief cursed Dasaratha that he too would undergo similar pangs of the grief of separation from his sons during his last moments.

Though it was a sin committed unthinkingly and unknowingly, Dasaratha had to face the consequences and was right now feeling the effect of his past deed.