Human life is governed by destiny and each individual is caught in its grip. Though the Lord is not bound by the kind of karma that shapes the course of ordinary human beings, His Sankalpa forms the basis of all His incarnations, said Sri Keeranur Ramamurthy in a discourse. For instance, Vishwamitra’s entry into Ayodhya in the Ramayana is itself a matter of destiny. The role of this sage is to lead Rama to Janaka’s court and pave the way for the wedding of the divine couple who have incarnated to demonstrate that life’s value lies in tyaga or sacrifice and that God’s will guides the destiny of the human race collectively and individually. Similarly, Manthara’s role is also pivotal and destined to bring about far-reaching changes which actually enabled the divine couple to get ahead with the purpose of their incarnation.

Dasaratha’s household is a picture of harmony where the princes grow up under the care of the royal mothers who shower impartial love towards all the four boys with no trace of possessiveness. Kaikeyi brings up Rama while Bharata grows under the care of Kausalya. Lakshmana is teamed with Rama even as Shatrugna is with Bharata.

None could have imagined how Manthara, a handmaid in Kaikeyi’s service, could cause a dent in this unique relationship. She manoeuvres to bring about a total change in Kaikeyi by turning her against Rama. She conjures a gloomy future for Kaikeyi and Bharata under Rama’s rule. Had not the king promised Kaikeyi’s father that the kingdom would go to Kaikeyi’s son? Then why this hurry to coronate Rama when Bharata is away? Should not Kaikeyi demand the rights for her son? She should invoke the two boons due from Dasaratha to stop the coronation, make Bharata the king and banish Rama to the forest.