Long ago, in India, there lived a king called Dasharath. Ayodhya was the capital of his kingdom (It is a part of Uttar Pradesh present day India). Dasharath had three queens, Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. Rama was the son of queen Kausalya, Lakshman and Shatrughna were the sons of Sumitra, and Bharat was the son of Kaikeyi. Everyone loved Rama, because of His good nature and truthful character. Rama, being the eldest son of the king, was the heir to the throne.
When King Dasharath grew old, he decided to retire and make Rama the crown king of Ayodhya. As the day of coronation came near, the city started to prepare for the occasion and the queens were happy for the upcoming event. However, things did not go according to King Dasharath’s plan.
A wicked woman, Manthara, who was Queen Kaikeyi’s maid, said to Queen Kaikeyi, “Why are you so happy about Rama’s coronation? Don’t you realize that from now on you will not be as respected as Kausalya and your son Bharat will be totally ignored?”
Queen Kaikeyi said, “What nonsense you talk! I love Rama and he is the heir!”
“Not if you change things,” said Manthara in a devilish voice. By now, Kaikeyi was feeling afraid that her maid might be right about her own son Bharat being ignored after Rama becomes king.
“But how can I?” asked Kaikeyi hesitatingly. Manthara told Kaikeyi her plan.
As per the plan, Queen Kaikeyi went to King Dasharath and said, “Do you recall the promise you had made to me when I saved your life in the battle field? You had said that you would fulfill two of my wishes?”
“Yes, my queen,” said Dasharath, “I remember that and I will keep my promise. Ask for what you desire!”
Kaikeyi coldly announced, “Crown my son Bharat as the King and banish Rama to the forest for fourteen years.”
King Dasharath was stunned into silence. He or his ancestors had never broken a promise. What could he do now? His happiness and peace had all been stolen from him instantly. Reluctantly, the king whispered to his attendant, “Go and get Rama.”
When Rama arrived, his father was far too sad to speak. It was Kaikeyi, who spoke, “Bharat is to be the King and you are to be banished for fourteen years.”
“Is this what my dear father desires?” asked Rama.
“Your father is keeping his promise to me.” Kaikeyi answered.
“Then I must honor my father’s word. If a promise is made, it must be kept. Let Bharat be the king. I will leave for the exile immediately.”
When Sita (Rama’s wife), Lakshman (Rama’s half-brother) and Bharat (Rama’s half-brother) came to know about this, they too, insisted on accompanying Rama into exile. However, Rama made sure that Bharat stayed behind to look after the kingdom, as per his father’s promise. Then Rama and Sita, along with brother Lakshmana, left Ayodhya.
Rama, his devoted wife Sita and brother Lakshmana remained in exile in a forest called Dandakaranya for 14 years. During the exile, Rama became the savior of the Sages in the forest, and the destroyer of the demons and the evil king, Ravana.
Moral: Dear friends, even something so small as losing a chance for a birthday party would make us very unhappy and upset. ShriRam was told not only to leave the chance to be king, but also to go and live for 14 years in a forest, away from everyone and everything He loved. However, ShriRam obeyed without any sorrow or anger. This and many other instances in the life story of ShriRam show His Godly qualities like obedience, love and courage. Though we are not perfect like ShriRam, we can someday become perfect like Him, by developing good qualities in ourselves.