Rama married Sita after lifting the bow. Interestingly, Lakshmana, Bharata, and Shatrughan also married Sita’s cousins. Lakshmana married Urmila, Bharat married Mandvi, and Shatrughan married Shrutakirti. Festivities spread around in Mithila as well as Ayodhya. Dasharatha felt happy and now decided that it was a good time to hand over the throne to his eldest and retire from the affairs of the kingdom and wars. However, while these thoughts occupied Dasharatha’s mind, Kaikeyi was getting different ideas and influences about the future of the kingdom.
Manthara, Kaikeyi’s maid heavily influenced her ideas and attitudes. Manthara gave her a future scenario where Rama would be the king while Bharat, her son would be no more than a noble servant of the king. She brainwashed Kaikeyi to make sure that she listens to her request. Manthara also showed a way to achieve this dream that she put in Kaikeyi’s mind- the three wishes that she had received on the battlefield from Dasharatha. Kaikeyi strongly opposed and deterred the idea of doing such a bad thing to her own stepson and going against her husband’s wish. But Manthara made sure that she sows the seed of insecurity in Kaikeyi’s mind.
Finally, Kaikeyi had been brainwashed enough to go and talk to Dasharatha about this. Dasharatha was heartbroken to hear this wish and could not even think about such a plight. Kaikeyi had no choice but to remind him of the three wishes that he had promised to her. She had asked for the three wishes – The first was to remove Rama as the king of Ayodhya, the second to make Bharata as the king of Ayodhya, and the third was to send Rama to 14 years of exile in the forest. Dasharatha fainted due to enormous pain hearing such a heartwrenching request from his beloved wife. He could not fathom the reality to happen in front of him.
Soon, Rama came to check on his father’s health and was curious to know what was concerning him so badly. He could not hear from his father the wishes Kaikeyi had asked for. Kaikeyi stood up for herself and told him her wishes. He asked Dasharatha if that was the case. Dasharatha nodded and agreed to the description that Kaikeyi had given. Rama agreed to the wishes and said that it was not a problem or a matter of sadness for him at all. He started preparing to leave Ayodhya for his exile. Sita and Laxman had also agreed to accompany him and he could not refuse them.
Rama left for exile and just after 6 days of his going, Dasharatha passed away in grief. While Rama was gone, Kaikeyi felt miserable for what she had done and blamed herself for Dashratha’s death. Bharata was furious at his mother and had sworn to never call her mother again. Rama came to the palace to discover all this. He convinced Bharata to rule the kingdom on his behalf and also convinced him that his mother only wanted the best for him and that is what every mother wants. Bharata agreed and ruled the kingdom until Rama completed his exile.