We all know the epic of Ramayana and how Rama played a vital role in overthrowing the demon of Ravana who had kidnapped Sita. However, little is known about King Dasharatha – Lord Rama’s father. Dasharatha was born to King Aja of Kosala and Indumati of Vidarbha. He is said to be an incarnation of Dronavasu Brahmin who had received a boon from Lord Vishnu to be born as a human in the Satya Yuga.
His actual name was Nemi but he soon became to be known as Dasharatha (Dasha = 10, Ratha = Chariot) because of his ability to move the chariot in all ten directions. He became a mighty warrior and learn the art of warcraft and archery soon to become the conqueror of the world. He defeated several Asuras and was respected by everyone in the kingdom. He became the king of Kosala after his father died due to old age.
A very interesting story about king Dasharatha is how he got a curse that made him die in old age out of pain and immeasurable grief. It is the story of Shravana and his death by Dasharatha. Shravana is popularly known to us as the ideal son who did everything he could to make sure that his parents got whatever they desired.
One day, Shravana was carrying his parents in a cradle-like structure he had designed. They were very happy but the journey made them thirsty and tired. They had reached a forest and could hear a river nearby. They requested their son to get them water and quench their thirst. Shravana did not waste a moment and headed to the river.
Dasharatha had gone out to hunt in the forest. His archery skills were so good that he could easily locate the source of sound and hit at the source without looking at it. Quite some time had passed and Dashratha had found no animal. Suddenly, he heard the voice of someone drinking water from the nearby river. He launched his arrow and his flawless aim caught the target. A cry followed. He was shocked and heartbroken when he heard a voice of a human being instead of a deer. He rushed to the spot and saw that his arrow had killed Shravana.
Dasharatha apologised for the miserable and horrific deed he had committed. Shravana pleaded with him to give water to his parents and inform them about his death. Dasharatha agreed and he removed the arrow from Shravan’s chest and freed him from his mortal form.
Dasharatha went to Shravana’s parents and narrated the event to them. They were shocked and heartbroken to hear such heartwrenching news. They could not handle themselves and in the fit of anger and despair, they cursed Dasharatha that he would face a similar situation. His son would not be with him when he would need his son the most. Shravana’s parents then died of grief and despair. Dasharatha felt miserable and had to live with the guilt of killing an innocent son and causing immense pain to his parents.