Dasaratha addressed Kausalya and said: “My time on this mortal world is nearly over” and continued: “I have committed a grave sin and had a curse from a saint to the effect that I should die pining in grief in the absence of all of my sons. That time has reached at my door steps. Saints are pure souls and next to God. Their words of curse may not go false.”
The old king with remorse and repentance recounted the incidence to the queen:
“It was before my marriage. I was a very active youth and sport, particularly hunting, was my favorite pastime. I was a master in the rare art of Shrawanagrahi, hitting the arrow at the exact target hearing sounds in the dark.
One evening I was waiting impatiently amidst the forest for the sound of any wild animal. Time passed off and it was dense dark. Suddenly, I could hear a noise of an elephant drawing water through its trunk from the pond nearby. I aimed my unerring arrow to the destination of the origin of the sound. I darted my arrow.” Dasaratha stopped for a while, took a deep breath and continued:
“Providence changed my destiny. Instead of an elephant’s roar I was expecting, there was a human cry:
“O God, I am hurt…What a destiny! I am badly hurt…”
“All my enthusiasm and ecstasy vanished into vapour and perspiration. I ran towards the spot of origin of the human cry. It was a terrifying scene. It was a young ascetic. I, with supplicant hands, fell at his feet and apologised. I am Dasaratha, king of Ayodhya and my folly of inadvertent error may kindly be pardoned.”
“O king,” said the ascetic: “The pain that is inflicted by your arrow is intolerable. Please pull it out. I am the only son to my parents and they are waiting for me to return with water for their late evening ablutions. They are blind and very weak. Take me to them and narrate the entire event. They will not blame you. Be quick.”
Carrying the ascetic on his shoulder, the king walked hastily to the hermitage of the old saints. Both of them were waiting anxiously for the boy. As they heard the footsteps they thought that it was their son and said warmly:
“My dear son, why are you so late? Blind as we are, you know, we don’t have any support other than you. Please give the water you have brought so that we can finish our rituals. Why don’t you speak up? Are you tired of us?”
With an uncontrollable sense of guilt, sorrow and fear, Dasaratha told them in stammering:
“Maharishi, I beg your pardon. I am king Dasaratha of Ayodhya and I have unwillingly committed a crime that no one can excuse.”
Then he narrated the entire story. Hearing this, the old couple gave loud cries beating on their chests with fists:
“Our son darling, you have never hurt even an ant. Then how could you incur such a bad destiny? You are very soft spoken and respectful for others and many praised us for having a son like you. Now you have also deserted us. If you go to the heaven, leaving this old couple, who would care for us? Who will do our last rites? Without you we also renounce this mortal life.”
Then they asked Dasaratha to prepare a funeral pyre which he did very quickly. They took the body of their departed son and placed it on the funeral bed. When the fire flames lit large, the old couple also jumped into the pyre immolating them along with their son while Dasaratha helplessly looked on.
“Kausalya, dear, before jumping into the pyre they gave me a curse. They said: Dasaratha, may you die a sad death, with none of your sons nearby.”
“Haha…Rama…Rama…my son…O Lord Parameswara…” and he breathed his last.