By the boon of Shri Hari (Lord Vishnu), Manu was born in Ayodhya. Manu came to be known as the king Dashrath.
Dashrath too was a great protector of his subjects. He had a large army. Great sages like Vashishth, Gautam, Markandey were present in his court.
Having an ideal king and a cabinet full of pious virtues, the subjects of Ayodhya were also prosperous and happy. The people followed the religious path. Even the Gods were ready to help Dashrath. Once, by mistake he killed Shravankumar who was the son of a blind parents. His parents too then gave up their lives. To observe an atonement for his mistake, Dashrath organized severe oblations. He gave away one million cows, hundred million gold coins and four hundred million silver coins as donations.
For long, Dashrath had pined to see the face of his children though he had 3 queens. Hence, to have sons, he organized Putreshti Yajna in which sage Sringi presided over the rituals.
All the Gods and the sages prayed Vishnu to take incarnation in Dashrath's home. He accepted their prayers and so YogyaPurush himself appeared from the altar carrying a golden bowl filled with Kheer(rice cooked in milk). Handing it over to Dashrath, the YogyaPurush said: " O king,Take it and feed it to your queens." Gladly, the king took the kheer and fed half of it to Kaushalya, the eldest queen. Dividing the remaining part into two, he fed one part to his favourite queen Kaikayee. Halving the remaining part again, he gave one each to Kaushalya and Kaikayee. However, they did not eat instead gave them to Sumitra, the youngest queen.
By the virtue of the kheer, Shri Rama was born to Kaushalya and Bharat was born to Kaikayee while Sumitra gave birth to Lakshman and Shatrughana. Thus, the god appeared in four different forms at Dashrath's home.
All the four sons were equally dear to Dashrath. Yet Dashrath had special love and attachment for Rama,as he waited several years for the arrival of the Lord.When sage Vishwamitra begged for Rama and Lakshman for the protection of his Yagyas, Dashrath at first showed his reluctance. Rama was only 15 years of age then. He gave them (Rama and Lakshman) to the sage only when the sage convinced him.
Appointing the eldest son as the heir to the throne was a common tradition in ancient India. Abdication by Bharat and his continence proved helpful in the king's desire as well. But the Lord manipulated the mind of Kaikayee and thus accomplished many tasks at once. The Lord appeared so that morals could be established in the world. Among them, 12 morals are the main ones:
- Guarding of truth by Dashrath and his love for Rama.
- Exile of Rama and killing of demons.
- Abdication by Bharat and his ideal love for his brother.
- Abidance to celibacy by Lakshman,and his loyalty to Rama.
- Ideal and pious faithfulness of Sita for her husband.
- Kaushalya's love for her son, daughter-in-law,and for her husband.
- Sumitra's love for Rama, her abdication.
- Discharge of duty for Rama by Kaikayee despite facing severe criticism from her.
- Selfless love and devotion of Hanuman for Rama.
- Taking refuge at Rama by Vibhishan.
- Ideal friendship of Rama with Sugreev.
- Killing of the demons like Ravana and their salvation.
If Rama had not gone in exile, these morals would not have been established. Dasrath breathed his last reciting Rama's name.Breathing his last in the separation of Rama, he put an ideal. No one would be more fortunate than Dashrath who constantly had sight of Rama in his life, who lived his life for Rama and breathed his last reciting Rama's name.
When Rama had killed Ravana and conquered Lanka, he was coming back to Ayaodhya in Pushpak Viman. On the way, Mahadev(Shiva) facilitated a sight of Dashrath for him. Dashrath took Rama in his lap and talked to him lovingly. He said to Lakshman then: " Sumitranandan, you always stay at the service of Rama. It would be benevolent for you." Indra and other Gods, the universe and all the great sages and saints revere Lord Rama. Such a great ascetic, Rama is the Supreme Being (Para Brahma).