In this Kalamkari painting King Dasarath is shown pleading before the fire god Agnideva. Here colour patterns are nicely used to give the painting an attractive look. Here King Dasarath of Ayuddhya, is seen pleading before Fire God Agnidevta. There is an interesting story behind this yagnya.
Desiring for sons to continue the lineage of Ikshwaku dynasty, once King Dasaratha performed a Puthra Kameshtiyaga yajna. King Dasaratha had three wives – Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. He had one daughter named Santa through Kausalya earlier, whom he gave in adoption to his friend. She married Sage Rishyasringa. The yagna was conducted under the guidance of that couple. Finally, Agni Deva, the fire god emerged from the sacred homakunda with a vessel containing Payasam (sacred pudding) and gave it to Dasaratha to be distributed equally among his three queens. Kausalya and Kaikeyi received their share of the sacred pudding and took it to their puja rooms. Kausalya was the eldest queen and Kaikeyi’s father at the time of her marriage to Dasaratha had extracted a promise that the son to be born to her would be made the King of Ayodhya. Dasaratha cannot go back on his word, as per the tradition of Ikshwaku family.
However, Sumitra had no such desire. She carried her bowl to the terrace and placed it on the parapet wall, while drying her hair in the sun. She was in a pensive mood thinking that of no use it was to partake the pudding as her son to be born would have no claim to the throne like Kausalya and Kaikeyi.
While the queen was thus thinking about the future, an eagle swooped down and carried away the bowl containing the sacred pudding. She at once rushed downstairs and informed Kausalya and Kaikeyi about what had happened. They hugged Sumithra and consoled her, saying, “Sister why are you so much disturbed? We three are one and we will share our portion of the pudding with you”. So saying they brought their bowls and poured some quantity of pudding from each of their bowls into another bowl and offered it to Sumithra.
The queens took them to Sage Vasishta and obtained his blessings. Thereafter, they offered their pranams to King Dasaratha and happily partook the sacred pudding. All the three queens became pregnant.
In due course, Kausalya the eldest queen delivered a beautiful baby-boy who was named Rama. The Universal Atma embodied itself in the womb of Kausalya. He was named ‘Rama’, meaning he who makes one and all happy. Kaikeyi too gave birth to a son, who was named Bharata. Sumitra, however gave birth to two sons named Lakshmana and Satrughna. Lakshmana was born out of the share of pudding given by Kausalya and Satrughna from that given by Kaikeyi. Hence, Lakshmana always followed Rama while Satrughna followed Bharatha.
Sumitra’s two sons, Lakshmana and Satrughna, were crying all the time, day and night without even taking food. Sumitra could not bear the suffering of the infants. She went to sage Vasishta and explained to him of her predicament. Sage Vasishta closed his eyes and meditated for sometime. His yogic vision enabled him to realise the truth. He explained to Sumitra: “Since you partook of the sacred pudding given by Kausalya, you gave birth to Lakshmana who is an amsa (part) of Rama. Similarly, Satrughna is born out of the share of pudding given to you by Kaikeyi. So, he is a part of Bharata. Put Lakshmana by the side of Rama and Satrughna by the side of Bharata. Then, they will rest peacefully.” As soon as Sumitra acted accordingly, the babies became peaceful. As years passed, the four brothers grew up happily together.
Legends say that the eagle carried the bowl and dropped it at a place where Anjanadevi was in deep meditation. She picked up the bowl and happily ate the sacred pudding. As a result, she gave birth to the great hero of Ramayana, namely, Hanuman.