Journal of Vaishnava Studies



How to Cite

William L. Smith. (2022). Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 12(2), 137–150. Retrieved from (Original work published May 11, 2022)


We can start our review of Råma material in Såra¬å Dåsa’s Mahåhårata with his version of the Råmopåkhyånå, an abbreviated version of the Råmåyana, from the Vana Parvan3 of the original Mahåbhårata. According to Vyåsa, when Yudhisthira was depressed by his forest exile, the sage Markandeya pointed out that he was not the first person to suffer such a fate and told
him the story of Råma to comfort him. In the Sanskrit Råmopåkhyånå the entire Råmåyana story is retold in some detail while Såra¬å Dåsa’s Råmåyana is more selective: the Oriya poet relates a few episodes at length and glosses over the rest of the story. As in Vyåsa, this abbreviated Råmåya∫a is narrated to Yudhisthira by Marka∫∂eya. It begins with an account of the friendship of King Dasaratha with Indra. One day Indra decided to invite Dasaratha to heaven for a visit and sent his charioteer Måtali to Ayodhyå to fetch him.
Dasaratha told his wife Kaikeyî to watch over his kingdom while he was gone and went off with Måtali. In heaven the king was welcomed and feted by the gods. After Dasaratha had been gone for several days, Kaikeyî’s fertile period began so she sent her maidservant Mantharå to heaven to fetch her husband home to perform his husbandly duties. Mantharå flew to
heaven and informed the king. When he heard this, Dasaratha eagerly hurried back to earth in an aerial chariot, and in the rush flew so low over the cow, mother Kapilå, that his feet, which were dangling from the chariot, brushed her horns. Deeply insulted, Kapilå cursed Dasaratha to be childless for being so careless because he was overcome with lust for his wife. A
repentant Dasaratha then devoted himself to serving Kapilå day and night in order to often her heart and convince her to lift the curse. Hundreds, then thousands of years passed but Kapilå still did not feel inclined to show mercy to the king. Finally Kapilå decided to test Dasaratha and created a tiger from her power of illusion. When the tiger threatened to devour Kapilå, Dasaratha told it to eat him instead. Impressed, Kapilå removed the curse and told Dasaratha that Brahmå, Visnu, Shiva and Indra would be born as his four sons. 

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