In the Hindu epic Ramayana
, Kaushalya is described as the first wife of King Dasaratha
, emperor of Ayodhya
. She was the mother Lord Rama
and she was extremely fond of him. Kaushalya had a perfect and liberal character. In her previous birth she was born as Manushataroopa and had pleased Lord Vishnu
with her penance. Manushataroopa was blessed that in her next birth she will be the mother of the Lord. Rama was born to Kaushalya as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
In the `Ayodhyakaand`, it is said that Kaushalya was delighted when it was decided that Lord Rama would be crowned as the new king of Ayodhya. King Dasaratha had once made a promise to Kaikeyi, another wife of him to grant her two boons. Kaikeyi
had utilized the occasion of getting her boons granted. When Rama was declared to be the would-be- king she deceitfully claimed compelled Dasaratha to send Rama and his wife for fourteen years of exile and crown her son Bharata
as the king.
Kaushalya was shocked to hear this when Rama himself informed her that he was dethroned and Bharata, his younger brother would be made the Yuvaraja. It is illustrated in Ramayana that `she fell down to the earth like the bough of a Saul tree lopped by the axe of a forester` when she heard the news that Rama will not become the king.
Kaushalya was very truthful to Dasaratha. For a few moments, because of the love for her son, she became weak but Shri Rama`s sermon regarding the faithfulness of a chaste woman, made her realize her mistake and she decided to be present beside her husband at that time of crises.
Kaushalya was very happy when she heard that Sita
, wife of Rama would go with him in the forest. Kaushalya suggested Sita that she should follow her husband in every situation and never neglect him. Sita respected her mother-in-law`s advice. Sita knew the duties of a woman towards her husband as she had received education on this at her father`s house. Sita told Kaushalya that just as the light of the Moon cannot be separated from it, just as the strings are needed in Veena to create sounds, as a chariot without wheels cannot move, in the same way, a woman cannot live happily without her husband even though she might have hundred sons.
After the departure of Rama to the forest, his father Dasaratha came to meet Kaushalya. She spoke insolently to him out of anger. Dasaratha identifying the reason of her pain begged her pardon for being helpless.
Then Kaushalya realized her mistake and she started crying. She lamented her action and felt sorry for her reaction. After Rama`s exit, Dasaratha was grief stricken. He stopped eating, drinking and talking and became motionless. A terror spread among the subjects of Ayodhya seeing him in this condition. At this time Kaushalya forgot her own pain and consoled Dasaratha. Kaushalya requested Dasaratha to have control on his sorrows as being the master of the ship he has great responsibilities on his shoulders of saving the lives of his subjects. She also said him to have patience and persistence then in the future he will certainly see Rama, Lakshmana
Kaushalya loved both Rama and Bharata
. She never differentiated between the two brothers. Bharata was the son of Kaikeyi. When Bharata returned from his maternal grandparent`s palace and heard that Rama had been sent into exile, and dethroned then he was very distressed. In this situation Kaushalya consoled him and felt as if Rama had returned from exile. She assured Bharata not to feel guilty as Bharata was not responsible for what had happened. It was Kaala or time which was to blame for Rama`s exile.
After Dasaratha`s death Bharata refused to be the emperor of Ayodhya, regardless of the insistence of sage Vasishtha. Then Kaushalya requested Bharata to follow the instructions of the sage as Rama`s exile was caused by destiny. He must become the king for the welfare of the inhabitant Ayodhya. Thus Kaushalya loved the people of Ayodhya.
Kaushalya was an ideal character. However when Rama returned to Ayodhya after fourteen years of exile, she ran towards him, identical to a cow runs towards her calf. Kaushalya could not control her emotions which she had restricted for the last fourteen years after seeing his son.
Shri Rama became the king of Ayodhya and after that Kaushalya led a serene life and received all the benefits of her virtues and duties. Her son conveyed to her all the divine knowledge and her soul was enlightened.