(Last Updated on : 12/02/2009)
The term 'Aja' means the unborn and it is also the proper name of a mythical prince. The unborn or Aja is associated with the name of Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu and also of Kama or Cupid. Aja is also the name of Raghu and father of Dasaratha.
The story of Aja is taken from the Raghuvansa of Kalidasa. The childhood and youth of Aja are described in glowing terms. In good time, he was sent by his father to the Swayamvara of the princess Indumati Devi, daughter of the Raja of Vidarbha. On their way, they were taking rest when the camp was disturbed by a wild elephant. Aja ordered to shoot the elephant. As soon as he was the elephant was pierced by an arrow, a figure of great magnificence emerged from the body of the elephant. This figure then told that he was formerly a gandharva but for mocking a holy Rishi, he was cursed to be born in an insane elephant. Later, when he begged for mercy, he was told that he would be released by the son of Raghu Maharaja called Aja on his way to be married. He then gave Aja the arrows used by the gandharvas and instructed him how to use them.
When Aja arrived at the capital of Vidarbharaya, he was welcomed with great respect and was selected amongst all the assembled princes by the fair Indumati Devi. She informed her choice by herself putting the garland on the neck of Aja. Aja obtained a complete victory by means of the arrows received from the gandharva. Returning to his father's kingdom along with his beautiful bride, he took over the throne and reigned prudently for many years. Then, he was blessed with a son named Dasaratha, the father of Rama. After his birth, his beloved wife Indumati Devi was killed by the fall of Narada's garland, when asleep in an arbor of the summer palace. Aja is said to have ascended to Indra's paradise, leaving his body between the rivers Ganges and Sarayu.