Once there was a fierce battle between the gods
and the demons in the forest of Dandaka. King Dasaratha went to help
Indra and was accompanied by Queen Kaikeyi. In the fierce battle with the
great demon Shambara, Dasaratha fell to the ground and lost
consciousness. Kaikeyi quickly drove the chariot away from the battlefield
and thus saved his life. The king was very pleased and grateful and
granted her two boons.
Years later, King Dasaratha decided to let his sons take over the reigns
of Ayodhya. He wanted to crown Rama as the next king.
Kaikeyi's personal maid, Manthara, was a very sharp and wicked lady.
She went to the queen and told her that this decision was unjust and
that Kaikeyi's son, Bharata, was more deserving and should crowned king
instead. Kaikeyi said that she was happy because even Rama was like her
own child and moreover, Bharata was very loyal to Rama. At this,
Manthara retorted that Rama would become the king and they would all
become paupers. She tried to poison Kaikeyi's mind against Rama.
She reminded Kaikeyi of Dasaratha's promises and said this was the
opportune time for her to reclaim those two wishes.
Kaikeyi was influenced by Manthara's devious plan and under her evil
advice, Kaikeyi reminded Dasaratha crown Bharata king and send Rama into
exile for fourteen years.