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The Selfless Love and Sacrifice of Mother Kaikeyi for Shree Ram

Jun 25th, 2024 | 2 Min Read
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Category: Philosophy of Divine Love


Language: English

Selfless love and service are the ultimate goals of bhakti. While worldly love has a self-seeking attitude, divine love brims with a desire for the happiness of the Supreme God alone. Divine love fosters a giving attitude without expecting anything in return. While worldly love enmeshes us in darkness and ignorance, divine love enlightens and liberates us.

The materially motivated minds cannot engage in such devotion, but the devotee with this knowledge rises to the level of selflessness. This kind of love is all about self-sacrifice or ātmāhuti. Such a devotee is Mother Kaikeyi. We all know how Bharat feels about the separation of Shree Ram during his exile. However, the lesser-known fact is that Mother Kaikeyi endures far greater pain of viraha (separation) from her beloved Ram. Since Ram's birth, she loves him more than her son, Bharat. One day, Ram puts her love through an excruciating test. She succeeds gracefully yet is paying a heavy price through a defamed name for centuries.

Ram says to Kaikeyi in Adhyatma Ramayan:
"Mother, those people will blame you, who have not understood the secret of Ram Katha by satsang."

Kaikeyi is so fond of Ram that she has been around him since he was a little boy. Once, when Ram is an adolescent, he asks her, "Mother, do you really love me?" 

Kaikeyi replies: "More than anything else."

Ram says that the time has come for him to do what he has come to do on earth, and for which he needs her help. He says, "I need to ask you something. Will you do it?"

Kaikeyi answers, "Whatever you ask."

Ram cautions her that whatever he asks will have disastrous consequences for her. Kaikeyi listens, unperturbed. Ram reveals to her that people in the forest are waiting for him. Shabri is waiting in her hut in the forest. Also, he has to kill the rakshasas and establish dharma. Hence, he needs a reason to go to the forest. And he wants her to be the reason. When the time comes, he would inspire her to create an obstacle for him to become the king. Kaikeyi thinks that this is the most terrible thing to do. But if this is what Ram wants, she will do it. 

She decides to distance herself from Ram so that she gets the strength to commit that atrocious deed of asking the boons from her husband, knowing fully well that she would be ostracised forever. Yet, such is the sacrificing nature of her love for Ram that she says, "If for your sake I get a bad name, I don't mind." And thus, she bears the blame for being the evil mother from Tretayug till today. 

Sage Narad defines pure devotion as: 
तत् सुख सुखित्वं
tat sukha sukhitvam
Narad Bhakti Darshan 24.18
It means that true love is for Bhagawan's happiness. When someone learns to love God in this manner, God becomes a slave of that devotee. And so does Bhagawan Ram. He pays his respects to Mother Kaikeyi and says to her, "You are my dear Mother, and you will come with me to my Saket Lok." 
The essence of selfless love is sacrifice, and Kaikeyi's sacrifice for her beloved son Ram is unparalleled.

Many more untold secrets of the Ramayan define the bedrock of Indian culture and heritage. It is our responsibility to discover more profound truths embedded in our holy texts and live a life of noble virtues presented in the ideals of our eternal scriptures. When we imbibe these and pass them on to future generations, we as a civilisation stand firm to the test of time, circumstances, and external influences.