King Dasaratha's four sons

Image showing the birth of the four divine sons of King Dasaratha. Dasaratha ruled a land called Koshada in northern India and his capital was Ayodha. He was unhappy however because he had no heirs. The Gods decided to grant him four sons, so that Vishnu could be reborn as a human being. A messenger of the Gods visited Dasaratha with magical food which he should feed to his wives. He gave half the food to his first wife Kausalya, one sixth to his youngest wife Kaikeyi and the rest to Sumitra, his middle wife. Eventually they all gave birth: Kausalya to Rama, who was one half of Vishnu, Kaikeyi to Bharata who was one sixth of Vishnu and Sumitra to twins, Lakshmana and Satrughna, who were both one sixth of Vishnu.

In this image, Dasaratha is seated under a white canopy. Inside the palace, on the top floor to the left is Queen Sumitra with her twins. On the top floor to the right is Queen Kausalya with Rama. On the bottom floor is Queen Kaikeyi with Bharata. Meanwhile in the street, the people of Ayodhya dance and sing in the streets in celebration at the royal births.

This image is taken from the Bala Kanda (first book of the Ramayana) from a manuscript produced in Udaipur, India in 1712.

Taken from: Ramayana from Udaipur
Author / Creator: unknown
Publisher: none
Date: 1712
Copyright: By permission of the British Library Board
Shelfmark: Add. 15295 f.56