King Dasaratha wishes to do a big sacrifice called the Putra Kameshti with the desire that he would beget sons to be his predecessors. He had, however, a daughter by name Santha. She was given to Romapada, the king of Anga, for adoption.
In this Anga Desha, there was a severe famine. Only if a very noble soul set foot on the soil of the kingdom would it rain. So Sumantara, minister of Dasaratha, was narrating what could be done to lure him to the kingdom of Romapada. What connection did that have with Dasaratha? Well, that was the climax of the story.
This Rishya Shringa grew up without seeing any woman, as an innocent boy in the forest. It was his father’s desire to raise him.
How was this Rishya Shringa to be lured away? The family priest of the king told him to send beautifully dressed courtesans to the hermitage of the sage Vibhandaka, Rishya Shringa’s father. The women
gathered together and were playfully conversing in the woodlands near Shringaverapura, a little outside
the rishi’s house.
By chance, one day Rishya Shringa came out of the hermitage and was enthralled by the sight of women he saw, singing and dancing to themselves. When the women saw Rishya Shringa, they went up to him and asked who he was and how he was seen roaming in the forest alone. He mentioned about his father’s hermitage and invited the women there, offering the guests hospitality and worship.
The women spent some time at his hermitage, took leave and offered him sweets and fruits and gave an embracing goodbye too. Rishya Shringa was thinking all the time about the women and the tasty sweets which he thought were fruits as he had never seen anything like this till then in the forest. The women left as they were afraid to encounter his father Rishi Vibhandaka.
Rishya Shringa, the next day, went looking out for the women and found them near the riverside. They invited him to their hermitage promising song, dance and entertainment of the city. He was so enamoured by their speech that he left for the kingdom of Romapada on a boat across the River Ganga with the women. The moment he set foot on Anga Desha, it began to pour and the king put his head down to his feet, bowed and welcomed him. As a mark of gratitude, he gave his daughter Santha in marriage to Rishya Shringa.
Having heard this, King Dasaratha called on Romapada to request Santha and Rishya Shringa to come to his kingdom and do the Putra Kameshti yagna. With Sage Vasishta, the family priest of the Ikshwaku dynasty, agreeing to the proposal, the King made the announcements and necessary preparations for the yagna.
The author is Acharya, Chinmaya Mission, Tiruchi firstname.lastname@example.org