THE IDEAL KING OF AN IDEAL KINGDOM
Act I. Scene I
PLACE: A Public Street in Ayodhya.
TIME : Night (Shortly after the Coronation of Sri Rama and Sita.)
[When the scene opens a large congregation of citizens of all castes and denominations, men and women, old and young, high and low, is seen with musical instruments etc., singing repeatedly and continuously the song:
"Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram
Pathitha Pavana Sita Ram"
[Enter on one side Sri Rama and Sita in disguise.
The congregation slowly moves off the stage.]
Rama: Has this world witnessed such a thing ever before? Sita, dear!
Sita: Which thing, My Lord?
Rama: Such ecstatic devotion, such surging emotion, such love and loyalty, such praise and prayer by subjects to their rulers, by the common people to their King and Queen.
Sita: It seems the subjects of Rama Raj. What is there to be surprised at?
Rama: Do you know whom they are celebrating?
Sita: Of course you, My Lord, whom else?
Rama: No, my dear, not me,. They are celebrating not me, but the Scion of the Raghu’s race; not me, but the Husband of Sita.
Sita: Indeed! Who is that Scion of Raghu’s race? Who is that husband of Sita?
Rama: Sita, my love! The individual may be the same. But he may have several characters and aspects. Obviously they celebrate me merely as the descendant of the Great Raghu and as the husband of yourself, my dear.
Sita: That only shows My Lord, that you can be proud of your great race and need not be ashamed your spouse.
Sita: Be all that as it may. You have not answered my question Sita. Whether you have witnessed such a scene ever before.
Rama: Well do you think it has?
Sita: Well, My Lord, I think not. I am sure it has not. Of course I have seen no such thing even when your further the great Emperor ruled over this land. Nor have I seen anything like it with regard to my father, although he was also held in great esteem, as if he were a Maharshi himself.
Rama: I also believe not. Is it not wonderful? Is it not so gratifying? What have we done to deserve all this ecstatic devotion, love, and loyalty?
Sita: What more than that you are Rama, the delighter of human hearts!
Rama: Not me alone, my dear, but both of us together. The tribute, the homage, is to Sitaranm, to the husband of Sita. The two together! Are we not both of us together the bearers of the single sovereignty of this great and ancient state? Was it without significance that the great Vasishta, the Minister, the Ministrator and Pontiff of our royal race, set and seated you also beside me on the throne on the Coronation day and crowned us both jointly?
Sita: Yes, My Lord, I heard many people remark about it.
Rama: It was unprecedented forsooth. It was, however, as it should be. Is it not indeed the essence of our spiritual faith that divinity itself is the inseparable combination of the masculine and the feminine in existence, a kind of dual unity?
Sita: Is it then My Lord’s opinion that in every country, there should be a king and Queen ruling together?
Rama: No, not so. Not everywhere. Not always!
(Enter another group of citizens dancing and singing).
Rama: Stop dear, here comes another party of citizens. They are also singing the same and in the same manner.
(The crowd is singing "Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram Pathitha Pavana Sita Ram")
(After singing for some time there is a stop).
Rama: Sita, my dear, why not we have some little fun? Shall we try and talk to these people? We are in disguise an d they would not know?
Sita: I am not quite sure of it. No doubt we are in disguise. But, My Lord, what will you do with your eyes? The moment they get a good look at your eyes, they are sure to discover the Lord of the Lotus Eyes.
Rama: Well, I do not know. Anyhow what would it matter? Even if we should be found out, we shall all have only a laugh.
Sita: I doubt it, my beloved Lord. You see the peopleare freely moving about singing and dancing without knowing that we are so near. If once they should come to know that we go about in disguise, it will make them for everafter suspicious and restrained.
Rama: No, dear, it will not matter much. Let us engage them in talk and see.
(So saying, Rama and Sita approach the crowd).
Rama: Brothers! What is the song you have been singing? What is its name? And what is the name of the composer?
(The leader of the party by name Prajapathi).
Prajapathi: Why? Did you not hear? Are your ears deaf? We were only singing about our King and our Queen.. Our Rama and Sita.
Rama: Who? What? Who are they?
Prajapathi: Hullo! Hullo! Look here, brothers and sisters! Here are two beasts come from the forest, who do not seem to have heard of Sita or Rama.
(A women in the crowd Savithri by name).
Savitri: They must be form the forest. They look it!
Rama: Do we? Perhaps you are right.
Prajapathi: Are you both strangers come to this City?
Rama: Yes. We have come to this City.
Savitri: Do you at least know the name of this town?
Rama: They tell me that it is called Ayodhya …… They invincible city!
Prajapathi: And so it is and so it has become in truth and fact. Where are the enemies that could even think of invading it? They have all been rooted out verily, cast off, destroyed, burnt to ashes and blown off. It ha, indeed, become the divine city of Ayodhya itself.
Rama: Oh! Indeed!
Prajapthi: You both seem to be quite strangers. Where do you come from?
Rama: Our native Place is far, far away. We left it long ago. We are wanderers, on this earth.
Prajapathi: More than wanderers, you seem to be wonderers.
Sita: True. We have been greatly wondering how the people of this city, instead of sleeping soundly in their houses at this hour of the night, should be going about singing and dancing.
Prajapathi: In this we find our greatest happiness. Is it notbetter to sing and dance than to sleep and dream?
Rama: I am sure I do not know. What is it you are singing about?
Prajapathi: Why? Did you not hear? We are singing about our King and Queen, our Rama and Sita, Our Sitaram.
Rama: Who are they? Perhaps you will tell me.
Prajapathi: Surely, you do not say, you have not heard of Sriram.
Rama: It seems to me that I have been hearing nothing else. If I could get sick of hearing that name and no other. Will you kindly tell me who that Ram is ?
Prajapathi: Why? He is our God!
Another in Crowd: He is our Emperor, our Great King!
A Third:-No9, He is our Father and Mother!
A Fourth:-Nay, our Brother and Sister!
A Sixth:-Indeed, he is our servant!
A Seventh:-The servant of servants!
Rama: I wish could know your Ram, as you seem to now him.
Prajapathi: Why? Have you not seen him? How
Long have you been here?
Rama: I cannot say I have met him anywhere.
Prajapathi: If so, dear brother, come tomorrow morning to the palace gate. From there, if you proceed straight to the great Hall in which the royal throne is placed, you will see your Rama and Sita seated there. You will then have their darshan and feast your eyes.
Sita: Are you quite sure that we will be allowed to meet them?
Prajapathi: What else am I telling you ?
One in the crowd: (to Prajapathi) What are you doing here, wasting time and talking to that man?
Another in the crowd: What does he want?
Prajapathi: He says he has not seen Srirama.
One in the crowd: Not seen Sri Ramachandra! It must be a lie.
Rama: I cannot speak a lie.
One in the crowd: Why then, if you are truly a per son that has not seen Sri Rama, you deserve to have yourself placed in the centre of the four royal roads of 0this city and exhibited to all the world as a curious animal who has never seen Sri Rama.
Rama: Not that we should mind! But what is the meaning of the song you have all been singing?
Savitri: Meaning! Meaning! Has Mantra any meaning?
Rama: Is it then a Mantra?
Prajapathi: What else? It is rama Mantra. The Taraka Mantra. It is the Mantra of Mantras.
Rama: Ah! Is its so? How wonderful! How do you say it is a Mantra? What is your authourity?
Prajapathi: Who wants authourity for what is known to all? Don’t you know?
Rama : Nobody ever taught me that Mantra.
Prajapathi: If you were Rama himself, you will do well for yourself to learn that Mantra. It is greater than all the thousand names of God Himself.
Sita: Of course it must be so. (Addressing Rama) I think we will also do well, for ourselves, to learn that great Mantra which these good people value so much.
Rama: Is it so valuable? In what way?
Prajapathi: Why! Why! I will even say that it is not so much Rama himself, but his miraculous name, that great Mantra, that has brought us Rama Rajaya .
Rama: My dear brother, don’t be foolish. You kseem to be a stranger to Rama Rajya. It means the ideal kingdom of an ideal king.
Rama: Is there such a thing on earth?
Prajapathi: Is there such a thing in heaven?
Rama: Why brother? Does Rama Rajya mean heaven on earth?
Praja[athi: Nay! Nay! More …. Much more!
Sita: Perhaps you will explain how than can be.
Prajapathi: How can one explain what is so plan?
Rama: (Glancing at Sita) Ah! I see.
Prajapathi: No you do not see. You will see only hereafter. There has been no king like Rama and no hingdomlike Rama Rajya.
Rama: How, and why, do you say so?
Ananda (a citizen): Has there ever been a kingdom in which the rains from heaven never failed and there has always been plenty?
Savitri: Or a kingdom in which there has been no evil, sorrow or sickness?
Prajapathi: Or a kingdom in which the king is like a common man and the common man like a king?
Savitri: By-the-by, brother, did you hear that last Friday when the marriage was going on of the daughter of the purohit Chaturvedi, the king suddenly came there and found fault with him for not telling him of the marriage, and made presents to the bridegroom and left for the palace?
Prajapathi: Is that so? Indeed I did not hear. But there is nothing to be surprised at.
Ananda: We have ceased to be surprised at surprises when every day and hour brings with it its surprises of goodness and kindness.
Prajapathi: What Else can be expected from such a God on earth! From one who has accepted the Kingship not because he wanted it, but because the people wanted him to: not because he hankered for the pomp and power of royalty, but only because he felt it was his Dharma.
Ananda: Yes, brother, you are right. The ancient Kings ruled over kingdoms and when they were tired, retired into asceticism. But Sri Rama having been first Brahmachari, then Grihastha and then Vanaprastha assumed the Crown in the place of asceticism.
(Rama looks at Sita and Sita smiles.)
Rama: Indeed! How wonderful!
Prajapathi: Brother and sister, if you are strangers, where will you sleep and rest tonight?
Sita: We have got our relations here. Please do not trouble.
(Then suddenly a woman emerges from the crowd and comes and states at Rama Sita by turns: then calls Prajapathi aside and talks to him).
Prajapathi: I cannot believe it.
Woman: Do look at their eyes.
(Rama and Sita hear it and suddenly both of them leave the place and disappear in the darkness).
Prajapathi: (Coming back to near the crowd) Where are the strangers?
Another: Who are they?
A still another : Where are they?
Woman: I am sure I can take an oath that they were our Rama and our Sita. It seems they must have come in disguise to give us darshan in answer to our prayers.
Prajapathi: I doubt it.
Woman: You have no eyes to see what is before you. They have eyes which they cannot hide.
Prajapathi: I think you are right. Else why should they have suddenly disappeared?
Woman: I saw them both watching our talking apart. It is when they turned and looked, I made sure.
Prajapathi: What a chance we have lost!
(Just then some one in the crowd begins again chanting the song. They all join in singing and dancing and leave the stage. The song is being heard proceeding further and further to a distance and dwindles away).
Act II to continue