The Ramayana

Dasaratha Character Analysis

Dasaratha is the emperor of Kosala and Rama’s father. He has three wives, Kausalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumithra, none of whom have children, but after offering specific sacrifices, he has four sons: Rama, Lakshmana, Sathrugna, and Bharatha. Dasaratha cares deeply for all four of his children and resists Viswamithra's request to take Rama on a journey to protect him. However, Dasaratha is extremely dutiful, and finally agrees to Viswamithra's wishes. Later, when Dasaratha realizes that he's getting quite old and should pick a successor, he chooses Rama to succeed him. When Kaikeyi insists that Dasaratha crown her son Bharatha instead of Rama to fulfill a boon he granted her years ago, Dasaratha feels he has no choice but to agree, though agreeing to this leads to Dasaratha's death.

Dasaratha Quotes in The Ramayana

The The Ramayana quotes below are all either spoken by Dasaratha or refer to Dasaratha. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Heroism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Ramayana published in 2006.
Prologue Quotes

Ravana can be destroyed only by a human being since he never asked for protection from a human being.

Related Characters: Vishnu (speaker), Rama, Ravana, Dasaratha, Brahma, Shiva
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:
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1. Rama's Initiation Quotes

You cannot count on the physical proximity of someone you love, all the time. A seed that sprouts at the foot of its parent tree remains stunted until it is transplanted...Every human being, when the time comes, has to depart and seek his fulfillment in his own way.

Related Characters: Viswamithra (speaker), Rama, Dasaratha
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
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3. Two Promises Revived Quotes

He is perfect and will be a perfect ruler. He has compassion, a sense of justice, and courage, and he makes no distinctions between human beings—old or young, prince or peasant; he has the same consideration for everyone. In courage, valor, and all the qualities—none to equal him.

Related Characters: Dasaratha (speaker), Rama
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:
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"My father's name is renowned for the steadfastness of his words. Would you rather that he spoke false? ... I am thrice blessed, to make my brother the King, to carry out my father's command, and to live in the forests. Do not let your heart grieve."

Related Characters: Rama (speaker), Dasaratha, Bharatha, Kaikeyi, Kausalya
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:
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"I'll be the fate to overpower fate itself," said Lakshmana, with martial arrogance. Rama argued with him further. "I'll change and alter fate itself, if necessary..."

Related Characters: Lakshmana (speaker), Rama, Dasaratha, Bharatha, Kaikeyi
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:
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Dasaratha Character Timeline in The Ramayana

The timeline below shows where the character Dasaratha appears in The Ramayana. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Duty, Honor, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Storytelling, Teaching, and Morality Theme Icon
...live among them. The capital city, Ayodhya, is a fabulous city ruled over by King Dasaratha. Though Dasaratha is a compassionate and well-loved king, he laments that he's childless. One day,... (full context)
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...powers in the first place. Vishnu promises to reincarnate himself as the human son of Dasaratha, since Ravana never asked a human for help and can therefore be killed by a... (full context)
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The mentor keeps the memory of his vision to himself, but instructs Dasaratha to arrange for the sage Rishya Sringa to perform a sacrifice. The mentor explains that... (full context)
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The mentor instructs Dasaratha to divide the rice among his three wives, who will then have children. Within the... (full context)
1. Rama's Initiation
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Dasaratha spends his days in his assembly hall meeting with dignitaries and citizens alike. One afternoon,... (full context)
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Dasaratha offers to protect Viswamithra during the sacrifice, but Viswamithra suggests Dasaratha send Rama in his... (full context)
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Viswamithra ignores Dasaratha and begins to walk out of the assembly hall. Dasaratha's priest encourages Dasaratha to convince... (full context)
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The priest tells Dasaratha that there's surely a divine reason that Viswamithra asked for Rama. Dasaratha, still worried, seems... (full context)
2. The Wedding
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Viswamithra counsels King Janaka to invite Dasaratha to Mithila for the wedding. Dasaratha is thrilled to receive the news and orders everyone... (full context)
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...Mithila as well. The people from Ayodhya begin the return journey home, and Viswamithra bids Dasaratha goodbye. He leaves for the Himalayas to spend his life in contemplation. (full context)
3. Two Promises Revived
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One day, Dasaratha realizes that he's growing old. He decides to retire before he loses his faculties, and... (full context)
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Dasaratha gives orders for the city to prepare and sends for Rama. He tells Rama that... (full context)
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The narrator says that Dasaratha's fear was valid. Kooni, a hunchbacked companion of Bharatha's mother, Kaikeyi, is perturbed at the... (full context)
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...own mother. This sends Kaikeyi into a full-blown panic, and Kooni suggests that Kaikeyi demand Dasaratha make good on his two promised boons to Kaikeyi. (full context)
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Later that night, Dasaratha goes to find Kaikeyi, but a maid tells him that she's in the part of... (full context)
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Kaikeyi asks Dasaratha to swear to make good on the boons he promised her years ago. This makes... (full context)
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Dasaratha feels ill and calls Kaikeyi a demon. He stays with her all night and tries... (full context)
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The next morning, people begin to wonder where Dasaratha is. Rama is dressed for the coronation, and Dasaratha's chief minister finally decides to find... (full context)
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...Kausalya. She breaks down in tears, and Rama explains that he feels blessed to follow Dasaratha's orders. He encourages Kausalya to stay with Dasaratha rather than follow him to the forest.... (full context)
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Kausalya wails loudly, attracting the attention of the high priest. He joins Dasaratha and his wives and asks Kaikeyi for an explanation. She airily asks that the priest... (full context)
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The priest revives Dasaratha, who asks if Kaikeyi has changed her mind. The priest implores Kaikeyi to change her... (full context)
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Dasaratha desperately tries to take back his promise to Kaikeyi and disowns her and Bharatha. The... (full context)
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Dasaratha remains lucid. Sathrugna enters his father's chamber and tells him that Rama crossed the river,... (full context)
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...he had nothing to do with Kaikeyi's plan. Ministers fetch Bharatha so he can perform Dasaratha's funeral rites, though when Bharatha is about to light the funeral pyre, the minister remembers... (full context)
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...that they are. Rama and Lakshmana welcome Bharatha, and Rama cries when he hears that Dasaratha died. Rama and Bharatha engage in a philosophical debate over who should be king. The... (full context)
4. Encounters in Exile
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...meet the great eagle Jatayu. He explains to Rama that he was a friend of Dasaratha, cries when hears that Dasaratha died, and swears to end his life. Jayatu promises to... (full context)
14. The Coronation
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In the heavens, Shiva asks Dasaratha to visit Earth and meet Rama. Dasaratha agrees, and Rama is struck with joy to... (full context)
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Dasaratha insists that Bharatha has already been forgiven, but says he can't forgive Kaikeyi. Rama lists... (full context)