Story of King Dileepa

King Dileepa was an ancestor of Lord Sri Ram and one of the most illustrious kings of the Ikshvaku (Solar) dynasty. The great king learned state administration, warfare and diplomacy under Sage Vasishta and ruled Ayodhya in a just and fair manner. All his subjects respected him and his wife Queen Sudhakshina. He was also a very pious man and conducted yagnas regularly. However, King Dileepa was a very worried man as he was not blessed with a child. One day, King Dileepa and Queen Sudhakshina decided to meet Sage Vasishta and seek a solution for their problem. The king and queen were warmly received by Sage Vasishta at his ashram. After exchanging pleasantries, the royal couple discussed the issue of being childless with the sage. The royal couple told the sage that they had not harmed anybody and they were unable to understand as to why they are not able to beget a child.

Sage Vasishta closely listened to their views and meditated to find out why the couple remained childless. Sage Vasishta then told the king that while he was helping Lord Indra during a battle, the holy cow, Kamadhenu, was close to Indra’s palace. Although the king did not know about the presence of Kamadhenu, the cow felt that the king had deliberately ignored her and cursed the king to remain childless. A shocked king fell at the feet of Sage Vasishta and asked him to give a solution for lifting the curse. The sage pondered over the issue for some time and then told the royal couple that Kamadhenu’s daughter, Nandini, lives in his ashram and that their curse would be lifted if they took good care of Nandini.

King Dileepa and Queen Sudhakshina immediately settled down in the ashram and took utmost care of Nandini. While the queen bathed Nandini, the king took her out for grazing in the jungle. One day, a lion suddenly appeared in front of the king and Nandini and threatened to eat Nandini. The king requested the lion to spare Nandini and eat him instead. The lion disappeared from the scene and Nandini told the king that she was pleased with his devotion. Nandini further told the king that the curse of Kamadhenu has been lifted and he would be blessed with a son. King Dileepa and Queen Sudhakshina returned to their palace and they were soon blessed with a son called Raghu who ruled Ayodhya in a fair manner. Raghu had a son called Aja who in turn had a son called Dasaratha who was the father of Lord Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan.

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