Dasaratha Jātaka (No.461)
Dasaratha, king of Benares, had three
children, Rāmapandita, Lakkhana and Sītā. On the death of his queen he took
another queen and had by her a son, Bharata. When Bharata was seven years old
his mother claimed the kingdom for him in accordance with a boon granted her by
the king. The king was horrified and fearing that she would harm his elder
children, sent them into the forest for twelve years, asking them to return
after his death. In the forest Rāma lived the ascetic life while Lakkhana and
Sītā provided him with food. Dasaratha died after nine years, and when the
ministers refused to recognise Bharata as king, he went into the forest in
search of Rāma. Rāma, however, refused to return until three more years had
elapsed, and on Bharata refusing to occupy the throne, Rāma gave him his straw
slippers to be placed on the throne in his absence. When cases were heard, if
the decision given was wrong, the slippers would beat upon each other, but, if
right, they would lie quiet. After three years Rāma returned and reigned from
his palace of Sucandaka for sixteen thousand years, with Sītā as queen consort.
Dasaratha was Suddhodana, Bharata Ananda, Lakkhana Sāriputta, Sītā Rāhulamātā
and Rāma the Bodhisatta.
The story was related to a man of Sāvatthi who greatly grieved at his
father's death and neglected all his duties. J. iv.123-30.