By Swami Harshananda
The story of Rāmāyana of Vālmīki has given rise to many adaptations. One such adaptation is the Daśarathajātaka which is found in chapter 461 in the Jātaka Tales. In this jātaka, the story of the Rāmāyana has been retold in a contorted form.
According to Daśarathajātaka, Daśaratha was the king of Vārāṇasī. Rāmapaṇḍita, Lakṣmaṇakumāra and Sitādevi were his children by his chief queen. Bharatakumāra was the son of his second wife who became the chief queen after the death of the first one. At the behest of second queen to fulfill a boon he had promised earlier, he was forced to exile the first three children for 14 years and hand over the kingdom to her son Bharatakumāra. Meanwhile he died. When Rāmapaṇḍita returned after the period of exile was over, he became the king.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore