After helping Sri Rama cross over river Ganga, Nishaadraaj told Sumant to return to Ayodhya. Sumant unable to bear the sorrow of Sri Rama’s separation, fell down on the ground. Nishaadraaj became very sad to see his condition, and forcibly sent Sumant to Ayodhya accompanied by his four trusted men.
The sorrowful Sumant entered Ayodhya in the evening, so that nobody could see him. When he entered into the palace, everybody came running towards him, but not finding Sri Rama, Sita and Laxmana in the chariot they all became sad.
Sumant was escorted to Dashrath by a maidservant. Dashrath was lying on the bed like an injured bird, wondering what his life would be without Rama. When he saw Sumant, he asked about the whereabouts of Sri Rama, Sita and Laxmana.
CONVERSATION BETWEEN DASHRATH AND SUMANT
Seeing the restlessness of Dashrath Sumant consoled him by saying.
"O king you are a learned man. You know that day and night, union and separation etc. are inseparable parts of our life. So a patient man bears all these things without being affected by them. Therefore you too must have control over yourself, keeping in mind about your duties towards your subjects."
Then Sumant narrated the whole story event by event, from the first day Sri Rama left Ayodhya. He also narrated about the messages Sri Rama had sent for Dashrath, Kaushalya, Bharat and other relatives.
Hearing this, Dashrath collapsed. All the queens started wailing.
KAUSHALYA CONSOLES DASHRATH
Consoling Dashrath, Kaushalya said- "Lord only you are the ‘Ship’ of this ‘Ayodhya’ and all the people of Ayodhya are getting submerged in the ocean of sorrow because of Sri Rama's separation. Everybody would survive only if you have patience. O Lord believe me, we will once again see Sri Rama, Sita and Laxmana."
Hearing Kaushalya’s voice Dashrath opened his eyes and again asked Sumant about Sri Rama, Laxmana and Sita. This way the whole night was passed. Then, Kaushalya remembered the curse poured down by the blind parents of Shravan Kumar on Dashrath.
CURSE OF THE BLIND PARENTS OF SHRAVAN KUMAR
Once, Dashrath had gone to the forest for hunting. Shravan Kumar was also passing through the same forest carrying his blind parents on his shoulders. He had taken them for a pilgrimage tour and they were now returning home.
In the forest, his parents felt thirsty and asked Shravan Kumar to fetch some water. Shravan Kumar went with a pot to fetch water. He had just immersed his pot in the water when an arrow from nowhere hit him. Shravan Kumar at once fell and began to cry in agony.
The arrow was shot by Dashrath, who was waiting near by in hiding. He had mistaken the gurgling sound of the pitcher for a deer drinking water. As he was an expert in shooting-at-sound, he trained his arrow in the direction whence the sound was coming. The arrow pierced the chest of Shravan Kumar. He fell on the ground crying in pain. When Dashrath heard a human’s cry he arrived there running and became very sad to see Shravan Kumar lying on the ground. He started cursing himself.
Shravan Kumar requested him to carry the water to his thirsty parents. Dashrath went to the place, where Shravan Kumar's blind parents were waiting. He silently gave them water to drink, which they refused to accept unless the carrier revealed his identity. The parents had in fact grown suspicious of some foul play. Their intuition had warned them that the carrier was not their real son.