Dilip Chakravarthy – The Great Ancestor of Shri Ram

If the dynasty of Ikshwaku was famous for the reason that the Almighty Bhagwan Vishnu himself incarnated as Shri Ram in the dynasty, then it is also famous for the reason that Bhagwan Vishnu chose the dynasty because of the great lineage of kings known for their supreme valour, courage, righteousness and sacrifice. The great ancestors of Shri Ram were indeed kings known for their adherence to Dharma and truth and earned great fame for their humility at the same time.
One such great was Dilip Chakarvarthy. He was a great ruler, a noble man and took care of his subjects very dearly as his own children. The only worry he had was he had no child of his own. He and his consort Sudakshina approached their Kulguru Rishi Vashisht regarding the problem. The rishi mentions that once when Dilip had gone to the heavens, he forgot to pay his respects to the divine Gomata Kamadhenu and she had cursed him to become childless. King Dilip was worried listening to this and pleads for a solution. Rishi Vashisht tells him to serve Nandini, the divine daughter of Kamadhenu who was in Rishi Vashisht’s ashram and get absolved of the curse and she grants them a son.
King Dilip and Sudakshina readily agree for the same and leave the comforts of Ayodhya start serving Gomaata Nandini with all devotion and fervour. Every day while Sudakshina offered her prayers in the morning and evening, King Dilip took Mata Nandini to the forest guarding her all time while she grazed in the green pastures of the forest.
This continued for few days. One day, while grazing, Mata Nandini entered a restricted grove which belonged to Bhagwathi Parvathi. King Dilip stood outside the entrance and waited for Mata Nandini to return. Suddenly, he heard a cry of alarm and rushed inside to see what had happened. He was shocked to see Mata Nandini in the clutches of huge lion. King Dilip immediately raised his bow and arrow to shoot the lion, but his arm was paralysed. The king realised that it was not an ordinary lion and requested it to let go of Mata Nandini. But the lion refused saying that it was hungry and the lion had all the right to kill and eat her.
Listening to these words, King Dilip humbly bowed his head and said that as a king and it was his duty to save her life. He requested the lion to let go of Mata Nandini and kill him instead. Saying this, King Dilip bowed down to the lion and offered himself as a sacrifice. But, instead of the lion clutching him, he realised that he was showered with flowers. He looked up in surprise and saw a pleased Mata Nandini. The noble Go Mata says that this was all an illusion created by her to test the king’s virtuosity and sacrificial nature. She then asks him what he desired of and Dilip asks her to bless them with a son. Mata Nandini grants his wish and a son was born to the great Dilip, who was Raghu, on whose name the Ikshwaku dynasty came to be called as the Raghukul.
Though the king had his own desires, yet when the situation demanded, he forgoes all his desires and stands for his subjects. As a king Samrat Dilip proved how great is sacrifice and this quality made him one of the great ancestors of Shri Ram.