In a kingdom quite far away and in a time quite unlike our own, there lived a mighty king, so mighty that he was called Dasharatha — kind of the ten chariots. While Dasharatha had everything and his people loved him, he did not have an heir. So, as all wise men do, Dasharatha performed many sacrifices to appease the gods. During one such sacrifice, as the ghee was poured into the fire and the flames rose higher and higher, almost as high as you can see, a magnificent figure rose up from flames, shining like the noon-day sun, brilliant as a constellation of stars, holding a golden bowl. In a voice as deep as the deepest ocean, he said: “Take this bowl, mighty Dasharatha and let your wives eat the payasa from it. They will be blessed with sons.” Unable to contain his joy, Dasharatha accepted the bowl and distributed the gift between his wives. Some months later, the city of Ayodhya was decorated with the brightest flags and banners and poets and musicians and farmers and cobblers celebrated the birth of their new princes, Rama, Lakshmana, Shatrughna and Bharata.
This image is taken from the Bala Kanda of a manuscript produced in Udaipur, India in 1712.