In Raghuvamsha Maha-kavya, chapter 11, stanza 1, why is Lord Rama referred to as Kakapakshadhara? What does it mean?
कौशिकेन स किल क्षितीश्वरो राममध्वरविघातशान्तये । काकपक्षधरमेत्य याचितस्तेजसां हि न वयः समीक्ष्यते ॥
The king (Dasharatha) having been requested by Kaushika (Vishvamitra) for the help in removing the obstacles to performance of yajnas, of Rama bearing the lock of hair.
... काकपक्षधरं बालकोचितशिखाधरं । ’बालानां तु शिखा प्रोक्त काकपक्षः शिखण्डकः’ इति हलायुधः ।
The long lock of hair with knot that children wear (i.e. after upanayanam) is called Kakapaksha.
The same expression is also used in Bālakāṇḍa of Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa (Viśvāmitra speaking to Daśaratha):
Sarga 18; Verse 8
svaputraṁ rājaśārdūla rāmaṁ satyaparākramam
kākapakṣadharaṁ śūraṁ jyeṣṭhaṁ me dātum arhasi
Therefore, tiger among kings, you must give me your eldest son, valorous Rāma, who, though he still wears side locks, is nonetheless a hero.
And here's how Robert P. Goldman explains the term:
- “side locks” kākapakṣa—: Literally, this means “crow’s wings.” These are side locks of hair characteristic of young boys, particularly kshatriyas in ancient India. The use of this term emphasizes the tender age of Rāma and thus increases the pathos of Daśaratha’s reaction.