SRI RAMA AND BHARATA

As everyone knows, a verdict in favour of Hindus has been passed, regarding the use of the disputed land in Ayodhya for building a Ram Mandir. While discussing this, one must remember the true meaning of the word “Ayodhya” … it means “One which cannot be conquered or One which is Invincible”. How true – Prabhu Shree Rama can only be conquered by love and devotion and not by war or any act of politics.

Queen Kaikeyi, the second wife of Dasharatha, the step-mother of Shree Rama, wanted to make her son Bharata the crown prince. She made use of the boons given to her by Dasharatha to banish Shree Rama to the jungles and to make her son the crown prince. Maha Vishnu came to the earth as an Avatar during His RamaAvatar and KrishnaAvatar, with His Shesha, His Shankha and His Sudarshan Chakra. In RamaAvatar, Lakshmana was Sheshavatar and Bharata and Shatrughna were the Sudarshan and Shankh respectively. There was no way that Bharata would be greedy and lust for the throne. When one has the proximity of Prabhu Shree Rama Himself, would one really want to send Him away? NO!

When Bharata came to Ayodhya from his grandfather’s house, Kaikeyi rushed to him to give him the good news. “You are to be crowned the King very soon,” she said. Bharata was shocked. He was a pure soul. He could not tolerate the fact that because of him, Ayodhya would lose the good fortune of having Shree Rama as their King. He refused to talk to his Mother. Shatrughna and he rushed to the banks of the river Sarayu where Shree Rama was camping with Sita and Lakshmana.

He was joined by Ayodhya-vaasis who wanted to bring back Shree Rama and place Him on the throne. At the banks of the river Sarayu, Lakshmana saw a huge crowd approaching them. Leading the people was Bharata. Lakshmana was very agitated. He thought that Bharata was approaching them to fight with them. But Shree Rama knew that Bharata had supreme love for Him. He knew that Bharata was a pure soul. He said to Lakshmana, “Bharata is coming to convince me to go back with him to Ayodhya. Do not misunderstand him. He is as dear to me as you are.”

Bharata reached and on reaching fell at Shree Rama’s feet with tears in his eyes. He said, “It is my misfortune that I was born of such a Mother. But forgive me and come back to Ayodhya. The throne can only have You seated on it. Come back.”

Prabhu Shree Rama told him, “Do not speak this way of our Mother. She deserves only love and respect and I have nothing against her. But I will not come back since I have to fulfil the promise made to her by our Father. If I do not do so, I will be committing a crime.” He could not be convinced to return back to Ayodhya.

Finally, with tears in his eyes, Bharata told Shree Rama, “If this is Your final decision, allow me to rule Ayodhya as Your emissary. Give me Your ‘padukas’ … I shall place them on the throne and rule as Your servant. Not just that, Your ‘vanvaas’ is only for fourteen years. If You delay Your return by even one day, I shall immolate myself.” Saying this, he picked up Shree Rama’s padukas and placed them on his head. Bowing down to Shree Rama and Mata Sita, he returned to the palace and placed them on the throne. He ruled as a servant of Prabhu Shree Rama. Till the time that Shree Rama remained in Vanvaas, Bharata too led a simple life without indulging in any luxuries of the palace. He dug a small rectangular pit a couple of feet below ground level and slept in that place so that he would always remain at a level lower than Shree Rama.

Such was the love and respect that Shree Rama deserved. And such was the humility of Bharata. In the entire Ramayana, many of the characters show their valour or their love for Shree Rama … Bharata is the only character who only shows love, respect, sacrifice and Humility to this extent. He is a Rama-bhakta and a Bhrata (brother) who inspires others till today, to love one’s family and respect elders.

Jai Shree Raam, Jai Jai Shree Raam!

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