… The skillful maid continued to sip venom into the younger queen’s heart.
Pampered by the king of Kajkeji, she wasn’t a bad woman, but even good women tend to love their only children more than their stepchildren. She couldn’t bear the thought that her son would only be “an ordinary prince” and not heir to the throne. So Manthara easily convinced her that as soon as Rama was to be proclaimed king and began to reign, he would inevitably remove the younger brothers from the court. And it may happen that he will send them on some dangerous mission, so that they may lose their lives and never be a threat to him again in the future. She reminded her mistress skillfully and in good time that the king had once promised her to grant her two wishes, whatever they were. Yet the monarch is a righteous man and always keeps his word. So let Kajkeji demand that her son Bharath be crowned the future king, and Rama should remove himself from the court. Ideally, he should go on a fourteen-year-long pilgrimage to the forests, away from his native country. Manthara argued that she was afraid for the lives of Bharata and Kajkeji as soon as an ambitious young ruler will come to rule. It didn’t take long to convince the queen.
Realization of conspiracy
After the king’s council was completed, King Dasharatha, having given orders for the coronation of Rama, retired to the apartments of his favorite wife to share the happy news with her. Queen Kaikei’s residence was a beautiful palace surrounded by a garden full of trees, flowers and ponds. Peacocks, curlews and swans lived there freely, and their voices merged with the music of the instruments around them. Here and there were benches of gold, silver, and ivory in the garden.
Dasharatha, however, did not find his beloved wife here. He was surprised and wondered where she could have gone? The doorman informed him that the queen was in another chamber. The sight of the beloved spouse lying as if in the embrace of death, on the bare floor, tousled hair and disheveled robes, tearful, with the blurry colors of her face, but still beautiful like a goddess or a heavenly nymph, terrified Dasharatha with painful sorrow.
“What happened?” He asked lovingly, sitting down next to Kajkeji and stroking her affectionately. – “What is the cause of your anger? Has anyone in the palace offended you? Why are you lying on the floor and despairing? After all, you are making me suffer! Are you sick I will call the doctors, the best in my ministry are at your disposal. Tell me what to do? Should I reward or punish someone? Should I offer wealth to a poor man and expropriate a rich man? Don’t cry my love! I will not deny you anything. Tell me what’s on your heart! You know how much I love you. I swear I’ll do whatever you want. ”
Kajkeji stopped crying and immediately made her demands, made up together with the schemer. The king fell into a terrible quandary. The insidious Kajkeji’s demand struck the king like a thunderbolt. Her son is to be king, and Rama must leave the palace for fourteen years.
Chained by a given word, he could not take it back. He felt like an animal trapped. Breaking a word once is the gravest sin against the dharma, not only of a king or an ordinary knight, but of every noble person. Therefore, the king could not undo the promise he had given, and therefore he asked, even begged his favorite, to change her mind. Here is how the poet Kamban in his Ramayana describes the king’s pain, its plight and the plea with which he addressed the insidious queen:
“If you would demand my two eyes,
I would give them willingly, and even joyfully;
if you wanted to take my life,
I would have no hesitation or regret.
O woman, once beloved, queen,
what are you from such a great family,
if you absolutely want to – take the crown
and undivided rule and power, delights,
but do not repeat your wish.
I am not able to take back the given word,
But… even a cruel demon would soften
at a request as hot as I am now bringing to you;
O! Hurt me no more
do not spend your heart on torture! ”
She did not mind the pleas of her king and her husband, the calculating woman tried to fulfill his inadvertently given promise:
“You can fulfill my wish or reject it,
it’s your thing. You can make Bharath king,
and send Rama into the wilderness, to a holy life,
or to break the former non-chivalrous word;
but I will not take back my wishes
rather, I will take my life here at your feet. ”
The king, having heard this inhuman request again
threw himself like a stabbed with an arrow lion.
He cried out and sobbed from the very heart
and he cried out to her with dry lips:
“Has madness come upon you,
are you suddenly possessed by evil powers, O Kajkeji? ”.
“I am not mad, not possessed,” says coldly,
“but I will not change my wishes,
and breaking a given word is dharma’s contradiction.”
Dasharatha listened to this with a broken heart. It was a blow to him from which he never recovered. However, a king who is to set an example for the whole country cannot break a word.
The promise of the King
Why was the venerable King Dasharatha bound by an oath to fulfill the two wishes of his beloved, the youngest consort of Kajkeji?
This history goes back to the time when the king was still a young brave knight, and Kajkeji had just married him. At that time, Dasharatha began the crusade against the rakshasas with the gods. He set out with a small army and, as was the case in those days, he was accompanied by his beloved Kajkeji wife, riding under the palanquin on a large gentle elephant.
The brave monarch, as soon as he saw the army of demons emerging from behind the mountain, attacked it in great rush. And after a while it broke its shaft. During this rush, however, the axis of the king’s chariot was damaged and the vehicle began to tip dangerously slowing down. Had it not been for Kajkeji’s quick response, the vehicle would have hit the ground. It rode up at that very moment, jumped off the elephant quickly and stuck a finger into the damaged axle. She had lost a finger, but the axle was fixed! The king sped again on the stable chariot against the enemy. Before he left, he managed to shout to his heroic wife: “I will never forget you! In return, I will fulfill your every request! ”
It seemed that the fate of the fight was doomed. Dasharatha fought only the remnants of the Rakshasa army. However, fate seemed to turn away from him again. One of the great demons killed the royal coachman with a well-aimed arrow. Again the chariot was immobilized as Dasharatha could not stop throwing arrows at the demons attacking it. In addition, standing was an easy target, and it was precisely on him that the attacks of the remaining Rakshasa warriors on the battlefield focused. The situation was dire. The most faithful of his warriors went to help the king. However, the monarch, rushing to fight, left the ranks of his army far behind him. Again, alert Kajkeji galloped on the elephant towards her husband. As soon as she reached him, she leapt onto the chariot with a few strides, seized the steeds in her strong hands, and the rushing chariot with Dasharatha sowing well-aimed arrows was again ravaging the remnants of the Rakshasa army. The heroic monarch then said to his beloved wife: “Now you may demand that I grant two of your requests. You know that I never take my word back! ”
The king’s beloved wife now appealed to these vows and promises.
Judgment of exile
Kajkeji later had Rama summoned to make known to him the paternal will, and this was a kind of sentence rather than a wish. Rama came to her joyful, beaming with happiness. Entering the reception hall, he respectfully leaned down to the feet of Kajkeji, for he greeted the one he always worshiped as his own mother. The Queen approached him like a messenger from Jama and, with a heart of stone, ignoring the sincerity and cordiality of Rama, she uttered the words that wound like swords:
“I have an important decision to convey to you. It is the will of the father that the whole country and all our subjects recognize that Bharata, your brother, is heir to the throne. And you, that you may put on a hermit’s garb, give up family insignia and ornaments, tie your hair in a knot, and go into the wilderness, and spend there not less than fourteen years. “
Like lightning striking from a serene sky, a message so insidiously reaches Rama. He almost fell to the ground. After a while, in a calm voice, he said: “Mother, even if it was not my father’s will, but only your request, know that I would obey her with devotion and respect. Bharata is my dearest brother, and his fate is more dear to me than my own! You don’t need many words or considerations. The king’s command and your wish, mother, is a simple and sacred duty to me. Today I’ll be on my way again! ”
Saying this, he bowed to Kajkeji respectfully and hurried to the quarters of his mother, Kausalya. After greeting him, he announced without further ado: “Mother! It has been decided that your other son, Bharatha, will soon ascend the throne. ”
And Kausalya, sincere, good-natured, loved all sons equally. To this news, she only replied, “Although it is against tradition for the younger prince to ascend the throne before his older brother, I am glad that Bharatha is happy. And you, my son, by giving him the throne by the will of his father, you will surely be with him always in the deepest friendship. ”
Rama, deeply touched by his mother’s generosity, did not know how to tell her about his exile. He began to say that he had decided to study yoga in forest hermitages and would therefore have to leave the court for a while. This Kausalya could not listen calmly. Tears streamed from her eyes. Rama tried to reassure her, saying that among the rich he would surely find peace of mind and that he was unnecessarily worried and despaired.
But when news of the royal decision reached Lakshman, Lakshman, because of his boundless love for his older brother, was unable to contain his anger. “It is not fair that Rama should go into exile,” he lamented, “the king must have lost his mind due to his old age. Blindly obeying his beloved wife, he doesn’t know what he is saying, he doesn’t know what he is doing! Noble Rama did not commit any offense, he was always absolutely subordinate to his father. No one in the world, not even his worst enemies, could fault him. Rama, before anyone knows, take over the kingdom with my help. It will be legal. Who will oppose us? If there is a fight, we will both deal with our opponents – possible supporters of Bharata. Our mentally deprived father has become our enemy. He must be removed from the throne! Should you be absolutely obedient to your elders if they have lost track of what is right and wrong? By what right does the king give Bharat the kingdom that is due to you according to the rules of inheritance? ”
And Lakshmana ran in agitation to tell his mother Sumitra. The latter, in a gentle voice, advised him: “Go with Rama, let him be your guide, adviser and guardian. Look after Sita together. Go with my blessing, son, and serve your brother with all your heart. ”
Before leaving for the hermitage, it was still necessary to convey the message to his beloved wife, Sita, who, like an unhappy widow, was to remain in the care of his family for so many years … Wise Sumitra knew that Sita would not release Rama into exile alone.
Rama stood in her chamber already in pilgrim robes, and beside him, also without ornaments, his beloved brother, Lakshmana. Sita, expecting to see her husband ready for the coronation in beautiful royal robes, glistening with precious stones, did not understand where this disguise came from. Later, when she came back to herself after a cruel message had struck her heart like an enemy’s arrow, she spoke in a calm voice, “I understand your unconditional obedience to your father, dear husband! This must be done by a loving son and every noble person! But, lord of my life, your subsequent arrangements are terrible to me. Do you want me to stay here in the palace while you go into the unknown forest backwoods? ”
“But Sita …” Rama spoke gently, pain on his face, “Your delicate feet are not made for wandering through bumpy roads, rocky roads and forests full of twists!”
“Rama! Will forest paths tangled with roots be an obstacle greater than loneliness? And the hot sands astray will burn me more than separation from you? It is my duty to accompany you in exile! ” And before Rama, with confused thoughts, could decide anything on this matter, Sita ran to the alcove, and after a while she stood in front of him also in a pilgrim, coarse robe. All her maids, seeing signs of such great love, flooded with torrents of tears. However, the young spouse did not want to agree to take her with him.
“All these hardships and inconveniences” – Sita, her face flooded with tears, continued to repress her husband’s arguments – “with you, my beloved, they will turn into happiness when I can serve you and console you, if necessary. I am not afraid of the wild game when you are with me, because it will be scattered in fear at the sight of you. If you don’t take me with you, I will die immediately of despair, I will not survive a single day! Once upon a time, while still at my father’s house in Mithila, astrologers saw signs that I would live in the forest for some time. Prophecies cannot be ignored! Let me fulfill what fate has set for me. Don’t you love me anymore that you want to separate from me? I am begging you, please do not push me away. Take me with you, otherwise I will waste here, I will surely die, or I will throw myself into the fire like a widow! ”
Rama, seeing that nothing could change his wife’s decision, agreed that she should go into exile with him. He also instructed her to distribute her garments to the poor before leaving, and to distribute all jewelry and items of entertainment and luxury that were no longer needed now to brahmanas and servants. Sita, overjoyed at Rama’s decision, ran to her chambers and carried out her husband’s order.
Goodbye to subjects
Having given all their fortune, the three exiles set out on the road to face their destiny.
The news of Rama’s exile has spread widely. Countless crowds of desperate inhabitants poured out onto the street. The balconies, terraces, roofs and windows of the houses were also full of people. Everyone wanted to see Rama, Sita and Lakshmana go on foot – like outlaws – into exile. Rama, until now the commander of a large army, was now walking only in the company of his wife and brother, and stirring voices could be heard from everywhere. The people also lamented the fate of Sita. In turn, she walked humbly without palanquin, not looking around, exposed to the sight of the mob!
“How can a poor woman endure the hardships of forest life: heat, cold, rain?” – Everyone felt sorry for the delicate princess, who was truly loved by the inhabitants of the city and the countryside. “Will her pristine beauty survive? Evil spirits must have taken possession of the king, or else would he have exiled his beloved son? Let us all follow our beloved prince! ”
After they had departed some distance from the capital, Rama asked the servants and subjects who accompanied them to return to the palace, because the wanderers want to endure all hardships themselves and, as people learning the hermit life, cannot engage in any service. The young exiles were very much loved by all courtiers, so there was a lot of crying when parting. Sita was also crying because she sincerely sympathized with the distant servants.
According to one version of “Ramayana”, the prince addressed his faithful subjects with the following words: “Men and women, please wipe your tears and go away.” So they left. But at the edge of the forest there was a group of people who were neither male nor female. They waited there for 14 years for Lord Rama to return. Moved by this extraordinary mark of fidelity, Rama gave them a special place in the Hindu tradition.
Nowadays, these non-men, non-women – called hijra – have the power to give blessings and curses, so they are an important part of every major family event in Hindu culture.
In the end, only three of them agreed that they must fulfill their fate with dignity and supporting each other. Later they just wandered through the forests. They sailed the Yamuna on rafts, passed through successive forests and stopped at the foot of Mount Chitrakutta.
At the foot of Chitrakutta, the exiles decided to rest a bit. Lakshmana built a solid hut made of clay, wood and palm leaves on the banks of the river flowing there to protect them from rain and wind. They lived in it for some time happily, slowly forgetting their exile in this charming surroundings.
The next place they stopped was Nishada near Shringawerapura. The king of this land, Guha, was initially wary of the wanderers, but he quickly gave up his fears and greatly helped them cross the Ganges. Sita, the two princes, and the brahmanas accompanying them from Guha, sailed across the river in a large, flat-bottomed boat with a canopy stretched over it to protect Sita from the harsh sun.
And Therefore in the capital
Queen Sumitra, a model of justice and all virtues, knowing of the great despair of the eldest queen, whom she treated as a beloved sister, came to Kausalya’s chamber and said: “Dear sister, stop crying and lamenting. After all, your noble son is the embodiment of all the virtues and qualities of a brave husband. With strength of character and with divine justice, he will emerge victorious even from the most difficult trials. He demonstrated his justice by submitting himself to his father’s will without murmuring. Rest assured that if you ever see tears in his eyes, it will be tears of joy as we welcome the victorious brothers with faithful Sita. ” – With such kind words, Sumitra managed – even for a moment – to calm Kausalia and dry the tears from her face, as does the rising sun with the morning dew.
Old King Dasharatha hid his sorrow deeply without letting him know how much he was suffering. He may have lost two sons, and he must have lost his fondness for his youngest wife, Kajkeji. The enormity of sorrow twisted him and broke him. Staying awake at night, during the day he was unable to concentrate or make any important state decisions. The royal vizier understood the monarch’s despair and ran the affairs of the kingdom on his own. After another sleepless night, the king decided to tell Kausalia one of his deeply hidden secrets that had kept him occupied all those sleepless nights.
“My dear,” he said grimly to his confidant, “it was I who brought misfortune upon our family. This is all my fault, but why must innocent beings suffer? ”
“Dear husband,” the queen argued, “I’ve known you for years. I don’t remember you ever getting stained with something unworthy. How it’s possible?”
The king’s curse
“You don’t know, nice about an incident that happened before our wedding. In order to explain all this to you, I have to tell an ancient story. A long time ago, in a nearby village, a godly brahmana lived with his son and daughter-in-law. One day, a begging pilgrim visited their modest home, and the brahmana welcomed the newcomer with food. After he blessed the modest household and was about to leave, the brahmana’s son and his wife had just returned. The father ordered the young couple to bow down before the venerable ascetic and by the old custom, bending down and respectfully touching his feet. The old man’s feet, however, were covered in old and new ulcerative scratches and presented an unpleasant sight. The young – obedient to the wishes of their father – leaned down to the feet of the newcomer, but out of disgust they did so, closing their eyes. At that moment, the ascetic – sensing their disgust and feeling that they had made this gesture only to please their father, and there was no real respect in them – said: “Let them remain forever with their eyes closed!”
From then on, the young couple was just a pitying couple of blind men. The ascetic before leaving, however, felt sorry for the reckless couple and said: “I cannot take back my words, the more that you deserve them. However, I will relieve you in your difficult fate. In a year you will have a son. He will help you and you will see the world through his eyes. According to the prophecy of an ascetic, a year later they had a son whom they named Shrawan Kumar. He was their real support in the hardships of life. ”
“I was then a carefree young man who hunted passionately.” Dasharatha continued his story, “I had a steady hand and an eye, and I never missed. One day I went out alone to hunt a buffalo or an antelope from a waterhole. The high undergrowth and bushes growing around blocked the view of the river. When I heard the water gurgling, I drew my bow and my arrow fluttered into the thicket of bushes. Then I heard a human scream of despair and a complaint: “What have I owed to whom? Shouted a young boy lying wounded on the river bank among the scattered water vessels. “Who have I hurt? What will happen to my old blind parents now? ”
It was this Shrawan Kumar, the backbone of his blind parents. The poor man recognized me and regretfully added: “Prince, your carelessly launched arrow killed three people at once: me and my blind parents. I am already dying, but I implore you, go to them as quickly as possible and beg my father’s forgiveness. ”
The boy died, and I, crushed by the burden of sin caused by thoughtlessness, after filling the jug with water, dragged myself to the hut where the boy’s blind parents lived. Here, falling on my knees in front of them, I related what had happened and I testified that I was the only culprit of this misfortune. Sadness crushed my heart, and poor parents plunged into despair when they heard of their son’s death. Later I helped them celebrate their funeral rites. When the funeral pyre of my carefree sacrifice was exhausted, the boy’s father uttered only one sentence to me, which was also a curse: “Prince, and you, just like me, will one day break your heart with regret for the son who will have to leave you!” Now here, my dear, that curse is coming to pass. You must pay for all the evil deeds in your life! ”
The old king was silent. My wife’s translations and support were of no avail. The mighty and brave Dasharatha faded before his eyes and within a few days he departed for the kingdom of Yama. This depressed his surroundings and the entire city even more.
At a time when all these fateful events were taking place at the court of Ayodhya, Bharatha and brother Shutraghana were staying with their grandfather, Kajkeji’s father. Wasishtha sent for them a messenger, whom he forbade speaking of the reasons for their summons to the court.
Immediately after crossing the borders of the native kingdom, the young men felt a strange depression. They did not see the joyful bustle of farmers and sellers in the villages they passed. None of the villages I passed resounded with the carefree singing of the girls, and the usually split birds now seemed to join the gloomy silence. There were no sounds of any instrument so pleasing to the ears of the villagers – neither the bansuri shepherds nor the shenai of village musicians could be heard. The country seemed desolate, as if without a soul.
Even more anxiety overwhelmed the fans at the sight of their family palace. The merry banners usually flying on the towers disappeared somewhere. The drum where the recruits were drilled in the palace square did not speak. The streets of the city breathed nothing but emptiness and heat.
When the brothers stood in front of the entrance to the palace chambers, one of the pages of Queen Kajkeji approached them and invited them to her presence. The queen, dressed in mourning robes, told her sons without admission of Dasharatha’s death.
“Father, why have you forsaken us? Why did you not wait for the scepter of power to rest firmly in the hand of Rama? Why haven’t you blessed us? You put so much responsibility in my brother’s young hands. Now Rama must replace you. ”
When Kajkeji heard these words, she immediately decided to continue the work of her conspiracy: “Unfortunately, my son, Rama with Sita and Lakshman left for fourteen years to live a hermit life away from our country. Father’s will was that you now wear the crown. ” And the mother slowly explained the whole truth to her son.
Bharata could not recover from his mother’s perversity. Great anger seized the young man’s heart! In a few hours, Bharatha changed beyond recognition. He was no longer a joyful young man. He shuddered at the thought that he might be accused of being part of this plot.
As soon as he cooled down a little and thought about the matter, he declared: “Our country has always been famous for honest rulers. Never before has a mean plot tainted our image. This is what my father always did, and therefore he could not undo a trick used to speak. My noble brother did this too. Without a word of objection or murmur, he fulfilled his father’s unjust will. Sita and Lakshmana acted in the same way. How should I proceed? If I now accept my brother’s crown, how much of a pain will it be to the honest tradition of our family? Maybe Rama thinks of me like our subjects? How can I live in abundance here when my brothers have to feed on roots? ”
Distraught, with a thousand thoughts in his head, he went to Kausalya, Rama’s mother. There he let out everything and asked her for protection and appropriate advice. Kausalya, seeing the prince’s real pain, recognized that he was innocent and did not participate in any plot. And she said to him, “My child, I see that you are blameless and that you knew nothing of your mother’s treacherous plot.”
In the days that followed, the most important duty of the family was to give his father a funeral. As a huge fire engulfed the king’s mortal body, richi Wasishhta called up the king’s council and, in its presence, called upon Bharata to take the throne and keep the country safe.
The young man, having heard this decision of the council and the request of his guru, spoke, having restrained his indignation with these words: “How is it possible that one of the noblest people I know urge me to commit an act contrary to the dharma – to take the crown while my elder brother is alive ? Can any of you, noble men, indicate at least one such case in the history of our family, when the scepter was gripped by the younger brother when the firstborn is alive? We have to bring Rama from exile! I will go get him, and if he refuses, I will stay with him! ”
The royal council listened to Bharata’s words with satisfaction, glad that he had let go of his suspicion of involvement in the plot.
A journey in search of a Rama
Bharatha decided to follow Rama and ask him to return to Ayodhya and undertake the hardships of ruling the country. He could not come to terms with the idea that his older brother had become a victim of the vile schemes of unworthy women.
Shutraghana decided to accompany his brother. After the queens informed their decisions, Kausalya quickly went to her half-son Bharata and said, “If Rama, at your urging, Bharata, would like to return home and take his throne, I must be there and strengthen him in this resolution. . Let me go with you, my dear. Of course, his beloved mummy will also go with me, which is like a second mother and a few maids from the servants, to take care of Sita’s return.
“Okay, mother.” Bharatha did not dare to say Kausalya. It soon turned out that the other queens and their maidservants were also eager to go. When the court was getting ready to go, the people of Ayodhya decided to go with the court. In this way, a significant number of people – on horseback, on foot, on carts and a few elephants – set out on the road.
Soon, after many adventures, they reached the Bharadwadya hermitage. “Hello Bharata and Shutrughano.” Richi Bharadwadya spoke to them respectfully, “I know the purpose of your journey and I commend your intention. Your father, noble Dasharatha was my friend. Make yourself at my humble threshold. I also invite all those who are in your retinue and who you left on that shore. ”
“Holy man, your hermitage is extremely modest, and we are many. We don’t want to bother you and the rest of the retinue will remain on the other side for the time being. Noble Guha has provided us with food. ”
“No, no, be my guests! You will not miss anything! ”
So the princes departed to give the orders related to the passage of the rest of the people, and Bharadwadya entered his hut. He sat down, took some water in his hands and washed his face three times, saying the wish: “I want to receive the newcomers with dignity.”
Immediately afterward, the divine architect Vishvakarman drifted down to the hermitage, followed by countless builders from the heavens, dragging with them enormous amounts of sandalwood logs and planks, tiles and blocks of white marble. The construction fever broke out. Soon a palace worthy of kings was erected on the clearing, and the service to the sounds of the music of gentle singing prepared a feast. The serpent army of the arriving naga stood guard around the camp. Then, with the help of the heavenly helpers who had arrived, most of the camp was made to pass without difficulty, leaving only chariots and elephants behind. Still from the waters of the Ganges, the visitors admired the beautiful marble palace of Richi Bharadwadja, erected in a flash.
The perfect evening feast continued until late at night. When the weary and fed up people of Kosala began getting ready for sleep, Bharata bowed deeply to Bharadwadya and said:
“Lord, we owe you a lot! I bow to you! Thanks to your kindness and spirituality, you strengthened our strength for the next journey and inspired our hearts with hope. With the help of good people and favorable gods, we will quickly find our outlaws. ”
When Bharadvadya thanked you for the kind words of Bharata, hand on heart, Bharata added: “Lord, let our mothers also thank you. This is Queen Kausalya. ”
Kausalya wanted to lean down at the feet of Bharadwadya to respectfully remove the dust from them, but the hermit himself leaned over and did not allow the queen to make such a gesture. Then he said: “Lady, like your husband, you have been my friend for a long time. I will pray for the success of your enterprise. ”
Bharata then introduced Queen Sumitra, and the welcome ceremony was similar. Then he introduced Kajkeji, who, however, staying behind, did not dare to approach the hermit. She stood silent, staring at the ground. Then the all-seeing richi Bharadwadya said, “My child! Nobody here will accuse you. You were just a passive performer of your dharma. What you did must happen. By sending Rama wandering you have only initiated events that may make the world a better place. ”
Meeting with Rama
After many adventures, the Bharatha delegation finally reached the clearing inhabited by Rama, Sita and Lakshman.
Approaching his brother in a respectful manner, Bharatha said, “As a messenger of an unhappy and tormented kingdom, I come to ask you, my brother, to return to my father’s house. Rama, you haven’t forgotten the tradition and commandments of dharma? So how could you leave the country orphaned? Dear brother, our father is gone, and according to his long-expressed will you should wear the crown, not these coarse hermit garments. Should the crown fall to me, unworthy, born of the womb of a woman who knew deceitfully against you? When you, full of love, try to take my mother’s plot at face value and go wandering, am I supposed to take the crown? It is befit for you, brother, to make amends for the country by an old man with a disturbed mind. ”
Rama was moved by the requests of his younger brother. He has never been accused of dirty play and trickery. He knew that Bharatha was also a victim of his mother’s schemes and his father’s hasty decisions.
“Dear brother, you know that it is a son’s duty to honor his parents and honor their decisions. You cannot make a laughingstock of them. Our father gave the kingdom to you by express command. The law of inheritance is yours too. So take the reins of ruling the country and don’t waste your time on unnecessary disputes. I cannot change my opinion. If you were in my shoes you would have done the same. ”
But Bharatha was hard to convince: “Brother, if you cannot change your word, then let those who want power rule. I will go into exile with you to the hermitage, in the silence of which I will finally be able to calm my troubled soul. ”
“Dear Bharatha,” answered Rama, “You know that keeping a given word once is a good tradition in our country, which especially the rulers oblige to do so.” I cannot now imagine changing our father’s wishes. After all, he himself stood guard over the dharma. His death changes nothing. After all, death accompanies man from the moment of birth and follows him like the best friend. Now our father lives in our hearts and minds. We cannot hurt him when he cannot oppose it. We have inherited his obligations and must keep his promises. In addition, I now have goals set that go beyond just thinking about Kosala. You know that I will not rest until I destroy the demons that threaten the world, and who have gotten into dangerous pride after a series of victories over our brothers, kings from neighboring lands. ”
It seemed that Bharatha would not be able to dissuade anything from his decision. But then suddenly from heaven came a clear voice of a choir of devas: “It is Bharatha dharma to rule the kingdom until the time is finished and Rama returns from the wilderness!”
Now Bharatha could no longer hesitate and had to take over the management of the country. However, he demanded a promise from Rama that he would return as soon as his fourteen-year banishment had passed. He also asked him to give him some personal item, such as wooden sandals. Upon his return to Ayodhya, he wanted to put them next to the throne as a symbol of the temporary absence of the rightful king. Consoled by this gift, however, he decided to return home the next day and rule fairly until his brother returned.
Therefore, to this day, the land of India is called “Bharat” in Hindi and is the body of this nation. Rama and his power are therefore a symbol of his spirit.