Ayodhya Kanda 6 - Bharat Milaap
Having crossed the river, Bharata met sage Bharadvaja who gave him the welcome a king deserved. When the sage asked him whether he intended to harm Rama, Bharata wept. He assured the sage that he did not support his mother’s evil actions and requested the sage to help him find Rama. The sage then asked Bharata to stay the night and leave the next day to Chitrakoota to meet Rama.
As they entered the forest, sage Vasishta commented on its beauty. Then the soldiers went in search of Rama. Hearing the commotion caused by the Ayodhya army, Rama asked Lakshmana to find out what was happening. Lakshmana saw the army and assumed that Bharata was coming to attack them on the orders of Kaikeyi.
Rama then saw Bharata coming towards them without weapons and asked Lakshmana to calm down. Bharata was overcome with emotion seeing Rama covered in deer skin and living in a hut. He fell at Rama’s feet shedding tears. Shatrugna also joined him and touched Rama’s feet. Rama then embraced both of them.
Rama then anxiously enquired about his parent’s health and the health of the queens. He also enquired about the kingdom and its governance. Bharata then told Rama that Dasharatha was dead. Hearing this news, Rama lost consciousness. After recovering, Rama wailed that he had not seen his father for one last time and could not perform his last rites.
Sumantra then consoled Rama and led him to the river Mandakini, where he and his brothers conducted water rites for their departed father. The brothers and Sita then wept uncontrollably. Hearing their weeping, the soldiers came running to see Rama. He then met them, spoke to them, and consoled them.
Dasharatha’s wives then met Rama. They wept seeing how Rama who should have been in a palace had to stay in a hut. Rama then met his mother and the other wives of Dasharatha. He took the blessings of sage Vasistha.
The next day Bharata insisted that Rama should return to Ayodhya and rule. Rama refused saying he had given his promise and would stay in the forest for 14 years. Vasistha then told Rama about the Ikshavaku lineage and how the eldest would always be the king. He advised Rama to rule the kingdom wisely like his father had done.
Rama then said that by following his father’s words he would free him from any act of falsehood. Bharata then tearfully offered golden sandals to Rama. He then worshipped those sandals, and keeping the sandals on his head returned to Ayodhya. On the way, he met sage Bharadwaja and appraised him of all that happened.
Bharata decided to wear only bark and live like an ascetic. He placed Rama’s sandals on the throne and decide to govern Ayodhya on behalf of Rama until the completion of 14 years.
Meanwhile, in the Chitrakoota forests Rama observed that the sages living in the area were worried. When he asked them for the reason, they told him about the troubles being created by the evil rakshasa Khara. They decided to leave the place for this reason, and left having informed Rama.
Rama then went to meet the great sage Atri, who asked Sita to take the blessings of his aged and illustrious wife, Anasuya. Sita then met Anasuya and took her blessings. Anasuya was pleased and gave Sita garlands, ornaments, garments, and pastes to apply to the body. Anasuya asked Sita to wear the garments and ornaments.
She was pleased to see the resplendent-looking Sita. Rama was also happy to see Sita with ornaments. After staying the night in the ashrama, they departed to Chitrakoota the next day.
End of Ayodhya Kanda