In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the “Raama-Upaakhyaana Parva” as narrated by Sage Maarkandeya to Yudishtra. In this, we’re finding a jist of the entire Valmiki Ramayana story to highlight how Mother Sita had to face enormous amounts of ordeals even though Bhagawan Rama was the one to undergo them. In this way, we’ve witnessed Bhagawan Rama descending to the forest and making friends with Guha, the hunter. Subsequently with Guha’s advice and guidance, Bhagawan Rama, Lakshmana and Mother Sita make their way to Chitrakoota. On the other side at Ayodhya, we’ve witnessed King Dasharata passing away unable to bear the separation from his beloved son Rama. Upon Bharata’s arrival, Kaikeyi proudly announces to him that he is henceforth the king of Ayodhya as per King Dasharata’s approval and that, Bhagawan Rama had already taken up the “Vana-Vaasam” (Exile) for the next fourteen years. This stuns Bharata to bits and immediately quashes Kaikeyi’s order! Bharata now decides that this game has had its peak and now it is time for course correction. He decides to go to the forest and bring Bhagawan Rama back to Ayodhya and coronate him as the next king.
With this intention, as Bharata starts, the entire Ayodhya city joins him and proceeds towards Chitrakoota with the guidance of Guha in the middle. As the caravan of Ayodhya with all its flags near Chitrakoota, Lakshmana spots a huge crows being led by his brother Bharata. Immediately, Lakshmana’s mind went into a suspicion mode – Is Bharata coming to attack and kill Bhagawan Rama, or, is he coming to take Bhagawan Rama with him back to Ayodhya? His mind concludes with the former and immediately Lakshmana rushes into the hamlet to take out his weapons! Bhagawan Rama asks Lakshmana the reason for his sudden tension and Lakshmana fires a reply back to Bhagawan Rama that he is going to finish Bharata off today! Unable to bear such words about Bharata, Bhagawan Rama explains – “Oh Lakshmana! Till today I did not know that you had an eye on the kingdom of Ayodhya! Even now it is not too late. If you really want to rule Ayodhya, please go ahead. I shall continue my forest life with my Bharata happily!” As Lakshmana gets stunned by Bhagawan Rama’s comment, Bhagawan Rama pacifies him thus, “Oh Lakshmana! I know the intention of my Bharata. At any cost, he would not come to kill me. Please be assured that Bharata is coming to take all of us back. If at all Bharata comes with the killing intention, even before Bharata fires an arrow at me, this Rama would be dead! Hence, let us wait till he comes and see what happens!”
As the duo wait patiently, Bharata and Co. arrive closer. However, unlike Lakshmana anticipated, Bharata has no signs of happiness at all! Sadness is written all over his face and he is in tears of sorrow! As Bharata sees Bhagawan Rama, he immediately runs forward and falls on His divine lotus feet and cries inconsolably! Upon comforting Bharata, Bhagawan Rama looks at Lakshmana and says, “Oh Lakshmana! What did you think about my Bharata a few minutes ago? Now see how he is unable to hold back his sorrow of my separation from him. This is the Bharata whom I know, and he has proved exactly that today!” As Lakshmana hears this, he feels embarrassed and all three of them hug each other and cry. It is at this time, Bharata discloses the information that father Dasharata has passed away! This stuns both Bhagawan Rama and Lakshmana and both of them hug Bharata and cry. Later on, Bhagawan Rama performs the “Tarpanam” for his demised father and after all of them settle down, Bharata slowly spills the beans. He expresses forgiveness on behalf of his mother Kaikeyi for all whatever happened and requests Bhagawan Rama to come back to Ayodhya along with him now itself.
So the question is very simple – Is Bhagawan Rama going to return back to Ayodhya along with Bharata by paying heed to his request? Or, is He going to continue His “Vana-Vaasam” for the stipulated time of fourteen years? Let us wait for the next episode to understand Bhagawan Rama’s decision! Stay tuned! 🙂