Shatashloki 43: Bharata arrives in Chitrakūṭa and begs Rama to return

Sa jagāma vanam veero rāmapāda prasādaka

Gatvātu sumahātmānaṃ rāmaṃ satyaparākramam

Ayācadbhrātaraṃ rāmaāryabhāvapuraskŗta

Overcoming the dualities of likes and dislikes, Bharata set out to the forest with the sole intention of winning back Rama’s love. In all humility, Bharata beseeched Rama, the great Mahatma and satyavrata (one who strictly adhered to truth), to accept the reigns of the kingdom.

Bharata, who had decided to leave for the Dandakaranya forests, with the sole objective of meeting his brother Rama, immediately ordered that shrubs and stones on the way should be cleared and a path should be created. At once, the attendants took up the work and within no time a beautiful road was constructed. Wells were dug up at different locations on the way.

At this juncture, Vashistha approached Bharata and asked him to take up the reigns of the kingdom. Hearing these words, Bharata’s grief worsened and he lamented even more. He said to Vashistha, “O Maharishi, I am about to proceed to Dandakaranya and bring Rama back. Should Rama refuse to come back to Ayodhya with me, then, like Lakshmana, I too shall stay with him in the forest throughout the period of the exile”.

Bharata then addressed Sumantra and declared that Rama’s coronation should take place in the forest itself. Towards this, he ordered that adequate preparations be made.

Early next morning Bharata set out on his journey. He was accompanied by his entire army, chariots & horses, priests, and ministers. The three queens too accompanied him. As they neared Sringiberapuram Guha, mistook their intentions, thought that they were going to battle with Rama.  He approached Bharata in order to tactfully gauge his intentions.

Upon hearing the Bharata’s noble plans, Guha was overjoyed. He lauded Bharata and extended complete hospitality to him and his companions. He narrated to Bharata and Shatrughna all the events which took place at Sringiberapuram. When he told them that Rama and Lakshmana were now in the garb of ascetics, Bharata and Shatrughna were deeply pained. Hearing that Rama had slept on the bare floor, Bharata was totally disturbed and desolate.

He said, “Lakshmana and Seeta who stood by Rama at this time of his difficulty are truly elevated souls. Shatrughna and me too will live like them. We too shall change our attire into robes of bark, live on fruits and berries and sleep on the bare floor”.

Guha was touched by the Bharata’s dedication. With Guha’s help, Bharata together with the army crossed the River Ganga and reached the hermitage of Sage Bharadwaja. They accepted the hospitality offered by the sage and rested there. Next morning, the entire army proceeded towards Mountain Chitrakoota.

Every one was eagerly trying to spot Rama. As the men were eagerly searching for Rama, they spotted a cloud of smoke coming from a distance. Bharata, Sumantra, Vashistha and other prominent members proceeded in that direction having decided that it could be the residence of Rama. Meanwhile Guha together with his 100 attendants was combing another part of the forest, searching for Rama.

In the meantime, Rama hearing the clamor that was caused due to the movements of the army in the forest asked Lakshmana to find out the details. Lakshmana climbed a tree and spotted Bharata approaching them with his entire army. He was deeply agitated and angered. He presumed that Bharata had decided to battle with them.

Rama thought deeply and then pacified Lakshmana that Bharata would not never approach them with evil intentions. He asked Lakshmana to wait and watch. Exactly at that moment Bharata reached there. Rama rushed forward and embraced Bharata in great warmth. He then enquired about the well being of one and all.

Bharata piteously wept, “Dear brother, unable to withstand separation from you, our father has left for his heavenly abode. Today Ayodhya is without a king. All of us from Ayodhya, including our mothers, ministers, priests, well-wishers have all come here to beseech you to return with us and accept the kingship. Dear brother, I am merely your servant. Please bless me by accepting my request”.


Om Seeta Ramabhyaam namaha.

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