Chitrakoot Dhama, Part 5
BY: SUN STAFF
Jan 21, CANADA (SUN) A serial exploration of the Holy Dhama of Chitrakoot.
Bharat's Departure to Chitrakut
Narration of excerpts from Ayodhya Kanda of Sri Ramayana.
Everyone was pleased by Bharat's desire to visit Chitrakut. Bharat called the ministers and instructed them to carry all the things required for the crowning ceremony to the forest where Sri Rama would be crowned as the King of Ayodhya. The next morning the caravan moved towards Chitrakut. Bharat, too, halted at Shringwerpur for a night and then continued with his journey the next morning.
This time Bharat was walking. Seeing him walk, other people too got down from their chariots. When Kaushalya heard it, she asked the carriers of her palanquin to take it near Bharat and said:
"Son Bharat, people are already grief-stricken because of Rama's separation. Moreover they have become weak and feeble due to continuous fasts they have been observing since Rama departed. So, don't walk, but board on the chariot."
Bharat obeyed her commands and boarded the chariot once again. When Bharat's caravan approached the Ganges, Nishadraaj came to know about his arrival. He grew suspicious of Bharat's intentions and wondered if it was really necessary to carry such a large procession just to meet Rama.
Unaware of Bharat's real intentions, Nishadraaj was imagining of the worst. He thought that Bharat might have considered that since Rama was alone in the forest, it would be very easy for him to eliminate Rama and enjoy the pleasures of the kingdom without any hindrance.
Nishadraaj called all his subjects and instructed them to immerse all the boats in the Ganges, so that nobody could cross the river. He also inspired them to be prepared to die for the cause of Sri Rama. The tribal forces of the Nishad were preparing themselves for the war, when suddenly a sound of somebody's sneeze was heard. They considered the sneeze as an auspicious sign, and at last the decision was made to forget about the battle and think about union as per the good omen. Bharat was not going to battle with Sri Rama but on the contrary, he was coming to persuade him to return back to Ayodhya.
But still Nishadraaj warned his people against making any decision in haste. He ordered them to remain on alert and be prepared for any eventuality.
When Nishadraaj saw Vashishta coming, he greeted the sage and introduced himself as the servant of Sri Rama. Feeling pleased, sage Vashishta told Bharat that Nishadraaj was a companion of Sri Rama. Hearing this, Bharat jumped down from his chariot and ran towards Nishadraaj to take him in his embrace. After that, Nishadraaj met with Shatrughana. All the people spent that night as the guests of Nishadraaj.
The next morning the caravan crossed the river Ganges and reached the hermitage of Sage Bhardwaj. Now everybody was eager to see Sri Rama.
After taking a bath in the holy waters of the Ganges, Bharat prayed: "Help me to have complete and total devotion to the feet of Sri Rama. I do not have desires for anything else - neither dharm (religion) nor arth (wealth), kaam (desires) or moksha (salvation)."
The Ganges manifested herself and blessed him, saying: "Bharat do not have self-pity, because there is nobody whom Rama likes more than you."
Brahman preparing for river arotik
Bharat Converses with Sage Bhardwaj
The people of Prayag were very pleased to see Bharat's extreme love and devotion for his elder brother, Sri Rama. This way after having impressed everyone by his conduct, Bharat came to sage Bhardwaj's hermitage. Bhardwaj embraced Bharat, offering him a seat and asking about his well being. Bharat was wondering how to answer the sage's enquiries when Bhardwaj, who knew everything, advised him not to feel guilty about whatever had happened. He also advised Bharat not to hold his mother responsible for the whole of events.
Sage Bhardwaj said: "Bharat, whosoever sees your fault in these events is of low intelligence. You would not have committed a sin, even if you had accepted the throne, because it had been as per the wish of your father. But the example you have shown by your love and devotion towards Rama is unmatched and incomparable."
"Listen Bharat, I am a hermit, recluse and have no attachment. So believe me that the most beautiful result of all the accomplishments a person gets, by having true love for the feet of Sri Rama and Sita, and even better result one gets by having darshan (sight) of you. So I consider myself very fortunate to see you at the sacred pilgrimage, Prayag."
Bharat, who was immersed in the thoughts of Sri Rama said: "I don't worry about the duties of my mother, I also do not bother what people think of me. I also do not think about my father's death, because he was fortunate enough to see Rama before his death, and his love for Sri Rama was so great that he could not bear the sorrows of his separation. My only worry is that people will hold me responsible for Sri Rama's exile."
Then Sage Bhardwaj advised him to shed his sorrows and accept the fruits, which were being offered.
They had their diner and took rest. In the morning they took their bath in the Ganges and proceeded towards Chitrakut.
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