Dashrath's death sent waves of shock throughout the kingdom of Ayodhya. Bharat, who was now to rule, was sent for.
Dashrath's passing away sent waves of shock throughout the kingdom of Ayodhya. Bharat, who was in Rajagriha visiting his maternal grandparents along with Shatrughan, was sent for.
Bharat too had started feeling restless and wanted to return to Ayodhya. He had had a bad dream, which had upset him greatly. His friends tried to cheer him up and enquired about the dream. Bharat answered that in his dream he saw his father fall from the top of a mountain into a pool defiled by cow dung. Dashrath then started laughing and drinking oil. After this, Bharath also saw an ocean dry up, the moon crash on the ground, mountains vanish into dust and other bad omens in his dream. He thus had a strong feeling that something was not quite right. The charioteer and messengers then arrived to take the brothers back to Ayodhya, but they had been given strict instructions not to convey the bad news to Bharat.
As the brothers neared the kingdom, Bharat noticed that the city was very quiet and gloomy. They reached the palace and Bharat anxiously looks for his father. Upon being unable to find it, he seeks out Kaikayee. When Kaikayee sees her beloved son, she runs to him and embraces him. She enquires after her parents and her brother, and Bharat informs her that all were well.
Bharat then enquires after Dashrath, and Kaikayee very slyly tries to disguise the tragedy by pretending as though she is conveying good news. She lets him know delightfully that Dashrath has passed away, as all people do, and that Bharat will now rule Ayodhya. Bharat, who loved his father deeply, was gripped by grief and fell to the ground in pain and shock. He then asked where his brothers Rama and Lakshman were, and Kaikayee said that they had been banished to the forest. Hearing this, Bharat was greatly surprised, as he could not imagine his brothers wronging anyone - so why would they be punished in this manner. Kaikayee then told Bharat everything, and added that she had done it all for Bharat. She stated that Bharat should rule with courage, and the kingdom and citizens of Ayodhya were dependent on him now.
Kaikayee's words shocked Bharat, and he now looked at her as he had never seen her before, with hatred in his eyes. He expressed grief at her behaviour and her greed, and blamed her for the death of his father, and added that he would never rule Ayodhya. He would instead go to the forest, bring back his brothers, and would serve as their attendant. Bharat and Shatrughan then go to meet Kaushalya, who, faint with grief, falls down as they approach her. Seeing her in this state move both brothers to tears. They rush to help her up, but she shuns them. She looks at Bharat with distrust in her eyes, and tells him that the kingdom he so desired was now his. Her harsh words pierced Bharat's soul, and he fell to her feet swearing that he knew absolutely nothing about any of this, and that to blame him would be grave injustice. He then harshly cursed the person who was responsible for all that had happened, and begged Kaushalya to accept him as her son. Kaushalya, seeing Bharat's genuine pain, embraced him. Bharat, submerged by grief, lost consciousness.
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