Bharat Meets Rama
Bharat meets Rama and Chitrakoots and begs him to return to Ayodhya. Rama refuses, and Bharat returns dejected - but not without Rama's sandals!.
While Bharat was making his way towards Chitrakoot, Rama was very disturbed about something. Sita had earlier said to him that she had seen Bharat in her dream, and he was on his way to meet Rama. But instead of feeling joy at the possibility of being reunited with his brother, Rama was overwhelmed with sadness as he had a strong feeling that something very inauspicious was about to unfold.
Before long, a cloud of dust emerged on the horizon. As everybody was wondering who could be arriving, the nearby tribals informed Rama, Lakshman and the holy men that Bharat was arriving with an army. Lakshman was immediately apprehensive when he heard this. He feared that Rama's premonition was coming true, and Bharat had arrived with his army to kill Rama. This infuriated him, and he stated that Bharat would have to kill him first before he could lay a hand on his elder brother.
Rama however knew that Bharat would never have such evil intentions, and he pacified Lakshman.
True enough, Bharat had left the army behind and had come to meet Rama, accompanied only by Shatrughan.
The brothers were overcome with joy when they met, and they embraced. Then Rama and Lakshman were informed of the death of their father, and this deeply saddened them. Rama was devastated when he learnt that his father had died because he could not bear to be separated from his beloved son.
Bharat and Shatrughan then tried to pursuade Rama to return with them to Ayodhya. Bharat told Rama that he had brought with him the crown and everything else that was needed for the coronation ceremony. He begged Rama to agree to be crowned King. Rama however stated that he was honour bound to fulfill the promise made by his father, and could not return to Ayodhya.
Bharat stayed with Rama in Chitrakoot for five days. In the meantime Kaushalya, Kaykaiyee and Sumitra too reached Chitrakoot. Kaikayee then begged Rama for forgiveness, and said that she was ashamed of what she had done. Rama and the other sages tried to assuage her guilt, and Rama said that he bore no ill will for her in any respect. He loved her as a son loves his mother, and will certainly return to Ayodhya, but only after fourteen years of exile - which he will happily bear for his father.
Then Sita's parents, Janak and Sunaina arrived to meet their daughter and son-in-law, and to request them to return to their kingdom. They were saddened when they saw Sita dressed as a hermit, but were proud of her strength.
Some days later everyone who had come to meet Rama, Lakshman and Sita, returned. On his return Bharat refused to sit on the throne or live in the palace. He instead started living in a small hut near Nandigrama, in the guise of a sage. He slept on a mat made of grass and ate only food that he could grow - refusing luxuries that his brother no longer had access to. Bharat had also brought Rama's sandals with him, which he placed on the throne. He worshiped the sandals everyday, and ruled on behalf of Rama, waiting and praying for his elder brother's safe return.
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