Bharata Prepares To Welcome Rama
Here in Ayodhya, Bharata was waiting for the arrival of Rama, Laxmana, and Sita. He knew the day when Rama should return. He had counted every day of those fourteen years that Rama had to suffer in forest as a result of his mother's folly. He had ruled as the representative Rama, living like a monk -sanyasin. Rama's wooden shoes adored the throne during his absence.
[This love and sacrifice of Laxmana and Bharata for their elder brother Rama is still cherished as an ultimate example of love between brothers. This glory of Indian ethos and culture is still sung in many houses as well on stages. Many plays are written and enacted now and then, in the past and present times also. But with the advent of science (materialistic, consumerist, utilitarian culture of modern times), where values like love and sacrifice are scornfully looked down upon as outdated emotionalism, many Indians too do not find anything worth while in this story of Rama.]
Bharata encouraged people of Ayodhya to celebrate the return of Rama with pomp and show. Actually there was no need to pass any order. The whole Ayodhya was eager to welcome her heroes. The whole city was decorated with flowers and garlands. Every house adored beautiful look of cleanliness and was lighted with candles and bulbs. Perfumes and scent filled the air. Every street was cleaned and watered, and decorated with hand-painted colorful designs.
(We Indians today also celebrate this victorious return of Rama on the auspicious day of Diwali. There is declared as a holiday; and schools, colleges, offices, and factories are closed. There is gaiety all around. Sweets are prepared in every house and distributed amongst friends and relatives.)
The pleasant noise of airoplane -Pushpaka- reached the crowd below. There was mad rush to see Rama first. Bharata and Rama hugged each other, tears flowing down their eyes. Rama inquired about the well being of Kaikeyi first, then about his mother Kausalya and Sumitra. Kaikeyi had repented her harsh decision to send Rama to forest. In this act, she and the other two queens had become widows. The sobering effect of all these realities showed in Kaikeyi's changed behaviour of simplicity and humility. After salutations, Rama talked to them about his experiences of forest life. The story of Sita's kidnapping and Ravana's death were narrated. Hanuman and Vibhishana were introduced.
But all the three older queens were fade up with these worldly matters now! After praising the obedience and bravery of Rama, unparalleled love and sacrifice of Laxmana, and extreme suffering of Sita, they requested Rama to permit them to retreat to forest to lead life of renunciation. [This was quite natural in those days when elderly people used to renounce worldly pleasures and retire to loneliness of forest and Ashrams. They engage themselves in the worship of God, mediation and contemplation.]
Reluctantly Rama agreed to their request, and thus Kausalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra left Ayodhya for forest life.
Righteous Rule of Rama - Rama Rajya
Soon, Rama was given his due honour as King of Ayodhya. Formal sacrificial ceremony was performed with gaiety and pomp. Rama ruled wisely. Food and shelter, water and fodder, everything was aplenty. Art and literature, craft and business prospered. Justice and peace prevailed every where. In fact justice was never denied or delayed because there was no crime!!! Everyone including animals and trees were happy and contented.
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