Nov 29, 2023
Nov 29, 2023
"O mother, what is all this? Can anyone tell me what has happened to my father, who has brought this disgrace to him, and why is Rama not to be seen?" A series of rapid fire question, but no immediate answer! Who would describe this sudden catastrophe where villain was of his mother Kaikeyi only! Ultimately through the intervention of the ministers gradually Bharata came to know all the details of the happenings. He was flabbergasted that her mother would be so mean to take life of her own husband! How can she not feel the pain of separation from her son Rama! Then with language that was sharper than the razor's edge, Bharata takes her mother to the task.
Says he, "O mother, to call you mother is an insult to motherhood. Indian tradition does not allow to kill one's mother and hence I am desisted from doing so, otherwise any one other you would have not remained alive for more than a minute after doing this to my father and brother Rama. Let the world know that from today you cease to remain my mother, I will not speak to you for fourteen years. From today onwards my mother's place is taken by Kausalya and Sumitra."
Bending low down, he then lifted the head of his father in his lap and said, "O father, what should I do to pacify you? On one side there is that noble Rama and here I am so unlucky and useless to become the king at the cost of my father and brother. Why have I lived to see this unfortunate day! please tell me father what is your command for me."
Dasharatha Dies Separated from Son Rama
Thus full of remorse Bharata did not know exactly as to what he should do. In a weak voice then, Dasharatha said, "O my son, my end is near, I cannot live where Rama is not. The life force here draws its sustenance from Rama alone. But my request to you is to go and fetch Rama-Laxmana-Sita from wherever they may be. After my departure from this earthly bond, I do not want the people of Ayodhya and all of you to suffer the agony of separation from Rama."
All eyes were wet. Bharata vowed to seek the forest-dwelling of Rama and to bring him back and offer him his legitimate right to throne. On hearing these words the heart of Dasharatha was pacified to some extent, and he breathed his last with repetition of 'He Rama, He Rama, He Rama.
Rishis Praise Rama
Soon the trio reached the holy Ashrama of the sage Bharadwaja. The sadhu received them with dignity and poise. The sage was already aware of the true nature of Rama and his mission:
"Whenever there is threat to righteousness, whenever vices prevail, whenever the saints and sadhus (spiritual aspirants) are threatened with unrighteousness, Brahman, with the help of His Maya-Shakti (Power) incarnates as Rama (or Krishna, etc.) on the earth."
"To show the right path to the devotees and to remove the obstacles in their way by subduing the wicked."
After accepting the hospitality of tribal -low caste- people and thereby establishing a new and revolutionary precedence, Rama-Laxmana-Sita proceeded ahead. They reached the bank of mighty and holy river Ganges. The boatman, Kewat, washed the holy feet of the trio and made arrangements for taking them to the other shore. When Rama offers him the fare, the devotee Kewat, eyes full of tears, describes the glory of Lord in a touching song. Says he,
"Sri Rama, the Almighty Redeemer, who ferries millions of souls across this ocean of worldliness seeks himself to be ferried across the river today! Lord seeks help from his Bhakta! I must have done some good work in my past birth to get this opportunity to serve Rama. O Compassionate One, to deem my fare, I will wait for fourteen years on this bank of river till your return."
Seeking tearful leave from the boatman, Rama and company reached the holiest confluence of three rivers in India - Triveni Sangam of the rivers Ganga - Yamuna - Saraswati at Prayag, North India. The confluence of Bhakti - devotion, Jnana - knowledge, and Karma - action.
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More by : Dr. C.S. Shah