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|by Dr. C.S. Shah|
What was the reaction of Kaikeyi and others when Bharata returned to Ayodhya? What happened to king Dasharatha after Rama left for the forest?
As we know the minister Sumanta accompanied Rama and company for some time. The idea was to persuade Rama to return back to Ayodhya; the argument was that Kaikeyi would repent her hastiness and accept her mistake. She would not mind Rama coming back and stay at Ayodhya, even if Bharata be the king!
But, no. Rama flatly refused to return back. He said to his minister,
"O honorable one, I can understand your concern and love for me, but do not expect me to follow the course of action that has even minimum indication of cleverness, ambiguity, or suspicion. I have given my word to my father and people of Ayodhya to lead forest life of simplicity and renunciation for fourteen years, and I cannot think or act otherwise. It is not a question of comfort or privilege, it a matter of principle, truth, which one must even die to uphold. Don't I know that Sita who is so tender and inexperienced is suffering? But once decided let us do our duty."
Bharata Returns to Ayodhya
Thus Sumanta, without success, had returned to Ayodhya. Meanwhile, news of these dramatic happenings was sent to Bharata who was far away from Ayodhya. He was told that king Dasharatha sought his urgent meeting. He was not told about the banishment of Rama, role of his mother, and critical condition of his father.
But when he entered the boundaries of the kingdom, he was aware that something was amiss. "Why the birds are not at their usual happy chirping? Why these cattle is dried up and thinned out? Why all people are so silent, instead of their usual fun and play; their eyes swollen as if with constant crying? Why the usual sweet music and singing at the palace not audible to his ears?"
He could guess of impending tragedy, but was not sure as to what exactly might have happened. He straight way went to the chamber of his mother and was pained to see his father lying semiconscious on the floor. He was angry as well as confused. With a firm voice he inquired of her mother,
"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.
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