Thursday, 26 September 2013

81. Bharata requests Rama to takeover the kingdom.

               Eventhough eager to meet Rama, Vashishta let Dasharatha's widows precede him. The king's queens were however, moving slowly. When they saw the ford of the River Mandakini, which was being frequented by Rama and Lakshmana, Kausalya with a gloomy and emaciated face, filled with tears, told Sumitra and the other royal women "I am sure that this ford, located in the eastern region of the forest, is being frequented by Seetha, Rama and Lakshmana. O, Sumitra! Lakshmana, your son must always be drawing water himself from here unwearyingly for the sake of my son. Though engaged in an inferior act of carrying water, your son is not to be censured because all that service rendered to his brother is enjoined with virtues. Your son too, who is not accustomed to such pains, will indeed be relieved now of this mean, wretched and laborious task."
          The large-eyed Kausalya observed a ball made of Ingudi pulp, which was placed by Rama in honour of his father on the ground, on a heap of Darbha grass, the raised spikes of which pointed towards the south. Seeing that ball of food placed on the ground by Rama for his father, the Queen Kausalya told all the other queens of Dasharatha "See this ball of food offered traditionally by Rama in honour of his father. I do not consider this offering as befitting for that great-souled king, who was like a God and who lived amidst every pleasure. How can that Lord of the earth, Dashartaha, equal to the Lord of celestials and a mighty man, having enjoyed the earth with its four quarters, the boundaries of which are the oceans, eat a cake of Ingudi pulp? I do not consider any thing more painful to me on earth than Rama the man of fortune offering a cake of Ingudi pulp to his father."
           They proceeded further and saw Rama in his hermitage. Seeing them Rama raised up and took hold of the auspicious feet of all his mothers. Seeing all those mothers, Lakshmana too slowly paid obeisance devotedly to them all by bowing to each in turn. All Dasharatha's wives showed the same affection towards Lakshmana, as they did to Rama. Then, the grief-stricken Seetha, her eyes filed with tears, also touched the feet of her mothers-in-laws and stood before them. Kausalya embraced the miserable Seetha as a mother and asked her "How has the daughter of the King Janaka and the daughter-in-law of the King Dasharatha and Rama's wife, fallen into such a wretched plight of living in a desolate forest? O, Seetha! My heart pains very much to see you in this condition."
            Rama then saw Vashishta and immediately went up to him and took hold of his feet in salutation. Then, as ordered by the sage sat down by his side. Then, Bharata along with his counsellors, the leading citizens, warriors and virtuous people seated at a lower level but within the proximity to Rama. And they were talking this and that; some were lamenting. 
            While they were indulging as above the night passed giving way to a gleaming and beautiful dawn. Rama and his brothers along with their companions, made their offerings and recited their prayers on the banks of River Madakini.
           After finishing the morning chores, all sat down on the bank of the river. Then Bharata told Rama "My mother has been consoled by you by giving the kingdom to me. I am giving back that kingdom to you. Enjoy it without hindrance! As a dam breached by a great rush of water during a rainy season cannot be repaired so easily, this great kingdom cannot be defended by any one other than you. As a donkey cannot emulate the tempo of a horse, or an ordinary bird the movement of Garuda, neither can I adopt your ways of ruling the kingdom. 
         "May all behold you, shining resplendent on all sides like the sun, seated on the throne! O, Rama! May the elephants, intoxicated with ichor be heard trumpeting on the highway, when you do return and the women of the inner apartments rejoice, all happily joined together."
         Rama told Bharata with a smile "Man is not able to do what he wills. He is not the Master. A fixed form or name drives him hither and thither. All that is piled up is finally disbursed. What rises, ends in a fall. Union ends in separation. Life ends in death. How a ripe fruit does not fear for anything other than its falling, so also a man once born, does not fear for anything other than his death. As a house that is solidly constructed ultimately falls into decay, human being too is subject to age and death. The night that has passed, does not return and the bountiful River Yamuna just marches on towards the sea. The passing days and nights in this world quickly decrease the life-span of all living being as in the summer, the rays of the sun dry up the water in a pool.
         "You grieve for yourself. Why do you grieve for another? Even while you stay at home, or departed to another place, your life-span gets shortened. Death walks just with us as we walk and sits with us as we sit. Having traveled a very long distance with us, death returns along with us as we return.
          "What expedient can make a man whose body became decayed with age, with folds on the limbs and hair turned grey,come back to the original splendour? People are delighted when the sun has risen and also when the day ends. But they are not able to perceive the waning in their life-span.
          "Seeing the onset of season, people rejoice, as though it has come something newly. But the succession of the seasons devours the life of being. As pieces of drift-wood floating on the ocean come together for a span, so also wives, children, kinsmen, wealth and property come together for a while and part with us. Their parting is inevitable. Here, no being can escape its destiny in the form of birth and death. For that reason, the power to avert his own death does not ingrain in a man mourning for a dead person. As a caravan is passing on a road, one stationed at the way-side says, I too will come behind you. In the same manner, we should inevitably follow the path taken by fathers and forefathers. Why a man who obtained that path, for which there is no return, distress himself.
          "While the age rushes on, without any return like a flowing river, one's self should be employed in a pursuit leading to blessedness. It is said that all beings are meant to be happy. The king Dasharatha, our pious minded father performed almost all auspicious sacrifices and paid plentiful sacrificial fees to the officiating priests and Brahmins and went to heaven.
          "Our father reached heaven because he maintained his servants properly, protected his subjects and realized the taxes in the manner prescribed by scriptures. Our father obtained heaven because of his auspicious acts and performing sacrifices involving heavy sacrificial fees.
           "Having performed many types of sacrifices, enjoying worldly pleasure abundantly and having obtained a long and virtuous life, king Dasharatha reached heaven. O, dear brother! King Dasharatha, our father who was treated with respect by all men and who secured excellent life-span and enjoyments, is not to be pitied.
            "King Dasharatha, our father, having abandoned his worn-out human body, has attained the celestial state, by which he can stroll in the realm of Brahma, the highest heaven. No wise, learned and exceptionally clever man, such as you, would weep in such a situation, about the emperor.
            "The wise, who are steadfast, should indeed relinquish these sorrows, lamentations, weeping and such other states of misery. Be composed. Control your grief, return to the City of Ayodhya in order to obey the command of our father. I, on my part, will fulfill the command of our father.
            "O Bharata! It is not justifiable for me to violate the command of our father. You also must honour it to the end, for it comes from our father, our own blood. Hence, I shall conform to the honourable word of our father, by my act of dwelling in the forest. Thus should a pious man act, who seeks to harm none, who is obedient to his elders and who aspires to conquer the higher world. Perceiving the virtuous conduct of our father, the King Dasharatha, act in conformity to your own nature."

1 comment:

  1. Through Rama's advice to Bharata, the author has given the advice for every human being!