Sunday, 13 October 2013

88. Bharata moves to Nandigama village.

             Bharata did not feel quite at ease at Ayodhya. After carefully thinking over the matter he came to a conclusion and told Vasishta and the other elders "I am moving out to Nandigrama village. I take leave of all of you. There, I hope that I shall be able to endure all this woe caused by Rama's absence. The king Dasharatha went to heaven. My elder brother is in the forest. I shall await for Rama to return to the kingdom as the celebrated Lord of Ayodhya."
            All without any exception agreed. Then Bharata, feeling very happy and having offered salutation to all his mothers, entered his chariot along with Shatrughna. Keeping the sandals of Rama on his head, Bharata commanded the charioteer to move. All the ministers and family-priests followed them. The army too, abounding in elephants, horses, chariots etc. followed unbidden. The residents of the city also followed suit.
          On reaching Nandigrama, before alighting from his chariot, Bharata addressed his preceptors "My brother, Rama has given me this kingdom as a trust. These sandals, embellished with gold represent Rama the virtual monarch of this kingdom."
        Having dedicated the sacred trust to the wooden sandals, Bharata told his followers "Hold the state canopy pronto over these wooden sandals, which are the accepted symbols of the feet of Rama, my noble brother. By the presence of these wooden sandals of my brother here, a piety has been established in the kingdom. As a mark of compassion, this trust has been placed at my disposal, by my brother. This trust will be preserved till his return.
         "After restoring these wooden sandals personally to Rama's feet immediately on his return, I shall be beholding those feet of Rama along with these sandals. Restoring the kingdom to my elder brother, I shall then assume the role of a servant of my elder brother.
          "After restoring these excellent wooden sandals, the symbols of trust, this kingdom, as well as the City of Ayodhya to Rama, I shall be washed of all my sins. When Rama is installed as the monarch, all the subjects of this kingdom will be immensely happy. It will be a four-fold more fame and happiness for me than that having obtained from the kingdom."
          Donning bark robes and matted locks in the guise of an ascetic, Bharata living in Nandigrama and coronating the wooden sandals on the throne ruled the kingdom on behalf of Rama. All affairs of the state, big or small came up or whenever a high-valued gift was offered, Bharata used to report that matter to the wooden sandals and then only dealt with it in the appropriate way afterwards.

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