In the previous episode we witnessed that Kaikeyi’s actions had shocked Bharata beyond limits! He was inconsolable and couldn’t hold himself any longer, and hence he fumed at his mother by saying that she was a “Kaala-Raathri” (The dark spot) in the entire history of Ayodhya! Later on he ponders as to what was the real underlying reason for the unfortunate exile of Rama – Who was actually responsible for all what had happened? After a deep pondering, Bharata concludes within himself that he was the person who was responsible for all this mess! He concluded that he himself has committed that unforgivable blunder of leaving for Kekeya Desha for a few days – Hadn’t he left, such mess wouldn’t have happened! Thus, Bharata was in uncontrollable grief and this particular thought, sank him even more!
This kind of unconditional love and “Bhakthi” towards the Lord is widely appreciated in the Hindu Literature and particularly Bharata in the Ramayana story is considered to be an epitome of this! You might all remember that in one of our earlier episodes, we’ve spoken at length about “Bhagawat Paarathanthriyam”, which signifies that the devotee behaves and acts according to Bhagawan’s wishes, rather than his own! In other words, he puts Bhagawan in front of himself for every action – This is exactly what we’ve started to witness in the case of Bharata. In the next few episodes, we shall get a bigger clarity of how “Paarathanthriyam” was practiced by the great Bharata.
In the famous “Thiruppaavai” in Tamil, Aandaal has employed a special phrase to signify this kind of “Bhakthi”. She says,
“Elle ilam kiliye! Innum urangudhiyo!
Chill enru azhaiyen min nangayeer poodharuginren!
Vallai un katturaigal pande un vaai aridhum!
Valeergal neengale naane thaan aaiyiduga!
Ollai nee podhaai unakkenna verudalyal!…. “
Here, I’ve just taken the first five lines of the 15’th Paasuram of Thiruppaavai. In this, we observe the phrase (underlined) “Naane thaan aayiduga!” This means that, even if someone puts the blame for a mistake that is not committed by us, we still accept the blame and ask for Bhagawan’s forgiveness! In other words, the one who accepts the mistake of his/her own actions and/or the blame for the mistakes that he/she has not committed at all, is considered to be the best devotee of Bhagawan! Thus, this is considered to be the highest form of “Bhakthi”! Here in this context of Ramayana, we see Bharata doing this – He was not even in the picture when Rama went on exile, but still, he puts the blame on himself for the unfortunate happening! This is why we can witness in various commentaries and discourses by various Aachaaryas that Bharata is one step higher in significance even than Lord Rama himself!
Thus Bharata goes straight to the courtroom and prostrates before everyone and says, “Respected ministers, rishis, etc. in this auspicious courtroom! I’m shocked as to what had happened at Ayodhya during my absence! Although King Dasharata has granted the boon of me becoming his successor, I cannot take this in my life. I feel that I do not deserve to be the king of Ayodhya! It is our beloved Rama who is supposed to rule all of us! I’m thinking of going all the way to the forest immediately in search of Rama and bring him, Lakshmana and Sita back to Ayodhya immediately! Oh ministers and rishis! What do you think of this plan?”
The ministers and rishis were all very happy with Bharata’s decision and they decided to accompany him to the forest in search of Rama. It was at this moment, Sage Vasishtaachaarya enters the courtroom! What did Sage Vasishtaachaarya say to Bharata? How did he react to his words? What happened next? Let’s wait and witness it in the next episode!