In the previous episode we witnessed that Bharata proposed his idea of traversing to the forest to find where his brother Rama is, and to bring him back to Ayodhya to coronate him formally. As Bharata expresses his decision, the courtroom agrees to it in unison as Sage Vasishtaachaarya storms into the courtroom!
Sage Vasishtaachaarya’s first words upon entry into the courtroom – “Oh Bharata! The kingdom cannot run for long without a king in place. Hence, in the interest of the kingdom, please go ahead and get coronated without any delay!”
This was like rubbing salt on the wound for Bharata! He is already depressed and sad upon Rama’s departure, and upon hearing these words from his Guru Vasishtaachaarya, Bharata was pained even more and replies him, “Oh Brahmarishi! I’ve given due respect to you as my great teacher (Guru)! However, till date I had never known that you would be the greatest thief on earth!”
Sage Vasishtaachaarya was stunned for a moment upon hearing such words from Bharata – He asks back, “Oh Bharata! Already I’m deeply hurt on Dasharata’s demise and also on Rama’s exile! I’m expressing my opinion in the interest of the kingdom! You know very well that I’ve been the “Kula Guru” of this Ikshvaaku Dynasty for ages now! However, what characteristics did you find in me that made you conclude that I’m a thief?”
Now Bharata replies, “Oh Guru Deva! Don’t you know? My one and only property in this world is “Raama – Daasyam” and “Raama-Bhakthi”! Now, when Rama is alive and if you’ve to still say that I should become the king, then it is like stealing away my property! Isn’t it? I cannot rule this kingdom, which is to be officially ruled by my dearest brother Rama! I can only be his servant, but not a king!” Thus, Bharata refused Sage Vasishtaachaarya’s request.
Upon hearing Bharata’s words, Sage Vasishtaachaarya now tries to convince Bharata by using all his knowledge and smartness! He says, “Oh Bharata! I understand your good intentions! However, think in this way – Can’t one property rule another property? I mean, you are a property of Rama, and Ayodhya is a property of Rama too. Hence, one property can rule another, isn’t it? For instance, if I keep a precious ornament in a box, both the box and the ornament are my property. Now, the box protects the ornament from being stolen away, right? Hence in this way, you can take over the Ayodhya kingdom until Rama returns!” Thus, Sage Vasishtaachaarya tried to “smartly” convince Bharata!
However, Bharata was not in a position to get carried away by all these “smart words” and “logical thinking” employed by Sage Vasishtaachaarya! He replies back, “Oh Guru Deva! I know you are very smart in thinking! But given my present state of affairs, whatever you say, doesn’t make any sense to me! What did you say? A box would protect the ornament – I agree! But tell me, can the box take the ornament and put it within itself and say ‘OK! I’m ruling the ornament and property rules another property?’ What kind of logic is this? Only if the owner keeps the ornament inside the box, the box can protect it! Else how can it protect? Else, I’m very sorry! I’m not convinced with your argument!”
Sage Vasishtaachaarya was moved to tears with Bharata’s reply! He was very happy to see that Bharata is deeply immersed in the devotion towards his brother. He asks Bharata again, “OK my child! But if Rama asks you to rule the kingdom, will you do it?” Bharata promptly replies, “Yes! If Rama orders me to rule the kingdom I will. I will do whatever he tells me to do!”
This is the significance of “Paarathanthriyam” – From the above conversation we can see that Bharata was an epitome of this highest form of Bhakthi towards Bhagawan! We can see that he is ready to execute whatever Bhagawan wishes him to do! This is the biggest difference between Lakshmana and Bharata! I’ve already explained this in one of the previous episodes – Lakshmana was in the level of “Seshathvam”, which means, “Being a blind follower of Bhagawan”. This is why Lakshmana went along with Rama to the forest and was of service to him every single minute! However, Bharata was one step higher by being an epitome of “Paarathanthriyam”, which means, “Being of service to Bhagawan, but according to Bhagawan’s wish!” Thus, at many instances and discourses, our Aacharyas and Aalwaars who had written extensive commentaries on the Ramayana, have illustrated that, Lakshmana was one step higher than Rama! Bharata was one step higher than Lakshmana and Shathrughna was one step higher than all the three – Rama, Lakshmana and Bharata! This is because; “Bhaagawatha Paarathanthriyam” (Being of service to a Bhagawan’s devotee) is the one that is liked the most by Bhagawan Himself! With the same explanation, of all the twelve Aalwaars, Madhurakavi Aalwaar is considered one step higher than the rest!
Thus Bharata discards the words of Sage Vasishtaachaarya and before doing anything else, he prepares himself to perform the last rites of his father, King Dasharata. Thus he calls his brother Shathrughna and makes all the preparations for the last rites to happen. Thus both Bharata and Shathrugna complete the rituals of King Dasharata and both of them now prepare to set out to the forest in search of Rama.
What happened next? Did Bharata succeed in finding Rama? What did Rama say? Let’s wait till the next episode for the answers for all the above questions!