In the previous episode we witnessed that Bharata and his people are all set to sail across the river Ganges with the help and the guidance given by Guha. While boarding the raft, we also saw that Bharata introduces his three mothers one by one to Guha and explains their significance. We witnessed the beautiful “Paasuram” of Kamba Ramayana in this effect.
Now moving on further, the entire caravan boards the raft provided by Guha and thus all of them sail across and reach the other bank of the river Ganges and start their march towards Chitrakoota. It should be remembered that Guha had given them ample guidance on the direction that Rama, Lakshmana and Sita walked after crossing the river. According to the given directions, Bharata and the other people march on, and reach the ashram of Sage Bharadwaaja. It should be remembered that Rama, Lakshmana and Sita also passed by Sage Bharadwaaja’s ashram and only with his guidance did they found this place where they were currently residing.
Upon reaching Sage Bharadwaaja’s ashram, Bharata falls on his feet and pays the due respects to the great Sage.
“Kaschinna tasyaa paapasya paapam tharthumiheshyasi!
Akhantakam bhokthamanaa raajyam tasyaanujasyacha!!
Yevamukthvaa bharadwaajam bharathaha prathyuvaachaha!
Paryaschu nayano dukhaan vaachaa sandyajyamaanayaa!!”
Sage Bharadwaaja, upon seeing the arrival of Bharata says to him, “Oh Bharata! You’ve come with an intention to do a sin to a person (Rama) who cannot be affected by any kind of a sin in this world! You’ve got what you wanted and now why are you coming here to further add to the woes of Rama?”
Upon hearing these harsh words from a Sage of the stature of the Great Bharadwaaja, Bharata was shocked and for a moment, he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! Bharata falls down on his feet with tears in his eyes and replies, “Oh Great Sage! Even if you’ve mistook my intentions, then there is nobody else in this world for whom I’ve to live for! You are a Sage who knows everything through the power of your deep penance! If Kaushalya scolds me, she is a mother who has sacrificed her son and I can understand what she’s going through! If Guha mistakes me, I can still understand because he’s afterall a hunter! Even if Sage Vasishtaachaarya mistakes me, I can understand because he is our “Kula Guru” and he has the responsibility of ruling the kingdom effectively! What about you? In what way did I hurt you? If even you’ve to mistake me, then I’m shattered beyond words! I thought atleast you would understand me well, however now I think that I’ve been murdered mentally and emotionally! There is no point of me living in this world anymore!”
Upon seeing Bharata cry out his misery, Sage Bharadwaaja lifts him with happiness and says, “Oh Bharata! I know very well that you’ve done no fault! I know very well that you are an epitome of Bhakthi towards Rama! However, I had to ask that harsh question to you, just to make sure that tomorrow the society would believe that Bharata is a good person! Only if I make you cry like this, I can also substantiate to the world that you are a person with a kind heart!”
Bharata on hearing Sage Bharadwaaja’s explanation replies back, “Oh Sage Bharadawaaja! Thank you for your explanation! I do not need the certificate of approval from anybody that I’m a good person. All what is important is that you understand me well! That is more than enough for me! Please guide me with the way in which Rama went. I’m so desperate to see him, Lakshmana and Sita Devi.”
Sage Bharadwaaja was so impressed with the unconditional surrender from Bharata and guides him with the directions where Rama traversed. Thus, Bharata follows the instructions of Sage Bharadwaaja and after a while, the entire set of people are now nearing Chithrakoota wherein Rama, Lakshmana and Sita were residing. Upon witnessing the scenic beauty around that place, Bharata senses that Rama is somewhere in the vicinity. Hence, he searches his way through and walks on as he finds Rama sitting at some distance from where he was!
Before Rama sees Bharata approaching, it was Lakshmana who saw Bharata first! Lakshmana sees a huge crowd of people advancing towards their hamlet, with the flag of Ayodhya flying high in the air! What was Lakshmana’s reaction? What did he do? Was he happy to see his brother Bharata? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out!