Happiness in life is not the same for all, and peace of mind is a state that is elusive as long as the focus is on worldly objects. Life is the most unpredictable. Amid the din and excitement of life’s varied fare, it is shown that adherence to dharma alone can give one peace of mind.

In a lecture, Sri Kesava Dikshitar explained that the Ramayana provides a practical guide for upholding dharma while the Bhagavad Gita theorises spiritual truths.

At Chitrakuta, Lakshmana is infuriated to perceive Bharata approaching their dwelling with his retinue. He imagines that not satisfied with gaining the kingdom, Bharata is bent upon causing more misery and vows to kill him in retaliation. Rama calms him, pointing out that a life lived without any respect to dharma can never bring joy or peace of mind. “Killing Bharata and taking the kingdom is equal to disobeying Dasaratha. The kingdom gained by killing kinsfolk is like food mixed with poison. That which is got by wrong means and that which cannot be shared by those whom we love cannot give one joy.”

Lakshmana’s surmise is soon proved wrong when Bharata, in hermit’s garb and matted locks, prostrates before Rama, with tears in his eyes. Bharata blames himself for the cause of Dasaratha’s death and expresses his repentance to Rama. He entreats Rama to come back to Ayodhya and rule the kingdom. He tells Rama: “In the most unprecedented manner, our father, prompted by Kaikeyi, has given me the kingdom that rightly belongs to you and sent you to the forest. The fame he had attained has been tarnished by this ignoble act, and nor has my mother gained anything except eternal censure and blame from all this manipulation. I am also a party to all this by the fact that I am Kaikeyi’s son and will be condemned by posterity.”

Rama consoles Bharata but is resolute about upholding His father’s word; Bharata is equally determined not to accept the kingdom. It is the adherence to dharma by both that finally triumphs with a reluctant Bharata agreeing to rule Ayodhya on behalf of Rama with the Lord’s Paduka on the throne.

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