The Ramayana is the very essence of the Vedas and unfolds the highest values of life for mankind's benefit through its range of characters. It is believed that Brahma conferred on Sage Valmiki the unique power to witness the entire events in the life of Lord Rama and compose the Ramayana in verses of unparalleled beauty, simplicity and authenticity.
The predominant sentiment in the story is Karuna Rasa, an overwhelming feeling of pity and sorrow that is the essence of life, pointed out Sri M. V. Anantapadmanabhachariar in a lecture. Sage Valmiki had witnessed the sorrow of the Krauncha bird that lost its mate to the hunter's aim. The sage pronounced a curse that became the auspicious beginning of the epic.
While Lord Rama's plight — to be divested of the kingdom and to be sent to the forest — attracted much sympathy, Bharata's mental anguish was overlooked and his position as the heir prince alone invited much suspicion from many people including Sages Vasishta and Bharadwaja, not to mention Guha and the common people. Sage Valmiki, who was gifted to discern the mind and emotions of the characters, reveals Bharata's sterling quality in many subtle ways.
Bharata refuses to be anointed as king when Vasishta requests him after Dasaratha's death. He claims that only Lord Rama is eligible for it, being the eldest in the family. He cannot imagine how people could entertain such a thought. Being Lord Rama's younger brother, he would do nothing that would be demeaning. He never had eyes on the kingdom.
Bharata had to establish his pure heart to Guha who also suspected him. Guha becomes overwhelmed by Bharata's nobility when he realises that he had spontaneously renounced the kingdom that was recently acquired for him by his mother.
At Sage Bharadwaja's hermitage, where Bharata's retinue is offered hospitality befitting the celestials, and Bharata himself is offered a throne to indicate his status, Bharata's outright refusal dismisses any trace of suspicion about any ulterior motive in his actions.