Bharata’s meeting with Rama in Chitrakuta is momentous. Feeling that he alone is responsible for Rama’s exile and the death of Dasaratha, Bharata wishes to undo the imagined wrongs and beseeches Rama to accept Ayodhya’s kingship. However, a serene Rama counsels Bharata on the ways of the world and the dharma that binds each individual just as Krishna counsels Arjuna in the battlefield in Kurukshetra, said Sri Kesava Dikshitar in a lecture.

Rama says: “Do not think that Dasaratha sent me to the forest on the prompting of Kaikeyi. Neither she nor you can be held responsible for these incidents. It is destiny that rules the lives of people and prevents them from acting according to their wishes. We may earn much wealth but all this will be destroyed at some point of time. Commanded by destiny, even Brahma and Indra have to step down from their positions of power.”

The Lord further expatiates on life’s hard truths. People who come together during their lifetime get separated sooner or later. Death is a certainty for all beings and there is no point in grieving over this ubiquitous occurrence. A ripe fruit automatically detaches itself from the tree and falls. A strong building succumbing to the ravages of time will gradually lose its strength and collapse. Men too face a similar plight on attaining old age. Every day is unobtrusively eating into the lifespan of individuals.

An individual has therefore to understand that one’s lifetime is a boon and strive to make it fruitful by remaining detached from the worldly attractions and seek salvation. Leading a righteous life, showing concern for all beings and trusting the compassion of the omniscient Lord are the means to this end.

Bharata is not comforted and insists that Rama rule the kingdom while he will fulfil Dasaratha’s order that his son be exiled to the forest. Rama replies that their father had ordained forest life for Rama and kingship to Bharata and both of them have to abide by his words. As neither He nor Bharata can have any say in whatever Dasaratha desired to buy, or pledge or sell, they cannot interfere with his wishes, too. And that is their destiny.

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