Bharata tells Rama that although their father Dasaratha had, because of Bharata’s mother Kaikeyi, banished Rama to the forest, the kingdom rightfully belongs to Rama. Rama then asks Bharata some questions. He asks Bharata to define what he means by his mother, by his father, by kingdom and by desire, elaborated Kidambi Narayanan, in a discourse.

When a person talks of his father, does he mean his father in this birth, or in the previous birth, or in future births? Do we even know who we were in previous births? How can anything of material value be termed permanent? A building is supported by pillars. But in course of time, the pillars are weakened and the building collapses. In the same way, youth is a pillar that supports us, but that youth is not lasting. It is a sad fact that youth seems to us to be long lasting, when we are young. Old age doesn’t seem to be something we are ever going to face. But we must be wise and realise that old age and death are inevitable.

Look at a river. The water is flowing constantly. There is always water in the river, but is the water that we saw in a certain place a minute ago, the same that we are seeing now? It is not, for the water that we saw awhile ago, has flowed on. Our lives are like that too. One janma succeeds another, and so we should not worry about worldly life, but about how to break free from this cycle.

Rama has to do his duty, and Bharata has to do his, and that is what Rama points out to Bharata. One should live life, adhering to dharma at all times, keeping in mind the impermanence of all ties in this world. In both the Rama and Krishna avataras, the Supreme One makes this clear.

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