Life in Panchavati rolls peacefully for Rama. It is the cold or winter season, known as Hemanta Ritu, when early morning worship of God is prescribed by Sastras. One day as Rama, Lakshmana and Sita go towards Godavari for their morning rituals and offerings to the deities, Lakshmana thinks of Bharata who would also be similarly engaged on the banks of the ice cold Sarayu.

Rama is pained to think of the sufferings Bharata undergoes by declining the throne Kaikeyi had won for him, renouncing life of comfort he is entitled to. His wishful thinking to get back to Ayodhya when the four brothers could be together only reveals His heart which melts with compassion at the plight of Bharata, said Sri B. Sundarkumar in a discourse.

This is the way the Lord responds to the love, devotion and faith of each and every devotee who is very dear to Him.

On the eve of His coronation, when Kaikeyi informed Him that Bharata instead of Rama would rule Ayodhya and that He should spend the next fourteen years in the forest, Rama did not tarry any further. Though fully aware of the emotional toll that this separation would take on His father, upholding dharma is always foremost for Him. And even later, no amount of persuasion from Bharata to make Rama accept the throne was effective.

Bharata stayed in Nandigrama and ruled Ayodhya as a regent for Rama’s Paduka. There was no compulsion for him to adopt the austere life of an ascetic. How could he rule when the Ikshvaku dharma conferred the throne only on the eldest heir? How could he partake of comforts when Rama, Lakshmana and Sita had renounced these?

Lakshmana is all praise for Bharata’s integrity, righteousness and his control over the senses. He wonders, how in the case of Bharata, the common adage that a son acquires his mother’s nature, has been proved wrong. Rama immediately reprimands Lakshmana for commenting on Kaikeyi’s harsh nature and advises him to speak more about Bharata’s noble nature instead.

Lakshmana is fortunate to be in Rama’s presence; but Bharata, though physically distant, lives with Rama in his mind and is at peace.

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