CHENNAI: The greatness of the Ramayana is in its unambiguous portrayal of the subtleties of Dharma through the revelation of the inner turmoil in people and in the way they respond and react to the challenges they confront. When life’s complexities — joy, sorrow, hope, disappointment, betrayal, etc — are mirrored to perfection, it is easier for us to vibe with these and learn to lead a life of values.

In a lecture highlighting Bharata’s qualities, Dr. Sudha Seshaiyan pointed out that though unfortunate to be in a situation wherein he is easily misunderstood for no fault of his (by even those near and dear to him), Bharata shines with the effulgence of his intrinsic integrity. Kaikeyi’s act made him bear the brunt of abuse from a whole range of people when he was caught in the ironic situation of being saddled with a kingdom that he had never desired.

Dasaratha’s grief had turned into anger against Bharata and he disowned him by denying him the right to perform his final rites. Bharata was further wounded by Kousalya’s suspicion of his having a hand in the unforeseen turn of events in Ayodhya. She, who had reared him from infancy and had the greatest attachment to him, had grossly misunderstood him. In contrast, Kaikeyi, who understood Lord Rama’s commitment to truth, expressed the exile order on behalf of Dasaratha with perfect poise.

Guha, too had occasion to mistake Bharata but soon realises the genuine anguish of this great soul and showers the highest encomium on him — as one whose worth far exceeds that of a thousand Ramas. The sacrifice of Bharata is greater because he readily renounced what belonged to him and led a self-imposed austere life for fourteen years.

Bharata held Lord Rama in high esteem and would not think, act or speak in a way that would invite Lord Rama’s disapproval. That is why though he is angry with his mother, he refrains himself from indulging in physical assault.

Bharata decides to follow Lord Rama to the forest and request Him to come back and rule the kingdom. Vasishta, the family preceptor, is proud of his disciples who vie with each other in the cause of Dharma.