Rama’s advice to Bharata

Family pressures lead people to take to sanyasa and this is pointed out by Rama in Bhavabhuti’s Uttara Rama Charita, said Kidambi Narayanan in a discourse. But even if the determination to leave familial ties may be there, it is possible that it may not work out because of the same familial pressures. This is what happened in the case of Dasaratha.

In the Ikshvaku clan, it was the custom for kings to move to the forest after a certain age after anointing their successors. Dasaratha, belonging to the Ikshvaku family, naturally wanted to retire to the forest too. Moreover, there were some inauspicious signs that suggested that there were going to be problems in the kingdom. In Ayodhya Kanda, Vasistha urges Bharata to take charge of the kingdom now that Dasaratha is no more. When the funeral rites of Dasaratha have been performed, there is the urgent need to anoint the new king. Vasistha, therefore, tells Bharata that he should assume kingship. Vasistha, as the minister, cannot allow the land to be without a king. He says that Dasaratha has handed over to his son Bharata a prosperous country, rich in grains. Rama, obedient son that He was, has departed for the forest. Bharata should now rule the country gladly, with the help of his ministers. Other kings should bring gifts to the new king of Ayodhya, which Bharata should accept.

But Bharata refuses to be king and goes to meet Rama in the forest. There is a reason for Bharata’s refusal. In the Ikshvaku dynasty, it was customary for the eldest son to rule the land and so Bharata felt Rama should be king. Bharata tells his brother that he cannot match Rama in any way. Can a donkey match a horse’s speed, he asks. But Rama is not affected by Bharata’s arguments and instead advises Bharata to rule the land.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 8:20:32 AM |

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