Wednesday, 16 September 2009

It was Lord Rama who coined the name "Bharata Desa"

The spirit of sacrifice demonstrated by Bharata in the Ramayana is unparalleled. When Rama went to the forest, Bharata was to be crowned as king. But he went to the forest to entreat Rama to come back to Ayodhya and ascend the throne. Lakshmana who was with Rama in the forest, observed the arrival of Bharata and his entourage from a distance. He became furious with the misconceived notion that Bharata was coming to wage a battle with Rama. In an angry tone, he said, “Mother Kaikeyi has sent us to the forest. Now, her son does not want us to live in peace even in the forest. That is why he is coming here with his army. If You permit me, I will teach him a fitting lesson.”

Reacting to Lakshmana’s outburst, Rama said, “Lakshmana, I think you have developed a desire for the throne of Ayodhya. Better, you go to Ayodhya and rule the kingdom. I will keep Bharata with Me in the forest. Bharata is one of sacrifice and character. His spirit of sacrifice is matchless. You have misunderstood his noble intention.”

Meanwhile Bharata came there and fell at the feet of Rama. “My dear, how are the parents?” This was the first question that Rama asked Bharata. He did not enquire about His own mother Kausalya, but He asked about the well-being of Kaikeyi. On hearing the name of Kaikeyi, Bharata became furious. “It is because of that wicked woman you are forced to live in forest. The very mention of her name fills me with disgust. Please don’t mention her name.” Rama put His hand on his shoulders and pacified him, saying, “Bharata, Mother Kaikeyi is a noble woman. It is because of her that My Name is glorified and spread far and wide. Do not go by the outward behaviour and talk ill of her. Her heart is filled with noble intentions.”

After speaking to Bharata in this manner, Rama went straight to Mother Kaikeyi, fell at her feet and said, “Mother, by your blessings, I am fine here. Do not worry about Me. Let Bharata be crowned as the king of Ayodhya. Teach him the codes of governance. After the completion of 14 years, I will come back to Ayodhya and see all of you. It is My duty to uphold the promise made by My father. It is not enough if one listens to the command of one’s parents. One should strictly adhere to the rules and regulations laid down by the government and strive for the welfare and happiness of fellowmen. Only then can one be called an ideal citizen.”

Rama’s words made an indelible impression on the mind of Lakshmana. He fell at the feet of Rama and repented for his outburst. He said, “Brother, when I saw Bharata and his army from a distance, I was seething with anger. Now my mind rests in peace having known the truth and listening to Your soothing words.” Rama advised him not to be carried away by the outward scenario but to turn inward and strive for experiencing bliss.

When Bharata started pleading with Rama to return to Ayodhya, Rama affectionately drew him close and said, “Bharata, no doubt your intentions are noble, but you should bear in mind the command of our father. You must follow your mother’s advice. That is the only way you can please Me. Share your love with not only your friends and relatives but with one and all. Remember that Thyaga (sacrifice) alone can bestow on you true Bhoga (pleasure).”

Sage Vasishta shed tears of joy listening to the words of Lord Rama. He said, “Rama, You are forced to live in the forest for no fault of Yours. But, You have forgotten the injustice done to You. You are seeing only the good in others. We are really moved by Your magnanimity. However, we request You to establish Ramarajya (kingdom of Rama) in Ayodhya and give joy to all.”

Rama smilingly replied, “Now it is Bharatarajya, not Ramarajya. Henceforth, it shall be called Bharatadesa (the land of Bharata).”

Om Sai Ram

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