Rāmāyana | Ayodhyā Kaṇḍa | Chapter 72

72. Kaikeyi Informs Bhārata

[Kaikeyi receives her child Bhārata with happiness and when he persistently questions her, she informs him about the death of Daśaratha. Later she admits that she was instrumental in Rāma getting banished and requests Bhārata to take over Ayodhyā.]

Not able to see his father in his father's home, Bhārata went to his mother's home to see his mother. 72.1

Kaikeyi seeing her son, who was absent for a very long time, sprang up from her golden seat, to see him. 72.2

As soon as Bhārata the follower of Dharma entered his house, he found it devoid of auspiciousness and he clasped in reverence the feet of his mother immediately. 72.3

After smelling the forehead of the famous son, she hugged him and made him sit on her lap and started talking to him. 72.4

"How many nights have elapsed after you left your grandfather's home? Are you not tired due to the swift travel in the chariot?" 72.5

"Does your grandfather keep good health? What about Yudhajit your maternal uncle? Did you have a pleasant time there? Please tell me everything." 72.6

When Kaikeyi asked like this to the son of the king, that lotus eyed one told about everything to his mother. 72.7

"This is the seventh night after I started on my journey. My mother's father and my maternal uncle are keeping good health?" 72.8

"The wealth and other precious articles given by the destroyer of enemies, the king of Kekaya are on their way. Since they were exhausted, I came first leaving them to follow me." 72.9

"Having been hastened by the messengers who brought the orders of the king, I came speedily. Mother I would like to ask you some things, please reply." 72.10

"Your couch decorated by gold seems to be empty and I feel that the people of Ikshvāku clan do not seem o be happy with me." 72.11

"Normally the king always stays in my mother's home. I do not see him here and I have a desire to see him." 72.12

"Oh mother I want to clasp his feet and so please answer my question. You may tell me whether by chance he is senior queen Kauśalya's home." 72.13

Kaikeyi replied to Bhārata, who did not know as to what transpired in such a way, that the undesirable news, looked desirable. 72.14

"Your great, lustrous father, who was the one who did many yagnas, has attained that place which is attained by all souls." 72.15

Bhārata who was born in a family of people following Dharma, as soon as he heard this, was shattered with the sorrow due to the news of father's death, at once fell down on the ground. 72.16

"Oh I am finished" uttering these pitiable words deserving compassion, he lifted his hand above his head and fell down. 72.17

That greatly lustrous one overwhelmed by the great sorrow on hearing the news of his father's death, with mind affected by delusion lamented. 72.18

"My father earlier used to lie down on this couch and used to shine like the moon on a spotless sky at the end of rainy season." 72.19

"This couch does not shine today as he is not present on it like the sky without moon and the ocean without water." 72.20

Bhārata who was the greatest among those who succeed who cleared his tear choked throat, becoming extremely sad, covered his face with a holy cloth and cried. 72.21

He who was like a deva, affected by the great sorrow fell on the earth, like a Sāla tree which was uprooted by an axe in the forest. Kaikeyi seeing him who is like the sun and moon, behaving like mad elephant lifted him from the earth and spoke to him as follows. 72.22-72.23

"Oh very famous prince, do not lie down and get up. People with great knowledge like you. who are honoured in any group should not become sad like this." 72.24

"Oh Bhārata, who is blessed with intelligence who follows conduct according to Dharma as prescribed in Śāstras and who is entitled to do sacrifices, your wisdom will shine like the light of Sun." 72.25

After weeping for a long time, he rolled on earth and after suffering great sorrow, he replied to his mother like this. 72.26

"I started on this journey thinking that the king was about to crown Rāma or he was about to conduct a great sacrifice." 72.27

"But everything that has happened is different and it has shattered my mind for I cannot see my father who looked after my welfare and happiness." 72.28

"Oh mother, due to which sickness did the king die before my coming. Rāma and others who could perform his last rites are indeed very fortunate." 72.29

"Surely the very famous king does not know about my arrival or he would have, immediately come, bent and smelt my forehead." 72.30

"Where is the soft endearing touch of my father who is never tired of performing action, which would wipe away all this dust?" 72.31

"Please inform wise and tireless Rāma, who is my brother, father, relative as well as slave, about my arrival." 72.32

"To the one who knows the Dharma of a gentleman, the elder brother is his father. I will clasp his feet as it is my only support now." 72.33

"What did my father who knew Dharma and who practiced Dharma and who considered saying truth always as his penance and who was valorous in truth, say?" 72.34

"I would like to know and hear his last words said about me exactly." Hearing this Kaikeyi started narrating the incidents as it happened. 72.35

"The king wailed Oh Rāma. Oh Lakṣmaṇa, Oh Sītā and that great one attained, the other world which is attained by the greatly blessed people." 72.36

"At the time of his death, these were the words uttered by the king, who was caught in the noose of time like a great elephant." 72.37

"Those people are blessed and would see that their desire is fulfilled if they can see Rāma, the valorous Lakṣmaṇa as well as Sītā come back." 72.38

Hearing these words, which indicated second unpleasant news, Bhārata was greatly distressed and with a downcast appearance asked her again. 72.39

"Where has the soul of Dharma and the one who gives happiness to Kauśalya along with his brother Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā have gone at this time?" 72.40

Having been questioned like this, his mother started telling him the truth using the unpalatable great words, thinking that he will like them. 72.41

"Oh son, that son of the king wearing dress made of grass went to the great forest Daṇḍaka accompanied by Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa." 72.42

Bhārata knowing the greatness of his own clan, was upset and had doubts about such an action against Dharma by Rāma and asked. 72.43

"I do not believe, Rāma unlawfully usurped the wealth of a Brahmin or did not cause harm an innocent person whether rich or poor." 72.44

"I hope he did not covet the wife of someone else or killed an unborn child. For what crime has he been banished to go to Daṇḍaka." 72.45

And thereafter his fickle mother with a normal behaviour of women, started to tell about her actions in detail. 72.46

That foolish Kaikeyi under the impression that she was wise spoke the following joyful words to the great soul Bhārata. 72.47

"Rāma has not usurped even little of the wealth of a Brahmin, he has not harmed an innocent person who is rich or poor and has not seen another man's wife by his eyes." 72.48

"As for me my son, hearing about the coronation of Rāma, I requested the kingdom for you and the banishing of Rāma." 72.49

"Your father followed his own promise and did just as requested and sent away Rāma, Lakṣmaṇa along with Sītā." 72.50

"That very famous, great king, not able to see his darling son, was drowned in the sorrow due to parting with his son and merged with the five elements." 72.51

"Oh follower of Dharma, today itself you can take possession of the kingdom as all these have been done by me for your sake." 72.52

"Oh little son who depends on Dharma, leave out this sorrow and the great worry and take courage and make this country, without any obstacles, under your control." 72.53

"So my son, follow the procedure laid down and in consultation with experts in rituals like Vasiṣṭha and other great Brahmins, perform the death ceremonies of the king without getting depressed and get yourself consecrated as the king of this earth." 72.54

This is the end of Seventy Second Sarga of Ayodhyā Kanda which occurs in Holy Rāmāyaṇa composed by Vālmīki as the First Epic.