Rāmāyana | Ayodhyā Kaṇḍa | Chapter 76

76. Bhārata Performs Funeral Rites

[Sage Vasiṣṭha instructs Bhārata to do the funeral rituals and Bhārata does it according to shastras. The queens of Daśaratha go round the funeral pyre.]

The very eloquent sage Vasiṣṭha who has great power of speech addressed Bhārata, the son of Kaikeyi who was completely consumed by grief. 76.1

"Oh very famous prince, be safe. Please stop this sorrow. The best time has come to conduct funeral rites of your father earnestly." 76.2

Hearing the words of Vasiṣṭha Bhārata became steady and that expert in Dharma performed all the rituals related to the corpse. 76.3

The body of the king was taken out of the oil container and kept on the ground sand the king Daśaratha with his pale ashen face appeared to be sleeping on the earth. Thereafter his body was laid on a magnificent couch adorned with many gems and seeing him like this his son Bhārata lamented greatly. 76.4-76.5

"Oh King who knew his Dharma, What did you want to do by banishing Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa before I came back from the place where I have gone to?" 76.6

"Oh king, Why did you make Rāma, the performer of pious deeds and a tiger among men leave me for bewailing about you?" 76.7

"Oh king, when you are away in heaven and Rāma has gone to the forest who will look after the well being of this city?" 76.8

"Oh king, without you, the earth has become a widow and city looks more like a sky which has no moon." 76.9

Seeing Bhārata who was wailing like this with a sorrowful mind, the great sage Vasiṣṭha told the following words. 76.10

"Oh great one, now the funeral rites of the great king needs to be done without any hesitation and with great attention." 76.11

Hearing the words of the very worshipful Vasiṣṭha Bhārata said "So be it", and speeded up family priests, Vedic Scholars and other Gurus to do the activities related to the death rites. 76.12

The fire maintained by the king in his fire sanctuary were put outside in accordance with the principles of rituals and were withdrawn by priests well versed in Vedas. 76.13

After that the attendants with throats choked by tears and with a very dejected mind bore away the dead king on the hearse. 76.14

The people went through the way ahead of the king spreading cloths of gold and other colours. 76.15

Logs of Sandal and Aguru trees, Guma of Guggul and Balsa trees, wood from Sarala, Padmaka and Devadāru trees and many other fragrant substances were brought by the people and were strewn to make a funeral pyre and thereafter the priests placed the body of the king on the centre of the pyre. 76.16-76.17

The priests of the king offered oblations to his fire and chanted prayers. The priests who were experts in reciting of Sama Veda sang it according to sacred scriptures. 76.18

The queens of the king, accompanied by aged attendants according their ranks departed in Palanquins as well as vehicles to that place. 76.19

Then the priests as well as the women consumed with sorrow and lead by Kauśalya went round the burning funeral pyre in the clockwise direction. 76.20

At that time piteous and sorrowful Wailings of the women going round the pyre was being heard and sound as if Krauṇcha birds were making noise. 76.21

Then those great women weeping and again and again lamenting uncontrollably alighted from their respective carriages on the banks of river Sarayu. 76.22

After offering water oblations, the wives of the king, priests and ministers along with Bhārata entered the city with tear stained eyes and spent the ten days of mourning lying on the floor. 76.23

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