Rāmāyana | Ayodhyā Kaṇḍa | Chapter 99

99. Bhārata Meets Rāma

[Bhārata first identifies the hut by several symbols and then sees Rāma with a matted hair and wearing bark cloths sitting. He crying salutes him. Rāma hugs him and Śatrughna with love.]

After encamping the army, Bhārata showed the way to Śatrughna and eagerly went to see his brother. 99.1

Bhārata who respects elders requested sage Vasiṣṭha to bring his mothers and proceeded very quickly. 99.2

Sumantra who was also impatient to see Rāma like Bhārata, followed Śatrughna not far behind. 99.3

After the majestic Bhārata while walking towards the leafy hut of his brother in the solitude of ascetics saw the thatched cottage. 99.4

In front of the hut Bhārata saw chopped logs of wood as well as flowers which have been plucked. 99.5

He who was proceeding to the hermitage to see Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa, here and there saw stripped pieces of Kuśa grass and strips of wood tied on the tree to indicate the path. 99.6

He also saw in the forest large quantities of heaps of dried dung of deer and bison, which can be used to heat themselves in cold. 99.7

That mighty lustrous one, seeing all these signs of residence was greatly rejoiced and spoke to Śatrughna and other ministers who were surrounding him. 99.8

"We must have reached the place described by sage Bharadvāja and river Mandākinī is flowing not far from here." 99.9

"Here long lengths of bark garments have been tied high up so that, at times people can identify the path." 99.10

"This is the place where large tusked mighty elephants are trumpeting and charging at each other." 99.11

"This black trail of smoke is seen from the hermitage of those ascetics living in the forest who alone wish to maintain the perpetual fire." 99.12

"Here I will see Rāma, the tiger among men, who wishes to honour elders, who is a gentleman, who is joyful and who looks likes sages." 99.13

In a short time that Bhārata reached the Chitrakūṭa Mountains as well as the river Mandākinī and he then told his ministers. 99.14

"That tiger among men, having reached this secluded forest, is sitting on a yogic posture on the bare ground. Oh fie upon life." 99.15

"That lord of men Rāma, with very great lustre has reached this state because of me and is living in the forest after giving up all desires." 99.16

"Like this being hated by the world, I would fall at the feet of Rāma, Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa seeking their grace." 99.17

Bhārata lamenting in this way noticed in that forest an excellent, sacred and enchanting hermitage covered with abundance of leaves of Sāla, palmyra and Aśvakarṇa trees with a sacrificial altar spread with soft Kuśa grass. Bows, plaited on the back with gold and resembling Indra's thunderbolt which was powerful, capable of achieving great exploits and oppressing the enemies, adorned the hut. Arrows glittering like the rays of the sun, which looked terrible, with burning heads and stored in quivers adorned it like the hooded serpents illumining the city of Bhogavatī [in nether world]. A pair of swords in scabbards made of excellent silver, two shields of different colours with golden spots, finger-guards made of skin of iguana decorated with gold were hanging there. It was impregnable to enemy hordes like a cave of lion to the deer. 99.18-99.23

Bhārata saw in Rāma's residence a broad divine altar of fire sloping towards north east. 99.24

When he examined the hut, he noticed his elder brother Rāma, who was sitting there with matted hair. 99.25

Rāma who was the lord of earth bounded by the sea, was like a blazing fire, seated dressed in antelope skin and bark of wood, with shoulders like lion and he was mighty armed, with eyes resembling white lotus. He looked like the perennial protector of Dharma like the creator Brahma and Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa were seated by his side on grass strewn on the earth. 99.26-99.28

Having seen that gentle Bhārata, who was the son of Kaikeyi and the soul of Dharma, who was drowned in sorrow and grief rushed towards Rāma. 99.29

Seeing him wailing and voice choked with tears and though he was not able to speak, with courage, he said these words. 99.30

"He, my elder brother who should sit in the royal assembly attended by ministers and his subjects is being surrounded by the animals in the forest." 99.31

"That great Rāma who is the follower of Dharma who is accustomed to wear thousands of cloths now wears only two pieces of deer skin." 99.32

"How does Rāma, who used to wear many coloured flowers, able to bear the weight of the matted hairs?" 99.33

"That Rāma who used to accumulate Dharma by performance of various Yagnas, is now accumulating it by getting his body tired." 99.34

"How, can he who used to coat his body with very precious sandal paste, is able to bear it being coated with mud?" 99.35

"Rāma has fallen in to this great misfortune because of me and bad behaviour with him I am condemned by the world, fie on me." 99.36

Crying like this with his face becoming like a faded lotus flower and with sweat gushing out of him, he further wailed and without reaching the feet of Rāma fell down. 99.37

The very strong prince Bhārata becoming jaded with sorrow could only say, "My great brother " and he was not able to talk anything further. 99.38

On seeing the glorious Rāma with a sob choked throat he cried Oh gentle one, and he was not able to talk further. 99.39

Śatrughna also cried and fell at Rāma's feet and Rāma embraced both of them and shed tears. 99.40

The two princes [Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa] met with Sumantra and Guha, and it liked the sun and the moon met Guru [Jupiter] and Śukra [Venus]. 99.41

Seeing the princes resembling the power of herds of elephants in the forest, the inhabitants of the forest shed tears in great distress. 99.42

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