Bharata, after hearing the good news from Hanuma about the arrival of Rama, calls Shatrughna and commands him to make appropriate arrangements for the reception of Rama in the City of Ayodhya. Bharata departs with all others, for Nandigrama to receive Rama. The aerial car lands at Nandigrama. Bharata welcomes Rama and others, by embracing them and by greeting them joyously. Rama too offers his salutations to all his mothers, who come to receive him. Then, Bharata brings Rama’s wooden sandals and places them below the feet of Rama. Rama commands Pushpaka, the aerial car to return to Kubera, the lord of riches to whom it originally belonged.
Hearing the news of a great happiness from Hanuma, Bharata the truly brave ruler and the destroyer of enemies, commanded (as follows) to Shatrughna, who too felt delighted at the news. “Let men of good conduct, offer worship to their family-deities, sanctuaries in the city with sweet-smelling flowers and to the accompaniment of musical instruments. Let bards well-versed in singing praises and Puranas (containing ancient legends, cosmogony etc.) as also all panegyrists, all those proficient in the use of musical instruments, courtesans all collected together, the queen-mothers, ministers, army-men and their wives, brahmanas accompanied by Kshatriyas (members of fighting class), leaders of guilds of traders and artisans, as also their members, come out to see the moon-like countenance of Rama."
Hearing the words of Bharata, Shatrughna the destroyer of valiant adversaries called together, laborers working on wages, numbering many thousands and dividing them into gangs, ordered them (as follows):
"Let the cavities on the path from Nandigrama to Ayodhya be levelled. Let the rough and the even places be made flat. Let the entire ground be sprinkled with ice-gold water. Let some others strew it all over with parched grains and flowers."
"Let the streets in Ayodhya, the excellent City, be lined with flags. Let the dwellings (on the road-side) be decorated, till the time of rising of the sun. Let hundreds of men sprinkle, on the main royal highway, with five fragrant colours and with rows of garlands as well as lose flowers."
On hearing that command of Shatrughna, Dhrushti, Jayanta, Vijaya, Siddhartha, Arthasadhaka, Ashoka, Mantrapala and Sumantra proceeded with joy. Some rode on thousands of well-adorned elephants in rut and bearing banners. Some others rode on female-elephants provided with golden girths, along with those elephants. Excellent chariot-warriors issued forth in their chariots, with speed.
Warriors on selected horses even still superior ones in thousands, bearing banners and pennants, carrying javelins, spears and nooses, as also surrounded by thousands of foot-soldiers, sallied forth. Then, all the wives of the deceased Dasaratha, placing Kausalya and Sumitra in front of them, mounting their vehicles, issued forth. All of them, including Kaikeyi, reached Nandigrama.
Placing the wooden sandals of his brother (Rama) on his head and taking the white parasol (intended for Rama) which was adorned with white garlands and two white whisks decorated with gold, eminently worthy of kings, accompanied by the foremost of Brahmanas, leaders of the guilds of traders and artisans, including the mercantile class, surrounded by the counselors with garlands and bell-shaped sweets in their hands, cheered by the blass of conches and kettle-drums, duly praised by panegyrists, the great-souled Bharata, for his part, whose mind was set on righteousness, who was well-versed with the secret of virtue, who was emaciated through fasting, who felt miserable, was clad in the bark of trees and the sking of a black antelope, who experienced joy for the first time in hearing the news of the arrival of his brother then went in advance, along with his ministers, to meet Rama.”
The earth seemed, as it were, shaking with the sound of horse-hoofs the rattling of rims of chariot-wheels and by the tumults of couches and kettle-drums. The entire City of Ayodhya literally reached Nandigrama. Glancing round, Bharata spoke as follows to Hanuma.
“Indeed, I hope the fickle-mindedness which constitutes the peculiarity of monkeys, has not been resorted to by you. For I do not indeed see Rama, a worthy scion of Kakutthsa and the destroyer of adversaries.”
“A formidable roar of rejoiced monkeys is being heard, for, they are seeing on the way, trees which continually, yield fruit, adorned with blossom, flowing with honey which is drunk by bees, making reverberant humming sounds – all due to the grace of Sage Bharadwaja, O Bharata, the destroyer of adversaries! A boon was conferred by Indra, the lord of celestials, by virtue of which a hospitality rich with all excellences was earlier extended by Bharadwaja to you, with your entire army. I presume that the aforesaid army of monkeys is crossing the rivers, Gomati.”
“See the cloud of dust, shooting froths towards the grove of Sala trees. I presume that the monkeys are shaking the beautiful grove of Sala trees. There is seen, in distance, that very famous aerial car, shining brightly like the moon. The wonderful aerial car called Pushpaka was built with his intelligence by Viswakarma (an architect of gods, who has been referred to here as Brahma by virtue of his creative talent.)."
"This wonderful aerial car, with a speed of thought, which is carrying the great souled Rama, and shines brightly like the rising sun, belongs to Kubera, the lord of riches, by the grace of brahma, the lord of creation. (Who bestowed it on him). In the same aerial car are the valiant Rama and Lakshmana, the brothers, along with Seetha, the immensely brilliant Sugreeva and Vibhishana the demon."
Meanwhile, the words 'Here comes Rama' were loudly said and a clamour born of joy from the mouth of women, children, youth and elders touched the sky. Descending from their chariots, elephants as also horses and standing on the ground, all those people saw, like the moon in the sky, that Rama seated in the aerial car.
The over-joyed Bharata with his joined palms, his face turned towards Rama, worshipped and welcomed him in a befitting way. Rama, with his long and large eyes, seated in the aerial car, created by Viswakarma the divine architect with his intelligence, shone like another Indra who carries the thunderbolt in his hand.
As authorized by Rama, that excellent aerial car, having a great speed and endowed with the images of swans, landed on the ground. Feeling glad, when lifted on that aerial car and approaching Rama, Bharata of true valour, greeted him yet again.
Fully rising from his seat and placing that Bharata, who was seen after a long time, on his lap, Rama delightfully embraced him. Thereafter, the jubilant Bharata, the destroyer of adversaries, approaching Lakshmana and Seetha, then saluted them in reverence and also announced his name.
Then, Bharata embraced Sugreeva, Jambavan, Angada, Mainda, Dvivida, Neela and Rishabha. He also embraced Sushena, Nala, Gavaksha, Gandhamadana, Sharabha, Panasa and the surrounding monkeys. Then, those monkeys, who can change their form at will, assumed the form of humans and rejoicingly asked about the welfare of Bharata.
Thereupon, the immensely brilliant Bharata, the son of Dasaratha and the foremost among the virtuous, after embracing Sugreeva the excellent monkey, spoke to him (as follows): "You are a fifth brother, for all the four of us, O Sugreeva! A friend is born of affection, while malifience is the attribute of an adversary."
Thereafter, Bharata spoke the following kind words to Vibhishan: "Thank heaven! A very difficult task was accomplished by you, as a companion of Rama." Then, the valiant Shatrughna offered his salutation to Rama, along with Lakshmana and offered his reverential salutation to Seetha's feet, by bowing in humility.
By going to his mother, who became pale and emaciated due to her grief, Rama, by bowing, seized her feet in salutation, making his mother's heart delighted. Offering salutation to Sumatra, the illustrious Kaikeyi and all his mothers, Rama then went to Vasishta the priest and offered his salutation in reverence.
Rama saw those thousands of joined palms held by the citizens, appearing as lotus-flowers in bloom. Taking those wooden sandals of Rama, Bharata, the knower of virtue, personally placed them below the feet of Rama, the lord of men.
"My life has accomplished its purpose today and my wish too stands fulfilled, in that I see you, its king, come back to Ayodhya. You review your treasury, granary, palace of your spirit, everything has been enhanced tenfold by me.”
Placing Bharata on his lap with delight, Rama thereupon flew with his army (of monkeys and bears) in that aerial car to the hermitage of Bharata. Reaching the hermitage of Bharata along with his army Rama then descended from the anterior of the aerial car and stood, for the time-being, on the ground.
Thus permitted by Rama, that excellent aerial car, thereupon proceeded towards the northern direction, so as t reach the abode of Kubera the lord of riches. That wonderful aerial car, Pushpaka which was seized by Ravana once, went in speed to Kubera, as impelled by Rama’s advice.
Affectionately pressing the feet of Vasishta, his well-wisher and family-priest, even as Indra the lord of celestials would press the feet of Brihaspati (the preceptor of gods), the valiant Rama sat by his side, on a separate seat.
Thus, this is the 127th chapter in Yuddha Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.
© October 2009, K. M. K. Murthy