Friday, 9 September 2016

388. Bharata receives Rama at the airport.

                Bharata then sent for Shatrughna and told him the happy news. Then he told him to inform the queen moms and other important people to get ready to go and receive Rama at the airport. 
      Shatrughna did all the things his dear bro told him. In addition he ordered the persons responsible for it "Get the cavities, if any, on the path from Nandigram to Ayodhya filled. The road should be made absolutely smooth and flat. Ensure that the entire ground is sprinkled with ice-cold water. The entire path from Nandhigram to Ayodhya should be strewn with parched grains and flowers.
       "All the streets in Ayodhya should be lined with flags. All the dwellings on the road-side should be decorated. Let hundreds of men sprinkle on the main royal highway with five fragrant colors and with rows of garlands as well as loose flowers."
          As the orders of Shatrughna were for receiving Rama,  the officials viz. Dhrushti, Jayanta, Vijaya, Siddhartha, Arthasadhaka, Ashoka, Mantrapala and Sumantra started to execute the orders with utmost enthusiasm, promptitude,eagerness and joy.
     A grand march-past of warriors and officers in thousands,  on selected horses, bearing banners and pennants, carrying javelins, spears and nooses, as also surrounded by thousands of foot-soldiers was arranged. Then, all the queens of the late Dasharatha, placing Kausalya and Sumitra in front of them, mounting their vehicles, started to receive their dear Rama and Lakshmana. All of them, including Kaikeyi, reached Nandigrama.
     Keeping 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 blast of conches and kettle-drums, duly praised by panegyrists, 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 skin of a black antelope, who experienced joy for the first time after about fourteen years in hearing the news of the arrival of his brother then went in advance, along with his ministers, to meet Rama.
        The earth seemed to be  shaking with the sound of the horse hooves, the rattling of the rims of the chariot-wheels as well as by the tumults of the conches and the kettle-drums. The entire population of the city of Ayodhya reached Nandigrama. Bharata expected that by the time he reached the airport in the Nandhigrama, he would, at least be  hearing the buzzing sound of the viman by which Rama was said to be coming. As he did not see or hear anything in this respect he asked Hanuman whether he played a joke on him like a monkey, he was.
             Hanuman, without showing the hurt he felt on the remark of Bharata, said politely "Sir, please listen now. Don't you hear the roar of the rejoiced vanarass? It is obvious they are coming over here by walk and while coming they must have noticed all the trees on their way were heavy with fruit, flowing with honey which is being drunk by bees, making reverberant humming sounds. This apparent miracle is  due to the grace of the sage Bharadwaja.
        "See the cloud of dust, shooting froths towards the grove of Sala trees. I presume that the vanaras are shaking the beautiful grove of Sala trees. Now I could see in distance, that very famous aerial car, shining brightly like the moon, the wonderful aerial car Pushpaka.
       "This wonderful aerial car, with unimaginable speed belongs to Kubera."
      Suddenly the shouts of 'Here comes Rama' were heard. Rama seated in the aerial car was visible to all those who were waiting to receive him..
      The over-joyed Bharata with his joined palms, looking at Rama, worshiped and welcomed him in a befitting way. Rama, with his long and large eyes, seated in the aerial car created by Viswakarma, shining like another Indra.
       Bent low in reverence, Bharata saluted Rama, who was standing in the forepart of the aerial car and shining like the sun appearing on Mount Meru.
     As directed mentally by Rama, that aerial car landed on the ground. 
    Getting down from the viman, Rama delightfully embraced Bharata. Thereafter, the jubilant Bharata, approaching Lakshmana and Seetha 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 vanaras. Then, those vanaras, who can change their form at will, assumed the form of humans and rejoicingly inquired about the welfare of Bharata.
      Bharata, once again embracing Sugreeva said "You are a fifth brother, for all the four of us, O Sugreeva! You are a friend born of affection. And you are a friend in need as well as as a friend in deed."
      Bharata then told Vibhishan: "Thank heaven! A very difficult task was accomplished by you, as a companion of Rama."
    Then Shatrughna offered his salutation to Rama, along with Lakshmana and offered his reverential salutation to Seetha's feet, by bowing in humility.
     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.
    With joined palms, all the citizens of Ayodhya looking at Rama shouted in chorus "Welcome to you, O the great-armed! O the enhancer of Kausala's delight!"
       Taking those wooden sandals of Rama, Bharata personally placed them below the feet of Rama. He then told Rama "This entire sovereignty of yours, kept with me as a deposit, is being returned to you, by me.
       "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 etc. You will find that everything has been enhanced tenfold by me."
    When everyone got down from the viman, Rama mentally asked that viman to go back to its master, Kubera.
    Affectionately pressing the feet of Vasishta, his well-wisher and royal priest, like Indra would press the feet of Brihaspati, the valiant Rama sat by his side, on a separate seat.

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