indian art - miniatures - archecticture - vedic philosophy

Classical - Kangra - Ramayana / Exile in the Forest
Plate 3 - The Four Brothers Meet In Joy  


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Bharata set out with Satrughna, their mothers, the sage Vasishtha, ministers, and a large force in search of Rama. On the way they met the Nishada chief who treated them kindly but at heart entertained a suspicion about the intentions of Bharata as he was accompanied by a large army. On Bharata telling him about his resolve to bring back Rama, the Nishada chief gave him help to cross the Ganga and the forces were conveyed across the river. The next day they reached the ashrama of sage Bharadwaja who indicated to them the site where Rama was living. After passing the night at the hermitage they proceeded to Chitrakuta. Rama and Sita were seated at their hermitage when the dust and clamor of Bharata's army, which was approaching, ascended into the sky and the animals started fleeing. Rama asked Lakshmana to find out the cause.

Climbing up a sala tree, Lakshmana saw an army marching towards their hermitage. He recognized the kovidara tree symbol on the standard, and thought that Kaikeyi's son was coming to slay them. Thus provoked and filled with anger, he asked Rama to prepare for a fight. He said that since all their misfortunes were because of Bharata, and since he was coming as their foe, it was not unlawful to slay him. Rama pacified Lakshmana saying that Bharata might be coming to see them. Bharata commanded the army to encamp and show itself to be disciplined. Men were sent in all directions in search of Rama. Bharata himself with sages and ministers went on foot. Climbing a sala tree on the hill, Bharata saw smoke rising from Rama's hermitage. He asked Vasishtha to bring his mothers and he himself set out eagerly to meet his brothers. Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana came to know from Bharata about the demise of Dasaratha and were stricken with sorrow. The mountain reechoed to their lamentations. Soon the mothers and the nobles arrived at the hermitage.

In the picture at the top right corner we see a part of the Bharata's army encamped. By its side flows the Mandakini. The main episode is seen at the left in front of the hut. Rama and Lakshmana are embracing the mothers and other ladies from the palace. Satrughna has bowed at the feet of Sita. Bharata is embracing a rishi who, along with two women seen near the hut, has also joined the group. The lady with a yellow dupatta, shown weeping is Kausalya. Sumitra, whom the poet portrays in the story as noble and virtuous, but practical, is consoling her. The lady whom Lakshmana is embracing appears to be the beautiful Kaikeyi, who is now troubled at heart and sorrowful on meeting the persons for whose misfortunes she was rrsponsible. The presence of some nobles grouped together at the right lower corner suggests that many more are behind them. After coming forward they divide into two rows. Those in the foreground are shown bowing, as otherwise their erect figure would have marred the composition.

Bharata begged of Rama to return to Ayodhya and assume the responsibility of the kingdom. His entreaties and the pleas of the ministers could not change Rama's determination, as he was bound by a vow to spend fourteen years in the forest. At last Bharata returned with the sandals of his brother and placing them on the throne started ruling on behalf of Rama. He gave himself up to fasting and restraint as if he too had been banished.