Ram, Laxman and Sita proceed further
The Holy Trio reached the mountain top at Chitrakoot. Here they decided to stay for sometime and took last salutes from all accompanying friends and Rishis. They now wanted to remain all by themselves and lead the hard and simple forest life as directed by mother Kaikeyi. The poor forest people came with fruits and other food. They saluted the trio for their benevolence.
They were ever vigilant lest the leopards and other jungle animals should hurt these royal guests. Ram also loved these neglected tribal people. He understood their plight and hardships to earn their living and food. He was highly impressed with their knowledge of the plants and herbs, and equally for their concern and care to preserve the forest, the eco-freindly nature!
Bharat meanwhile was persuaded to take the reigns of Ayodhya in his hands, as it was thought unwise and improper that the throne of Ayodhya should remain vacant without legitimate king. Bharat did not agree to this. He said that only after meeting Ram, this whole affair can be sorted out and settled.
Kaikeyi, Kausalya, Sumitra, Gurudev Vashistha, many officers of the royal army and a huge population of Ayodhya accompanied Bharat on his 'pilgrimage' to meet Ram. Bharat also adored simple dress of sanyasin and started on foot as directed by the minister, Guhaka, and sages Bharadwaj and Valmiki. Thus, the party reached the base of Chitrakoot mountain.
The tribals, eager to protect their respected Ram-Laxman-Sita obstructed their path thinking them to be the invaders or enemy. But finding Bharat without bow and arrow and seeing tears in every eye, they desisted from attacking them. Some of the tribesmen rushed to the mountain top and explained the scene below. It took no time for Ram to know that his brother Bharat had come to meet him.
Bharat and his associates were escorted in the presence of Ram with due respect and poise. Seeing Ram-Laxman-Sita in a simple dress without ornaments and royal paraphernalia, Bharat's heart was filled with intense grief. His eyes gave vent to a flood of uncontrollable tears. Ram too could not check his emotions, and rushed to hug his beloved brother Bharat. No one spoke for a long time that appeared as eternity. Continuos flow of tears calmed their hearts and mind after a while.
Bowing down at the feet of Ram and taking the holy dust from them, Bharat politely said,"O brother, why did you not wait for my return? Did you also think that I would be pleased to get the throne of Ayodhya? How did you forget that without you Ayodhya, or for that matter whole of kingdom of universe, is like a mud puddle for me! Did you not know that mother Kaikeyi had committed a grave mistake which I was sure to rectify?"