Bharata blaming mother Kaikeyi
Kausalya clung to the King's body and cried: "How can I live without my son and without my husband?"
Ayodhya city was sunk in darkness and lamentation. Crowds of women met here and there and blamed Kaikeyi. Anarchy was feared, for no one in those days could imagine a people going on without a king.
The elders and officers of the palace discussed the grim situation. Since Rama and Lakshmana had gone to the forest and Bharata and Satrughna were in their uncle's place, it was decided to send for Bharata and to keep the body preserved till his arrival.
Sage Vasishta advised sending capable messengers and said to them: "Start at once and go swiftly to Kekaya country. Do not show sorrow on your face or in your behaviour. Bharata should not know that the King is dead. Tell him simply that the family Guru and ministers want his presence at once in Ayodhya and bring him along with you with all the speed you may. Tell him nothing about Raama and Seeta going to the forest or the King's death on account of grief."
The messengers left on speedy horses and reached Kekaya, which was somewhere to the west of the modern Punjab. They met Bharata in the court of his uncle (kaikeyi's father), and said to him: "Sage Vasishta and ministers send you their blessings and request you to return at once to Ayodhya. You are needed urgently."
Bharata questioned the messengers after the welfare of all at home. Knowing his mother's headstrong and ambitious nature he asked: "Is my mother, the haughty and hot-tempered Queen Kaikeyi who believes herself all-wise and must always have her way-is she in good health?" They replied: "All are well whose welfare is dear to you. Please get into your chariot and start for Ayodhya quickly."
They traveled fast, unmindful of fatigue, and reached Ayodhya on the morning of the eighth day.
Bharata's chariot entered the city through the Victory Gate. The streets, houses and temples were bare and undecorated. The faces of the people looked fiilled with grief. Bharata concluded that some great misfortune had overtaken the city and that was the reason why he had been so hastily sent for.
He then entered Kaikeyi's palace. When she saw her son after a long absence, she jumped from her golden couch to embrace him. He bent down and touched her feet. She kissed his head and welcomed him with maternal blessings. She then informed him about what happened in these words:"I approached the King for your sake and secured the fulfillment of two boons he had long ago granted to me. I asked that the kingdom should go to you and that Rama should be exiled to the forest. Bound by his past promise, the King agreed.
Rama has therefore gone to the forest with Sita and Lakshmana. Unable to bear this separation, your father died of grief. Do not waste yourself in vain lamentations now. Think now what you should do. You know dharma. Your duty is to accept the burden of kingship."
Now Bharata understood everything and realized the enormity of the harm caused by his mother. He told her angrily and in sorrow:
'After causing the death of the King and the sending Rama to the forest, how dare you ask me to take their place and rule the land. This is like pouring oil into the fire of my grief.I will not carry out your wish.
I shall do the funeral rites for my father and then go to the forest; I will fall at the feet of Rama and bring him as the King of Ayodhya. And then, to cleanse myself of the sin and the shame you have brought on me, I shall lead the life of an ascetic in the Dandaka forest."