Reading Guide. Remember the sandals? Rama's brother Bharata had placed the sandals touched by Rama's feet on the throne to hold his place, and he had vowed that if Rama did not return at the end of the fourteen-year exile that he would kill himself. Rama is returning just in time! This scene is known as the Bharat Milap, the reunion of the brothers after their long separation, and it is commemorated in a Hindu festival that is still celebrated today.
Image: The illustration shows Rama embracing Bharata, with Hanuman, Sita, and Lakshmana in attendance — and the sandals are right there on the throne, as Bharata promised. The artist, Raja Ravi Varma, also shows a sword on the throne together with the sandals.
Source. The prose portion comes from Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913) and the verse portion comes from Ramayana, The Epic of Rama, Prince of India, condensed into English verse by Romesh Dutt (1899). [300 words]
The exile of Rama was now ended, and he returned speedily to Ayodhya, with Sita and Lakshmana and Hanuman.
Bharata welcomed his elder brother and laid the sandals at his feet, saying, “These are the symbols of thy rule, O Rama; I have guarded the throne for thee. Now take thy crown and govern thy kingdom. I give thee back thine own.”
Rama was crowned on the morrow amidst the rejoicings of the people, and prosperity returned once again to the kingdom.
~ ~ ~
Bharat lifted up his glances unto Rama from afar,
Unto Sita, unto Lakshman, seated on the Pushpa car,
And he wafted high his greetings and he poured his pious lay,
As one wafts the chaunted mantra to the rising God of Day!
Silver swans by Rama's bidding soft descended from the air,
And on earth the chariot lighted — car of flowers divinely fair.
Bharat, mounting on the chariot, sought his long-lost elder's grace;
Rama held his faithful younger in a brother's dear embrace.
With his greetings unto Lakshman, unto Rama's faithful dame,
To Vibhishan and Sugriva and each chief who thither came,
Bharat took the jewelled sandals with the rarest gems inlaid,
Placed them at the feet of Rama and in humble accents said,
"Tokens of thy rule and empire, these have filled thy royal throne;
Faithful to his trust and duty Bharat renders back thine own.
Bharat's life is joy and gladness, for returned from distant shore,
Thou shalt rule thy spacious kingdom and thy loyal men once more;
Thou shalt hold thy rightful empire and assume thy royal crown.
Faithful to his trust and duty, Bharat renders back thine own."
with Hanuman, Sita, and Lakshmana.