Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Ramayana – 8: Bharata’s return from Kekaya and bringing back Rama’s sandals.

The death of Dasaratha sometime during the night of the 6th day of Rama’s exile was known to others only in the morning of the 7th day. There is no reference to planetary or Panchanga details in the events following the death of Dasaratha. However, a different kind of clue is found later when Bharata went to meet Rama in Chitrakoota. On the way to Chitrakoota, Bharata offered oblations to his departed father in the river Ganga. On the 3rd day after that, Rama offered pindam to his father. Pindam could not be given on any day. The three-day difference between Bharata offering oblations in the Ganga and Rama offering Pindam could mean the 27th and the 30th day ritual done to the departed ancestor. I checked the days and dates in those lines to see if the sequence matches.

We will begin counting the days from the day of Dasaratha’s death. By that morning, Caitra Krishna Pratipat had started. Let us take it as the first day. The overnight lunar eclipse ended some time in the night at the end of the Pournami. After that Krishna Pratipat started which continued at daybreak. Hence, Krishna Pratipat could have been considered as the tithi of Dasaratha’s death.

1st day of death: The body of the king was immersed in oil for preservation because none of his sons were present to do the final rites. Date was 24th December, 5091 BCE, Pramoda Caitra Krishna Pratipat, Sunday, Hasta.

2nd day: Vasishtha instructed messengers to proceed to Kekaya to bring back Bharata.  Messengers started on the same day. Dec 25, 5091 BCE. Caitra Krishna Dwitiya. Monday, Chitra star.

3rd day: There is no mention of how many days they travelled. It is just said that they reached Kekaya at night and met Bharata in the morning. From the later details about oblations, it seems that the messengers travelled for 3 days and reached Kekaya on the night of the 3rd day. This means they reached on the 4th day of Dasaratha's death.

4th day: The messengers reached Kekaya at night. Dec 27, 5091 BCE. Caitra Krishna Caturthi, Wednesday.

5th day:  The messengers met Bharata the next morning. Dec 28, 5091 BCE. Caitra Krishna Panchami, Thursday, Anuradha star.

6th day: Bharata and Shatrughna started from Kekaya. Dec 29, 5091 BCE, Caitra Krishna Shashti, Friday, Jyeshtha.  

They travelled for 7 nights and reached Ayodhya on the morning of the 8th day. The long delay may be because he took a different route, and he was accompanied by an army and many carriages of gifts from his grandfather’s home. In contrast, the messengers seemed to have taken the shortest route and had gone through forests and streams.

6th night to 12th night – Bharata was travelling. Krishna Shashti to Krishna Dwādaśī. Till the night of 4th January 5090 BCE Bharata was travelling.

13th day: Bharata reached Ayodhya. Jan 5, 5090 BCE, Caitra Krishna Trayodaśī, Friday, Purva Bhadrapada.

13th day: Cremation of Dasaratha by the evening. Jan 5, 5090 BCE, Caitra Krishna Caturdaśī, Friday.

Next 12 days, rituals for the departed father. 25 days were over by then. Till Vaishakha Shukla Ekādaśī. Jan 17, 5090 BCE. Wednesday, Magha star.

26th day: 13th day ceremony done. Jan 18, 5090 BCE, Vishakha Shukla Dwādaśī, Thursday, Purva Phalguni.

27th day: Pathway to reach Ganga was laid. Jan 19, 5090 BCE. Vaishakha Shukla Trayodaśī, Friday, Uttara Phalguni.

28th day: Bharata started off to see Rama. Jan 20, 5090 BCE. On reaching the river Ganga, Bharata stopped the journey and started giving water as oblations to his departed father. (VR: 2-83-24). This looks odd. Looking at the tithi, it was Shukla Caturdaśī, and the day was the 28th day of death. There is a ritual called “Oona Maasya” done between the 27th and 30th day of death. On reaching the sacred Ganga capable of giving salvation, Bharata probably decided to offer water oblations, though not a full-fledged Oona Maasya.

On the same day Bharata met Guha. He saw the tree under which Rama and Sita slept. It moved him so much that he pledged to live like Rama and sleep on grass and stay in the forest if Rama refused to come back. Spent the night on the banks of the river Ganga.

The date was Jan 20, 5090 BCE, Vaishakha Shukla Caturdaśī, Saturday, Hasta.

29th day: Bharata reached Bharadwaja ashram. Stayed in the Ashram for the night. Vaishakha Paurṇamī, Sunday, Chitra. Jan 21, 5090 BCE.

30th day:  Proceeded towards Chitrakoota. Searched for Rama and found him. Rama offered Pindam to his father. This happened on the death tithi of Dasaratha. It was Shukla Pratipat in the month of Vaishakha. The first Maasya ritual was done by Rama, on the death tithi of Dasaratha coming after a month. The date was Jan 22, 5090 BCE, Pramoda, Vaishakha Shukla Pratipat, Monday, Swati star.

This correlation endorses our deduction of 3 days of travel to Kekaya by the messengers. For that part alone, we didn’t have a precise information in the Ramayana. All the other events before and after that travel of the messengers were well documented in the Ramayana. The water oblations by Bharata and the offer of Pindam by Rama helped us to construct the dates for the sequence of events.

30th day: On the same day, the mothers arrived at the leaf-hut of Rama. Talks went on to persuade Rama to return. There is no clue on whether Bharata and others spent the night with Rama.

At the end of the discussion, Bharata requested Rama to mount with his feet on the wooden sandals adorned with gold. It seems they were brought by Bharata. Rama must have walked barefoot since he left Ayodhya. Rama obliged. Those sandals were carried by Bharata on his head as he left Chitrakoota for Ayodhya. This could have happened on the 30th day itself or on the 31st day. 

The date of carrying the Paaduka could have been either Jan 22 or Jan 23, 5090 BCE, Pramoda, Vaishakha Shukla Pratipat, Monday, Swati star or Shukla Dwitiya, Tuesday, Vishakha star. 

Olden commentators have opined that Bharata, and others stayed for two to three days in the company of Rama.

Bharata returned with the sandals and installed them on a royal throne. He started living outside the city in Nandigrama. All these must have happened in the Shukla Paksha of Vaishakha month of Pramoda year, that is, in the first one and a half months of Rama’s exile.


1 comment:

Chudamani Srinivasan said...