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Chapter 76: Bharat Cremates the King
Bharatha Cremates the King
Vasistha advises Bharata to stop lamenting and to perform the last rites of the king. Bharata then places the body of Dasaratha on a couch, taking it out from the vessel where it had been immersed in oil and proceeds with the funeral rites. The appointed priests, attendants, people of the city and the weeping royal women followed the funeral pile of the king to the banks of Sarayu River where the body was cremated. Bharata along with others return to the city after the completion of the cremation-ceremony.
Chapter [Sarga] 76 in Detail
tam evam shoka samtaptam bharatam kekayii sutam |
uvaaca vadataam shrestho vasisthah shrestha vaag risih || 2-76-1
The sage Vasishta, the excellent one among the speakers having eloquence, spoke to that Bharata, Kaikeyi’s son who was thus tormented with grief.
alam shokena bhadram te raaja putra mahaa yashah |
praapta kaalam nara pateh kuru samyaanam uttaram || 2-76-2
“O, the greatly illustrious prince! My blessing to you. You have lamented long enough. Perform in an excellent way, the last rites of the king.”
vasisthasya vacah shrutvaa bharatah dhaaranaam gatah |
preta kaaryaani sarvaani kaarayaam aasa dharmavit || 2-76-3
Hearing the words of Vasishta, Bharata conversant with his duty fell prostate and proceeded with all the arrangements for the obsequies.
uddhritam taila samkledaat sa tu bhuumau niveshitam |
aapiita varna vadanam prasuptam iva bhuumipam || 2-76-4
samveshya shayane ca agrye naanaa ratna pariskrite |
tatah dasharatham putrah vilalaapa suduhkhitah || 2-76-5
Raising the body of king Dasaratha, from the vessel where it had been immersed in oil, seeming as it were asleep with face in the color of gold, that son Bharata placed it in a magnificent couch, adorned with every kind of precious stone and in a great grief, lamented.(as follows):
kim te vyavasitam raajan prosite mayy anaagate |
vivaasya raamam dharmajnam laksmanam ca mahaa balam || 2-76-6
“O, king! Having sent into exile the virtuous Rama and Lakshmana who is possessed of great strength, while I was away from home and had not yet returned, what did you intend to do?”
kva yaasyasi mahaa raaja hitvaa imam duhkhitam janam |
hiinam purusa simhena raamena aklista karmanaa || 2-76-7
“Where will you go, leaving this person (me) who was distressed and bereft of Rama the unwearied one in action and the excellent one among men?”
yoga ksemam tu te raajan ko asmin kalpayitaa pure |
tvayi prayaate svah taata raame ca vanam aashrite || 2-76-8
“O, king! O, father! Who is supposed to see the welfare and security of your city of Ayodhya, while you have departed for heaven and while Rama has gone, taking refuge in a forest?”
vidhavaa prithivii raajams tvayaa hiinaa na raajate |
hiina candraa iva rajanii nagarii pratibhaati maam || 2-76-9
“O, king! Bereft of you and deprived of its lord, this earth does not look charming. To me, this city is looking like a night without a moon.”
evam vilapamaanam tam bharatam diina maanasam |
abraviid vacanam bhuuyo vasisthah tu mahaan risih || 2-76-10
The great sage Vasishta again spoke the following words to that Bharata who was distressed in mind and thus lamenting.
preta kaaryaani yaani asya kartavyaani vishaampateh |
taani avyagram mahaa baaho kriyataam avicaaritam || 2-76-11
“O, mighty armed Bharata! Without hesitation or repining, carry out the funeral rites of the king that should be done.”
tathaa iti bharatah vaakyam vasisthasya abhipuujya tat |
ritvik purohita aacaaryaams tvarayaam aasa sarvashah || 2-76-12
“Be it so” answered Bharata and obedient to Vashishta’s command, he summoned speedily the appointed priests who knew the rules of the funeral rites."
ye tu agratah nara indrasyaagni agaaraat bahis kritaah |
ritvigbhir yaajakaih caiva te hriyante yathaa vidhi || 2-76-13
The fires of that king were prepared outside the chamber and kindled in accordance with the rituals by the priests and the sacrificial attendants.
shibilaayaam atha aaropya raajaanam gata cetanam |
baaspa kanthaa vimanasah tam uuhuh paricaarakaah || 2-76-14
The attendants were choked with tears in their throats and disconsolate in their mind, made the dead king to mount on a small palanquin and carried it away.
hiranyam ca suvarnam ca vaasaamsi vividhaani ca |
prakirantah janaa maargam nripater agratah yayuh || 2-76-15
The people went along the path, scattering silver, gold and various kinds of clothes in front of the king.
candana aguru niryaasaan saralam padmakam tathaa |
deva daaruuni ca aahritya citaam cakrus tathaa apare || 2-76-16
gandhaan ucca avacaamh ca anyaams tatra dattvaa atha bhuumipam |
tatah samveshayaam aasuh citaa madhye tam ritvijah || 2-76-17
In the same manner, some others brought sandal wood, sweet aloes, different fragrant essences, with leaps of Sarala Padmaka and Devadaru woods and many other kinds of fragrant substances, went there and threw them into the funeral pile. Thereafter the appointed priests caused the king’s body to lie down there in the midst of the funeral pyre.
tathaa huta ashanam hutvaa jepus tasya tadaa ritvijah |
jaguh ca te yathaa shaastram tatra saamaani saamagaah || 2-76-18
Then, those priests engaged for the benefit of the king poured oblations into the fire and recited sacred texts (relevant to the funeral rites). Those among the priests, who could recite the hymns of Samaveda, chanted them according to the rules.
shibikaabhih ca yaanaih ca yathaa arham tasya yositah |
nagaraan niryayus tatra vriddhaih parivritaah tadaa || 2-76-19
Then, his ladies, encircled by elders mounted palanquins or other vehicles, as deserving and departed from the city to that place.
prasavyam ca api tam cakrur ritvijo agni citam nripam |
striyah ca shoka samtaptaah kausalyaa pramukhaah tadaa || 2-76-20
Then, the appointed priests as well as Kausalya and other women who were tormented with grief, circumambulated in anti clockwise direction that king who was lying on a funeral pile.
kraunciinaam iva naariinaam ninaadah tatra shushruve |
aartaanaam karunam kaale kroshantiinaam sahasrashah || 2-76-21
At that time the crying sounds of thousands of women, pitiably weeping with agony, were heard like the sounds of female curlew birds.
tatah rudantyo vivashaa vilapya ca punah punah |
yaanebhyah sarayuu tiiram avaterur vara anganaah || 2-76-22
Thereafter, the lamenting ladies deprived of their grit wept again and again and descended from their vehicles at the bank of Sarayu River.
krita udakam te bharatena saardham |
nripa anganaa mantri purohitaah ca |
puram pravishya ashru pariita netraa |
bhuumau dasha aham vyanayanta duhkham || 2-76-23
Along with Bharata, the royal women, the ministers and family priests offered their oblations with water and entered the city with their eyes filled in tears and spent ten days with great difficulty by sleeping on bare floor.
ityaarse shriimadraamaayane aadikaavye ayodhyaakaande satsaptatitamah sargah
Thus completes 76th Chapter of Ayodhya Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.
K. M. K. Murthy. (1999). Ayodhya Kanda - Book Of Ayodhya.
Merriam-Webster. (2007). At http://www.m-w.com.
Reference.com. (2007). At http://www.reference.com.
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