Illustrated Ramayana – Part 7

The people of Ayodhya, however, would not let their beloved prince go away so easily. They followed him day and night into the forest. Rama appealed to them to return to the city, but in vain.

At night, Rama decided to evade his people and become lost to them so that they would return peacefully to their homes. He went deeper into the forest after crossing the boundaries of the kingdom.

Soon, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita came to Sringiberapura on the banks of the Ganga. They met the hunter-chief, Guha, who offered his own kingdom for Rama to rule. Rama declined the offer and said he must lead a hermit’s life in order to carry out his father’s wishes.

Guha was an expert boatman. At Rama’s request he got a boat ready and ferried the two princes and Sita across the river.

Here in Ayodhya, Dasaratha never recovered from his grief. Soon the land was without a ruler and Bharata, who had gone to his uncle’s place, was sent for. The son of Kaikeyi arrived in a desolate, grief-stricken city and was shocked to hear what had happened.

Bharata was angry with his mother for having caused Rama’s exile. He would not accept the crown, which was Rama’s by right.

The ministers and wise men of the realm begged Bharata to heed his father’s dying wishes but Bharata would not listen. He said Rama alone was the Emperor wherever he was and he would go to the forest to bring him home.