What is Love? The Story of Bharat
In her Guru Purnima blessing, Shri Anandi Ma chants from the Ramayana about Bharatji. The following article gives some background on this amazing example of devotion.
Among the greatest and most beautiful characters in the Ramayana is that of Shri Bharat, Lord Rama’s brother. During the time when Bharat was away from their home in Ayodhya, Lord Ram was exiled into the forest by his stepmother Kaikeyi, who was Bharat’s birth mother. It was her plan that with Shri Ram away in the forest, Bharat could easily become the king of Ayodhya. When Bharatji returned home and discovered that his beloved Shri Ram had been exiled, for what purpose and by whom, it was as if he had been struck by lightning. His anger and sorrow were indescribable. In fury he cursed his mother for even thinking of such a plan, let alone putting it into action! And he cried with anguish at the thought of his dear Lord Ram (who was the Lord Himself!) having to suffer so much on his account.
Immediately Bharatji left Ayodhya for the forest to meet with Shri Ram, who was his life and soul, and bring Him back to Ayodhya. No mountain was so unshakable, no ocean so deep, and no sky so vast and endless as was Bharatji’s love for Shri Ram. Indeed, Saint Tulsidas has written that Shri Bharat was veritably the incarnation of pure Love.
As he traveled to the forest to meet with Lord Ram, Bharatji said the following prayer:
Aratha na Dharana na kaama ruchi
Gati na chahaun Nirbaana
Janama Janama rati Rama pada
Yeh bardaana na aana.
“I do not want wealth, nor righteousness, nor the fulfillment of my desires. I do not even want liberation. The only boon I ask is that in life and after life I have pure love for the lotus feet of Shri Rama.” From Bharatji’s prayer, we receive a very powerful message. We see that from his devotion to the Lord he wanted nothing, not even liberation! When we love, if nothing else, we expect to be loved in return. Beyond that we want to be loved far more than we want to love. We want the world to love us, we want Guruji to love us, we want God to love us. Not Bharatji. He did not care whether Shri Rama loved him or not. As long as he loved Shri Rama, his life’s purpose was fulfilled.
This is real love, and this is the type of love through which Jesus, Tulsidas, Meera, Shri Ramakrishna, and of course, our beloved Guruji became One with God. They sacrificed everything for a glimpse of their Beloved. One can only wonder with awe at the greatness of these divine souls who can love God with such purity!
Such is the love I’ve seen in Anandi Ma for Guruji. Through Her and Guruji’s example and inspiration the rest of us become infused with the love of God and Guru. This is a very precious gift. We must cultivate it and help it to grow, for we could hope to achieve nothing greater in life. This is the message of Shri Bharat’s life and prayer.