Bharat / भरत
Bharat was a son of king Dashrath by his wife Kaikeyi and brother of Ram, Lakshman and Shatrughna. Just as Lakshman was devoted to Ram, Shatrughna and Bharat too were inseparable. On the advice of Vishvamitra, king Janak agreed to marry the two daughters of his brother Kushdhvaj to Bharat and Shatrughna. Bharat was married to Mandvi and had two sons, Taksh and Pushkal. After some time, Yudhajit, Bharat's maternal uncle, arrived in Ayodhya and expressed his wish to take Bharat with him to Kekay. Having obtained their father's permission and taking leave of their mothers, Bharat and Shatrughna went to Kekay, therefore at the time of Dashrath's death, they were not in Ayodhya and did not know the events that had taken place.
Dashrath's priest, Vasishtha, sent messengers to Kekay to ask Bharat to return immediately to Ayodhya, but they were also commanded not to mention the death of the king or the departure of Ram. On the night the messengers entered the kingdom of Kekay, Bharat had an inauspicious dream, which had him deeply troubled. When the messengers presented themselves to the king, Bharat, deeply troubled, inquired after his father, mothers and brothers, and was told that all was well, but he (Bharat) was requested to leave immediately for Ayodhya. Riding continuously, stopping only for food and water, Bharat, Shatrughna and the messengers reached Ayodhya on the eighth day. Beholding the otherwise joyful city, Bharat made his way with apprehension to his father's apartment. Not finding him there, he went to his mother, thinking that the king would be with her. After having greeted his mother and answering her questions, he asked for his father. The news of Dashrath's death, shocked Bharat and he fainted. When he came to, he asked his mother what had happened and Kaikeyi related to him, how she had obtained the throne for him. Appalled at his mother's deeds, he blamed her for Dashrath's death and Ram's exile. Having reproached and denounced his mother, Bharat, along with Shatrughna, made his way to Kaushalya's chamber.
Kaushalya embraced them both, but her afflicted heart accused him of treachery. Bharat, occurring formidable imprecations, proved his innocence, and thus lamenting, he spent the night at her feet. On Vasishth's counsel he performed the last rites of his father. On the fourteenth day after Dashrath's death, the ministers asked Bharat to ascend the throne. Bharat declined to do so, saying that the throne rightfully belonged to Ram. He planned to bring Ram from the forest and return to him his kingdom. If he remained unsuccessful in bringing Ram back, Bharat vowed to stay in the forest till the former's return. Saying thus, he gave orders to prepare for the journey to the forest. Bharat, Shatrughna, the queen mothers, the priests and ministers and an army, set out to meet Ram. When they arrived at the edge of the forest, they met Guh. Bharat arrive with an army, Guh thought that Bharat was out to kill Ram, and so he inquired of Bharat the reason for his visit. Bharat's honest intentions pleased him and he made all arrangements for the retinue and showed them the way to sage Bhardwaj's hermitage. Here too Bharat met opposition, but when his integrity was proved, Bhardwaj, with the power of his austerities, summoned a large feast for the army and many Apsaras to serve and entertain Bharat. The following day, Bharat and his retinue were directed on the correct path, following which, they came upon the cottage where Ram, Lakshman and Sita were living.
Bharat tried in vain to convince Ram to return. He was determined to remain with Ram in the forest, but on the advice of the ministers, Ram appointed Bharat as his deputy to rule over Ayodhya till his return. Only then did Bharat return, but he took with him the sandals of Ram, declaring that this token of Ram would rule in Ayodhya till Ram's return. After returning to Ayodhya, Bharat took leave of his mothers and stayed at Nandigram for fourteen years and discharged the King's duties in place of Ram, paying reverent homage to his sandals. When Hanuman arrived with the news of Ram's return, Bharat fainted with joy, but later he showered Hanuman with gifts and commanded Shatrughna to have the people decorate the city and the roads from Nandigram to Ayodhya. The two brothers met and embraced each other, after which, Bharat handed Ram his slippers saying that he was now returning to him his kingdom which he had been commanded to look after. Ram was crowned king and Bharat was made crown prince. At Ram's command, Bharat and his sons went to the Gandhar kingdom and with the help of Yudhajit, Bharat destroyed the Gandharvs living there. Bharat founded the two capital cities of Takshashila and Pushkalavat in the conquered kingdom and established his sons, Taksh and Pushkal as its rulers. Five years later, Bharat returned to Ayodhya. He was sent again with Lakshman's son Chandraketu to the Maru kingdom, where the latter was made king. Having taught Chandraketu to run his government, Bharat returned to Ayodhya a year later. After Lakshman's death, Ram to decided to renounce his life and wished to crown Bharat king. Bharat, deciding also to renounce his life, refused the crown and suggested to his brother to crown Kush and Lav as kings and send messengers to inform Shatrughna of their decision. Ram, Bharat and Shatrughna entered the river Saryu and attained heaven.
Ahalya · Rama · Bharat · Laxman · Shatrughna · Dashrath · Kaushalya · Kaikeyi · Sumitra · Shurpnakha · Janak · Sita · Ravana · Urmila · Meghnad · Vibhishan · Angad · Hanuman · Kumbhakarn · Marich · Mandodari · Vasishtha · Vishvamitra · Bali · Sugriva · Sampati · Jambvan · Manthara · Jatayu · Shabri · Lanka · Neel · Nal · Panchvati · Lav Kush · Tadka