Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Chapter 1 - Emperor Bharat chooses his successor


King Bharatha looked around wondering what to do…

He was in the main court hall…the mighty throne which was in the middle of the court room usually looked like it was made for him…While sitting on it…or while going towards it, he had never even felt the slightest doubt that he would be the best person to sit on it and take good care of his people…But now, for the first time in his life, Bharatha felt like the throne was questioning him, mocking him….What would he do?

Bharatha stayed far away from the throne looking at it…He thought back to his father King Dushyant and his mother Shakuntala. Bharatha could still remember how proud his parents had been when they had crowned him… He remembered the confidence with which they had announced him to be the crown prince…His parents had never even doubted that he would rule the people well…

Bharatha had got married and he had children of his own…Nine sons….Bharatha sighed. He never thought that his children would themselves be the reason for his worry…

Emperor Bharatha had realized that he was getting old…As was custom, his first son would take the throne…Bharatha had to just crown his first son as the Crown prince….But that was what was worrying Bharatha….

Bharatha talked with all his sons and had extensive talks with his son’s teachers and his own ministers….Bharatha realized with sudden clarity that none of his sons…not one of them was fit to rule….Bharatha wondered whether he would just crown his first born as the Crown prince and let it go…But Bharatha realized that that would be a crime…a crime for which he would never forgive himself…He was the ruler of his people….he was their father and guide….By being a ruler, it was not sufficient if he had ruled well during his time…It was his duty to make sure his people were happy even after he was gone….That was his duty, his karma….

Bharatha remembered the messages which his gurus had taught him...When Bharatha was young, he had been brave enough to open the mouth of the jungle lions to count their teeth…nothing scared him….Even when he had been the king, he had ruled that way…fearlessly…he had followed the path of righteousness no matter what…

Bharatha had been an excellent warrior. His father, no doubt had been a great warrior…But Bharatha had really made the kingdom huge….Now he had a kingdom spreading right from the Himalayas to even after the Vindhyas….He had cherished his kingdom…looked after it well…like he would look after his own child…The kingdom had prospered and people were happy and very well off…

And suddenly Bharatha realized that he had no one who would look after his beloved kingdom and his people after him…Not his sons…Bharatha thought wryly….Leaving the kingdom to his sons would destroy the kingdom….His sons were not fit to rule….Bharatha had to find someone else…

As Bharatha was thinking, he had a sudden image of a young boy…A local boy…a boy who could not be called royal by any stretch of imagination…But a boy who was brave and strong….A boy who could follow the path of the king no matter what…Bharatha slowly nodded to himself….The boy was perfect….

So in the next day in the open court, King Bharat once again sat majestically in his throne. He looked regal and knew he had made the right choice….He looked at his nine sons, each wondering whether they would be crowned the king…Bharatha felt a trace of regret looking at them…But he knew that the path of the king was not selfish one…He had to do what was right for the kingdom, not his family….

The whole court and the kingdom waited eagerly for the king. King Bharat spoke, ‘I, Bharat, son of Dushyant and Shakuntala, hereby crown, Bhumanyu as my successor….’ The whole court looked surprised and astonished…It was virtually unheard that a common man could be crowned as the king…especially when the king himself had so many sons of his own….

Bharatha’s son looked stricken and broken hearted…How could their father do it to them? He was choosing a commoner over them…what sort of a father was he…

Meanwhile a stunned young boy looked self-consciously as everybody looked at him with envy, pride, anger…He was bewildered…He did not know why the king would choose him over his own sons.

Bhumanyu!’ King Bharat called out, ‘Come forward!’

Bhumanyu swallowed and steadily walked forward. Bharat got down from the throne and led Bhumanyu with him.

Bharatha whispered to Bhumanyu, ‘You are the only one person, I found worthy of this throne…I do not think I will do justice to this throne, if I made any of my sons as the king…I am impressed with you bravery and your capability to stand up to anyone to do what it right….If anyone does, you have the right to sit here….’

Bhumanyu looked at King Bharatha as he spoke with pride, ‘But sir! Your own children…How could you…’

King Bharatha smiled, ‘I am a king first….I am also a father….Just because my sons wish to be the kings, I cannot place them on this mighty throne….This throne and the kingdom deserves someone who love it and look after it…like a father and guide…You are the only person I know who can do that….’

Bhumanyu looked at King Bharatha who had spoken with such simplicity that he was moved….He looked at the king, too full for words and nodded his head. He prayed that he would be at least half the ruler that Bharatha hoped he would be...

King Bharatha then turned to his people. He raised Bhumanyu hands in the air, ‘Long live the crown prince – Bhumanyu….’

For a minute everyone looked stunned. But then Bharatha had ruled the people for long…They trusted him implicitly. The voice rang out as one, ‘Long live the crown prince Bhumanyu..'

True to King Bharatha's hopes, Bhumanyu ruled the people very well.

His son was Suhotra, who ruled the kingdom after him. After Suhotra, the kingdom was ruled by his son Hastee...

Hastee founded the kingdom of Hastinapur. The place where the great story of Mahabharatha started....

15 comments:

  1. Aum Namasivaya!!!
    Thank you so much for the articulation of Geography in your story.

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  2. Very nice. Thank you very much for this post!!

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  3. I learned much more from this article.

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  4. Great...!!! keep up the writing.. :D

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  5. Thanks...I really appreciate your study and simplicity in putting the story across

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  6. It is fabulous, but I would like to know the beginning of the history & what happened to the nine sons of Bharatha?

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    1. Dear sir,
      I was unable to find much about Bharatha's sons from the Mahabharatha. If however I find anything, I would let you know.

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  7. I want to know how big was Bharatha's empire ? Was the kingdom enlarged from Asia Minor in the west to Celebes in the east, nearer to the Philippines ...

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  8. Thanks for your article... we in Malaysia are having an identity problem... The Malays who form the majority claim that the reins of Bujang Valley ( of Raj Raj Cholan), Majapahit ( of the Sri Vijayan Empire ) are all Malay Heritage, which I am opposed to. I wish to know how big or enlarged was Bharatha's Empire as stated above...

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  9. Great histroy to read

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  10. Thank you so much..!! Really Appreciated from my Heart..

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  11. Can you please give more details of Bhumanyu. His genealogy.

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  12. Sir thank you so much. It is very surprising that we do not know much about The Great King Bharat and his sons.

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  13. Thank u for writing the true story.

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