Bharata and Bharata Milap

My ancestral house in Varanasi is located in Bharata Milap Colony, named after Bharata Milap that is celebrated near my residence every year in October/November the day following Dussehra on Ekadashi of Ashwin month. Yesterday was Ganga Dussehra and today is also Ekadashi.

Bharata Milap is held at Nati Imli, Varanasi with great fanfare and devotion to commemorate Lord Rama’s return to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and his reunion with his younger brother, Bharata.

Thousands gather in the streets near my colony to see the processions of Lord Rama and Bharata and their reunion. People pay their respect by putting tilak on the forehead and garlanding Lord Rama and his brothers.

Another interesting part of the Bharata Milap celebration is the presence of Kashi Naresh (Former King of Kashi) with all his royal paraphernalia and regal finery.

The question is why so much importance is attached to Bharata Milap. The answer lies in one of the greatest and most beautiful characters in the Ramayana, Shri Bharata, Lord Rama’s younger half-brother.

Bharata was in his uncle’s kingdom, when his mother Kaikeyi got her two boons invoked from King Dasharatha that Rama should be exiled for 14 years and that Bharata become the ruler instead.

When Bharata learned of Rama’s exile, he was shocked and angered at the idea that he should take Ayodhya’s throne. He lost respect and failed to forgive his mother, Kaikeyi for her cunningness. He went to bring Rama back from the forests, but Rama declined on the grounds that such a deed would be unrighteous.

Heavily disappointed, he agreed to govern Ayodhya, not as its ruler, but as Rama’s representative. He placed Rama’s Paduka (footwear) and ruled Ayodhya in his stead for 14 years. He neither sat upon the throne nor crowned himself.

Bharata’s reign was righteous, and the kingdom was safe and prosperous. Like Rama, he was also the symbol of dharma, idealism and sacrifice. But he continuously longed for Rama’s return. Bharata lived in a simple hut, like on ascetic at Nandigrama near Ayodhya during his rule.

Upon Rama’s return to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile, Bharata led the procession to greet his elder brother, Rama with tears in his eyes. That’s the essence and spirit of Rama-Bharata Milap.


–Kaushal Kishore

32 Comments

  1. Wonderful to know about this celebration/ procession at your native place, Varanasi.
    It’s always a pleasant experience to read Ramayana, and it’s life lessons, though we have read it for countless number of times.
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece of writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for appreciation and thoughtful comment. I agree with you. Every character has its own uniqueness in Ramayana, whether it’s Lakshmana or Shatrughna or Sita or Urmila. This is an epic that is full of life lessons and teachings.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my Kaushal! The glory of your city and the message of your writing were like a bright sunburst that had dancing rainbow colors in them. Oh that all men and women everywhere were like this beloved ruler, Shri Bharata.
    I had to know the name meaning of your city and I discovered that Varanasi was originally know as “the Kashi” (the brightness.) Yes, its dazzling colors and beauty are like out of a fairy tale. Thank you and bless you for this inspiring piece and all the amazing photos that bring joy with them.
    ❤️Michele

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You lit up my day, Michele. I deeply appreciate you and your interest in my city. I’m really glad that you loved it and its celebration. You’re right, it’s an ancient city that was originally called Kashi, then Banaras and now Varanasi. Varanasi, because the city situated between two rivers, Varuna and Assi. It has a rich cultural heritage.

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  3. This post, Kaushal, is one of your masterpieces! It explains why I am admiring with a passion, my favorite country, Bharat. As you remember, I wrote about Varanasi in my blog, and I strive to live according to dharma, and your description of the celebrations of Bharata-Milap brings joy to my heart.
    I read some texts of iconic classics like Ramayana but my knowledge is not comparable
    with your erudite learning.
    Thank you, Kaushal, for today’s gift, and the pictures.

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Joanna for this wonderful comment. During my childhood this festival used to be an annual attraction, when my friends from other parts of the city would throng my house to witness the celebration. I remember your blog on The Ganges and Varanasi. It was unique in its own respect. Your interest in India and its culture and traditions is unparalleled. Thanks again for your loving words.

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    1. I’m delighted to know that you are from Prayagraj and Kashi. You must have seen Nati Imli ka Bharat Milap and Chetganj ka Nakkataiya. Ghats are really superb place, particularly Dashaswamedh. Thank you for writing back. It gave me immense joy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Am from Prayagraj yes, but Allahabad is still close to the heart…and about Kashi, the annual visits are still looked forward to, about Bharat Milaap, only recall it as a child…it’s the ghats basically that keep luring…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, his devotion and sacrifice were unparalleled. When you asked me to write on Bharata, I was not sure what to write, but suddenly I remembered Bharata Milap celebrations in my locality. Thank you so much for prompting me.

      Liked by 1 person

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