After the death of Dasaratha, ministers and other kings have proposed to crown Bharata as king of Ayodhya in a grand coronation ceremony. But Bharata refused and said that he would bring Rama back and crown him as a king. Bharata travelled with his mother Kaikeyi, rishis like Vasishta, ministers and his army to request Rama.
Guha noticed a large army camp on the banks of Ganga and recognised that it is Bharata. Being a Son of Kaikeyi, Guha suspected whether Bharata had any evil thoughts and came to the forest to harm Rama. Guha decided to meet Bharata and understand his true intentions. Bharata received Guha with lot of affection and said ”Guha!! I came here to persuade my brother Rama and make him the King of Ayodhya. Can you tell me where my brother is?” Guha felt euphoric hearing this and showed them the way to Bharadwaja ashram where Rama was staying.
Eager to meet Rama, Bharata walked very briskly ahead of all others. As soon as he saw Rama, Bharata fell on Rama’s feet and greeted him very respectfully. Bharata told Rama and Lakshmana that Dasaradha has passed away. By hearing that, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita grieved uncontrollably. Accompanied by rishis, brothers Rama paid final respects to his father in Ganga (tarpanam)
Next day, after the morning prayers, Bharata said ”brother! It is my mother who is responsible for your exile. I hate her for her selfish behaviour. Even our father, Dasaratha, was overpowered by his love towards his wife. He made a big mistake by asking you to leave Ayodhya. Do not consider the words of an old fool, with blind love towards his wife as final. Please return to Ayodhya, and we will coronate you as King”. Rama said” Bharata! Father is not a fool, he was not blinded by a woman’s love. He just carried out his promise for fear of being untruthful. There is no greater fear than being untruthful. Father has given the kingdom to you and forested to me. If I take up the throne, I will be untruthful. I cannot return to Ayodhya.”
Kaikeyi came to Rama and said, “Rama, please forgive me. I am ashamed by selfishness and made a blunder mistake by asking for your exile. Please return to Ayodhya and rule the kingdom just like your father.” Rama replied by saying “Mother, I have neither any disrespect nor ill will for you. I will return to Ayodhya only after 14 years of exile. Neither Bharata nor I have any interest in the kingdom. Our father’s promise binds we both, and we will obey it.”
After hearing this Bharata was very disappointed and said “brother, I cannot return to Ayodhya without you. I will also stay in the forest along with Lakshmana and Sita. Otherwise, I will stay on fast until death”. Rama looked at Vasishta and requested him to persuade Bharata. Vasishta told Bharata “Please listen to your brother. Return to Ayodhya and rule the kingdom as a deputy under Rama’s authority. By doing so, neither you nor your father will be untruthful”.
Bharata got convinced and decided to return and rule the kingdom as a servant of Rama. Like his brothers Rama and Lakshmana, he also decided to dress like an ascetic, and he carried the sandals of Rama on his head and returned to Ayodhya. He placed the Rama’s sandals on the throne and ruled the country with utmost sincerity.