~ 59. Bharata Petitions Rama ~

Bharata begged Rama to end his exile. "Return to Ayodhya now," he said. "Be our king!"
"I cannot," Rama insisted. "I must remain true to our father's promise, even in death."
"Then let me stay here with you!" 
"You cannot," Rama said. "Ayodhya must have a ruler."
"I'll rule, but as regent only," Bharata agreed. "You will return and be our king."
Bharata then handed Rama the king's golden sandals. Rama put on the sandals, took them off, and handed them to Bharata.
Bharata returned to Ayodhya and placed the golden sandals on the throne, waiting for Rama to return.

Inspired by: Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana by Devdutt Pattanaik
Notes: This story is on p. 95 of the book. In Valmiki's Ramayana, this is the Ayodhya Kanda (Book 2), sarga 113. In some versions, the sandals Bharata brings back are Rama's forest sandals made of kusha grass. The footsteps of Rama are worshipped as Ramcharanchinnha.

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