As Rama prepared to leave for the forest, Seetha pleaded with him to take her along, because she could not live without him. Rama permitted her to follow him.
Even Lakshmana insisted on going with them. He did not wish to live in Ayodhya without Rama.
Rama hesitated, for there was a very strong bond of love and affection between the two of them. At last, Rama permitted Lakshmana to accompany him. Rama, Seetha, and Lakshmana took the blessings of their parents and elders as they prepared to leave. They sat in a chariot dressed like hermits.
Dasaratha was thinking of Rama the whole night. He was unable to bear the agony of separation and passed into eternal bliss. Messengers were sent to Kekaya to bring Bharata and Shatrughana back. Bharata was shocked to see the entire city of Ayodhya in the gloom. He rushed to the palace to find out what was happening. When Bharata found out about the wicked plans of his mother and her maid manthara, he was disgusted. He cried at the loss of his father. He cried that Rama was exiled because of his mother.
No thought of being a Ruler.
Bharata never wanted to be a king. Kaikeyi now knew how great her mistake was. Bharat made up his mind to go in search of Rama. He left Ayodhya with a large army and entered the forest. Kaikeyi and the other queens also followed him. On the other side Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita crossed the river Ganges searching for a land undisturbed and isolated from everyone.
Soon they reached Chitrakoot, a beautiful place with many trees and streams.
They built a small hut near a stream and lived there. Bharat and his army approached Chitrakoot. As soon as Bharat saw Rama, he ran towards him and fell at his feet. Shatrugna also offered his salutations to Rama.
Bharat broke the news of their father’s death. Rama was shocked to hear it. Bharat pleaded with Rama to come back and rule Ayodhya, but Rama refused to say that the death of Dasaratha would be meaningless if he were to come back to Ayodhya. He asked Bharat to go back and rule Ayodhya wisely. But Bharat was equally stubborn. He did not want to go back without Rama. At last, it was agreed that Bharat would rule as Rama’s representative for the next fourteen years. Bharat took Rama’s sandals and carried them back to Ayodhya on his head with great respect. After Bharat’s departure, Rama did not wish to live in Chitrakoot anymore. They left the forests of Chitrakoot and started their journey to the forests of dandaka. The forests of dandaka were dark and deep.
Divine Sage Visit.
Then they traveled to the south of the vindyas and visited the abode of the divine sage Agastya. Sage Agastya advised Rama to settle at Panchavati on the banks of the river Godavari. On reaching panchavati, Lakshmana put up an elegant hut. It was here that they met the vulture king Jatayu. Jatayu was a friend of Dasaratha and wanted to help Rama in whatever way it could.