The Greater Grief Pales Lesser Grief

When Dasaratha, the emperor died, there was no one at hand to perform the obsequies and so, they sent word to the two younger sons, Bharata and Satrughna, who had left for their kinsman’s capital. They were not informed of the death, and when they came and saw the body, they were too shocked at the inert silence of their dear father, that they ran to Kausalya, the queen, and their stepmother. She burst into tears when the two boys ran into her apartments. They were shocked at this and inquired why. It was then that she broke the sad news of the death of their father. Bharata plunged into grief at this tragedy; he wept aloud beating his chest. It was inconsolable agony. Then amidst the distress, he said,

Mother, how unfortunate I am. I had no chance to nurse him in his illness, during his last days. Alas, dear brother, you too lost the precious chance of service“, he said, patting Satrughna on the head. After some moments, he continued, “Mother, how fortunate are Râma and Lakshmana. They were with him. And they nursed him and ran on little errands for him. They were with him when he breathed his last. Since we were far away, did father leave any command for us? What was his last wish regarding us? Did he remember us, ask that we should be sent for?”

Kausalya said, “Son, he had only one word on his lips, one form before his eye; that word was Râma, that form was Râma“. Bharatha looked surprised. He asked, “How is it that he uttered the name and craved for the form of Râma, who was by his bedside, and did not yearn for me who was far away? O, how unlucky I am. I have lost the affection of my dear father.

Kausalya replied, “Well, if Râma had been by his bedside or near him, he would not have passed away”. Bharatha ejaculated, “Mother, where had Râma gone? Why was he away? Where is he now? Did he go hunting to the forest? Was he on a pleasure trip on the Sarayu?” The mother said, “No, no, He left for the forest for fourteen years,”. Bharatha could hear it no longer. “Alas, what an outrageous tragedy, this. What crime, what sin did Râma commit to deserve this exile? Why had he to go?”
“Your mother wished that He should go, and so he went!” said the queen.

When Bharatha heard this, the grief that he sustained on hearing of the death of his father paled, and the grief that arose at his mother sending Râma into exile for fourteen years supervened overwhelming all else. 

The greater grief scours off the smaller.

Source: Chinna Katha by Sathya Sai Baba

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