Reaching the hermitage of Bharadvaja on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Ashwin (September) when the fourteen years of exile were completed, the disciplined Rama offered His respects to the sages. After offering respect to the sage Bharadvaja, whose wealth was his asceticism, Rama inquired from: “Have you heard, O blessed one, whether there is sufficient food in the city and lack of disease? I hope Bharata is busy and that My mothers are still living.”
When questioned in this way by Rama, the great sage Bharadvaja happily replied with a smile: “All is well at Your home. Covered with dirt and wearing matted hair, Bharata is waiting for You, keeping Your wooden sandals before Him. Formerly, I felt very sad to see You entering the great wilderness on foot with Lakshmana and Sita. You were dressed in bark cloth and had lost Your kingdom. You were intent on practicing virtue alone. You had given up everything in order to carry out Your father’s request. You had renounced all enjoyment, like an immortal god fallen from heaven. You were set to carry out Kaikeyi’s demands by eating only forest roots and fruits. Seeing that You have now accomplished Your task, defeated Your enemies and are accompanied by your friends and relatives, I am experiencing great pleasure. I know all about the happiness and distress which You underwent in abundance while residing at Janasthaana, O descendent of the Raghu Dynasty. While You were engaged in the welfare of the Brahmanas and protecting all the ascetics, Your blameless wife was abducted by Ravana.
“The appearance of Mariicha, the abduction of Sita, the appearance of Kabandha, Your going to Lake Pampa, where You struck up friendship with Sugreeva and killed Vali, the quest for Sita and Hanuman’s deeds, the discovery of Sita, Nala’s construction of a bridge, how Lanka was burned, the joy of the monkey troop leaders over the death of Indrajit, how Ravana, who was proud of his strength, was annihilated in combat, along with his sons, relatives, ministers, army and beast of burden, how You met with the gods after slaying that rakshasa who was a thorn in the side of the gods, and how the gods offered You blessings—all this is know to me by my austerities, O lover of righteousness. And besides, my disciples who go to the city inform me about the happenings. On this occasion I too offer You a boon. Please accept this water to wash Your hands. You will go to Ayodhya tomorrow.”
Accepting the proposal with a bowed head, the prince gladly requested the following boon: “O blessed one, let all the trees along the way leading to Ayodhya flow with honey and bear many different kinds of sweet and fragrant fruits even out of season. As soon as the sage consented by saying “So be it!” all the trees around there became just like the trees growing in the heavenly planets. Barren trees suddenly bore fruits, and flowerless one bore flowers. In the interest of the travelers, everywhere around for three yojanas the trees that were withered became covered with leaves and flowed with honey. Feeing delighted, monkeys by the thousands consumed as they wished many divine fruits, enjoying like those who had reached heaven.
Thus completes 124th Chapter of Yuddha Kanda of the glorious Ramayana of Valmiki, the work of a sage and the oldest epic.
Sriman Moola Rama Vijayate