Below is the translation to Veda Paati's story, narrated in tamil, available in below platforms:
Did I stay in the same place where your sandals were kept like Bharatha
Tirukolur Pen Pillai continued, “Dear Swami, I had told you about the sincere devotion of Lakshmana, the brother of the Lord Himself during Rama Avataram. Swami, Lord Rama had 2 other brothers. All 4 brothers were so close and exemplary of sibling relationships. Bharata was equally devoted to his brother Rama.”. With that introduction, the little girl continued to sing praises and narrate the story of Bharata.
It was the time when King Dasharatha had just got all his 4 sons married, and felt it was the right time for him to retire. He felt it most appropriate to hand over his Kingdom to his eldest son and heir, Rama. During this time, Bharata and Shatrughna were taken by their maternal uncle, Yudhajit to Kekaya. Kekaya was the hometown of Yudhajit and Bharata’s mother, Kaikeyi.
As King Dasharatha was making up his mind to retire, Kaikeyi jumped at the opportunity to avail the two boons that the King had once promised her. She ordered the King that Bharata, her son, be made the next King and that Rama should go to the forest in exile for 14 years. The heart-broken king had no choice but to accede to her commands to keep up his promise. Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita then left for the forest, much to the anguish of Dasharatha. Upon their exit, the forlorn Dasharatha left his mortal body due to heartbreak.
While all of these unfortunate incidents were happening in Kosala, Bharata, in Kekaya, had a very uneasy feeling. Almost for four days or so, Bharata was deeply saddened for reasons unknown to him. Sage Vasishta strongly felt that a Kingdom should not remain for long without a king and hence sent for Bharata and Shatrughna to return instantly. Upon return, Bharata was aghast to find the once happy Kingdom and family, in a state of complete despair.
The people of Kosala hung their heads in sorrow as he passed them. The entire palace, as he entered, was deadly silent. When he looked for his father in the royal rooms, he seemed missing. He finally confronted his mother, who told him the entire story. Bharata was utterly dismayed at his mother’s actions that had caused chaos in the family. She had good intentions for him, but instead had only disappointed him. He had now lost both his father and his dear brother. She had not understood his love for his brother. In his anger, he cut ties with his mother and instead sought maternal love from Kousalya. The big hearted Kousalya encouraged the distraught Bharata to use this opportunity to rule the kingdom well.
Bharata wished for all sins to befall on him, had he had any part to play in Rama’s exile. He refused to rule Ayodhya and instead vowed to bring his brother back from the forest, as he was the rightful ruler. Bharata along with many from Ayodhya started looking for Rama in the forest. Eventually they end up in the NishAda kingdom. Chieftain Guha initially suspects Bharata, but soon understands his plight. He consoles Bharata by narrating all that Rama, Lakshmana and Sita had done during their stay with him.
Tying their long hair into plaits and buns as would Rama, Bharata and Shatrugna leave for Bharadvaja Rishi’s Ashram. The sage too initially suspects Bharata. However, Bharata explains all that had happened and promises that he had nothing to do with the wrongs of his mother. Pleased, the Rishi blessed Bharata and guided him to Chitrakootam where the trio were staying.
Seeing Bharata approaching their cottage with an army of citizens from Ayodhya, Lakshmana initially gets alarmed. Lakshmana expresses his doubts and fears to Rama, who then assures that Bharata would never harm them. Lakshmana then runs to Bharata, seeing him clad in the same forest-dweller outfit as himself, falling at his feet requesting his pardon. The brothers embrace each other with full affection. Bharata then falls at the feet of Rama, begging forgiveness on behalf of his mother. He also conveys the sad news of their father’s demise to Rama, beseeching Rama to return to the palace and rule Ayodhya. Rama politely declined, saying that He considers His utmost duty to heed to His father’s words. Sage Vasishta then provides an appropriate solution by advising Bharata to keep Rama’s Padukas (footwear) on the throne. This would represent Rama, while Bharata could rule on the Padukas’ behalf till Rama’s return.
Rama then gave Bharata advice on ruling Ayodhya. Bharata, then finally quite consoled, carried the Padukas of Rama on his head after washing the feet of the Lord. He tearfully leaves saying that Rama would not find Bharata alive if he were even a day late after the 14 years of exile.
Upon returning to Ayodhya, Bharata has no heart to step in. He then decides that he cannot stay in the palace where his brother and father are no longer present.
He decides to live in the nearby village Nandi Gram, living the same ascetic life that his brother was living.
He set up a place to stay, a throne for the footwear of Rama to reside and ruled from there. Every morning he would only start the day after doing Puja to the footwear. Likewise, every evening he would narrate the day’s events to the Padukas. Thus, he stayed in Nandi Gram, ruling Ayodhya successfully, till Rama’s return.
“Oh Swami, am I able to remain where Vaithamanidhi PerumAL resides, the way Bharata remained where RamA’s padukas were for 14 years? Do I deserve to be in a great Divya Desam such as this?”, bemoaned Tirukolur Pen Pillai! Swami Ramanuja’s eyes welled with tears, as he was reminded of his brother Bharata during his avataram of Lakshmana.