Lord Bharata was the brother of Lord Rama, Lord Lakshmana and Lord Sathrughna. He was the second son of Emperor Dasaratha and Kaikeyi of the Solar Dynasty. Although the Ramayana describes all four brothers as loving and devoted to one another, Shatrughna was generally closer to Bharata and Lakshmana was closer to Rama. It is said that after Rama, Bharatha was the symbol of dharma and idealism. A few commentators, however, deem Bharata to be even greater than Lord Rama himself in virtue. He is considered to be born in the aspect of the Sudarshana Chakra, the most famous of Vishnu's Panchayudhas.
The Ramayana relates how Kaikeyi betrayed the king into promising to put Bharatha on the throne of Ayodhya and banish Rama into exile in to the forest for 14 years. Bharata was away from Ayodhya when Rama went into exile. When he learned of the exile, he was mortified. He severely reprimanded his mother, and immediately declared his intention of bringing Rama back from the forests, and if need be, of serving out his exile for him. When the people of Ayodhya and the numerous allies of Rama learned of this, their scorn and hatred towards Bharata (born out the assumption that he had a role in Rama's exile) dissolved, and he was immediately made immortal in fame to the world by his selflessness, honour for his family's fame and tradition, adherence to truth and righteousness and last but not least, love for his older brother.
Ayodhya's guru Vasishta stated that no one had learned the lessons of dharma better than Bharata. After delivering the painful news of their father's death to Rama and Lakshmana, Bharata argued with Rama to return to Ayodhya as emperor, but the latter steadfastly refused on the grounds that such a deed would be unrighteous. Upon an explanation from King Janaka that since Bharata's love for Rama was unparalleled it became his duty to enable Rama to live righteously, Bharata gave up his efforts to take Rama back to Ayodhya before the fourteen year exile elapsed. Though deeply disappointed, Bharata returned to Ayodhya after receiving a promise from Rama that he would return promptly at the end of the fourteen years of exile and ascend the throne. He vowed to Rama that if Rama did not return immediately when the fourteen years elapsed, he would give his life up by immolation.
He agreed to govern Ayodhya, not as its ruler, but only as Rama's representative. The people supported Bharata, as he became the 'king' of Kosala and Ayodhya, but Bharata himself placed Rama's sandals at the foot of the royal throne, and neither sat upon the throne nor crowned himself. Bharata's reign was righteous, and the kingdom was safe and prosperous, but Bharata continuously longed for Rama's return. During this time he did not forgive his mother Kaikeyi, and diligently served Kousalya, Rama's mother, and Sumitra, Lakshmana's mother.
When the fourteen year period of exile elapsed, Rama had just vanquished Ravana, the rakshasa emperor of Lanka. Remembering Bharata's vow, an anxious and worried Rama sent Hanuman ahead of himself to prevent Bharata from sacrificing his life. Upon Rama's return to Ayodhya, Bharata led the procession to greet the rightful king and queen, and his brother Lakshmana. Although Rama intended to crown Lakshmana the Yuvaraja, or Crown Prince after his own coronation, Lakshmana pointed out that Bharata's great virtues and years of experience as Ayodhya's administrator qualified him better, and thus he was immediately made Yuvaraja by Rama.
The deep love and esteem that Rama had for Bharata is evidenced from Rama's declaration that his love for Hanuman was on par with that of his love for Bharata. It is also known that Bharatha conquered the Gandharavas and created his kingdom of Takshashila comprising of present day, Punjab region, Pakistan, Afghanistan and parts of Central Asia. When Rama decided to retire, Bharata and Shatrughna joined him. When Rama walked into the river Sarayu, he transformed into his eternal and original Mahavishnu form, which Bharata and Shatrughna walked into the river also and united with him.
Bharatha Temples in KeralaIrinjalakkuda Koodalmanikya Swami Temple
Amanakara Bharatha Swami Temple
Bharathappilly Bharatha Swami Temple
Puzhakkattiri Bharatha Swami Temple