Great was the joy and excitement of
Bharatha's subjects. The citizens made befitting preparations to welcome
the victorious king and awaited his return. The sound of musical instruments
filled the air.
Bharatha and his army were about to
enter the portals of the city. But lo! The 'Chakra-ratna' which had all
along been moving in advance, suddenly stopped!
Everyone was stunned. Princes and kings
had trembled before this matchless weapon. It had so easily vanquished
so many heroes unequalled till then. But now all of a sudden it had came
to a dead stop! Everybody was bewildered. And Bharatha's mind was filled
with anxiety and worry.
It was clear that there was still a
rival whom he had not conquered. 'I have conquered the whole world; who
then is this unknown foe? He asked himself perplexed. The Emperor who had
known no defeat was stunned.
Bharatha had defeated all the enemies
outside his kingdom. Still if the Chakra stopped outside the city, it naturally
meant that there were enemies within.
Bharatha at once sent for the priest
of his royal court and asked him, "Why has this 'Chakra-ratna' stopped
at the gates of the city, though I have conquered all my foes in the world?
Who is this enemy in my own kingdom?"
The priest pondered for a while and
replied, "0 great King, with this all powerful wheel, any enemy can be
subdued. No enemy has survived outside your kingdom. If there are any,
they must be your own brothers. They think, 'We got our kingdom from our
father just as Bharatha got his. We are in our kingdom. Why then should
we bow to him? And of all of them, Bahubali has a strong sense of self-respect.
He thinks that though you have become the emperor, he need not care, and
Hearing this, Bharatha could not contain
his wrath. He shouted, "They must all come and surrender to me. Or else
I shall show my strength in war." At once he had royal commandments written
and sent to all his brothers. 'Everyone should come and surrender to me.
Any one who fails should be prepared to fight' - so read the royal order.
All the one hundred brothers of Bharatha
received his writ. Ninety-nine of them thought -'Of course, we can salute
our eldest brother, who is like our father. But we cannot accept him as
an emperor and be his vassals.' But the thought also came to them:
'Why fight with our own eldest brother
for the sake of a kingdom?' They became disgusted with life. They gave
up everything and went away to perform tapas with their father.
The news reached Bharatha. He was surprised.
But in his heart he was full of admiration for their self-respect and their
greatness. But there was one thought, which brought anxiety also. If these
other brothers acted so, what about Bahubali ? He was strong, and had a
strong sense of selfrespect. Would he surrender? Most certainly he would
choose to fight!
Bharatha's expectation was not belied.
The messenger who went to Paundanapura
met Bahubali. Bahubali's raidance surpassed that of Bharatha. With wonder
and pleasure, the messenger prostrated before him, and then gave him Bharatha's
Until then Bahubali had been hearing
of the valiant deeds of his brother Bharatha, and had been very happy.
Bull the royal command brought by the messenger filled him with anger.
He said to the messenger, "Even if
Bharatha is the Emperor of the entire world, he is not my overlord. Being
in my kingdom, given to me by my father, I am not obliged to him. I can
never be his humble vassal. I am ready for a war, if a war is forced on
The messenger carried the reply Bharatha.
Bharatha ordered his army to get ready
for war. His entire army with its four wings marched on Paudanapura. As
the huge army advanced with the potent 'Chakra' in the forefront the very
sky was totally covered with the dust it raised.
The news of Bharatha's march reached
Paudanapura. Bahuball also stood ready for war with his army. The two armies
seemed poised to pounce on each other for mutual destruction.
The fight was about to commence. But
meanwhile the wise and farsighted ministers of both sides met and had consultations.
Bharatha and Bahubali were both unequalled heroes. If there was a war,
neither could win until both the armies were entirely destroyed. If only
the two brothers fought a duel accepting the outcome as decisive a terrible
tragedy could be averted.