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     KING BHARATA

KING BHARATA



It was the custom in ancient India that when a man had got his daughters married and his sons well established in life, he would retire to the forest to spend the rest of his life in prayer and meditation. This was the duty of every man, whether he was a priest, king, merchant or an ordinary man. Bharata was mighty monarch of his time. So when he had done his duty to his people, children and country he took decided to spend the rest of his life in a forest. He left his palace, gave up his wealth and power and withdrew into the forest. One morning the people in the palace found that the King was not there. This meant that, he had dressed in the robes of a meditating person. Bharata’s son was placed on the throne and life went on as normal.

King Bharata went to the banks of the river Gandaki. He built a small hut of reefs thatched with leaves by him. He chose the most sacred “Gayatri” mantra for his meditation. Thus passed many days, months and years. Bharata enjoyed perfect peace and tranquility within his heart. One early morning, the sun was slowly rising over the horizon. Bharata had, just bathed in the river. He had offered the last oblations to the rising Sun, and clad in deer- skin, he was preparing for his meditation.

A deer which had strayed from a herd of deer felt thirsty and came to the river to quench its thirst. Just then, in a nearby jungle, a lion roared. The mother deer was with young. The lion’s roar frightened her. She delivered a baby deer in the middle of the river. Some how she managed to get back to the bank, where, due to extreme shock and exertion she died almost immediately. The baby deer, with no one to care for it, was being slowly swept down by the river current.

Bharata had watched this small drama from his hermitage. Now, seeing the urgency of the situation, he rose at once from his seat of meditation, and jumped into the river to rescue the little animal. The poor animal was cold and frightened. Gently, he carried it in his arms back to the hermitage. There he lit a fire and warmed it back to life.

This was a beautiful act, was it not? But alas it proved to be the spiritual downfall of Bharata. He now became very fond of his deer child. He looked after it with paternal care, fed it soft green grass and juicy fruits till it grew up, to be a beautiful deer. Now it so happened that, instead of turning more and more towards God, his mind turned more and more towards his deer. In the evening when he should have been, meditating upon the Lord, he would anxiously be waiting for the deer to come back from its rompings in the forest. He would sit at the door of his hermitage, in deep concern, and wonder, “O why has my little one has not come home yet? Is it in trouble? Has a tiger attacked it and eaten it up?”

Thus passed some years. The noble king, who had given up wealth and power, left the rule of an entire country that had made his mind pure and free from attachments http://www.swisswatches2u.com/ had now become so attached to a little deer rescued from a running stream that he had completely stopped his devotional practices! The more fond he grew of the deer, the less did he think of God. The time came for Bharata to die. As he lay then, waiting for death, the deer stood by his side like a faithful son, shedding tears of sorrow. Bharata was so touched by this that his last thought, instead of being of God, was of deer.

Now we have always been told that a man’s last thought determines his, future life. So Bharata was born again as a deer. But he was born with a memory of his past life, because no devotion or prayers can ever go waste. But being in an animal body, he could not speak. He left his deer family in the hills and came to the Pulasthiya ashram on the banks of the river Gandaki. There he would listen to the talks of the Rishis, hear the readings of the Upanishads and eat the remains of the offerings. And he would patiently wait for the time when he could give up his deer body because it made meditation impossible for him. After his deer birth, Bharata was re- born as the youngest son in the family of a wealthy Brahmin. This Brahmin was a very good man. Bharata had not forgotten the experiences of his two previous births. He still, remembered, the pains and pangs caused by attachment. So in this life he would not even talk. He shunned “sanga” of any kind. People soon took him to be a mad man. His father and mother however, treated him like a normal child. But soon enough, they died and left him to the care of his elder brothers and their wives.

The brothers, sad to say, did not take very good care of him. They made him, do all the heavy work and their wives too, treated him very unkindly. They would not even give him enough food or clothing. But Bharata uttered not a word in protest or anger. He would obey them and with perfect peace and quick of mind he would do the work allotted to him. Whether it was fetching and carrying or ploughing the fields. Some times, when they post their temper with him, he would go and sit under a tree till their anger had cooled off then he would go back to the house.

Once, a robber chief wanted to offer a sacrifice to the goddess Bhadrakali, as he wanted to be blessed with a son. But it, so happened that the victim whom they had got because it was a human sacrifice untied himself and ran away. The Band of robbers looked high and low for him but all in vain. After much searching, they came across the insane looking Bharata sitting under a tree, watching and keeping guard over a field. They caught him and took him to their chief, who was pleased to see such a strong looking man as a victim for the sacrifice. The robbers then bathed Bharata in fragrant waters, gave him new clothes. They adorned him with gold ornaments, sandalwood paste, flower garlands, and fed him a good meal. Then they took him and tied him to a post. The fires were lit and as the mantras were being chanted, the chieftain drew out his sword and raised it to cut off Bharata’s head. Bhadrakali, the goddess, could bear this no longer. In her fury she emerged out of her statue and snatched away the weapon from the hand of the chief. Then, still trembling with rage, she chopped off his head as well as the heads of all his kinsmen. Then she set Bharata free. Bharata, whose mind was so absorbed in God that he did not even know that he had just been saved from a terrible death,.

One day, it so happened that the palanquin of king Rahugana was passing by. One of the bearers of the palanquin suddenly fainted and Bharata, who was sitting quietly, under a tree, was forced to take his place. He took the poll of the palanquin and placed, it on his shoulder but his step was unsteady. For his heart was full of mercy, and he walked slowly, lest he should tread upon an ant or a beetle. Now, it must have been terribly uncomfortable to be carried in a jolting palanquin. King Rahugana looked out and saw that his new bearer, although strong and sturdy, was constantly hopping and jerking. So he called out and said, “Fool, put down the pole and rest a while if you are tired though you look to me as strong as two oxen put together”.

Bharata then lay down the pole. He smiled, and for the first time in his life he opened his lips to speak. “O King” he said. “Whom do you call fool? Whom do you call “Strong”? If it is this body you are addressing, then it is made of the same flesh and blood as yours. I am no mad man, king. My mind is steadily fixed upon the Lord. But this body did not want to trample poor and innocent crawling worms, there fore it went slow. The true self never wearies, for it has nothing to do with the body. It knows no command because it is neither master nor slave. It is the same self every where in the universe. Then who should command and who should obey? Realize this great truth. O king, that you too may come to know this self”.

King Rahugana was astonished to hear Bharata’s words of wisdom. He got down from his palanquin and stretched before him “Full length”. Pardon me for insulting you, O Holy sage”, he said “for I did not know your greatness. I wish to learn more about this “Self” from you, please teach me .I now considers my self as your disciple!

Then Bharata sat down under a tree and Rahugana sat at his feet. ‘King’, said Bharata, “To know one’s self is the highest knowledge, but one cannot seek it in this world of constant change. “When the mind is associated with the three gunas – ‘sattwa’ ‘rajas’ and ‘tamas, it causes bondage and suffering. When it is free from them it brings peace ,happiness and consequently, Freedom.

“One cannot attain this knowledge by studying the Vedas, nor by penance, nor by performing good deeds, but by being in the company of the pure and the holy. The world is like a thick, dark forest where men have lost their way. In this jungle there are robbers and bandits, who rob them of their most valuable possessions. The robbers and bandits are none other than the sense objects and their experiences which rob the man of his, true heritage his own divine nature. Hungry and thirsty man looks around for something that will satisfy him. He sees a mirage and runs towards it. But alas! How cans he, quench his thirst, at the waters of a mirage? So, round and round the forest, he goes with hungry and thirsty.

The mirage is the mirage if happiness which, man is constantly chasing in this world. Chasing fleeting of happiness after another, he gets tired, but never finds the happiness he is looking for. “Then finally, a kind friend takes him by the hand and shows him the way out of the jungle. “This kind friend is the compassionate teacher. He leads man out of this forest of “Samsar”, and teaches him that knocking about in the world he will never find, lasting happiness for the world has no power to give it to him. There fore he should seek the Lord. “Now king, cut your bonds of attachment. Embrace the world in your love for him. You shall reach Him, who dwells in the hearts of all”.

This holy land of ours has always been the land of sages and men of wisdom. For it is only here that the supreme ideals of love, servise, worship and meditation are taught as the means to self – realization we are taught to love and serve him, not for any materinal gains or benefits, but for the sake of love and service themselves. In all these stories we see how mighty kings gave up their throne and power because of their love for truth. They renounced all, that they may be one with God. As noble kings they dedicated themselves to the service of their subjects. Sages of the forest, they served the entire mankind.

Thus loving Him, serving Him, worshipping Him and meditating upon Him,swiss replica watches rise to be men and women of spiritual glory and wisdom! See Him within your own hearts Realize Him to be the Every life of living creature.

Posted by Ashok Annamalai

Posted Date 03.11.2014

 
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