biographical name
the eldest of one hundred sons of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, who was a śaktyāveśa-avatāra, an impowered incarnation of Śrī Bhagavān. Although his father was a brāhmaṇa, Bharata exhibited the nature of a kṣatriya and thus he acted in that capacity. By the desire of his father, Bharata was enthroned as the emperor of the entire earth. Nonetheless, he was a great bhakta of Śrī Bhagavān. After ruling the kingdom for a considerable time, detachment awakened in his heart for the world. Dividing the kingdom and his possessions amongst his sons, he went alone to the āśrama of Pulaha Ṛṣi in Harihara-kṣetra to absorb himself in the worship of Bhagavān.
Once, after bathing in the River Gaṇḍakī close by his hermitage, he sat down on the sacred banks of that river, and began to chant Śrī Nāma. He saw a thirsty doe drinking water, and looking around cautiously. Just then, she heard the fierce roar of a lion nearby, and out of fear jumped into the river to cross it. She was pregnant, and due to her sudden jump the baby deer fell out of her womb into the current of the river. The doe died after crossing the river. Bharata’s heart melted. He ran and picked up the drowning, motherless baby deer, brought it to his hermitage, and began to take care of it with great affection. Bharata’s affection for the baby deer gradually increased, and as it did so, his sādhana-bhajana decreased, until he finally gave up his devotional practices completely. One day, he could not find the baby deer and he started lamenting “ deer! deer!” and overwhelmed with grief, finally gave up his life. In due course of time, he received the body of a deer, according to his thoughts at the time of death. However, due to the influence of the devotional practices performed in his previous birth, he could remember the cause of his falldown, and became repentant. Leaving his parents, he again went to Pulaha-āśrama and was delivered by hearing the holy name. This is an example of a contracted consciousness (saṅkucita-cetanā). Similarly, if a renounced person or a hermit becomes attracted to women etc., he certainly falls down from his exalted position. Some people put forward the theory that one attains the human birth, which is the best of all births, through a natural progression, and that one does not fall down from it. Such a proposition is quite wrong, and very misleading. One takes birth according to his desires, and there is no scope for changing this principle. Bharata demonstrated this principle through his own life

The Bhaktivedanta encyclopedia. 2015.

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