Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Story 32 - Story of King Bharatha - 2

Bharatha thus took the deer to his ashram and started looking after it very much. When the deer used to roam around and would not return for some time, he would become tensed as there were wild animals and he was afraid that the deer would have been killed by any of them. When the deer was small, Bharatha used to sit for meditation and the deer used to come near him & touch his back (scratch) with its horns. Thus his attention was diverted. After some days, this became a habit and addiction too. When he used to sit for meditation, he would expect the deer to scratch his back – thus his attention was not towards the Lord but towards the deer. Thus he became very much attached to the deer.


We see here how Bharatha’s little and small activity of helping out the deer led him away from the real meaning of life for which he had renounced everything and was staying in an ashram. Even though Bharatha had renounced everything, he hadn’t yet known what to be renounced. He was attached and attracted to the names and forms - hence he failed to see beyond the illusory names and forms to the all-pervasive Consciousness. He had renounced external entities and things but forgot to renounce the biggest obstacle to realization which is the Ego and the thought that I am the body and the world really exists. It is the Ego which makes a person feel as if the world is real and he is the body made up of name and form. Until a person renounces the Ego and realizes the source of the Ego which is the Self, there will not be eternal bliss and realization. There will always be obstacles which will be created by oneself – even though one may renounce everything, still if one doesn’t renounce the Ego, there will no real progress towards the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord. Bharatha had that Ego which made him think that he could save the deer and he alone is there to take care of the deer. This is how most of the people in the world think - they think that it is their duty, it is their dharma to look after other people in the world. The greatest foolishness is that when a person is not able to look after himself (protect himself from different types of problems), then how will he be able to look after others???

Once a doctor was speaking to a gathering about heart attacks. He was an expert in that area and his speech was well taken by the people there. All of a sudden, he had an attack and expired. This is how things happen in the world. We think that we have control over things & thus try to control others when we cannot control our own mind or our own fate. This doesn’t mean that a person cannot control the fate and that he shouldn’t try to do things to progress in the spiritual path and instead just attribute everything to fate – this is the opposite extreme. A person should try to do his best to progress towards the reality at the same time knowing that everything is only an illusion in the ultimate reality of Brahman or Lord. As long as there is thought about the reality and that the world is only an illusion in the Lord, the seeker will never stray from the spiritual path even though he may be doing the most adharmic action like not saving a deer when it requires some attention.

As Sankara says in his commentary on Sanatsujaatheeya, when the mind is contemplating on the ultimate reality of Brahman, it is contemplating on the illusory sensual objects of the world. Both are contradictory and cannot exist together. Thus when a person forgets the reality of Brahman or Lord, that’s when his Ego grows and is strongly controlling the seeker. It is during these times that a person forgets the reality of Lord for the sake of petty and impermanent things in the world. Bharatha forgot the reality of Lord because he hadn’t made it a point to go beyond the name and form of Vishnu. A person who contemplates on names and forms will obviously be attracted and attached to a particular name and form whether it is Vishnu or a deer. Thus Bharatha’s concentration started going towards the deer. He go attached to Vishnu. Instead of meditating on the all-pervading Lord of Vishnu, he started contemplating on the deer. He couldn’t live even for a moment without the deer nearby. It may be argued here that if both Vishnu and deer are illusory, what’s the advantage of contemplating on Vishnu (the name and form) which scriptures and Gita do suggets. The difference is in the entity of concentration. The moment a person thinks about Vishnu, he thinks about the Lord who is controlling the entire world, the Lord who is ever blissful, the Lord who always saves his devotees and the Lord who took different manifestations in order to help the people in the world. Whereas when a person contemplates on a deer, he is attached to something which is temporary and limited. Thus this leads to more and more attachment. When a person really contemplates on the form of Vishnu seeing the form everywhere and offering all actions to that form, that very form itself will save the person by taking him higher to the formless reality of Brahman. This is what is the Lord’s promise and statement in the Bhakthi Yoga chapter of Bhagavad Gita. But when a person contemplates or gets attached to a limited form in the world, he gets attached to the form deeply without progressing further. In a similar way, Bharatha got attached to the deer and Vishnu paved way for the deer. This is the result of not knowing the reality behind the world and not knowing the all-pervading Lord beyond the illusory names and forms.

We find many people in the world who are similar to this. They tend to initially get attached to the Lord but the moment some other important person/thing comes, the attachment towards the Lord fades. All attachments go to either the wife or the kids. This doesn’t mean that wife or kids shouldn’t be given importance but just that a person should always be contemplating on the eternal Lord even amidst the worldly attachments and attractions. In such a case, those attachments lead him more and more towards the Lord by making the reality stronger that all things are mere illusions in the reality of Lord.

Unless a person does that, he will get attached to the worldly entities which will lead him to sorrow and sufferings only. Thus Bharatha who had come to the forest to contemplate on the Lord and gain moksha started contemplating on the deer and was going towards getting more and more entangled in the ocean of samsaara filled with ignorance, desire and actions (leading to sorrow and lack of eternal happiness).

We will see the next as to what happened to Bharatha as a result of getting attached to the deer.

Bharatha became so attached to the deer that he couldn’t live without the deer. After years, it was time for Bharatha to leave the world. Remembering the Lord, Bharatha was concentrating on the Lord so that there will be no coming back to the world again. But at that time, the deer came near to him and was seeing him. Bharatha thus looked into the eyes of the deer and he became passionate towards the deer. During this itself, Bharatha left the world.
Since Bharatha had left the body while thinking of the deer, he was born as a deer. But as a result of the previous good karmaas he had done (which includes contemplation on the form of Lord Vishnu), Bharatha still remembered the Lord. Thus he spent the whole life as a deer always contemplating on the form of Vishnu.
Thus the deer Bharatha after completion of the life of deer became a human being in the next birth.


This particular story has lot of imports to be grasped and implemented by a spiritual seeker. If a person just reads the story of Bharatha and implements those in life, he will realize the ultimate reality of Lord in a very short time itself.

Here we find what will happen if we contemplate on the worldly entities which are temporary and illusory. Bharatha was attached to the deer and thus his mind was fully fixed on the deer only. Just a small passion of saving an animal caused Bharatha a lot. He was born as a deer in the next birth as a result of contemplating on the form of deer during his death bed.
Lord Krishna says in Gita that whatever a person thinks at the end of his life, he will become that. And a person thinks only that which he has been thinking about throughout his life at the time of death.

Since Bharatha was attached to the form of deer and was always contemplating on the deer instead of Lord, he couldn’t contemplate on the Lord at the time of death. Even though Bharatha tried to contemplate on the Lord at the time of death, he couldn’t do that because at that time the deer came and stood nearby. Thus Bharatha was overcome by passion and remembering the deer, he left the body.

Lord says in Gita that if a person has to realize the ultimate reality of Lord, he should always contemplate on the Lord. Even if he is not able to realize the reality during his life time – he will not be born again because he will be contemplating on the form of the Lord at the time of death because he has been always contemplating on the Lord alone.

Thus we have to always try to contemplate on the ultimate reality of Lord as pervading everything and present everywhere and as everything. In such a case, even if we aren’t able to realize in this birth, we will definitely realize in the next few births. Another important aspect that comes out from this story is that even though Bharatha was born as a deer, he still remembered the sadhanas and he could remember the mistake he did in his previous birth. This is what is the main difference between contemplation on the form of the Lord and contemplation on external sensual and illusory objects. The deer led to another lower life whereas the form of Lord led Bharatha back to human form again.

The scriptures mention that it takes lakhs of births to get the human birth which is the greatest of all beings because only humans have the intellect as well as the capability to decide what action to do and what not to do. Thus when we all are endowed with a human birth, we should use it to the maximum. The maximum use of human birth is done when a person tries to seek the ultimate reality of Lord and proceeds towards it. Any person who is not seeking out the eternal reality amidst the illusory entities of the world is as good as an animal – just drinking, sleeping, mating etc. It is only when a person uses his intellect to decide what is right and what is wrong & proceeds towards the right of eternal being of Lord as one’s own very nature that he is using his intellect to achieve that which is being sought out by all beings in the world.

Bharatha due to the grace of the Lord and due to his previous sadhanas, could remember his previous birth mistakes as well as contemplation of the Lord. Thus he started contemplating on the Lord realizing that nothing in the world can help out a seeker from the ocean of samsaara full of sorrows and sufferings. Thus the deer-Bharatha spent its life fully contemplating on the ultimate reality of Lord. Now the deer wasn’t deluded into the names and forms but was seeing the underlying reality amidst the illusory names and forms. Thus in due course, the deer got a higher birth & attained a human birth in the next life.

This part of the story also tells us that it doesn’t really matter if a person has committed a sin or not – whatever is past is past. AMMA says that "past is a cancelled cheque" - there is no use brooding over it. Instead a person should learn from the previous mistakes realizing that the ultimate reality of Lord alone has to be taken resort to & all other attractions should be renounced for the sake of the Lord. In such a case, the seeker will go beyond the names and forms – thereby realizing his own very nature of Lord in very short period. Lord says in gita clearly that it doesn’t matter whether a person commits bad deeds or not because everything is relative and anything relative is illusory. It only matters whether the person constantly remembers the Lord and offers the work unto the Lord. In such a case, the same bad work becomes a pooja and leads to liberation.

Ramana Maharshi thus says in Upadesha Saaram which we have already discussed previously:

Ishwara arpitam na icchayaa kritham
Chitta shodakam mukthi saadhakam

Work offered unto the Lord and done without any expectation of fruits leads to purification of mind and thereby to liberation.

The story of Dharmavyaadha in Mahabhaartha is a testimony to this. Dharmavyaadha was a butcher by profession but still he was considered very great by the Lord. Thus a person should always remember not to get deluded into the illusory names and forms in the name of passion or helping out. Instead he should always contemplate on the reality of Lord offering all work unto the Lord and having the only aim of realizing the reality of Lord.

We shall continue with the most important part of the story which is Bharatha Rahugana Samvaada (discussion about the reality between Bharatha and King Rahugana) in the next day.

Thus Bharatha was again born as a human being in the next birth (after becoming a deer). This time Bharatha had realized his mistake completely and hence was always unattached to anything in the world. Bharatha didn’t want to get attached and fall down, hence he didn’t react to anything in the world. He lived like a rock. If somebody gave him something to eat, he would eat – else he would not eat. He never even looked upon anyone with his eyes. Instead behaved like an insentient rock – thus he was called Jada Bharatha (Jada meaning insentient or not responding to anything in the world). But the knowledge in the heart of Bharatha was shining and he was fully immersed in the reality of Lord.


In this particular part, we come across a separate type of jeevan mukta. We have heard from elders and learnt from scriptures that a real saint or avatar or jeevan mukta will always be striving to help out people in the world. He will always be engaged in social activities for the upliftment of the society towards spiritual progress. But here we find a different type of nature of a jeevan mukta. Here Jada Bharatha, the realized Jeevan Mukta, chose a different path of not talking to anybody and not even looking upon anything in the world. Instead he chose to remain like an insentient rock.

We find Ramana Maharshi in an almost similar condition during his earlier days when he was concentrating on a cave in the Tiruvannamalai temple. His body was filled with insects but still he was immersed in deep contemplation and absorption of the reality that he was not aware of the insects etc. It is said that his hand was almost kind of partly eaten by the insects. It was Sheshadri Swamigal of Tiruvannamalai (a siddhar) who brought Maharshi out from the cave.
We find a perfect description of Ramana Maharshi in Jada Bharatha of Bhagavatham. We have to remember from here that a jeevan mukta or an avataar is beyond all logic and explanation. We can never decide or say that he will behave this way or that way. His actions and gestures are beyond the comprehension of the limited intellect. The jeevan mukta is one who has conquered his mind and crossed over the ocean of samsaara. Hence for a person who is still in the ocean of samsaara, that state is inexplicable and cannot be really understood properly. Thus Vedanta says that if a person has to know how a jeevan mukta will behave, he has to first become a jeevan mukta. But once a person becomes a jeevan mukta, then there will be no questions or doubts. Thus there will be no questioning but only eternal bliss of the ultimate reality of Lord.

For a jeevan mukta or an avaatar, there is nothing but Brahman or Lord alone. This is because he has realized the ultimate reality of non-dual Lord – he knows and experiences that there is nothing here but the Lord alone. Thus he has nothing to see other than the reality of Lord which he already is. In Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Yajnavalkya says to his wife that "for a person who has realized the Self, what to see and with what to see?". The realized saint has gone beyond the illusions of mind and intellect – thus he doesn’t have equipment or instrument to see and there are no objects apart from the Self to see. Thus in reality, he will be behaving in the world knowing and experiencing that there is nothing but the Lord alone. Here, a seeker might have the doubt that if the realized saint knows that there is nothing but the Lord alone, then how can he do social service in the world?? This is where we cannot really speak about the state of a jnaani. We can just say that even though he seems to be acting but he knows clearly that there is nothing here but the Lord alone. He will be doing all social services keeping this reality in mind & not forgetting the reality even for a second. He is a like a magician towards his own magic world. Everybody other than the magician are affected by the magic world but the magician even though is doing things with the magic world is unaffected by the magic world as he knows clearly that there is nothing but the magician only (no magic world at all). Similarly a realized saint will be behaving in the world knowing clearly that there is nothing but the Lord alone.

We find this in the works of Swami Vivekananda. Swamiji at the end of his life called his disciple and said thus "Glad I did big blunders. Know that there is neither the world nor me or you – there is only the Self". Similarly we find when some people went to Ramana Maharshi to ask his opinion as to what he is planning to do about the suffering people in the world. Maharshi replied back saying that "are there suffering people in the world? I don’t see any such people. I see only bliss everywhere". Thus realized saints find nothing but Brahman or Lord alone. Whatever is seen as the dual and different entities in the world are nothing but Brahman or Lord alone.

There are mere illusions in the reality of Lord.
We all have to work towards that state where we perceive nothing but the Lord alone. Even though there might be social activities or spiritual activities for the welfare of the other people but all those will be done as an acting in a drama – it will be after having clearly in the mind that there is nothing here but Brahman or Lord alone. We find in various books of AMMA (Sadguru Mata Amritanandamayi Devi) where AMMA speaks from the ultimate level telling that the world is an illusion and only Lord exists.

Thus Bharatha here instead of helping the illusory society (knowing that helping activity by itself is an illusion) takes the other path of not reacting at all to anything in the world. Bhagavatham beautifully explains the Jada behavior of Bharatha. It goes to the extent that Bhagavatham says that if somebody gave him shit, he would eat that also. This is where we should remember that for a jnaani, everything is the Lord – good/bad are all in the illusory mind alone. Taste is just for the tongue only – whatever goes through the tongue is the same whether it is a Laddoo or salt. Even the body and the food which is taken for the body are illusions only. Thus a jnaani doesn’t differentiate between anything in the world. This doesn’t mean that he will always behave like a mad man but only that whatever is the situation he will always be immersed in the reality of Lord or Brahman only. But when the real time comes for imparting knowledge, the jnaani doesn’t stay back. Even Maharshi has given us eternal knowledge through his words and works of Upadesa Saram/sat darshanam. Thus we find Bharatha imparting knowledge to King Rahugana. We will start with that part next.

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