Tuesday, November 06, 2012

16 - Rishabha Deva

In the line of Manu, was the virtuous king Nabhi.  Nabhi married the daughter of Sumeru, Merudevi. They had no children for a long time.  Seeking progeny, they worship Lord Vishnu and perform certain rites with a devout heart and a concentrated mind. The Lord, longing to fulfill his devotees wish, appears in his effulgent form. The priests glorify him with praises. They convey the wish of the royal sage, King Nabhi, to obtain a son like the Lord himself.  (And seek pardon, for it was akin to asking husk from the the God of wealth.) The Lord replies that there can be none like him, so he would descend on earth through Nabhi.
The Lord is born to Merudevi endowed with all perfect qualities -- majesty, strength, splendour, energy and dominating influence. Nabhi named him Rishabha.
Envying him, Indra does not rain in his land. Rishabha deva, a master of Yoga, laughs heartily.  With the help of Yogamaya, he sends down showers throughout his land Ajanabha.  Nabhi bowing to the wishes of his ministers and the citizens, crowns Rishabha as their king and leaves with Merudevi to Vishaala (at Badrikashrama) and attains oneness with the Lord at the appropriate time.
Rishabha with his high ideals, leads by example. He shows the world how a king can be an inspiring role model. He performs various religious rites ordained by the scriptures. He marries Jayanti, daughter of Indra. He begets sons who possessed all his qualities. Of them, the eldest was Bharatha, a master of Yoga. It is after him that this land is known as Bharatavarsha.  His brothers were: Kushavarta, Ilavarta, Brahmavarta, Malaya, Ketu, Bhadrasena, Indrasprk, Vidharbha and Kikata. Nine of Rishabha's other children became famous as the nava Yogishwaras -- Kavi, Hari, Antariksha, Prabuddha, Pippalayana, Aavirhotra, Drumila, Chamasa and Karabhajana.
On a certain occasion  at Brahmavarta, while on a tour of his land, he addresses his sons, within hearing of his subjects. It was an admonishment, although his sons were well-disciplined. This is known as the Rishabha Gita, a discourse on eternal truths for the benefit of the world. 
He then installs his eldest son, Bharata on the throne. In order to exemplify the mode of the life of recluses, he retires from worldly activity. He follows the path of devotion, self-realisation and an aversion to the pleasures of the sense. With disheveled hair and no clothes on, he behaved like a lunatic who had lost all sense of the body. Taking a vow of silence, he roamed about, remaining mute to all insults, with an enigmatic smile. 
He also did not welcome the magical powers of yoga that came to him unsolicited. Although he revelled in the self and had burnt the effects of karma, he did not trust the fickle mind -- which could let in seeds of karma, in the form of likes and dislikes at any point of time.
He kept on traversing and comes to the forest of Kutaka mountain (Coorg).  A fierce forest fire breaks out and consumes the body of Rishaba Deva.  

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Srimad Bhagavatham