Thursday, November 08, 2012

18 Bhagavatha - Jadabharatha and King Rahugana

Bharata, born in a brahmin family, was afraid that he could be deluded again by attachment, as
demonstrated by his earlier birth as a deer. He showed himself as being dull witted, dumb and insane. Clasping the Lord's feet in his mind, he behaved indifferently and did not heed anything taught by his father which conformed to the rules of good conduct. He deliberately mispronounced mantras. The samskaras performed on the young Bharata were but in vain.  After his parents death, his brothers despised him. Ignorant of his greatness, they treat him badly taking him to be a dunce. Stale food was given to him, but Bharata, ate it as though it were ambrosia. His unresponsive attitude earns him the name of Jadabharatha.
The king of Sauveera, Rahugana, was traveling along the banks of the river ikshumati. His palanquin bearers
needed extra help. They find Jadabharata sitting idle under a tree and order him to join them. He silently obeys and becomes a palanquin bearer. Jadabharatha walks slowly, looking at the ground below him. His slow gait and steps do not match with the other palanquin bearers. The king, feeling the discomfort due to the irregularity, reprimands the bearers. The other palanquin bearers blame it on the new bearer. The king looks at Jadabharata's robust frame and sarcastically said: " What a pity that you are so frail and tired. You have carried the palanquin alone without anyone sharing your burden." Unmindful of the taunts, Bharata quietly bears the palanquin as before and the journey continues.  On the way, he spots some ants crossing the path and takes a long leap over them, so as not to step over the poor creatures.  This movement causes a jolt and the king gets angry. He gets down from the palanquin and admonishes Jadabharatha, "How dare you disregard me! I will punish you..."
Now, Jadabharata, who had never spoken a word ever, smilingly spoke to the King:
"What has been hinted by you is evidently true and constitutes no reproach. My body, and this chariot are
unreal, as well are your words. The real 'I' within me is beyond your threats and insults. There is no difference between king and servant. Your punishment cannot affect me." He picked up the palanquin again.
Rahugana, hearing the brief reply of Jadabharatha, was shaken. Completely rid of his pride and sovereignty, he quickly gets down from the palanquin and touches the feet of Bharata, seeking forgiveness. "Your words are replete with knowledge, O pious sage, who might you be? I was proceeding to ask Lord Kapila, to impart me true knowledge of the Self. But you seem to be Kapila himself. Forgive my pride and instruct me in the Truth."
The compassionate Bharatha tells Rahugana about himself and his earlier births of a king and then a deer. Then he answers the queries of King Rahugana, about the Self, the state of worldly existence, and the path to liberation. With his allegorical stories, Bharata resolves the doubts of Rahugana. Rahugana sheds his wrong notions planted on his mind by ignorance.
"Thus is the greatness of those who have taken shelter with the devotees of the Vasudeva..." continues Sukha, who has been narrating these stories to King Parikshit.

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Srimad Bhagavatham