King Bharata was a very illustrious King. When he became old he passed on his kingdom to his sons and went to the forest to meditate. He wore only deerskin, his hair grew and become matted and head always looked wet because he took bath three times a day. For food he collected the edible roots and fruits, first offered it to Krisna and then ate it as prasadam.
Rest of the time he dedicated to meditate on the Supreme Lord Sri Krisna. Soon he was so happy that his heart overfilled with love and so tears would wash down from his eyes unbridled.
such day he was in such a state when he heard the sound of an arrow ‘twang’ and the cry of a deer. His meditation was broken. He opened his eyes to see a deer with her fawn. The deer had been hit by a hunter’s arrow. The deer died, the fawn remained.
Taking pity on the fawn, Bharata raised her with affection. He became so much attached to the deer that when he was about to die, he was wondering about what would happen to the deer. He should have thought about Krisna but he thought about the deer and so the next birth he got was that of a deer.
Bharata the deer knew that he had committed a mistake, if he had thought of Krisna at the time of quitting his previous birth; he would now have been enjoying serving the Supreme Lord. And so to correct his mistake he went to various ashramas in the forest to hear about HIM.
Hearing about the Lord increases our love and attachment to Him.
And so when the time was up, the deer died and again got a human body. But now he was smart. The whole of his life he dedicated to listening and meditating on the Supreme Lord. He would not talk much and spent his days talking to himself about Krisna. People thought of him as mad and so called him as Jada Bharata. Jada means ‘fool’.
Once he was asked to help in carrying the carriage of King Rahuguna. Because Jada Bharata would not even harm a single ant coming near his footsteps, he would jump here and there. This would disturb the King. When this happened many times, the King ordered his ministers that he wanted to meet the Person who was causing the disturbance.
Bharata was brought in front of the King. The King was astonished on knowing the reason and asked some questions. His answers astonished the King some more and he realized that Jada Bharata was not an ordinary man but a very intelligent scholar on spiritual science. He took Bharata with him to his Kingdom and both spent their life hearing and narrating the glories of the Lord. Thus they perfected their existence.
In the Bhagvad Gita Krishna says
anta-kale ca mam eva
smaran muktva kalevaram
yah prayati sa mad-bhavam
yati nasty atra samsayah
And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.
The perfection of life is when while quitting the body; one remembers Krishna. which is tough if you have lived a life full of material enjoyments. And is possible only when you have practiced it the whole of your life. Because isn’t it said, ‘Practice makes a man perfect’.
*images courtesy Google images and Krishna.com
** shloka translation courtesy asitis.com