MEMORIES CARRIED TO THE NEXT LIFE: BHARATJI
February 26, 2002
Waukegan Mandira

It was asked "What memories are carried from one life to the next?" Also, "How can a devotee ensure that liberating knowledge remains beyond the current life?"

Swaminarayan Bhagwan has explained in the Vachanamrut (e.g. Loya 10) that our actions are performed at three levels: the surface level through our gross senses, the subtle conscious level, and the soul level. Deeds carried out with the faculties of all three levels focused, make a strong effect and travel with the soul. The memories of such actions become part of the self.

An example of this phenomenon is that of Bharatji as given in the Bhagavat 5/7-5/14 and Vachanamrut Gadhada Last 17 (see "Bharatji"). Bharatji was a powerful king that renounced all of his wealth and retired to the forest. However, becoming attached to a baby deer, he took birth as a deer in his next life. However, with his spiritual height, he retained memories of his previous life. His acts of devotion and his spiritual knowledge continued with him. He realized that in order to attach his soul to God, he had detached from the world by renouncing his kingdom and family, but instead his mind had become engrossed in a baby deer! Thus, feeling imprisoned in the body of a deer, he completed the remainder of his days alone by a river. In the following life, he was born in a Brahmin family and was called Jad Bharat. In this life, he acted like a madman and shunned all worldly affairs keeping his mind singularly fixed on God. He thus quickly resumed the path toward liberation.

In relation to this story, a devotee once asked Yogi Bapa that if Bharatji was so detached from the world and yet had to take another birth as a deer, how many lives would we have to take? Yogi Bapa replied that, "Bharatji did not meet a gunaateeta saint" (who would have warned Bharatji of his piteous nature). A gunaateeta saint shows the aspirant his/her individual obstacles, thus simplifying liberation and devotion to God.

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