|February 26, 2002 |
Given in Bhagavat 5/7-5/14 and Vachanamrut Gadhada Last 17, Bharatji was the son of Lord Rushabhdeva, a great devotee, and a benevolent king after whom India was named 'Bharat.' After renouncing the kingdom (dividing it amongst his five children), he yearned to singularly devote to Vasudev Bhagwan while staying in Pulaha (or Pulahaashram).
One day however, during his meditation, he saw a pregnant deer drinking water from the nearby river. Suddenly, a lion roared, and the startled deer attempted to escape by jumping across the river. During the commotion, the deer released its child into the river and died soon after from the shock. Bharatji continued watching as the newborn baby deer struggled to survive in the water. Feeling extreme pity for the baby, he rescued it and took it into his aashrama (hermitage). He kept the deer in his residence and cared for its needs. Instead of spending time in devotion, he began spending more and more time taking care of the baby deer.
The Shrimad Bhagavat contains a very detailed account of how Bharatji became attached to the deer and convinced himself that he would be violating scriptural injunctions if he neglected it. Finally, when his death was imminent, instead of contemplating about God and the progress of his soul, his mind was filled with thoughts of the baby deer. On his deathbed, he saw the baby deer crying, and his mind became absorbed in it. As a result of this attachment, in his next life, he took birth as a deer.
Remembering his elevated spiritual state, the deer again went to Pulahaashram, and thus he was reborn in a Brahmin family. He was now known as Jad Bharat because he acted deaf and dumb in order to remain aloof from the world. (In Shikshapatri verse 196, Swaminarayan Bhagwan instructs saints to behave like Jad Bharat.) Even when mistreated, Jad Bharat remained detached. In one instance, goddess Kali protected him from dacoits who wanted to offer him as a sacrifice. A king named Rahugan (who was on his way to Kapiladeva's hermitage) forced Jad Bharat to carry his palanquin. Jad Bharat however did not keep pace with the other carriers because he walked while looking down to make sure that he did not step on ants. He did not react to the king's insults, but spoke to him on spiritual knowledge. The king realized that Jad Bharat was in fact a realized saint, and thus fell to his feet. (Finally, Jad Bharat was born during Swaminarayan Bhagwan's time as Nishkulanand Swami.)