In the previous episode, we had witnessed the commencement of the next section of the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana, which is being explained by Sage Sukhaachaarya to King Parikshit. We’re currently at the end of the second day’s agenda, wherein we’ve started talking about the “Charitra” of Bharata, which is referred to as “Jada-Bharata-Upaakyaanam” in the text. In this, we’ve witnessed that Bharata was born to Rishabha Deva and he grew up as a righteous son, just in line with his father. However, as he was progressing with his penance, there was once an instance wherein he had to save a baby deer from a roaring angry lion, and from that time onwards, Bharata gets so attached to this baby deer. He brings it up carefully, nurtures it, feeds it with adequate food and water, etc. Eventually Bharata got so attached to the deer that his penance started to take a back seat. He couldn’t concentrate on doing his penance if the deer is not feeling well. He became happy when the deer was also happy. He became sad when the deer was sad.
Thus, we can see here that Bharata lost his track in pursuing his spiritual practices. Of course, it is important that he saved the baby deer from the clutches of death in the form of the lion. That said and done, it doesn’t mean that he should totally forget his penance and get attached to the deer completely. He should have moved on with his spiritual pursuit, once he had saved the deer from the lion. This is the same case that happens to many of us too. In pursuit of something good, we too tend to get too much attached to that particular activity and thus refuse to move on with it. For instance, it is good to save someone from the clutch of a problem. But that doesn’t mean that we get totally immersed into that person’s life and ultimately forget our spiritual pursuit. This is exactly where Bharata too fell into the trap!
As days progressed thus, time was nearing for Bharata to leave this world. He was getting older and his physical body started to tire out. Even at that stage of his life, he had just one concern – After his life comes to an end, who would take care of the deer, which he had been nourishing all these years? If I’m not here, what if someone or another lion come and kill this poor deer? As Bharata was thinking thus, he couldn’t concentrate on anything else. Fear took over him. Gradually as Bharata breathed his last, his only thoughts that were in mind is about the deer!
Bhagawan Krishna says in the Bhagawad Gita thus: Here’s an important point for all of us to understand.
“Yam yam vaapi smaranbhaavam tyajatyante kalevaram!
Tam tameva ithi kounteya sadaa tathbaava bhaavitaha!!”
Here, Bhagawan Krishna drops a bombshell – Our thoughts while we breathe our last, would form the very basis for our next birth! In other words, for instance, if we think of a bird while we die in this birth, we would take our next birth as a bird only! If we think of any plant while we die, we would have to take the next birth as a seed, which would eventually grow into a plant. This is exactly what happened to Bharata here too – Since he was too much obsessed with his thoughts about the deer while breathing his last, the next birth that he had to take in this world was that of a deer! Thus, according to the logic of Bhagawan Krishna, Bharata now takes birth as a baby deer!
This is where we’ve to be careful too – We should always remember this point in mind as we move on. This is the reason why our elders and ancestors have time and again advised us that we should constantly think of Bhagawan all the time. The problem that we have is that, we do not know when death would knock at our doors. Hence, virtually we need to be prepared to face death at any point in time. During the time of death, if we’re already equipped enough mentally to think of Bhagawan, it is only then we would be able to attain the highest level of Moksha.
But is it possible to do this right away? The answer is NEVER! As we get older day by day, what would be our thoughts? “Oh! What would happen to my husband or wife after I pass away? What would happen to my son or daughter if I die today? Will they be able to sustain a good life? What will happen to my grandchildren? Who would take care of them after my death? What would happen to my property? Won’t my children fight among themselves over my property?” Such kinds of thoughts keep ravaging in our minds isn’t it?
Let us think about this practically here! If such thoughts keep our mind occupied all the time, where is the space and time for Bhagawan in our mind? This is the problem that all of us go through – Eventually as we progress with our worldly life, we tend to forget Bhagawan completely! This is where Bhagawan Krishna’s advice is so valuable here. If we’ve to follow Bhagawan Krishna’s advice, it is not going to be easy for us to get thoughts of Bhagwan overnight! We need to train our mind constantly every passing day, by detaching ourselves from worldly affairs. As we grow older, we should cultivate that maturity and awareness within us to slowly take ourselves away from unwanted thoughts, and instead focus our mind more on Bhagawan. This is where, constant practice of “Mantra-Japa” comes into play. If we’re able to focus on chanting our Mantra constantly, all unwanted thoughts from our mind get slowly washed away and eventually our focus on Bhagawan increases day after day.
So for today, let us think over this important point and start acting on this immediately. Unlike many other points that we’ve discussed so far, this is an extremely urgent point that all of us need to collectively start working on. Let us remember Bhagawan Krishna’s words and start our actions right now! We shall wait till the next episode to witness what happened to Bharata next. Stay tuned! 😊