We are at a critical juncture as part of the “Jada-Bharata-Upaakhyaanam”, wherein Sage Bharata had passed away with deep concerns and thoughts about his pet deer that he was maintaining all these years. Unfortunately for him, as per Bhagawan’s “rules and regulations”, Sage Bharata took a re-birth as a deer! This is where we had witnessed an important life lesson for all of us that we would take rebirth only as per our thought processes during our last breath of this current birth. In fact, in due course of the previous episode, we had also witnessed the difference between two categories of people – The “Bhaktas” and the “Sharanagatas”. “Bhaktas” are those who have a selfish attitude behind whatever they do. They think that it is only because of their constant efforts, they are able to attain Bhagawan. However, the “Sharanagatas” are exactly the opposite. Their thought process is that it is only Bhagawan’s divine grace that can take us to “Moksha”, and our efforts are just a miniscule cause for this. Sage Bharata belonged somewhere to the first category, and the only problem with the “Bhaktas” is that, since the “I” attitude and “ego” prevails more, there is every chance that they would end up deviating from their spiritual pursuit at a time when it matters the most. This is exactly what happened to Sage Bharata as well, and this is how he ended up taking birth as a deer.
Moving on further, we might have a small question here – If we are becoming a “Sharanagata”, don’t we need to possess “Bhakti” towards Bhagawan? If Bhagawan is going to take us directly to Moksha, why at all should we possess Bhakti in the first place? The answer here is “Yes”. A “Sharanagata” requires to possess Bhakti, but there is a difference between a “Bhakta” exhibiting Bhakti and a “Sharanagata” exhibiting Bhakti. What is the difference? A “Bhakta” who is exhibiting “Bhakti” is of the constant attitude that it is only through exhibiting this “Bhakti” that he / she is going to attain “Moksha”. However, the “Sharanagata’s” definition of “Bhakti” is very different – This “Bhakti” is useful for the “Sharanagata” to devote himself or herself more towards Bhagawan by involving himself / herself in selfless service towards Bhagawan. Of course, this “Bhakti” exhibited by the “Sharanagata” is not going to take him / her to “Moksha”, but this “Bhakti” enables the “Sharanagata” to get more and more closer to Bhagawan emotionally and through physical service towards Bhagawan, such as going to the temple, submitting flowers and other spiritual offerings to Him, etc. This is the biggest difference between the “Bhakta” and the “Sharanagata”.
In fact, Bhagawan Himself exclaims thus, “If a person is merely a “Bhakta”, I leave it to him or her to decide the path to attain “Moksha”. If they succeed in their path, fair enough! I welcome them to my abode! However, if they fail and take a wrong path, I would not be able to stop them and resurrect their path again! Whereas, in the case of the “Sharanagata”, the moment my devotee surrenders to my feet, it becomes totally my responsibility to guide him / her along the path of attaining “Moksha”. If a devotee surrenders to me wholeheartedly, I myself would come down and take him / her to my abode!” Such is the significance of a “Sharanagata” over a “Bhakta”. Hence the important message from this episode and the previous one too is that, it is not wrong to be a “Bhakta”, provided we would be able to walk the path towards “Moksha” without any deviation. This is the “trick of the trade” here. For normal people like us, it is very difficult to walk the path by ourselves. If spiritually advanced people like Sage Bharata himself can get carried away with the worldly attachment towards the deer, who are we to even talk about perfection in this route? This is why, being a “Sharanagata” is always a better choice, as we can be rest-assured that Bhagawan would hold our hands and take us to “Moksha”.
So for today, let us once again re-experience this thought and learning and we shall wait till the next episode to continue with what happened to Sage Bharata after this. I’m going a bit slowly here, because these are some important life learnings that all of us have to understand deeply and for these learnings to sink in, we need some time. Hence, let us allow these learnings to sink within us for today, and we shall wait afresh till tomorrow for moving ahead with the transformation of “Bharata” to “Jada-Bharatra”! Stay tuned! 🙂