CHAPTER 8, VOLUME 5
THE EXPLANATIONS AS TO HOW EMPEROR BHARATA WAS BORN AS A DEER
While Bharata was engaged in the devotional service of the Bhagavan (as explained in the previous chapter) at one time an occasion arose by which he had to rescue a deer. Because of his engagement with that deer and doing things for its benefit, he developed a special endearment to it. As a consequence of this special endearment developed by him towards that deer, he had to take birth as a deer. These are being explained in Chapter 8.
In fact the endearment develops because of compassion. However, if this is carried beyond the level of compassion, the outcome can become a great hurdle for a person seeking self realization. Everything has to be placed in their order in one's life. If the priorities are made differently by the person leaving aside the natural law it can subvert the path leading to the attainment of real knowledge and self advancement in spiritual terms, and such a pursuit can vitiate the progress of the person in his endeavours. This is the sum and substance of the story of Bharata showcasing it as an example to other seekers. When we read this story one must also remember that the case of Bharata was different from other human beings because Bharata was already an exalted personality and had already achieved great spiritual heights. We have seen these through the last chapter. Therefore, this development should be seen together with the situation in which Bharata had already reached and how he behaved just like an ordinary human being in the case of the baby deer.
With efforts one can reach great heights. However, it is absolutely essential to maintain that level of achievement and consistency at all times. This is the real test. After reaching great levels of spiritual progress, when one starts getting attracted to even the slightest of the worldly attachment, the downgrade can be too deep. So the story of Bharata is the story of each and every one of us. The contents are very practical and great lessons are conveyed through these chapters. While reading it we must rate Bharata as the exalted personality, who had enjoyed all the material wealth, was a great emperor, identified himself with that Supreme Reality through his devotional service, and given up everything before taking to Sanyasa and reached Hardwar where he was continuously performing devotional service. In front of this great man, we must rate the just born baby deer as a small drop of material desire yet to magnify into greatest desires in times to come. The circumstances in which this little life was born can also be equated with the camouflage of the powers of manifestation of Prakriti (or Maya Shakti) in which anyone can get trapped easily. It is this aspect which is dealt with here. When a person like Bharata can get trapped, what to talk of ordinary persons! Keeping this background in mind, the reading of this story will convey real meaning and intent.