4: The Stories of Siva and Sati, and of Rishabhadeva and Bharata :
This law operated even on the great ascetic Bharata. As a Sankhya sutra warns us, thinking of anything which is not contributory to spiritual practice, or sadhana, results in bondage, as in the case of Bharata. Attachment sneaks into our mind without our knowledge, like a serpent entering into a hole without our knowing that it has entered. The power of the mind, which is filled with desire, finds all sorts of excuses to see that its longings are fulfilled one way or the other. It is like a thief or a dacoit who knows every way of fulfilling his wish. Hence, because of this law of compensation according to the intensity of thought, Bharata, due to his attachment to the baby deer, was born as a deer.
But due to the tapasya that he performed, in his deer life he remembered what had happened. He was not born ignorant of the past, as in the case of all people. The deer knew that it had become a deer due to some mistake in the operation of its thought. So, the deer was of a peculiar character, and not like other deer. For fear of attachment, the deer would not touch even a leaf of a tree. It carefully moved in the forest, touching not a twig, a leaf or a bush due to fear of becoming attached, as happened in its previous birth. In this detached condition, the prarabdha of the deer form ended one day. The deer died, and Bharata was once again born in the family of certain Brahmins. So he took three births in order to finally have his achievement.
Because of the fear of attachment due to the lesson that he had learned, he would not utter a word in this birth. His parents sent him to school, but he would not learn anything, not even the letters of the alphabet. Whatever was told to him fell on deaf ears. They thought that he was an idiot who was shamefully born into a Brahmin family, as Brahmins are very learned in Vedic lore. They tried to teach him again and again, but he was so idle, and never responded to anyone, and would not say anything. They thought he was an idiotic creature, and wondered what to do with him.
To be continued ....