Jada Bharata – a self-realised soul who only spoke once

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Jada Bharata was a fully self-realized soul who as a child decided to keep himself aloof of society. He did not talk to anyone and remained like a deaf and dumb person. The people in the neighborhood thought of him as a crazy, dull fellow, but within he was always chanting and remembering Vasudeva, the Supreme Lord. His father’s mind was always filled with affection for him, so he tried to give him an education and purify him as a brahmana by offering him the sacred thread. Although Jada Bharata was unwilling to accept his father’s instructions, the father nonetheless instructed him in how to keep clean and how to wash, thinking that the son should be taught by the father.
Jada Bharata behaved before his father like a fool, despite his father’s adequately instructing him in Vedic knowledge. He behaved in that way so that his father would know that he was unfit for instruction and would abandon the attempt to instruct him further. He would behave in a completely opposite way. Although instructed to wash his hands after evacuating, he would wash them before. Nonetheless, his father wanted to give him Vedic instructions during the spring and summer. He tried to teach him the Gayatri mantra along with Omkara and Vyahrti. He also tried to teach his son the rules and regulations of brahmacarya—including the execution of the Vedic vows, cleanliness, study of the Vedas, the regulative methods, service to the spiritual master and the method of offering a fire sacrifice. He tried his best to teach his son in this way, but all his endeavors failed. In his heart he hoped that his son would be a learned scholar, but all his attempts were unsuccessful. Like everyone, the father was attached to his home, and he had forgotten that someday he would die. Death, however, was not forgetful. At the proper time, death appeared and took him away.
After the father died, the nine stepbrothers of Jada Bharata, who considered him dull and brainless, abandoned the father’s attempt to give Jada Bharata a complete education. They even mistreated him, and Jada Bharata behaved for them like a madman who was deaf, blind or dull. He did not protest or try to convince them that he was not so. If they wanted him to do something, he acted according to their desires. Whatever food he could acquire by begging or by wages, and whatever came of its own accord – be it a small quantity, palatable, stale or tasteless – he would accept and eat. He was full in the transcendental consciousness of bhakti-yoga, and therefore he was unaffected by the dualities arising from the bodily conception. Actually his body was as strong as a bull’s, and his limbs were very muscular. He didn’t care for winter or summer, wind or rain, and he never covered his body at any time. He lay on the ground, and never smeared oil on his body or took a bath. Because his body was dirty, his spiritual effulgence and knowledge were covered, just as the splendor of a valuable gem is covered by dirt. Being insulted and neglected by materialistic people, he wandered here and there.
Jada Bharata used to work only for food. His stepbrothers took advantage of this and engaged him in agricultural field work in exchange for some food, but actually he did not know how to work very well in the field. He did not know where to spread dirt or where to make the ground level or uneven. His brothers used to give him broken rice, oil cakes, the chaff of rice, worm-eaten grains and burned grains that had stuck to the pot, but he gladly accepted all this as if it were wonderful. He did not hold any grudges and ate all this very gladly.
At this time, being desirous of obtaining a son, a leader of dacoits wanted to worship the Goddess Bhadra Kali by offering her in sacrifice a dull man, who is considered no better than an animal.
The leader of the dacoits captured a man-animal for sacrifice, but he escaped, and the leader ordered his followers to find him. They ran in different directions but could not find him. Wandering here and there in the middle of the night, covered by dense darkness, they came to a paddy field where they saw the exalted son of the Angira family (Jada Bharata), who was sitting in an elevated place guarding the field against the attacks of deer and wild pigs. The followers and servants of the dacoit chief considered Jada Bharata to possess qualities quite suitable for a man-animal, and they decided that he was a perfect choice for sacrifice. Their faces bright with happiness, they bound him with ropes and brought him to the temple of the Goddess Kali. After this, all the thieves, according to their imaginative ritual for killing animalistic men, bathed Jada Bharata, dressed him in new clothes, decorated him with ornaments befitting an animal, smeared his body with scented oils and decorated him with tilaka, sandalwood pulp and garlands. They fed him sumptuously and then brought him before the Goddess Kali, offering her incense, lamps, garlands, parched grain, newly grown twigs, sprouts, fruits and flowers. In this way they worshiped the deity before killing the man-animal, and they vibrated songs and prayers and played drums and bugles. Jada Bharata was then made to sit down before the deity. At this time, one of the thieves, acting as the chief priest, was ready to offer the blood of Jada Bharata, whom they imagined to be an animal-man, to the Goddess Kali to drink as a liquor. He therefore took up a very fearsome sword, which was very sharp and, consecrating it by the mantra of Bhadra Kali, raised it to kill Jada Bharata.
All the rogues and thieves who had made arrangements for the worship of Goddess Kali were low minded and bound to passion and ignorance. They were overpowered by the desire to become very rich; therefore they had the audacity to disobey the injunctions of the Vedas, so much so that they were prepared to kill Jada Bharata, a self-realized soul born in a brahmana family. Due to their envy, these dacoits brought him before the Goddess Kali for sacrifice. Such people are always addicted to envious activities, and therefore they dared to try to kill Jada Bharata. Jada Bharata was the best friend of all living entities. He was no one’s enemy, and he was always absorbed in meditation on the Supreme Lord. He was born of a good brahmana father, and killing him was forbidden, even though he might have been an enemy or aggressive person. In any case, there was no reason to kill Jada Bharata, and the Goddess Kali could not bear this. She could immediately understand that these sinful dacoits were about to kill a great devotee of the Lord. Suddenly the deity’s body burst asunder, and the Goddess Kali personally emerged from it in a body burning with an intense and intolerable effulgence. Intolerant of the offenses committed, the infuriated Goddess flashed her eyes and displayed her fierce, curved teeth. Her reddish eyes glowed, and she displayed her fearsome features. She assumed a frightening body, as if she were prepared to destroy the entire creation. Leaping violently from the altar, she immediately decapitated all the rogues and thieves with the very sword with which they had intended to kill Jada Bharata. She then began to drink the hot blood that flowed from the necks of the beheaded rogues and thieves, as if this blood were liquor. Indeed, she drank this intoxicant with her associates, who were witches and female demons. Becoming intoxicated with this blood, they all began to sing very loudly and dance as though prepared to annihilate the entire universe. At the same time, they began to play with the heads of the rogues and thieves, tossing them about as if they were balls.
Those who are self-realised, who are liberated from the invincible knot in the heart, who are always engaged in welfare activities for all living entities and who never contemplate harming anyone are always protected by the Supreme Lord, who carries His disc (the Sudarsana cakra) and acts as supreme time to kill the demons and protect His devotees, either personally or through His agents. The devotees always take shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord. Therefore at all times, even if threatened by decapitation, they remain unagitated. This is the special characteristic of a pure devotee of the Lord.
Read in the second part of the story how Jada Bharata was made to carry the palanquin of King Rahugana. As a soft-hearted, self-realised soul, Jada Bharata humbly accepted the job and carried the palanquin. While carrying it, however, he was very careful to see that he did not step on an ant, and whenever he saw one, he would stop until the ant had passed. Because of this, he could not keep pace with the other carriers. The King within the palanquin became very disturbed and chastised Jada Bharata with filthy language. For the benefit of the King Jada Bharata opened his mouth for the first time in his life to speak. (coming soon)
Related articles:
Dhruva Maharaja – a small boy leaves his home to search for God
Ajamila – unintentional chanting saving a man from death
Sravanam – bhakti stories

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Artwork courtesy of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
www.krishna.com. Used with permission.

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