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Story of King Bharata and His Next Birth as Deer

Story of the birth of King Bharata as deer in his next birth is one which symbolically explains about attachment.

King Bharata, after whom our land came to be called Bharatavarsha, discharged his duties as a king and father and then retired into the forests as a wandering ascetic.

Abandoning all desires, alone, peaceful and blissful at heart he was immersed in worshipping Srihari Vishnu.

One day, overcome with pity, he saved a motherless fawn from being drowned in the river and then brought it to his ashrama. He fed it, fondled it, protected it and tried to please it in every way.

Obsessed with the deer and distressed by vague and baseless fears about its safety, he neglected his devotional practices. The deer became his anchor.

Even at the moment of death his mind was firmly fixed on the deer and in the next life he was born as a deer.

The deer repented that despite shaking off all attachments of the kingdom, sons, wealth, and so on, and retiring to the forest to meditate on Bhagavan Vasudeva, he had strayed from his path due to his attachment to a deer. The deer (Bharata) returned to the hermitage at Salagrama Kshetram (where he lived as an ascetic in his previous life) and spent his days there amid sages, awaiting the end of his deer life. When the time of death came, he gave up his body in the sacred Gandaki River.