The Meeting Of Maharaja Raghugana And Jada Bharata by A conversation between Sukadeva Goswami and Maharaja Pariksita
Once King Rahugana, ruler of the states known as Sindhu and Sauvira, was journeying to the holy place Kapilashrama. When they reached the banks of the river Iksumati, King’s chief palanquin carriers needed another carrier. Therefore they began searching for a replacement, and by chance they came upon Jada Bharata. They observed that Jada Bharata was young and strong and had firm limbs and considered that, like cows and asses, he was quite fit to carry loads. Thinking in this way, although the great soul Jada Bharata was unfit for such work, they nonetheless unhesitatingly forced him to carry the palanquin. Due to his sense of nonviolence however, Jada Bharata carried the palanquin in an erratic manner. With every step, he checked several paces ahead to see whether he was about to step on ants. Consequently, he could not keep pace with the other carriers. Due to this, the palanquin was shaking, and King Rahugana immediately asked the carriers, “Why are you people carrying this palanquin unevenly? You had better carry it properly.”
When the palanquin carriers heard the threatening words of Maharaja Rahugana, they became very afraid of his punishment and replied as follows:
na vayaṁ nara-deva pramattā bhavanniyamānupathāḥ
sādhv eva vahāmaḥ. ayam
adhunaiva niyukto ‘pi na drutaṁ vrajati nānena
saha voḍhum u ha vayaṁ pārayāma iti.
“O Lord, please note that we are not even slightly negligent in discharging our duties. We have long been faithfully carrying the palanquin to your satisfaction, but this man who has been recently engaged to work with us cannot walk very swiftly. Therefore we are not able to carry the palanquin properly.”
King Rahugana could understand the words of the carriers, who were afraid of being punished. He could also understand that simply due to the fault of one person, the palanquin was not being carried properly. Knowing this perfectly well and hearing their appeal, he became a little angry, although he was both experienced and advanced in political science. His anger arose due to his inborn nature as a king. In truth, King Rahugana’s mind was covered by the mode of passion, and he therefore spoke sardonically to Jada Bharata, whose spiritual effulgence was not visible, like fire covered by ashes. King Rahugana told Jada Bharata: “How troublesome this is for you, my dear brother. You appear very fatigued because you have carried this palanquin without assistance for a long time and for a long distance. Besides that, due to your old age you have clearly become greatly troubled. My dear friend, I see that you are not very firm, nor very strong and stout. Aren’t your fellow carriers cooperating with you?”
atha punaḥ sva-śibikāyāṁ viṣama-gatāyāṁ
prakupita uvāca rahūgaṇaḥ kim idam are tvaṁ
jīvan-mṛto māṁ kadarthī-kṛtya bhartṛ-śāsanam
aticarasi pramattasya ca te karomi cikitsāṁ
daṇḍa-pāṇir iva janatāyā yathā prakṛtiṁ svāṁ
Thereafter, when the King saw that his palanquin was still being shaken by the carriers, he became very angry and said: “You wretch, what are you doing? Are you dead despite the life within your body? Do you not know that I am your master? You are disregarding me and are not carrying out my order. For this disobedience. I shall now punish you just as Yamaraja, the superintendent of death, punishes sinful people. I shall give you fit punishment so that you will come to your senses and do your duty properly.”
evaṁ bahv abaddham api bhāṣamāṇaṁ naradevābhimānaṁ
rajasā tamasānuviddhena madena tiraskṛtāśeṣa-bhagavat-priya-niketaṁ paṇḍitamāninaṁ
sa bhagavān brāhmaṇo brahma-bhūtasarva-
nāti-vyutpanna-matiṁ smayamāna iva vigatasmaya
Thinking himself a king, King Rahugana was in the bodily conception of life and was influenced by material nature’s modes of passion and ignorance. Due to madness, he chastised Jada Bharata with uncalled-for sarcastic words. Jada Bharata was a topmost devotee and the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead to whom he was very dear. Although he considered himself very learned, the King did not know the position of person advanced in devotional service- nor did he know of his characteristics. Jada Bharata was the residence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; he always remembered the form of the Lord within his heart. He was the dear friend of all living beings, and he did not entertain any bodily conception of life. He therefore smiled and spoke the following words.
tvayoditaṁ vyaktam avipralabdhaṁ
bhartuḥ sa me syād yadi vīra bhāraḥ
gantur yadi syād adhigamyam adhvā
pīveti rāśau na vidāṁ pravādaḥ
The great brāhmaṇa Jada Bharata said: My dear King and hero, everything which you have spoken in sarcasm is certainly true. In actuality these are not words of chastisement for me because the body is the carrier. The load carried by the body does not belong to me, for I am the spirit soul. Thus, there is no contradiction in your statements because I am different from the body. I am not the carrier of the palanquin- the body is the carrier. As you have hinted, I certainly have not labored carrying the palanquin, for I am detached from the body. You have said that I am not stout and strong, yet these words are befitting a person who does not know the distinction between the body and the soul. The body may be brawny or lean, but no learned man would say such things of the spirit soul. As far as the spirit soul is concerned, I am neither stout nor slim; therefore you are correct when you say that I am not very stout. Also, if the object of this journey and the path leading there were mine, there would be many troubles for me. However, because they relate not to me but to my body, there is no trouble for me at all.
Brawniness and slimness, bodily and mental distress, thirst, hunger, fear, disagreeance, desires for material happiness, old age, sleep, attachment for material possessions, anger, lamentation, illusion and identification of the body with the self are all transformations of the material covering of the spirit soul. A person absorbed in the material bodily conception of life is affected by these things, but I am free from all bodily conceptions. Consequently I am neither slim nor stout nor anything else you have said. My dear King, you have needlessly accused me of being dead though alive. In this regard, I can only say that this is the case with everyone because everything material has both beginning and end.
As far as you are thinking that you are the king and master, and you are thus trying to dictate to me, this is also incorrect because these positions are temporary. Today you are a king and I am your servant; but tomorrow the positions may be changed, and you may be my servant and I, your master. These are temporary circumstances created by providence. My dear King, if you still think that you are the King and that I am your servant, and that you should order me, and that I should follow your order, then I can only say that this differentiation is temporary, and it exists only due to usage or convention. I do not see any other cause. In that case, who is actually the master, and who the servant? Everyone is being helplessly forced by the laws of material nature; therefore no one is master, and no one is servant. Nonetheless, if you think that you are the master and that I am the servant, I shall accept this. Please order me. What can I do for you?
gatasya me vīra cikitsitena arthaḥ kiyān bhavatā śikṣitena
stabdha-pramattasya ca piṣṭapeṣaḥ
My dear King, you have said, “You wretch, you dull madman, I am going to chastise you, and then you will come to your senses.” In this regard, let me say that although I live like a dull, deaf and dumb man, I am actually a self-realized person. What will you gain by punishing me? Even if your calculation were true and I am a madman, then your punishment will be like beating a dead horse. There will be no effect.
When a madman is punished, he is not cured of his madness. When King Rahugana chastised the exalted devotee Jada Bharata with harsh words, that peaceful, saintly person tolerated it all and then replied in an appropriate manner. Nescience is due to a bodily conception of life, and Jada Bharata was not the least affected by this false conception. Out of his natural humility, he never considered himself a great devotee, and hence he agreed to accept the apparent results of his past karma. As though he were an ordinary man, he thought that by carrying the palanquin he was destroying the reactions of his past misdeeds. Thinking in this way, he began to carry the palanquin as before. Maharaja Rahugana, King of the Sindhu and Sauvira states, had great faith in discussions of the Absolute Truth. Being thus qualified, he heard from Jada Bharata the philosophical presentation on the mystic yoga process which is approved by all scriptures and which slackens the knot in the heart. His material conception of himself as a king was thus destroyed. He immediately descended from his palanquin and fell flat on the ground with his head at the lotus feet of Jada Bharata in such a way that he might be excused for his insulting words against the great brāhmaṇa. He then prayed as follows.
kas tvaṁ nigūḍhaś carasi dvijānāṁ
bibharṣi sūtraṁ katamo ‘vadhūtaḥ
kasyāsi kutratya ihāpi kasmāt
kṣemāya naś ced asi nota śuklaḥ
King Rahugana said: O brāhmaṇa, you appear to be moving in this world wholly incognito and completely unknown to others. Who are you? Are you a learned brāhmaṇa and saintly person? I see that you are wearing a sacred thread. Are you one of those exalted, liberated saints such as Dattatreya and other highly advanced, learned scholars? May I ask whose disciple you are? Where do you live? Why have you come to this place? Is your mission in coming here to do good for us? Please let me know who you are.
nāhaṁ viśaṅke sura-rāja-vajrān
na tryakṣa-śūlān na yamasya daṇḍāt
chaṅke bhṛśaṁ brahma-kulāvamānāt
My dear sir, I am not even slightly afraid of the thunderbolt of King Indra, nor am I afraid of the serpentine, piercing trident of Lord Shiva. I do not care about the punishment of Yamaraja, the superintendent of death, nor am I apprehensive of fire, the scorching sun, the moon, wind, nor the weapons of Kuvera. Yet I am afraid of offending a brāhmaṇa. I am very much afraid of this. My dear sir, it appears that the influence of your great spiritual knowledge is hidden. Factually you are bereft of all material association and fully absorbed in the thought of the Absolute. Consequently, you are unlimitedly advanced in spiritual knowledge. Please tell me why you are wandering around like a dullard. O great saintly person, you have spoken words approved by the yogic process, but it is not possible for us to understand what you have said. Therefore kindly explain it further. I consider your good self the most exalted master of mystic power.
You know the spiritual science perfectly well. You are the most exalted of all learned sages, and you have descended for the benefit of all human society. You have come to give spiritual knowledge, and you are a direct representative of Kapiladeva, the incarnation of God and the plenary portion of knowledge. I am therefore asking you, O spiritual master, what is the most secure shelter in this world? Is it not a fact that your good self is the direct representative of Kapiladeva, the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead? To examine people and see who is actually a human being, you have presented yourself as a deaf and dumb person. Are you not moving this way upon the surface of the world? I am very attached to family life and worldly activities, and I am blind to spiritual knowledge.
Nonetheless, I am now present before you and am seeking enlightenment from you. How can I advance in spiritual life?
dṛṣṭaḥ śramaḥ karmata ātmano vai
bhartur gantur bhavataś cānumanye
samūla iṣṭo vyavahāra-mārgaḥ
O brāhmaṇa, you have said that I am not fatigued from labor. Although the soul is different from the body, there is fatigue because of bodily labor, and it appears to be the fatigue of the soul. When you are carrying the palanquin, there is certainly labor for the soul. This is my conjecture. You have also said that the external behavior exhibited between the master and the servant is not factual, but although in the phenomenal world it is not factual, the products of the phenomenal world can actually affect things. That is visible and experienced by all. As such, even though material activities are impermanent, they cannot be said to be untrue. My dear sir, you have said that designations like bodily strength and weakness are not characteristics of the soul. That is incorrect because designations like pain and pleasure are certainly felt by the soul. You may put a pot of milk and rice on a fire, and the milk and rice are automatically heated one after the other. Similarly, due to bodily pains and pleasures, the senses, mind and soul are affected. The soul cannot be completely detached from this conditioning. My dear sir, you have said that the relationship between the king and the subject or between the master and the servant are not eternal, but although such relationships are temporary, when a person takes the position of a king his duty is to rule the citizens and punish those who are disobedient to the laws. By punishing them, he teaches the citizens to obey the laws of the state. Again, you have said that punishing a person who is deaf and dumb is like chewing the chewed or grinding the pulp; that is to say, there is no benefit in it. However, if one is engaged in his own occupational duty as ordered by the Supreme Lord, his sinful activities are certainly diminished. Therefore, if one is engaged in his occupational duty by force, he benefits because he can vanquish all his sinful activities in that way. Whatever you have spoken appears
to me to be contradictory. O best friend of the distressed, I have committed a great offense by insulting you. I was puffed up with false prestige due to possessing the body of a king. Due to this I have certainly become an offender. Therefore I pray that you kindly glance upon me with your causeless mercy. If you do so, I can be relieved from sinful activities brought about by insulting you.
na vikriyā viśva-suhṛt-sakhasya
sāmyena vītābhimates tavāpi
mahad-vimānāt sva-kṛtād dhi mādṛṅ
naṅkṣyaty adūrād api śūlapāṇiḥ
O my dear Lord, you are the friend of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the friend of all living entities. You are therefore equal to everyone, and you are free from all bodily conceptions. Although I have committed an offense by insulting you, I know that there is no loss or gain for you due to my insults you are fixed in your determination. However, I have committed an offense and because of this, even though I may be as strong as Lord Shiva, I shall be vanquished without delay due to my offense at the lotus feet of a Vaishnava.
– Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) » Fifth Canto: The Creative Impetus » Chapter 10: The Discussion between Jada Bharata and Maharaja Rahugana » Verse: 1-25.