Devotion without Deviation - Part 10

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

This is in continuation of the previous offering titled, "Devotion without Deviation" wherein we were discussing the life of Bharata Maharaja through the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam. In the previous offerings we saw how the great emperor Bharat Maharaj got the body of deer in his next birth and repented for his mistakes in the past birth. Now let us see further.

10. Waiting Time is Serving Time: In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 5.8.31 Sukadeva Goswami explains how Bharata Maharaja spent his life in the body of the deer.

tasminn api kālaṁ pratīkṣamāṇaḥ saṅgāc ca bhṛśam udvigna ātma-sahacaraḥ śuṣka-parṇa-tṛṇa-vīrudhā vartamāno mṛgatva-nimittāvasānam eva gaṇayan mṛga-śarīraṁ tīrthodaka-klinnam ut-sasarja

Remaining in that āśrama, the great King Bharata Mahārāja was now very careful not to fall victim to bad association. Without disclosing his past to anyone, he remained in that āśrama and ate dry leaves only. He was not exactly alone, for he had the association of the Supersoul. In this way he waited for death in the body of a deer. Bathing in that holy place, he finally gave up that body.

The words kālaṁ pratīkṣamāṇaḥ and ātma-sahacaraḥ in the above verse are worth meditating. His Divine Grace gives the word to word equivalent for kālaṁ pratīkṣamāṇaḥ as 'always waiting for the end of duration of life in the deer body'. This waiting time is a crucial period.

Our beloved spiritual master HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj always glorified Narada Muni by referring to the verse 1.6.26 in Srimad Bhagavatam. While Narada Muni is explaining about his previous life to Vyasadev, he mentions how in his previous birth, Narada Muni was son of a maid-servant. After his mother passed away, by the gift of devotional service which he learnt from few sages, he gets the darshan of the Lord for a moment. But then, Lord disappears and says that he will no longer get the darshan in that life time and that he has to wait till his next birth. But Narada Muni without being dejected spends his 'waiting time' in that birth very usefully.

nāmāny anantasya hata-trapaḥ paṭhan
guhyāni bhadrāṇi kṛtāni ca smaran
gāṁ paryaṭaṁs tuṣṭa-manā gata-spṛhaḥ
kālaṁ pratīkṣan vimado vimatsaraḥ

Thus I began chanting the holy name and fame of the Lord by repeated recitation, ignoring all the formalities of the material world. Such chanting and remembering of the transcendental pastimes of the Lord are benedictory. So doing, I traveled all over the earth, fully satisfied, humble and unenvious.

So these great souls like Narada Muni, Bharata Maharaj never wasted their waiting time. When unfavourable or disappointing situations happens in our life, we always try to get out of the situation somehow or the other. These unfavourable situations are created because of our own fallacies and nothing else. But we try to avoid that situations and try to take some short-cuts. Bharata Maharaja did not take such adverse steps. He patiently waited for the time of his death in the body of the deer. He has shown us through his example as to how these situations also can be utilised to increase in our determination to serve the Lord. Parikshit Maharaj also saw the unfavourable situation of brahmana's curse as an opportunity to go closer to Krishna. We see from the life of these great devotees as how to change unfavourable situation also as an opportunity to render service to Krishna.

Krishna willing we shall continue to meditate more on this topic in the subsequent offering.

Hare Krishna.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Sudarshana devi dasi.