Bharat Now Better Known
Somewhere in Trinidad a group of young people were watching the live
feed of our performance, "The Three Lives of Bharat." It was a coffee
shop where a lap-top screen was broadcasting the marvelous "acrobats"
as someone called them. Indeed the performers did fling themselves in
the air as much as vocalize the story of King Bharat.
As the screen exposed itself to on-lookers around, the viewership
increased to a bigger than normal huddle. They looked on with interest
as the viewers of the live drama in the Samadhi Auditorium had done.
Applause came from Mayapura and the thousands-of-miles-away Trinidad
As the director, feedback came to me from the Wednesday and Thursday
night performances. "I understand Bharat better now." Bharat is
mentioned in the sacred text : Bhagavad-gita" numerous times. Now in
the form of a play, the story which is a powerful endorsement on the
reincarnation concept, comes to light about a Vedic king who had a
strong bond to a wild animal, a deer. India which was formerly named
as Bharatvarsa and whose history is detailed in the epical poem "The
Mahabharat" derives its nomenclature from this personality.
Bharat was the son of Rsabhadev, the ascetic who inspired the
well-established Jain movement in India. Like his father, Bharat
became a monk, but too reclusive to the point where he isolated
himself from human interaction. It left himself vulnerable you can
say, and hence he became open prey for becoming overly affectionate
for a little fawn.
The setting of this touching story is the Pulaha Ashram, the foothills
of the Himalayas where monks have been known to converge for
When you study Puranic stories and not least the books of our guru,
Srila Prabhupada, it becomes an exploration of the lives of kings and
monks. How are these archetypical career models relevant to today? A
person is less likely to meet a king than a monk. I was talking to a
devotee stationed in Bali who gave me the official figure of 500,000
monks residing in that country.
Monks are few but kings are less. I am pacified that the work of "The
Three Lives of Bharat" has come together as it has. Whoever may see
it, whether live or in a coffee shop will have a chance to know more
clearly what life is like as a monk in the not-so-fast lane.