Bharata In Hindu mythology, the name of an Aryan tribal group prominent in early vedic times; also a king devoted to the worship of the god Vishnu. He abdicated his throne to continue in constant meditation on the god.
While Bharata was at his forest retreat, he went to bathe in the river and saw a pregnant doe frightened by a lion. Her fawn, which was born suddenly, fell into the water, and Bharata rescued it. He brought up the animal, becoming very fond of it and forgetting his worship of Vishnu. When Bharata died, he was transformed into a deer, with the faculty of remembering his former life as a punishment for forgetting to honor Vishnu. Bharata continued in his deer form and atoned for his sin, being born again as a priest who was ungainly and looked as if he were a madman. In his new life he constantly worshipped Vishnu and as a result was exempt from future births.
Another Bharata is the ancestor of the warring sides, the Pandavas and Kauravas, in the Hindu epic poem The Mahabharata.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante