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BHARATA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology]

1. A hero and king from whom the warlike people called Bharatas, frequently mentioned in the Rigveda, were descended. The name is mixed up with that of Viswamitra. Bharata's sons were called Viswamitras and Viswamitra's sons were called Bharatas.

2. An ancient king of the first Manwantara. He was devoted to Vishnu, and abdicated his throne that he might continue constant in meditation upon him. While at his hermitage, he went to bathe in the river, and there saw a doe big with young frightened by a lion. Her fawn, which was brought forth suddenly, fell into the water, and the sage rescued it. He brought the animal up, and becoming excessively fond of it, his obstruction was interrupted. "In the course of time he died, watched by the deer with tears in its eyes, like a son mourning for his father; and he himself, as he expired, cast his eyes upon the deer and thought of nothing else, being wholly occupied with one idea." For this misapplied devotion he was born again as a deer with the faculty of recollecting his former life. In this form he lived an austere retired life, and having stoned for his former error, was born again as a Brahman. But his person was ungainly, and he looked like a crazy idiot. He discharged servile offices, and was a palankin bearer; but he had true wisdom, and discoursed deeply upon philosophy and the power of Vishnu. Finally he obtained exemption from future birth. This legend is "a sectarial graft upon a Pauranik stem."

3. Son of Dasaratha by his wife Kaikeyi, and half-brother of Ramachandra. He was educated by his mother's father, Aswapati, king of Kekaya, and married Mandavi, the cousin of Sita. His mother, through maternal fondness, brought about the exile of Rama, and endeavoured to secure her own son's succession to the throne, but Bharata refused to supplant his elder brother. On the death of his father Bharata performed the funeral rites, and went after Rama with a complete army to bring him back to Ayodhya and place him on the throne. He found Rama at Chitrakuta, and there was a generous contention between them as to which should reign. Rama refused to return until the period of his exile was completed, and Bharata declined to be king; but he returned to Ayodhya as Rama's representative, and setting up a pair of Rama's his brother's name. "He destroyed thirty millions of terrible gandharvas" and made himself master of their country.

4. A prince of the Puru branch of the lunar race. Bharata was son of Dushyanta and Sakuntala. Ninth in descent from him came Kuru, and fourteenth from Kuru came Santanu. This king had a son named Vichitravirya, who died childless, leaving two widows. Krishna Dwaipayana was natural brother to Vichitravirya. Under the law he raised up seed to his brother from the widows, whose sons were Dhritarashtra and Pandu, between whose descendants, the Kauravas and Pandavas, the great war of the Mahabharata was fought. Through their descent from Bharata, these princess, but more especially the Pandavas, were called Bharatas.

BHARATA [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] A descendant of Bharata, especially one of the Pandu princes.

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM