By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Jadabharata, JaDabharata, Jadabharata
Many scripture declare that great saints often camouflage themselves as dull or eccentric persons to avoid being harassed by self-seeking followers. One such great saint was Jaḍabharata ‘Bharata, the Dull’.
Bharata, the son of Rṣabhadeva and Jayantī, was a great emperor whose extraordinary rule begot the title ‘Bharatavarṣa’ or ‘Bhārata’ to India. In his old age he entrusted his empire to his sons and retired to the forest for tapa. One day while taking bath in the river he came across a pregnant deer which gave birth to a cub and died. He brought the fawn to his hermitage and started rearing it. He was so much attached to it that even at the time of his death his mind was brooding over it. As a result, he was reborn as a deer. After death, he was reborn as the son of a saintly brāhmaṇa. Though full of spiritual wisdom he used to roam about like a jaḍa or a dullard. Thus he was nicknamed as ‘Jaḍabharata’.
Once he was taken as captive by the soldiers of a king named Vṛṣala, who tried to sacrifice him to Kālī in a forest temple. However, the fierce goddess manifested herself and killed all of them saving Jaḍabharata’s life. After some time, the palanquin bearers of the king Rahugaṇa forcibly employed him as one of the bearers. When his uneven ways of walking started rocking the palanquin the king got annoyed and scolded him. His witty reply couched in highly Vedāntic terms surprised the king who begged for pardon. He requested the sage to teach him spiritual wisdom.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore
By Swami Harshananda
Jagannāthadāsa literally means ‘servant of the Lord of the world’.
Jagannāthadāsa lived in A. D. 1728-1809. The Haridāsas of Karnataka have carved an important place for themselves in the Bhakti Movement. This movement helped the rejuvenation of Hinduism in medieval India. The four most important preachers of this movement are:
His original name was Śrinivāsācārya. Though born in a small village called Byāgavaṭṭe near Mānavi in the Raichur district of Karnataka he lived most of the time in the Karnataka. His house is now converted to a shrine.
Śrīnivāsācārya was a born genius in composing poems in Sanskrit. In course of time he acquired astounding scholarship in the scriptures especially in the dvaita school of Madhvācārya (A. D. 1197-1276). Due to this scholarship he became arrogant. This arrogance made him slight Vijayadāsa (A. D. 1682-1755) which resulted into several stomach diseases. By the divine intervention he was directed to go to Vijayadāsa for succour. Vijayadāsa sent him to his disciple Gopāladāsa who not only cured him but also initiated him into the 'Order of the Haridāsas'. He christened him as ‘Jagannātha-Vitṭhaladāsa’ or more popularly known as ‘Jagannāthadāsa’. This was in A. D. 1754.Jagannāthadāsa has composed many works, the magnum opus being the Śriharikathāmrtasāra. He is said to have completed it in his 82nd year. It is a voluminous poetical composition of a thousand verses in Kannada in the meter called ‘bhāminīṣaṭpadī’. He has also composed more than seven hundred songs, devotional and didactic, in the Kannada language. His biographers have credited him with many psychic and supernatural powers.
- Haridāsas are the ‘servants of God’.