Bharata (emperor)

Bharata is a legendary king in Hindu mythology. He was the first to conquer all of Greater India, uniting it into a single entity which was named after him as "IAST|Bharātavarṣa".

According to the "Mahābhārata"Fact|date=February 2007, Bharata's empire covered all of the Indian subcontinent, Bactria, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgistan, Turkmenistan, and Persia.

The Republic of India is officially known as "Bhārat" after Bharata (Monier-Williams: "'king Bharatas's realm' i.e. India").


Bharatavarsha refers to the total Earth. Emperor Bharata was the first and the only emperor to rule all India.

The Vishnu Puranam accounts the extent of Bharatavarsham,

"Uttaram yat samudrasya Himdreschaiva daksinam
Varsham tat Bharatam nama Bharati yatra santati"

(The region spanning in between the Himalayas in the north to the
Indian ocean in the south is called Bharatavarsham and the natives
of this region are called Bharatiyas (Indians)]

Bharatakantham is the region which is contained in Bharatavarsha, comprising of modern South Asia. In the Hindu prayer invocations (Sankalpam), the normal order of geography is

Bharatavarshe (Akhanda Bharatam), Bharatakante (Bharatam),..

(In the land of Bharatavarsha, in Bharatakantha and so on)


According to the "Mahābhārata" ("Adi Parva"), Bharata was the son of King Dushyanta and Shakuntala and thus a descendant of the Lunar Dynasty of the Kshatriya caste. He was originally named "Sarvadamana" (subduer of all); the "Mahābhārata" traces the events in his life by which he came to be known as Bharata ("the cherished").

tory of Bharata

Apsaras Menaka had come at the behest of the King of the Gods, Indra, to distract the great sage Vishvamitra from his deep meditations. She succeeded, and bore a child by him. Vishwamitra, angered by the loss of the virtue gained through his many hard years of strict ascetism, distanced himself from the child and mother to return to his work. Realizing that she could not leave the child with him, and having to return to the heavenly realms, Menaka left the newborn Shakuntala on the banks of the Malini River on the peaks of the Himalayas. Shakuntala was found by the Rishi Kanva surrounded and protected by birds ("Shakunton" in Sanskrit), and so she was named Shakuntala. According to one source, Titwala, a small town near Kalyan in Maharashtra, is believed to be the site of the hermitage where Shakuntala was born.Fact|date=September 2007

Sakanthula was brought up by rishi Kanva in his ashram. King Dushyanta encountered Shakuntala while travelling through the forest with his army. Pursuing a male deer wounded by his arrow into the ashram, he saw Shakuntala nursing the deer, her pet, and fell in love with her. He profusely begged her forgiveness for harming the deer and spent some time at the ashram. They fell in love and Dushyanta married Shakuntala there in the ashram. Dushyanta left ashram after some time due to unrest in the capital city.

Time being, Sakunthala gave birth to a child. Kanwa named him as Saravadamana. Surrounded only by wild animals, Sarvadamana grew to be a strong child and made a sport of opening the mouths of tigers and lions and counting their teeth!

Sakunthala reached Dushyanta's palace with her son. Arriving at Dushyanta's court, Shakuntala was hurt and surprised when her husband did not recognize her, nor recollected anything about her. Dushyanta's failure to recognise Shakuntala is in fact a ploy to have his subjects accept her as his true wife, since he had feared rumors might otherwise have arisen as to the propriety of the marriage. After a long course of arguments made by Sakunthala, the king accepted her as his wife. Their child was renamed Bharata.

Young Bharata conquered and ruled the entire continent of India, from sea to Himalaya. His empire was named Bharatavarsha, the land of Bharata.

Equal in valor to Indra, Bharata was a virtuous king. His wife Sunandadevi was chaste and devoted. They had no children. None of the children born to them had survived. They performed a religious sacrifice Maruisoma on the banks of the Ganga in order to get children. King Bharatha had 9 sons out of which none of them were fit to reign his heir. In this midstMarudgana-gods accompanied by Bharadwaja came to the place of the religious ceremony. They pointed out Bharadwaja to emperor Bharata and said: "O king, this person is born in the Angiras lineage. As you are still finding the right fit for your throne, you may adopt him as a son. He will bring glory to your race."

Bharata became free from worry. At the proper age, Bharadwaja was married. His wife was Susheela. Befitting her name, she was a righteous woman, her character matching her beauty – a wife suited to Bharadwaja. Bharadwaja saluted Bharata for his blessings and kindness.

Bharata had adopted Bharadwaja. Bharata had no other children. There fore, Bharadwaja could have become the emperor. But Bharadwaja had no love for the kingdom. The words of the gods had taken root in his mind. Had they not said, you must impart what you have learnt to others? Righteousness must be established; people should be taught how to live a noble life one's example. Therefore, Bharadwaja arranged one more religious sacrifice by Bharata. He praised and invoked Agni. "O Lord Agni, please get rid of Emperor Bharata's worry and grant him what he wants," he said.

The prayer bore fruit. In due cot Bharata got a son named Bhimanyu. As Bharata died around that time, the duty of Bharadwaja increased. Staying in the palace till Bhimanyu came of age, he guided him and crowned him.Bharadwaja's action in thus saving the dynasty was a great deed. It is in Bharata's dynasty that, later, righteous men like the Pandavas were born.

Bharata's exploits as a child prince are dramatised in Kalidasa's poetic play "The Recognition of Shakuntala".

ee also

*Bharata (disambiguation)
*Hindu mythology
*Bharatas (tribe)
*History of India
*History of Hinduism

External links


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