A Jnani Falls:
The Story of Jadbharat
Jadbharat was a highly renounced and accomplished jnani who had attained the state of atma jnana (practical knowledge of the existence of the soul).
He lived a completely renounced life in a remote and uninhabited area with a few disciples. One day he was bathing on the banks of a nearby stream.
A pregnant deer was just crossing that stream when she heard the loud roar of a nearby predator. Startled, she leapt with such urgency that she immediately gave birth.
The baby deer fell into the water and was being swept along with the current.
Jadbharat observed this and thought, "He will die." Feeling compassion, he waded into the stream's fast flowing current and saved the baby deer from drowning.
He brought the cold and hungry baby deer to his hut, kept him warm and started feeding him. Naturally over time, the deer started to feel that Jadbharat was his mother, and Jarbharat also developed a great fondness for the gentle deer.
Some years later, as his death time drew near, Jadbharat called his disciples to his hut and said, "Please continue to look after the deer. He is an orphan." Placing his hand on the deer's head, he closed his eyes and died.
Ironically, although Jadbharat had attained a spiritual height as a jnani, due to his emotional attachment and the nature of his final thoughts, he was reborn as a deer.
As Shri Krishna explains in the Gita (Verses 8/5-7):
"The one who departs from the body, thinking of Me alone at the time of death, attains Me; there is no doubt about it."
"Arjuna, whatever one thinks about at the time of death, that and that alone he attains because he was ever-absorbed in its remembrance."
"Therefore, Arjuna, think of Me at all times and fight.With your mind and intellect dedicated to Me, you will definitely come to Me."
Although Jadbharat had entered the form of a deer, he retained the memory of his previous birth, and he vowed to not make the same mistake in the future. In his next and final birth he again because a great jnani and attained Divine realization.
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