(Last Updated on : 06/07/2012)
Bharata was the elder son of Bhagwan Rishabh Dev
, the first Jain Tirthankara. He was included in the list of the 63 Great Men of the Jaina pantheon. Being the first of the 12 Chakravartins Bharata enjoys an exalted position among both the sects of the Jains. He succeeded his father and ruled from Vinita. The Swetambara
Jain works mentions about the life of Bharata and his fight with Bahubali and later his renunciation from the worldly affairs. In the earlier sculptural representations he was incarnated in plastic art in the 10th century A. D. when he became a Chakravarti he told his 98 brothers to accept him as the king. Later they all became ascetics. Similar he also told Bahubali, the second son of Bhagwan Rishabh Dev but the later did not accept his supremacy. Consequently, a fierce struggle took place between Bharata and Bahubali. One day while Bharata was looking in the mirror, he felt disgust for the worldly possessions and realised its futility. Thus, at once he decided to quit the world and become an ascetic. He went in search of omniscience or kevala jnana.
Bharata was held in high respect when he became an ascetic renouncing all the material possessions and took the path of rigorous penance. Bharata like all the other Jain Tirthankaras
performed tapas in the kayotsarga mudra
that has been depicted in the sculptures of Deogarh
. He is shown engrossed in meditation.
At Deogarh there are five sculptures of Bharata that depicts the favoured status that has been rendered to him. These sculptures, measure approximately 40" x 20", belong to the 10th and the 11th century A. D. The sculptures are made of buff sandstone and are sky clad. He is seen standing in the kayotsarga mudra with his arms reaching down to the knees. Two of the images are enshrined in the Temple No. 2, while one is on the eastern wall of the Temple No. 1. One of them can be seen in Temple No. 12. The last of the five images is kept in Saho Jaina Museum. All the sculptures have been elaborately designed and look very appealing. They bear the sign of srivatsa and the hair, in all the cases, is arranged in curls. The half shut eyes suggest deep meditation.
Forms of Bharata
The first figure of Bharata at Deogarh measures 40" x 20" and has been well preserved in the neighbouring Saho Jaina Museum. It was earlier kept in Temple No. 12. The image stands in kayatsarga mudra on a pedestal decorated with lotus petals. Hair locks can be seen over the shoulders of the image. Above the head there is carved a single umbrella, somewhat damaged. Nine vases that are symbolic of nava nidhi can be seen at the right side. Images of two armed Lord Kubera
are carved over the vases. He is the lord of nidhis and is called Dhanada. He is seen holding a fruit and a purse respectively in his right and left hands. Further up are shown sword, staff, umbrella, chakra and cowrie. On the left side of the main image of Bharata three male figures sitting in lalitnsana can be seen. These hold a plough, a vajra and the abhaya mudra
. An image of a man holding the rein of a horse, elephant
and the woman sitting with its one hand kept near the face are also visible on the left side. The figure belongs to the 10th century A. D.
The second figure of Bharata has been carved on the northern direction in the modern enclosure wall of the Temple No. 12. It bears an inscription in Vikram Samvat Era
1095. The image measures 41" x 16." The image is seen standing in the kayotsarga mudra on a simple pedestal. The pedestal exhibits some of the fourteen jewels, such as, the sword, chakra, kakini, horse with a man holding its rein, and the woman. Beautiful carved nine vases are carved at extreme right corner. They are surmounted by a two armed figure of Lord Kubera. It is shown bearing the abhaya mudra and a purse in hands. Four tiny figures of the Jinas, standing in the kayotsarga mudra are carved on the two flanks of Bharata. Two worshippers can be seen seated near the feet of Bharata with folded hands. Bharata is flanked by two male attendants. They are seen standing and in one hand bearing a flywhisk kept on the shoulder while the other hand is resting on thigh. Triple parasol can be seen over his head and a figure beating a drum and two flying maladharas. Behind the head is a plain nimbus. By looking at the camaradharas, flying maladharas, tri chatra, bhamandala and dundubhi vadaka it can be well understood that Bharata has been given a prime place at Deogarh. His status was almost equalled to that of a Tirthankara.
The next two examples of images of Bharata have been well preserved in the Temple Nos. 1 and 2. These images belong to the 11th century A D. Here Bharata has been portrayed with Jain Tirthankaras and Bahubali. The pedestal in Temple No. 1 has a dharmachakra that is flanked by a horse and an elephant.
The fourth image of Bharat in Temple No. 2 depicts identical features like the former ones. However, in this case all the nine vases are carved. A chatratrayi with a disembodied figure beating a drum has been carved over the head of Bharata.
The fifth figure of Bharata is installed in the Temple No. 2. It measures 27"x l5" and belongs to the 11th century A. D. Bharata here stands on a carpet, hanging from the pedestal. He holds a abhaya mudra. The figure may represent either Senapati or Grhapati. A dharmachakra is seen in the centre of the pedestal and is flanked by images of horse and elephant. A female figure is seen sitting near the feet of Bharata. She is adorned with jewels and one hand is kept near the chin. Bharata on the right side is flanked by images of chakra, the cowrie, the vajra and the sword.