Bharata Chakravartin

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1st chakravartin (universal monarch)
Bharata Chakravartin
Statue of Bharata as a Jain monk at Chandragiri Hill, Shravanabelagola
Successor Sagara
Dynasty/Clan Ikshvaku
Predecessor Rishabhanatha
Successor Arkakirti (also called Surya)
Spouse Subhadra
Parents Rishabhanatha (father)
Yasaswati (also known as Nanda or Sumangala) (mother)
Children Marichi, Arkakirti
Kalyanaka / Important Events
Born 10224 years ago
Complexion Golden
Height 500 bows (1500 metres)
Age 84 lakh purva (592.704 × 1018 years)

Bharata was the first chakravartin (universal monarch or world conqueror) of avasarpini (present half time cycle as per Jain cosmology). He was the eldest son of Rishabhanatha, the first Tirthankara. India was named "Bhāratavarsha" or "Bhārata" or "Bharata-bhumi" after him. He had two sons from his chief Queen Sunanda - Arkakirti (also known as Surya) and Marichi. He conquered all the six parts of the world and fought with Bahubali (his brother) in the end to conquer the last remaining city. He gave law to the world, established Brahmin caste (which was much different from the present day caste).[1] In his later years, he renounced the world and became a Digambara monk. He attained Kevala Jnana (omniscience) and Moksha (liberation) and became a siddha.


Bharata was first chakravartin of the present half cycle of Jain cosmology.[2]

Previous incarnations

In one of his previous incarnations, he was one of the ahamindra—companion of a Deva (heavenly being) in the heaven known as Swartha Siddhi. That deva was born as Lord Rishabhanatha in his next reincarnation. Some of his other previous incarnations were as Mativara (minister of King Bajrajangha), Atigridha (King of Vatsakavati in East Videha of the Jambudvipa), in the fourth hell, as a lion and as a deva in second heaven.[3]

Early life

One night Queen Yasasvati Devi, senior-most queen of Rishabhanatha, saw four auspicious dreams. She saw the sun and the moon, the Mount Meru, the lake with swans, earth and the ocean in her dreams. Lord Rishabhanatha explained her that these dreams mean that a Chakravartin ruler will be born to them who will conquer whole of the world.[4] Then, Bharata was born to them on the ninth day of the dark half of the month of Chaitra (Hindu calendar).[5][3][6] He was a Kshatriya born in Ikshvaku dynasty.[7] His education included special emphasis on law and the science of polity of kings. He also had interest in dancing and art.[8] His chief queen was Subhadra.[9]


After Rishabhanatha developed a desire for renunciation, he distributed his kingdom to his hundred sons, of whom Bharata got the city of Vinita (Ayodhya) and Bahubali got the city of Podanapur (Taxila).[10] His coronation was followed by a long journey of world conquest. During his digvijaya (winning six divisions of earth in all directions), he acquired the nine nidhis (most precious treasures) and fourteen ratna (jewels). Then, he proceeded for his capital Ayodhyapuri with a huge army and the divine chakra-ratna (spinning, disk-like super weapon with serrated edges).[11] But the chakra-ratna, surprisingly, stopped on its own at the entrance of Ayodhyapuri signalling that there still remain his 99 brothers who have refused submission to his supreme authority. 98 of them became munis (ascetics) and submitted their kingdoms to him.[12] Bahubali refused to submit and challenged him for a fight.[13] It was decided that to settle the dispute, three kinds of contests can be held between Bharata and Bahubali. These were, eye-fight (staring at each other), jala-yuddha (water-fight) and mala-yuddha (wrestling). Bahubali won all the three contests, but instead of throwing Bharata down on the ground in the wrestling (last fight), he lifted him up on his shoulder and then gently placed him on the ground, out of an affectionate regard for him. Humiliated and infuriated, Bharata called for his divine weapon chakra-ratna. Instead of harming Bahubali, it merely circled round him and came to rest in front of him. This had happened because such divine weapons lose their effectiveness when confronted with the master’s close relations.[14] After this Bahubali, developed a desire for renunciation and gave up his kingdom to become a Digambara monk.[15]


Bharata was the first law-giver of the current half-cycle.[16] He is said to have brought Brahmin Varna (caste) into being.[2][17] This Brahmin class was very different from present Brahmin class.[1] He is said to have possessed clairvoyance. He taught men the science of predicting the occurrence of certain events by means of some 'signs'.[18] Like all chakravatins, Bharata also found his ambitions dwarfed by the vastness of the cosmos. Therefore, he is said to have become a Digambara monk and attained moksha (liberation).[citation needed]


Bharata married many princesses during his world conquest.[19] He was succeeded by his son Arka Kirti (founder of Suryavansha).[20] Bharata also had another son named Marichi, who was one of the previous incarnation of Mahavira, the twenty-fourth tirthankara.[21]


According to Jain texts, one day Bharata discovered a white hair in his head and taking it to be the messenger and herald of old age, immediately decided to become a Digambara monk. Because of the effect of his growing renunciation over the years, he destroyed his inimical karmas within an antaramuhūrta (less than forty-eight minutes) and attained Kevala Jnana (omniscience).[22]


India was named "Bhāratavarsha" or "Bhārata" or "Bharata-bhumi" after him.[23][9] In the Hindu text, Skanda Purana (chapter 37) it is stated that "Rishabha was the son of Nabhiraja, and Rishabha had a son named Bharata, and after the name of this Bharata, this country is known as Bharata-varsha."[24] Another Hindu text, Vishnu Purana mentions:

ऋषभो मरुदेव्याश्च ऋषभात भरतो भवेत्
भरताद भारतं वर्षं, भरतात सुमतिस्त्वभूत्
Rishabha was born to Marudevi, Bharata was born to Rishabh,
Bharatavarsha (India) arose from Bharata, and Sumati arose from Bharata
—Vishnu Purana (2,1,31)


Some Jain temples contain images of Bharata as a Digambara monk, including one at Shravanabelagola. The Irinjalakuda (Koodalmanickam) Bharata temple in Kerala was originally a Jain temple dedicated to Bharata as the main deity.[25]


Ādi purāṇa, a 10th-century Jain text deals with the ten lives of the first tirthankara, Rishabhanatha, also known as Adinatha, and his two sons, Bharata and Bahubali.[26][27]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Jain 2008, p. 111.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jaini 2000, p. 341.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Champat Rai Jain 1929, p. 90.
  4. Champat Rai Jain 1929, p. 89.
  5. Champat Rai Jain 1929, p. 66.
  6. Umakant P. Shah 1987, p. 112.
  7. Champat Rai Jain 1929, p. 92.
  8. Champat Rai Jain 1929, p. 93.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Umakant P. Shah 1987, p. 72.
  10. Titze 1998, p. 8.
  11. Vijay K. Jain 2013, p. x.
  12. Vijay K. Jain 2013, p. x-xi.
  13. Champat Rai Jain 1929, p. 143.
  14. Vijay K. Jain 2013, p. xi.
  15. Champat Rai Jain 1929, p. 145.
  16. Jain 2008, p. 110.
  17. Champat Rai Jain 1929, p. 101.
  18. Jain 2008, p. 115.
  19. Champat Rai Jain 1929, p. 141.
  20. Champat Rai Jain 1929, p. 106.
  21. Champat Rai Jain 1929, p. 118.
  22. Vijay K. Jain 2013, p. xii.
  23. Champat Rai Jain 1929, p. 159.
  24. Sangave 2001, p. 106.
  25. "Introduction to Temples of Kerala",<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. "History of Kannada literature",<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Students' Britannica India, 1–5, Popular Prakashan, 2000, ISBN 0-85229-760-2<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>