tam tv ena-kunakam krpanam srotasanuhyamanam abhiviksyapaviddham bandhur ivanukampaya rajarsir bharata adaya mrta-mataram ity asrama-padam anayat.
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
The great King Bharata, while sitting on the bank of the river, saw the small deer, bereft of its mother, floating down the river. Seeing this, he felt great compassion. Like a sincere friend, he lifted the infant deer from the waves, and, knowing it to be motherless, brought it to his asrama.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
The laws of nature work in subtle ways unknown to us. Maharaja Bharata was a great king very advanced in devotional service. He had almost reached the point of loving service to the Supreme Lord, but even from that platform he could fall down onto the material platform. In Bhagavad-gita we are therefore warned:
yam hi na vyathayanty ete
so ’mrtatvaya kalpate
“O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation.” (Bg. 2.15)
Spiritual salvation and liberation from material bondage must be worked out with great caution, otherwise a little discrepancy will cause one to fall down again into material existence. By studying the activities of Maharaja Bharata, we can learn the art of becoming completely freed from all material attachment. As it will be revealed in later verses, Bharata Maharaja had to accept the body of a deer due to being overly compassionate for this infant deer. We should be compassionate by raising one from the material platform to the spiritual platform; otherwise at any moment our spiritual advancement may be spoiled, and we may fall down onto the material platform. Maharaja Bharata’s compassion for the deer was the beginning of his falldown into the material world.