tatrapi svajana-sangac ca bhrsam udvijamano bhagavatah karma-bandha-vidhvamsana-sravana-smarana-guna-vivarana-caranaravinda-yugalam manasa vidadhad atmanah pratighatam asankamano bhagavad-anugrahenanusmrta-sva-purva-janmavalir atmanam unmatta-jadandha-badhira-svarupena darsayam asa lokasya.
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Due to his being especially gifted with the Lord’s mercy, Bharata Maharaja could remember the incidents of his past life. Although he received the body of a brahmana, he was still very much afraid of his relatives and friends who were not devotees. He was always very cautious of such association because he feared that he would again fall down. Consequently he manifested himself before the public eye as a madman — dull, blind and deaf — so that others would not try to talk to him. In this way he saved himself from bad association. Within he was always thinking of the lotus feet of the Lord and chanting the Lord’s glories, which save one from the bondage of fruitive action. In this way he saved himself from the onslaught of nondevotee associates.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Every living entity is bound by different activities due to association with the modes of nature. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, karanam guna-sango ’sya sad-asad-yoni-janmasu: “This is due to his association with that material nature. Thus he meets with good and evil among various species.” (Bg. 13.22)
We get different types of bodies among 8,400,000 species according to our karma. Karmana daiva-netrena: we work under the influence of material nature contaminated by the three modes, and thus we get a certain type of body according to superior order. This is called karma-bandha. To get out of this karma-bandha, one must engage himself in devotional service. Then one will not be affected by the modes of material nature.
mam ca yo ’vyabhicarena
sa gunan samatityaitan
“One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.” (Bg. 14.26) To remain immune from the material qualities, one must engage himself in devotional service — sravanam kirtanam visnoh. That is the perfection of life. When Maharaja Bharata took birth as a brahmana, he was not very interested in the duties of a brahmana, but within he remained a pure Vaisnava, always thinking of the lotus feet of the Lord. As advised in Bhagavad-gita: man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru. This is the only process by which one can be saved from the danger of repeated birth and death.