King Nābhi (Nabhi), belonging to the genealogical line of Priyavrata, the eldest son of Svāyambhuva(Swaymbhuva) Manu, performed a yajña (yajna;fire-sacrifice), in order to get a son like God Viṣṇu (Vishnu). Appeased with his worship, God Viṣṇu blessed him –“Since there is nobody else like me in this world, I will partly incarnate myself in order to be born as the son of king Nābhi”.
By the grace of God Viṣṇu, the son named Ṛṣabha (Rishabha)was born of the womb of Merudevī, and sired by King Nābhi. Since Ṛṣabha was a partial incarnation of God Viṣṇu, he was a great yogī (yogi; a master of yoga) and he had many miraculous powers. King Nābhi corronated Ṛṣabha as the king of Ajanābha (Ajanabha) varṣa (varsha). Once Indra stopped rainfall in the kingdom of Ṛṣabha. Ṛṣabha then brought rain through his yogic powers.
Jayantī (Jayanti), daughter of Indra, was the wife of Ṛṣabha. She gave birth to hundred sons, sired by Ṛṣabha. Bharata was the eldest son of Ṛṣabha. Among the other sons of Ṛṣabha — Kuśāvarta (Kusavarta), Ilāvarta (Ilavarta), Brahmāvarta (Brahmavarta), Malaya, Ketu, Bhadrasena, Indraspṛk (Indrasprik), Vidarbha and Kīṭaka(Kitaka) — these nine became distinguished as Rājarṣi (Rajarshi).
Of the remaining sons of Ṛṣabha — Kavi, Hari, Antarīkṣa (Antariksha), Pravuddha, Pippalāyana (Pippalayana), Āvirhotra (Avirhotra), Drumila, Camasa (Chamasa), Karabhājana (Karabhajana)– these nine became preachers of Bhāgavata (Bhagavata) dharma. The other eighty one sons of Ṛṣabha, though born as Kṣatriya, attained Brāhmaṇatva (Brahmanatwa; the status of a Brahmana) through tapasyā (tapasya; ascetic practice of penance).
Once the godlike Ṛṣabha adviced his sons and subjects in Brahmāvarta. After a long period of rule, he handed over his kingly duties as a king to his eldest son Bharata, and went to the forest to perform tapasyā. Renouncing his kingdom, wealth, and even his garments, he adopted maunavrata (the vow of remaining silent) travelled on, from one country to another. As a result of his austere pnance, his handsome features became skinny and skeletal. Seeing his appearance with matted locks, people started jeeringat him; they even tortured him. Then the godlike Ṛṣabha resorted to Ajagaravrata. In this state, he life came to an end.
Towards the end of his motral life, Ṛṣabhadeva, willing to leave his corporeal existence, traveled through many countries and came to South India. He was roaming about places like Konka, Venkata, Kūṭaka (Kutaka)and the southern parts of Karṇāṭaka (Karnataka). During this time, he met his death in some forest-fire.