Episode # 6 – Commencing the “Vidura-Neethi” – Setting up the context for discussion!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed in detail as to how the great Mahaabhaarata was propagated to the world through the narration of Sage Vaishampaayana to King Janame-Jaya. In due course we also learnt the significance of the “Art of Listening” to elderly and experienced people. This is extremely relevant in the modern day too, as unfortunately innumerable issues arise due to lack of patience for listening to other people! Thus we have begun our second mega project with an important food for thought!

Moving on further, as we’ve discussed previously too, the Mahaabhaarata text is way too huge to be comprehended at a stretch. Hence it would be easier for us if we split the text into different parts – Just like how we eat spoon after spoon from a big morsel of rice! In that way, for this project we are going to discuss and ponder upon one such important part – The “VIDURA-NEETHI”! What is the context of this “Vidura-Neethi” and where does it come in the Mahaabhaarata? What does it explain about? Let us try and set up the context in today’s episode!

As the name suggests, Vidhura, who is King Dhirdruraashra’s minister explains and reminds King Dhirdruraashtra about the important principles of “Raaja-Dharma” with innumerable small stories and quotes. We would be wondering why should Vidhura narrate and remind all these things to King Dhirdruraashtra. Doesn’t King Dhirdruraashtra know everything by himself? Where does this context come? Let’s try and answer these questions today.

As we set up the context, ff we have a quick glance through the Mahaabhaarata text, in the “Aadhi Paruva” it talks about the birth of Bhishma, Kauravas, Paandavas, Lord Krishna, etc. and how did all of them grow up. It also sows the seeds for all the disputes that they had with each other. The next is the “Sabhaa Paruva” wherein it talks about the infamous “Ludo” game that takes place between the Paandavas and the Kauravas. It should be noted here that “Betting” has already been in practice even in the “Dwaapara Yuga”. Sahuni (Duryodhana’s uncle) comes into the play and swings the game towards the Kauravas, thus according to the pledge, the Paandavas had to surrender their kingdom. Their wife, Draupathi was publicly insulted in the courtroom by Duryodhana and Co. thus sowing the seeds for the great Mahaabhaarata war.

The subsequent Paruva is the “Vana Paruva”, wherein the Paandavas are exiled to the forest for a fixed number of years and post that, is the “Viraata Paruva” wherein the Paandavas were supposed to adopt the “Agnyaatha-Vaasa”, that is, they should live in a city, but live unnoticed by anybody in the royal family. Thus the Paandavas lived in a city called “Viraata”. It is only at the end of this “Viraata Paruva” does this “Go-Grahanam” takes place. I’ve explained this in the previous episode wherein Duryodhana takes all the cows of the Viraata city to hostage and Arjuna comes and retrieves all of them. There is a doubt that whether that one-year period of “Agnyaatha-Vaasa” of the Paandavas has come to an end or not – Duryodhana claims that he has seen the Paandavas before that one-year time period and hence they should again go back to the forest! However, Paandavas along with Bhishma, Guru Dhronaachaarya, etc. deny the claim. They try to advise Duryodhana on his wrong calculation. As Duryodhana sticks to his stance unrelentingly, this becomes the base for the fight to intensify further.

Finally as things are getting out of hands, King Dhirdruraashtra tries to take one last measure to dose down the fight – He sends a messenger from his side to the Paandavas so as to try and pacify them. In return, the Paandavas send Sage Ulooka as a messenger to talk with the Kauravas and settle things. Sage Ulooka comes and advises King Dhirdriraashtra to split the kingdom and give the due share to the Paandavas as per the initial agreement. However, all this advice went in vein! None in the Kaurava camp were ready to compromise! In return, King Dhirdriraashtra sends one of his ministers Sanjaya as a messenger to the Paandava camp. This constitutes the “Sanjaya-Yaana Paruva”.

It is to be noted here that each “Paruva” (Part) has innumerable “Upa-Paruvas” (Sub-Parts). Now we are at the fifth Paruva called as the “Udyoga Paruva”. It is in this “Paruva” that all the preparations are getting ready for the mega-war between the two camps. There are many interesting events that take place in this particular “Udyoga Paruva”, including Lord Krishna’s service as a mediator between the Paandavas and the Kauravaas. Lord Krishna tried his level best to console the Kaurava camp and tried to explain Dharma to them. However again, all of these went in vein!

It is only in this “Udyoga Paruva” is the “Vidura-Neethi”! This “Vidura-Neethi” is embedded in the “Prajaagara Paruva”, which is an Upa-Paruva of the main “Udyoga Paruva”. The word “Prajaagara” in Sanskrit means “Sleeplessness during the nighttime”!

King Dhirdruraashtra is now suffering from lack of sleep! He is puzzled as to why is he unable to sleep properly. He feels as if he is burning with innumerable problems around him! He is worried if he would end up splitting the kingdom and giving it to the Paandava camp. He is worried if his son Duryodhana would end up as a loser in front of the Paandavas. Worrying about all these, King Dhirdruraashtra is unable to sleep peacefully! It is at this time that he calls upon Vidhura to seek some advice. King Dhirdriraashtra wants to understand from Vidhura the reason behind his worries and sleeplessness.

We can see this same kind of suffering even in the modern day – All of us undergo innumerable problems and sufferings every passing day and as a result of that, we end up thinking too much about all of them. At the end of the day, because of all these thoughts we end up losing our peace of mind, which directly results in lack of sleep!

But is there a solution for this? Or, do we need to tolerate everything and live with all the problems and disturbed mind? The “Vidura-Neeti” offers excellent solutions to this problem. Thus, from tomorrow’s episode we are going to witness various principles that are narrated by Vidhura to King Dhirdriraashtra so as to help him come out of all his worries, in order to attain peace of mind! Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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