In the previous episode we had an extremely interesting discussion on what is “Hell” and “Heaven”. We witnessed that “Heaven” and “Hell” are two subjective terminologies and that, they would differ according to different people’s needs and likes. But one thing is constant – Everybody likes to experience “Heaven” and dislikes to experience “Hell”. We witnessed real-time examples to illustrate this important point. Also we looked into the Valmiki Ramayana to drive home this point as well, wherein Sita explains to Lord Rama as to what is “Heaven” and “Hell” according to her. This moved Rama to tears and accepted Sita’s decision to accompany him to the forest.
Thus through all these explanations, Vidura is trying to remind King Dhirdiraashtra that he belongs to the upper echlons of the society and thus it should also reflect in his outlook and behavior. Vidura explains thus: “Oh King Dhirdiraashtra! You are thinking that getting this kingdom as a whole is going to give you the ultimate happiness and Heaven! It seems that although you physically belong to the royal elite class of people, you’re mentally belonging to the poorest of the poor in the society!”
Upon hearing this stunner from Vidura, King Dhirdiraashtra is taken aback! He replies to Vidura thus: “Oh Vidura! How do you say so? In what ways do I belong to such a low strata of people in the society? As a king, isn’t it my right to protect the kingdom all by myself and according to my wish? Why should you find fault in this?”
Upon hearing this, Vidura explains thus, “Oh King! You might be right! But there is a small clause to this – If you did not have the bound duty of splitting the kingdom for other people, then whatever you’ve said just now would hold good! However this is not the case here! Your brother’s sons also have equal rights for ruling Hasthinapura. You are vehemently denying their rights just for your personal glory!Thus if you would belong to the elite class of people what should you desire for? You should be careful that your brand reputation as a king shouldn’t come down! When will your brand reputation sustain in this case? It would suffice only if you set aside a portion of Hasthinapura to the Pandavas. But what’re you doing now? Just like a poor or a low class person, you have desire only on money and property and trying to snatch it from others! Hence please realize that this is a wrong and a dangerous path that you are taking. Please don’t fall into that “low-class” category. Please live up to your reputation of being a king! Please try to behave in such a way that this world would praise you as a righteous king!”
“Aishwaryamada paapishtaa madaah paanam adaadayaha!”
Here Vidura goes on to nail King Dhirdiraashtra even more! He says, “Oh King! People have or develop euphoria for two things in this world – One is for money and the other is for alcohol! Looking at you, it seems for me that the euphoria that is created in a person due to consumption of alcoholic drinks is much lower as compared to the euphoria that is created due to greed for money and property! This is because if the person who had consumed alcohol the previous night, will be fine the next day after he wakes up and takes a refreshing bath! That euphoria would have vanished. Whereas the person who has the euphoria for money and property (“Aishwaryam”) would never disappear even after days or months!”
Thus in other words, Vidura explains here that those people who are in greed of more and more money and property are always in a state of euphoria or an immense state of anxiety or excitement. Thus somehow, the euphoria created by alcoholism seems better than the euphoria created by greed for money and property!
A kind request to all our readers: This is a very important phase in the “Vidura Neeti” where Vidura directly points out the blunders one by one that King Dhirdiraashtra has committed in his life so far as a king. Each of these blunders that Vidura lists down is directly applicable to all of us in some way or the other in the present day. Hence all of us should really spend some time and focus on this phase of the “Vidura Neeti” very carefully with full attention and simultaneously introspect within ourselves as we read on. I’m trying to go very slowly with just one sloka per episode, so that we would have ample time to think over it and introspect.
We shall wait till the next episode to continue this important discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂