In the previous episode we had witnessed yet another important point as explained by Vidura. Here he speaks about the unity between the two clans – Kauravas and the Paandavas and how important it is for a successful and a healthy kingdom. Vidura compared it with a beautiful analogy of a banyan tree with innumerable branches. Just like how a banyan tree grows into a mammoth size and also with immense strength, the tree called “Hasthinapura Kingdom” would be able to grow with invincible power and strength only if the trunk called “Paandavas” and branches called “Kauravas” are intact with perfect co-ordination and unity. Now the problem is that, this unity between the “trunk” and “branches” is missing, and this is what is fueling all the problems. Vidura reminds King Dhirdiraashtra time and again that the Paandavas are ready to relent as they’re embodiments of love and compassion. Moreover, the Paandavas have immense respect for King Dhirdiraashtra, which is widely known to all! Hence it is only in the part of Duryodhana to make the compromise and accept them unconditionally. It is only because of Duryodhana’s ego and crookedness, Hasthinapura is facing immense amounts of problems!
This is exactly what is happening in today’s world too – We talk so much on unity, but if we introspect within ourselves and our families, or community, our religion, etc. where is the unity today? Even within a family today, how many fights and quarrels keep happening? How many couples end up in divorce due to lack of unity and understanding between them? It is so saddening to see even children and parents fighting with each other over property disputes, money matters, taking care of parents when they are aged, etc.
Thus the important message from this portion of the Vidura Neeti is that, we should develop this virtue of “unity” at all situations – It might be within a husband and a wife, or between parents and children, or between a family with relatives, or between our own neighbourhood, or within our community, religion, etc. and finally within our own fellow countrymen! This is also important – Whichever country we are from and wherever we are, we should maintain the unity amongst our own fellow countrymen and treat them like our own family members! This is why we say in our National Pledge – “India is my country and all fellow Indians are my brothers and sisters!” Isn’t it? Hence we should realize that this should not just be read monotonously, but we should bring it into practice every day! 🙂
Thus moving further, Vidura now explains the final point for this “Adhyaya” as to how we should respect elderly people and those who are of a high stature in life! He says thus:
“Uurthvam praanaanaaha uthkraamanti yoonasthavira aayati!
Prathuthaanaabhi vaadaabhyaam kulasthaam prathipathyathe!!”
Here Vidura makes an important mention. How do we respect a person who is of a very high stature? We normally stand up out of respect to that person, isn’t it? This is the practice not only in today’s scenario, but also during the ancient times too. This is exactly what Vidura is now referring to in this context. He explains that if we fail to stand up from our seat, while a person with extremely high stature is walking towards us, our breathing comes to a stand still for that moment and we would ideally be dead! In other words, if a person of a high stature is walking in front of us, until the point we get up to pay respect, our breath would start going out of our body. It is only after we stand up in front of that person, will our breath come back to us! This is a very subtle point of discussion as this is not a visible aspect to our human eye to witness and understand. This happens at an extremely subtle level, but this is extremely significant.
Thus it is believed that if a person of a high stature is in front of us, until the point we get up from our seat, our breath (“Praanan”) would start transcending upwards from our body. It is only after we get up with respect that “Praanan” again transcends down into our lungs and makes us alive again! Hence we should understand here that from the time we get up from our chair and till the time we’re fully standing in front of that person with a high stature, we’re virtually considered to be “dead”! Thus it becomes extremely important for us to respect a person with a high stature by standing up. If we fail to do so, we should understand that our “Praanan” goes out and thus our lifespan starts to decrease! We need to be very careful here!
Now we might wonder as to why Vidura gives so much of stress to this point! This is exactly where Duryodhana was “trapped” into! When Bhagawan Krishna – A person with the highest stature in this world, walked inside the courtroom of King Dhirdiraashtra, Duryodhana had instructed all of the people assembled there, not to stand up in respect to Bhagawan! When Bhagawan entered the courtroom, none of them stood up, except Duryodhana of course! But there was a definitive time lag between the moment Bhagwan entered and Duryodhana standing up! This started to mark the end of his fate! His days were starting to get counted, and all of us know what happened after that! The entire lot of people faced similar backlash with their lifespan because of their gross disrespect towards Bhagawan!
Hence from this important episode we should understand clearly that when a person of a high stature – Might be a “Guru” or a “Mahatma” or anyone for that matter comes to us, we need to immediately stand up in respect towards them! For today let us ponder over this important point and we shall take it forward in the next episode for more discussion as we enter into the next “Adhyaaya”! Stay tuned! 🙂