In the previous episode we had witnessed yet another important point taken up by Vidura for explanation – Why should we stand up in respect to a person with an extremely high stature? We witnessed an interesting explanation to this point that followed during yesterday’s episode. Vidura explains that our breath (“Praanan”) starts to transcend upwards from our body as we fail to stand up in respect for such people. It is only at the moment we get up to pay respect to such a person, will our breath transcend back into our body. This is the reason why we have the age-old practice of standing up in respect to a high stature person like a “Guru” or a “Mahatma” or a “Spirutal Master” while they come close to us. It is important that we understand this well because in the Mahaabharata itself we had seen how Duryodhana was doomed for one of the main reasons that he did not stand up, nor he let any of his ministers stand up in respect when Bhagawan Krishna walked in! This is perhaps the biggest mistake or blunder that Duryodhana committed and it was at this moment, his lifespan was rewritten by Bhagawan Krishna!
Thus Vidura tries to ring the alarm bells to King Dhirdiraashtra, “Oh King Dhirdiraashtra! All what I’m explaining to you now are subtle things, which are completely invisible to our eyes! Here you can clearly see that Duryodhana is making blunders that are both visibile to our naked eye and invisible too! Look at what Duryodhana has done! He cannot be a bigger fool than this! Rather than paying respects to Bhagawan Krishna by standing up, and then offering a seat for Him, what did he end up doing? This, I think has sealed the fate against your son Duryodhana!”
In fact we can also witness in a separate instance how Bhagawan Krishna was himself an epitome of this important quality – When Bhagawan’s friend and an old classmate “Kuchela” came to visit Dwaraka, what did Bhagawan do? The moment he saw Kuchela advancing towards the Dwaraka palace, Bhagawan Krishna ran towards the entrance, stood in front of him, saluted him and payed his respects towards him. Then subsequently Bhagawan Krishna takes Kuchela inside the palace by holding his hands, makes him sit in a chair, washes Kuchela’s feet with water and offers Kuchela something to eat!
We might wonder why Bhagawan is doing all this! As we’ve seen earlier too, by doing this, Bhagawan shows us the way how to respect elders. It must be noted that Kuchela was a poor Brahmin who was clad in a dirty dhoti, which was also torn at many places and moreover, Kuchela and his family was struggling to even get three basic meals a day! Whereas, all of us know who Bhagawan Krishna was! He was a king, with infinite wealth and he was Bhagawan himself! Inspite of this huge difference, Bhagawan goes and pays tribute to this poor old man! Here we should note that neither richness/poorness nor physical appearance, etc. should come in between, while paying respects to a person of such a high stature! Kuchela might have been poor in terms of physical appearance and in terms of wealth, but he was a senior person in terms of knowledge and the awareness of the “Aathman”. This is what is important for Bhagawan Krishna to respect Kuchela! Thus from this example we can witness here how Bhagawan Himself was an epitome when he practised this important virtue!
With this message, we come to the end of this important “Adhyaaya” of the Vidura Neeti. We now move on to the next “Adhyaaya”, which is a relatively smaller one as compared to the others. He commences the next “Adhyaaya” with an important message that while we’re donating something as a “Daanam” or “Charity”, we should donate that item with the attitude that that object is not ours! In other words, only if we donate something with a selfless attitude, will it be of any effect to us!
So for today, let us extend our thoughts on why should we pay respect to elders and people of high stature by standing up. We shall also commence our thought process with regards to giving “Daanam” or “Charity” to others, especially when it comes to elders. We shall continue this discussion in the next episode and take it forward from here! Stay tuned! 🙂