Episode # 269 – King Dhirdiraashtra commences his reply to Vidura’s advice!!!

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In the previous episode we had witnessed the introductory note for the 39’th Adhyaaya of the Vidura Neeti. So far we’ve seen the “Adhyaayas” 33-38 under the “Prajaakara Paruva” under the main “Udyoga Parva” and readers might be familiar with this, since we’re more or less repeating the connotation after almost every Adhyaaya.  Here we are going to witness some important concluding remarks that Vidura is going to give to King Dhirdiraashtra. This is very significant because Vidura is going to give some illustrations, anecdotes and stories to substantiate his points that he had discussed so far. This is going to be an interesting phase of the Vidura Neeti project, and I request our readers to read through and enjoy the same. Of course, the word “enjoyment” signifies our in-depth understanding of the “Dharma” and its implementation in our regular day-to-day life. 🙂

As we’ve witnessed in the innumerable number of slokas in the past six “Adhyaayas”, when we now come to the concluding stage, we would expect King Dhirdiraashtra to realize his mistake and accept Vidura’s advice! For instance, even at our home when we do some mistake and when our father or mother scolds and advises us to mend our ways, what do we do? At the end of the scolding or advice (or both), we either seek an apology to our wrongful act and/or give an assurance to our parents that we would not involve our-self in such an act again in future. This is the normal customary practice. We can witness the same phenomenon at the end of the Bhagawad Gita too. After Bhagawan Krishna explains all the principles of Dharma to Arjuna in the form of 700 odd slokas, Arjuna finally replies to Bhagawan with his folded arms that he had understood all the principles of “Dharma” by now and that, he would meticulously follow and implement these principles in his life starting from this day! It should be remembered by our readers that the entire Bhagawad Gita was born only out of Arjuna’s doubts and confusion. He asks Bhagwan Krishna with tears in his eyes thus, “Oh Vasudeva! I see in front of me, all my cousins and my relatives! I see in front of me, my own Guru Dhronachaarya! Are you asking me to fight against my own dearest people? What am I going to achieve in killing them altogether? What is the use of ruling Hastinapura kingdom if these senior people and my relatives are dead? I’m confused as to what is “Dharma” and what is “Adharma”. So please clarify this for me! It is only upon this important question that Bhagawan Krishna commences his explanation of the Bhagawad Gita and at the end of the 700 slokas, Arjuna replies to Bhagawan that he had understood all of what he had explained and that his mind is now devoid of all confusions!

Similarly here too, we’ve witnessed at the beginning of the Vidura Neeti that King Dhirdiraashtra had a sleepless night with so much of confusion and worries in his mind. It is at this time he calls upon Vidura seeking his advice. Vidura explains to King Dhirdiraasshtra, all the principles of the “Dharma”. Now at the end of all this, ideally King Dhirdiraashtra should reply thus: “Oh Vidura! I’ve understood all the advice that you had rendered to me over the past few hours. From now I shall mend my ways and try to mend Duryodhana’s ways as well. I shall take steps to divide the Hastinapura Kingdom equally amongst the Kauravas and the Paandavas and thus put an end to this crisis situation! I shall treat both the Paandavas and Kauravas equally and give the Paandavas their due share and opportunity to make a good life in Hastinapura!”

Now, if King Dhirdiraashtra would have given such a reply, Vidura would have been the most happiest man on earth! All the advice that Vidura had given till now would have borne some fruit. But did King Dhirdiraashtra reply this way? We’re going to witness in this “Adhyaaya” how King Dhirdiraashtra virtually “wrote off” Vidura’s valuable advice! He’s going to reply to Vidura thus, “Oh Vidura! Whatever you’ve explained till now seems perfectly right for me! This is what our forefathers and ancesstors have been practicing too! I totally agree! Every king in this world should implement all these principles so as to become successful. However, although my mind agrees and accepts all these principles, my heart doesn’t! Upon looking at my son Duryodhana, my heart refuses to accept whatever you’ve said till now! I feel that even if myself or Duryodhana are acting as per “Adharma”, it is virtually impossible and is too late now to take corrective action!”

By listening to this reply, we would normally expect Vidura to get furious and frustrated! But was it the case? The answer is “no”! Vidura replies back calmly thus, “Oh King Dhirdiraashtra! I do not worry about whether you would implement my words or not! I do not worry about whether you would appreciate me for my advice or not! I do not expect any kind of reward from you! I’m only interested in doing my duty! It was my duty to explain all the principles of “Dharma” that I know, and I’ve done that with perfection. Now it’s upto you to follow or not! It is upto you to accept my advice or throw it into the dustbin! The ball is in your court now!”

Saying thus, Vidura gets up and leaves the palace! It should be noted by the readers here that when Vidura commenced his advice in the 33’rd Adhyaaya, he told King Dhirdiraashtra the same thing – He is just doing this not to please King Dhirdiraashtra and obtain some rewards or appreciation of any kind. His duty as a minister is to explain the “Dharma” and to solve the doubts of his king. Vidura has done his job to perfection! Now it is upto King Dhirdiraashtra to take it forward to implement! Will he do it? Let us find out in the 39’th and 40’th Adhyaaya in detail as to what was King Dhirdiraashtra’s reply. So far for the past couple of episodes we’re witnessing the overview of these two Adhyaayas in detail because of this important fact to be highlighted – A minister’s duty is to advice the king on various subjects, and Vidura has perfectly played the role of an able minister! Now if the king is ready to accept the advice or not, is not the minister’s headache! It is for the king to decide! This is “Raaja Dharma” at its best!

So for today let us appreciate Vidura’s stance on this matter and we shall wait till tomorrow’s episode to commence our discussion on the 39’th Adhyaaya, sloka after sloka in detail. 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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