In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Vyaasa explaining the reason (in brief) as to why Duryodhana was an epitome of anger and frustration every time. He was not at all happy with the Paandavas being given so much importance, because of the fact that Duryodhana knew that they were not the “direct” sons of King Paandu. As we’ve witnessed earlier, King Paandu had this curse that if he gets together with his wives to have children, that would immediately mark his end. However, fortunately or unfortunately, Kunthi Devi had this boon of obtaining children at her will and wish by offering prayers to the “Devatas”. In fact, it is in this way she obtained Karna before her marriage with King Paandu. When she had first obtained this boon, she wanted to test how this boon works. With this intention, she offered prayers towards Bhagawan Surya and she was gifted with a baby whose name was Karna. Since the society would talk ill of her that she had a baby before marriage, she secretly left the baby on a raft along the river, which was later picked up by an ordinary charioteer. This is why Karna is often referred as “Raadheya”, which means that he was brought up by a charioteer.
Apart from Karna, as we had witnessed yesterday, Kunthi Devi had three other sons after her marriage with King Paandu. As for King Paandu’s other wife, Maadhri Devi, on the advice of Kunthi Devi, Maadhri Devi too had two sons, who were none other than Nakula and Sahadeva. Thus, Kunthi’s three sons plus Maadri’s two sons together constitute the five “Paandava” brothers. Thus, since the Paandava brothers weren’t the direct next generation of King Paandu, Duryodhana was irked when they were given “undue” importance in all corners. Even King Dhirdiraashtra had the same query in his mind. How can he accept someone who is not his brother’s direct son? Not only King Dhirdiraashtra – The entire courtroom of Hastinapura refused to accept the Pandavas. It is at this point, a divine voice is heard from above, explaining to all of them present there that it is their bound duty to accept these five children, failing which, they would have to encounter dire consequences in the future.
Left with no other option, King Dhirdiraashtra had to accept the five children and with this, Duryodhana’s anger increased further. His anger now turned into frustration and this frustration burst out in various ways in the future. Thus as we move into the details of the Mahabharata text, we would witness in what all ways did Duryodhana express his anguish and frustration towards the Paandavas and how did Bhagawan Krishna come to the rescue of the Paandavas at all times whenever they faced hardships. Hence, this is the background of Duryodhana’s intense fury.
So moving on further, Sage Vyaasa explains the greatness of the five Paandava brothers next – The first and the oldest person in the group is Yudishtra. Yudishtra, as we know, was the son of Yama-Dharma-Raja and rightly so, Yudishtra was an epitome of Dharma. Whatever is prescribed in the “Dharma” textbook, Yudishtra would follow it verbatim, without asking any question. For instance, if we are in this position and if some aspect of “Dharma” is explained to us by someone, what would we do? We would immediately ask for “proof”, wouldn’t we? We would also find thousands of reasons as to why we shouldn’t follow this aspect of “Dharma” that is being explained, isn’t it? However, Yudishtra’s case isn’t the same way. He stood firmly by the “Dharma”, didn’t he? This is why his name contains the “Shabdha” called “Sthiraha”. This term “Sthiraha” means “standing firm on something”. Moreover, even when it comes to war (“Yuddhaha”), Yudishtra exhibited his firmness to fight. During the Kurukshetra war, when Arjuna’s mind entered into some sort of confusion whether to fight or not, Yudhishtra stood firm to his ground to fight it out, isn’t it? Even during the gambling episode, when Duryodhana and Shahuni called the Paandava brothers for the gamble, Yudishtra stood firm on his ground to go for it, even though he knew that he was being trapped. Thus, since Yudishtra was firm on whatever he did, even in the case of a war, he was called “Yudishtra” (Yuddhaha + Sthiraha). Also since he was an epitome of “Dharma” and stood by it, and since he was born out of the divine grace of Yama-Dharma-Raja, he obtained the name “Dharma-Putra”.
Thus from now, readers shouldn’t get confused with the names of Yudishtra. At some points, he would be referred to as “Yudishtra” and at some other points, he would be referred to as “Dharma-Putra”. It all means the same person only. So for today, let us understand this point very clearly, and let us wait till the next episode to witness how the other four Paandava brothers obtained their names. Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂