In the previous episode, we were witnessing an important series of events that are going to lead to a potential danger to King Janame-Jaya. In this regard, we’ve seen how Sage Soma-Shrava arrived at Hastinapura upon the invitation given by King Janame-Jaya in order to help him get alleviated from the curse that he had obtained from the “Deva-Lokha dog”. However, within the time that King Janame-Jaya went for a war with a nearby king and came back, problems started to mount for him in an unexpected manner. There was an unexpected turn of events that happened, and this is what we’re currently witnessing as an offshoot story from the main discussion. As part of this, we’ve witnessed who Sage Aayodha-Dhoumya was, and how his three disciples are extremely devoted in service to him. We’ve accordingly witnessed one such disciple, Aaruni-Paanchala, who was the first to prove his mettle, so as to obtain the title “Uddhaalaka” from Sage Aayodha-Dhoumya for his exceptional service to the Guru.
Now it is time for the next disciple, Upamanyu to prove his mettle. As per the instruction of Sage Aayodha-Dhoumya, he takes all the cows for grazing. He chugs all of them through to the paddy fields each day and waits till the cows freely graze all the paddy to their utmost satisfaction. Days passed by, however, Upamanyu was well-nourished, healthy and fit. He never seemed to have even an iota of tiredness in him. Looking at this, Sage Aayodha-Dhoumya enquired the reason behind Upamanyu’s strong health inspite of the strenuous work that he is doing every day. Upamanyu replies thus, “Oh Guru! As per the norms and tradition, I consume whatever comes to me as “Bhiksha” (Selfless offering of food and / or food grains) from people around me. This is why I’m hale and healthy!” However, the Guru had other plans here – Sage Dhoumya replies thus, “Oh Upamanyu! I guess you’re mistaken a bit – Whatever “Bhiksha” you get from others should ideally come to the Guru. You shouldn’t consume anything without my permission! So from tomorrow onwards, whatever you get as “Bhiksha” should be given to me!”
As the Guru says so, Upamanyu accepts the deal and from the next day onwards, he submitted all whatever he obtained as “Bhiksha”, apart from taking the cows for grazing. This task of cow-grazing was continuing unabated every day. As days passed by, the Guru thought that due to hunger and fatigue, Upamanyu’s body condition would shrink. However, to the contrary, Upamanyu still stayed fit and fine. This surprised the Guru! Sage Dhoumya called him and demanded an explanation again. Upamanyu now says thus, “Oh Guru! What was your instruction? I should come and give you the “Bhiksha” that I obtain as the first one every day, isn’t it? I gave you the first “Bhiksha” of the day and I consumed the rest that I obtained during the course of the day! This is why I’m still healthy and fine!” Hearing thus from Upamanyu, Sage Aayodha-Dhoumya was surprised at Upamanyu’s “smartness” and decided to make the rule a bit more stricter. He now replies to Upamanyu thus, “Oh Upamanyu! I think you’ve mistaken the rule here – When I said that you’ve to submit the “Bhiksha” to me, I did not mean that you’ll only submit the first “Bhiksha” for the day. You should submit to me all whatever you receive throughout the day! There can be no exception like the first, second or third!”
Hearing thus from the Guru, Upamanyu obeyed. From the next day onwards, Upamanyu started submitting all whatever he obtained as “Bhiksha” to the Guru. Three days passed by, and still Upamanyu was fit and fine! He was extremely normal as if nothing had happened to him! Upon seeing this, the Guru was puzzled! He’s not eating anything throughout the day, and he has passed 72 hours like this, and yet, how is he still fit and fine without shrinking and sulking? Sage Aayodha-Dhoumya called Upamanyu once again and enquired how he is fit and fine still, even with no food for the past three days. Upamanyu replies thus, “Oh Guru! Yes, I did not consume any food. However, I consumed the milk that these cows are generating every day. This makes me fit and fine!” The Guru immediately quipped thus, “Oh Upamanyu! These cows belong to me, don’t they? They aren’t yours! If such is the case, with whose permission did you consume the milk that is given by these cows? Ideally you should have brought all the milk to me, isn’t it? Hence from tomorrow, stop consuming the milk that these cows are giving! Bring all the milk to me every morning!”
As the Guru says so, Upamanyu obeyed again! From the next morning, he ensured that all the milk from the cows reached the Guru on time, and he did not consume even a drop of it. Three more days passed by, and it is the same old story again! Upamanyu was still hale and healthy without even a small shrink in his body! Amazed by this, the Guru calls him once again and interviews him! Again, Upamanyu had a smart explanation like before. He says thus, “Oh Guru! I didn’t consume the milk given by the cows. However, I consumed the froth of the milk that the calves were drinking. Of course, I did not disturb the calves while they were drinking milk from their mother cows. I only consumed the left-over froth that was there after the calves had consumed the milk!” The Guru again retorts thus, “Oh Upamanyu! You’re doing a mistake here! You’re consuming something that is owned by the calf completely. Till now you made the mistake of consuming what was due to me. Now you’re consuming what was due for the calf. Hence, from tomorrow, you shouldn’t do this also!”
As Sage Aayodha-Dhoumya explains thus, Upamanyu obeyed! Again three days passed by, and there was no improvement in the situation. Upamanyu was still fit enough! Amazed by this, the Guru again interviewed him! Now what is Upamanyu going to say? He has now completely stopped consuming food, milk and even the froth of the milk! Now what is the secret behind his healthy body? Let us wait for the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂