Episode # 81 – Sage Vaishampayana begins the Mahabharata marathon with King Upari-chara-Vasu’s accord!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Janame-Jaya continuing to express his wish to listen to the entire Mahabharata story in detail from Sage Vaishampayana. As the great Sage briefed King Janame-Jaya of what had happened earlier to his ancestors, King Janame-Jaya was moved to tears and along with it, his interest also grew multi-fold to listen to all the details pertaining to the Mahabharata. As he expressed his wish thus, Sage Vaishampayana was more than happy to start his detailed narration. In fact, Sage Vaishampayana was waiting for this moment to detail the entire Mahabharata text to him. However, since King Janame-Jaya was a noble king, he was extremely focused on his “Raaja-Dharma”, and eventually did not have time to listen to stories. Now that Sage Vaishampayana had triggered the interest in him, King Janame-Jaya was more than ready to listen to the entire accord. As Sage Vaishampayana asked King Janame-Jaya to select one of the four “Purusha-Arthas” (“Dharma”, “Artha”, “Kaama” and “Moksha”) that he liked in the Mahabharata briefing, King Janame-Jaya replies that he is not interested in all of these. All he wants is to keep listening to the Mahabharata text, detail after detail from Sage Vaishampayana. 

With this, both King Janame-Jaya and Sage Vaishampayana get ready for the marathon! King Janame-Jaya is seated on the floor as Sage Vaishampayana is seated on the “Aasana” (Seat). As Sage Vaishampayana was about to start, he still had a doubt within himself whether King Janame-Jaya would have the patience to listen to the marathon accord of 1.5 Lakh slokas. He again quips King Janame-Jaya thus, “Oh Janame-Jaya! I was just wondering whether you would be able to sit continuously for a long time without a break to listen to what I’m going to tell you. In the middle you might feel like having a break to consume food, use the washroom, etc. However, I’m a sage and I can control my physical body needs to a large extent and I wouldn’t have any problem of that sorts. You’re a normal human being. How’re you going to manage this?” As Sage Vaishampayana asks thus, King Janame-Jaya replies, “Oh Sage! I’m indeed extremely happy and fortunate to have you in my courtroom. More than just having you, I’m more fortunate to hear the “Hari-Katha” from you. If the substance that you’re narrating is about Bhagawan, what is going to induce me from getting up from my seat? I’m never going to get up for anything throughout the entire duration of the narration. You may proceed without any further delay, as I’m eager to listen to your divine words about Bhagawan Krishna!”

As King Janame-Jaya asserts thus, Sage Vaishampayana is going to commence the gigantic narrative. Till now we’re in the “Upa-Parva” called “Hamsa-Avatarana Parva” inside the “Aadi Parva”, which is the main “Parva”. Here, we’re in the process of witnessing all those people who took birth as part of the great Hastinapura. It all starts from King Uparicharavasu. King Uparicharavasu was the ancestor of King Dhirdiraashtra and even of Sage Veda-Vyaasa. It is only after King Uparicharavasu comes all the other people including Sage Vyaasa. Only after the incarnation of Sage Vyaasa we’re going to have Paandu, Dhirdiraashtra, and the rest of them, isn’t it? Thus, King Uparicharavasu had obtained enormous amounts of boons from Indra and the Devas. King Uparicharavasu had a unique feature – His chariot would never anchor on the ground. It would always travel an inch above the ground, which means that it would literally float in the air and fly in the air while moving. This is why he had the name “Upari-Chara-Vasu”. His original name was “Vasu”, but since his chariot was always floating in the air (Upari-Chara), he obtained the name “Uparicharavasu”. 

This King Uparichara-Vasu wanted to somehow obtain a great position in the “Indra-Lokha” and hence, he undertook a great penance. However, Indra was not convinced. We’ve already witnessed how Indra is always jealous and protective of his wealth and position. He immediately appeared in front of King Uparichara-Vasu and explained to him thus, “Oh great king! I understand your intentions, but it is not feasible for you to attain the Indra-Lokha at the moment. As I’m ruling the Deva-Lokha for so many years now, it would create unwanted conflict between you and me. Hence, you continue ruling the Bhoo-Lokha like how you’re doing today, and ensure that all the good and auspicious things keep happening in your kingdom. With this, I’m also granting you a lot of wealth and powers, with which you can be happy and content in this Bhoo-Lokha itself!” 

Accepting Indra’s deal thus, King Uparicharavasu is continuing to rule his kingdom with all the “Dharma” in place. As he was going around his kingdom to check whether everything is happening according to the “Dharma”, he spotted a beautiful woman and eventually ended up marrying her. Her name was Girika. He should have ideally had children with his wife, isn’t it? But that did not happen. Once upon a time, when King Uparicharavasu was roaming amidst a forest, he suddenly had the feeling of “Kaama”, and with this, he transferred his feelings into a bird that was flying above him. He instructed the bird to somehow transfer this energy into his wife, Girika, so that they would be able to have a child. However, on the contrary, the bird transfers this energy to a fish amidst a lake. This fish was called “Adrika”. As the fish obtained this energy from King Uparicharavasu, it started to bare his child, rather than his wife becoming pregnant. There was a child that was born out of this, and it was called “Matsya-Gandhi”. Since it was born out of a fish, and since it was with a human form, it was called so. Also, since it was born to a fish, it always had the smell of a fish in it! King Uparicharavasu did not know of all this, as the bird accidentally transferred his energy to the fish, isn’t it? So for today, let us understand upto this point, and we shall continue this discussion in the next episode! 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 Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, 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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