In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Yayaati explaining certain important aspects of “Dharma” as he enters into a conversation with Indra at “Svarga Lokha”. Readers should remember here that we’ve stopped at a point wherein the Paandava children have come to the Hastinapura palace at the behest of the Maharishis’ advice, post Paandu’s demise. From this point, we’ve rewinded a bit and have gone back to King Yayaati attaining the “Svarga Lokha” and what happened to King Yayaati there. We’ve done this to understand certain important aspects of “Dharma” that are highlighted here. Post this, we would again continue from where we left, with regards to whether King Dhirdiraashtra is going to accept the Paandava children or not. But for now, we’ll continue with what happened between King Yayaati and Indra at the Svarga Lokha.
As King Yayaati details about the “Dharma” that he had taught his son, he talks about two important aspects – Taking care of our parents and our Guru. This is a very important duty that all of us should perform during this lifetime. Secondly, King Yayaati explains how a leader should treat everyone equally and bring everyone to the same page, including those who are not that powerful. Just because somebody is powerless, it doesn’t mean we completely ignore or reject them. As a leader, it is very important that those people who are powerless, should also be included in key happenings in the team / kingdom or any type of administrative activities. As King Yayaati details all of this, Indra patiently listens to everything and asks a smart question here. Now Indra had opened up King Yayaati right royally and had made him comfortable. Subsequently now, Indra is slowly pulling the noose here. Indra asks thus, “Oh King Yayaati! This is a great answer! I really feel proud to be associated with such a righteous king! I’ve also heard that after relinquishing your kingdom responsibilities to your son, you went to the forest to do penance. As you were in deep penance, I was listening to many Maharishis commenting that there could be nobody on this earth who can be as good as you in doing penance! It is very difficult to get such appreciation from great Maharishis, isn’t it? But I was just wondering if there might be anybody else who is as good as you in performing penance. Do you know of anybody like this in your kingdom, or elsewhere?”
Now here is the trap! Indra frames his question in such a way that the answer to this question becomes a “double-edged sword”! On one hand, Indra appreciates King Yayaati for what he has done. This makes King Yayaati’s ego rise up with excitement that Indra himself is appreciating him! This ego is inducing King Yayaati to proclaim that he’s the only one who is extremely good in penance and there’s nobody else to match him! However, if he gives this answer, he would enter into “self-proclamation” mode and this would exhibit his pride over himself! However, on the other hand, if King Yayaati replies in the other way that there is someone else who is better than him, he would be uttering a lie, as in reality there’s nobody who could equal him or exceed him in terms of performing penance! Telling a lie and that too to Indra himself, would be a great crime! Now what does King Yayaati do here? Which stance does he take?
After a thought process, King Yayaati decides to take the first stance – He decides to tell the truth, which he’s accustomed to do all the time! King Yayaati never knows how to tell a lie. Hence, he replies to Indra thus, “Oh Indra! What you’ve mentioned about me now is right! There’s nobody in this world who could match me in terms of performing penance. Moreover, there’s nobody even amidst the Devas or Dhaanavas or Gandharvas or any other groups of celestial beings who is equal to me in performing penance!” As King Yayaati gives such an answer, Indra catches him red-handed! He replies to King Yayaati thus, “Oh King Yayaati! This is an absurd answer from you, and as a righteous king, I never expected such a reply from you! By saying that there’s nobody in this world who is equal to you in terms of performing penance, you’re proving to me that you are a person with a lot of headweight! You are more interested in boasting about yourself, and you’ve never done any research to find out if there’s someone better than you in performing penance! This is a big mistake that you’ve done. Since you’ve boasted about yourself, with this moment, all your “Punya-Karma” has come to an end! With this, your tenure in the “Svarga Lokha” is also over! You may now return back to the “Bhoo-Lokha” to take another birth, and if you’re able to earn “Punya-Karma”, you might become eligible again to come back to the “Svarga Lokha”!
Saying thus, Indra pushes King Yayaati upside down from the “Svarga Lokha” to the “Manushya Lokha”. As King Yayaati is about to be pushed down, he folds his hands and prays to Indra thus, “Oh Indra! I know that I’ve committed a mistake, and thank you for highlighting that for me! I know that I do not deserve to continue in the “Svarga Lokha” anymore, but I only have one small request for you – Anyways, you’re going to push me down to the earth again. While doing so, please push me to a place where there would be good people. Please do not push me to a place where there would be no “Dharma” at all! I would like to be amidst a place where there is a “Satsanga”, so that I would once again be able to focus on performing the “Punya-Karma”, and maybe penance too!” Upon hearing this from King Yayaati, Indra was happy and he accepts his request. Thus, King Yayaati starts his free-fall from the “Svarga Lokha”.
This is a very important lesson for us here – Why should we always aspire to be amidst a “Satsanga” or an association of good people who focus on Bhakti? Bhagawan Krishna Himself explains this in the Bhagawad Gita to Arjuna. We shall witness this detailing in the next episode, along with the answer to the above question! Stay tuned! 🙂