In the previous episode, we had witnessed the birth of Ghatotgaja to Bheemasena and Hidimbi, after Bheemasena killed her brother, Hidimba. As per Hidimbi’s request, she married Bheemasena and had a child by name Ghatotgaja, who is going to be extremely instrumental during the Kurukshetra war. Ghatotgaja, as he was leaving Bheemasena, gave him an assurance that whenever his father wanted him for any help, he would appear immediately then and there. Thus, Ghatotgaja did appear during the Mahabharata war and was instrumental in neutralizing key people in the Kaurava camp. As Ghatotgaja was born, Hidimbi and Ghatotgaja left Bheemasena and the Paandavas proceeded from that place further.
As the Paandavas, including Kunthi Devi start walking down the forest lanes, they reach a place called “Eka-Chakra-Nagara”. As they enter into a city for the first time in so many years, the Paandavas have almost transformed into the appearance of Maharishis, with the “Jataa-Mudi” (Long hairs and beards) and simple clothing. We’ve to understand here that the time from which the Paandavas escaped out of the “Laaksha Griha” till the time that we’re talking about now, would be 2 to 3 years easily. This is because, after they left Vaaranaavatha Desha, the Paandavas were roaming around in the forest for a few months, before the Hidimba-Hidimbi episode took place. Subsequently, Bheemasena had lived with Hidimbi for sometime, until Ghatotgaja was born. This would have ideally consumed two years of time. It is only after Ghatotgaja was born, Hidimbi left Bheemasena and then, they go to the “Eka-Chakra-Nagara”. Readers should not confuse this phase of the Paandavas in the forest with the “Agnyaata-Vaasa”. That is going to happen much later after Yudishtra loses the gambling game against Duryodhana and Co. Now, this is the initial phase of their life before their marriage with Draupati.
Thus, the Paandavas have completely changed their appearance in these two to three years of living in the forest amongst the sages. Moreover, that was the instruction given by Vidura as well isn’t it? As the Paandavas left Hastinapura, Vidura had indirectly advised them to live a disguised life for sometime after they escape from the “Laaksha Griha”, so that, Duryodhana and Co. wouldn’t be able to find out their whereabouts. Thus, as per Vidura’s instruction, the Paandavas have morphed their appearance completely and they’ve developed a physical identity in such a way that nobody, not even Duryodhana would be able to identify them.
As the Paandavas were entering into the “Eka-Chakra-Nagara”, the Paandavas have the unique opportunity to meet Sage Veda-Vyaasa. Upon seeing the Paandavas in this form, Sage Vyaasa, being a great sage with a lot of “Tapo-Bhala”, identified them and came to see them. Upon seeing Sage Vyaasa, the Paandavas paid all the due respects to him. As the Paandavas provided all the hospitality, Sage Vyaasa was extremely happy and impressed. Upon seeing Yudishtra, Sage Vyaasa blesses thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Please do not worry. This is just a temporary phase of difficulty in your life. Very soon, you’re going to be revered and respected by the entire world as “Dharma-Putra” or the “Epitome of Dharma”! You’re going to be a great king and you would be performing countless numbers of “Raaja-Suya Yaagas” and “Ashwamedha Yaagas”. You would be a great ruler for many years, after which you would attain the highest “Moksha” with Bhagawan’s divine “Anugraha”!”
As Sage Vyaasa blesses Yudishtra thus, he looks at Kunthi Devi and blesses her too. He says, “Oh Kunthi! Please do not worry! These phases of difficulties are just passing clouds. You’re going to see light at the end of the tunnel very soon, and your sons are going to be great people and you’re going to become a proud mother! Hence, please tolerate this small bit of inconvenience that is meted out to you for no fault of yours!” Saying thus, Sage Vyaasa quickly leaves the place, and with this, we come to the end of the “Hidimba-Vatha-Parva”. These are all small “Upa-Parvas” and I’m going a bit faster with them. There are important places which we would slow down again, and for today, let us understand until this point. We shall continue with this discussion of what the Paandavas did at “Eka-Chakra-Nagara” in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂