Episode # 228 – The “KAANDAVA-VANAM” – A background story!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an interesting event that has commenced wherein, Bhagawan Krishna makes His way again to Indraprastha to pay a visit to the Paandava brothers. He wanted to check whether all of them are living happily or not. Of course, Bhagawan Krishna had a special liking towards Arjuna, as all of us might know by now, and He wanted to spend some time alone with Arjuna for some reason. With all these in His agenda, Bhagawan Krishna arrived at Indraprastha, and found it to be extremely beautiful and sprawling! It was arguably one of the best cities that were ever built in this world, only next to Indra’s luxurious and lavishly built Svarga-Lokha. As Bhagawan Krishna entered Indraprastha, He was welcomed by Yudishtra and Arjuna warmly. After a brief conversation with Yudishtra, Bhagawan Krishna led Arjuna to a beautiful lawn and then to a dense forest area which was the home of Snake Takshaka. This place was known as “Kaandava Vanam”. Indraprastha was earlier known as “Kaandava-Prastham” and since this forest area is also attached to this place, it obtained this name. As both of them were walking along casually with each other, a Brahmana Rishi appeared in front of them seeking help in obtaining food. This was a peculiar help, as the Brahmana Rishi wanted to consume the entire forest by burning it down. Whenever he tried doing so, Indra would prevent the fire from growing by showering the rain all over it! This tug-of-war between the Brahmana Rishi and Indra was continuing for many years now, and thus, he wanted a solution to this stalemate. The Brahmana Rishi wanted Bhagawan Krishna and Arjuna to put an end to Indra’s rain clouds. 

As the Brahmana Rishi explains thus, Bhagawan Krishna asked him back thus, “Oh Rishi! We shall help you out with this problem. That’s not an issue. But tell me one thing – Why do you want to destroy the whole forest? If you want some food, you can always pluck some fruits and vegetables from the trees and satisfy your hunger, isn’t it? Why are you trying to burn down the entire forest?” For this, the Brahmana Rishi explains his past historical background and why he wants this forest to be burnt down. The Brahmana Rishi explains thus, “Oh Bhagawan Krishna! Once upon a time there was a king by name “Shwetaki”. He was a great king and he once performed a huge “Yaaga” with the help of many great sages. Satisfied by the outcome of the Yaaga, King Shwetaki wanted to perform another “Yaaga” – This time, an even bigger “Satra-Yaaga” that had to be performed continuously for a hundred years! When King Shwetaki enquired with the same set of sages who performed the previous “Yaaga” for him, they denied it. The sages weren’t very keen in investing a hundred years in this “Yaaga”, as it was seen as a hindrance for performing their regular “Tapas”. 

Angered by the sages’ reply, King Shwetaki got angry. He tortured the sages and tried hard to convince them for the 100-year-Yaaga. Unable to bear his compulsion, the sages asked him to go and consult with Bhagawan Shiva for this. Hearing this from the sages, King Shwetaki immediately entered into a huge “Tapas” towards Bhagawan Shiva. Impressed by his “Tapas”, Bhagawan Shiva appeared in front of him and asked him what he wanted. King Shwetaki asked thus, “Oh Bhagawan Shiva! I want to perform a Satra-Yaaga, and you have to come and execute it for me!” Bhagawan Shiva heard King Shwetaki’s request and answered him back thus, “Oh Shwetaki! This wouldn’t be possible! Since I’m Bhagawan myself, I cannot come down and perform such “Yaagas”. Anyways, you do one thing – You keep performing a “Yaaga” with ghee continuously for the next twelve years. If you’re able to do this correctly, I shall guide you further as to how to proceed with the Satra-Yaaga”! 

Hearing thus from Bhagawan Shiva, King Shwetaki agreed to the deal. He started performing the Yaaga with ghee as per Bhagawan Shiva’s instruction, continuously for the next twelve years. Impressed by King Shwetaki’s dedication, Bhagawan Shiva once again gave His divine “Darshan” to him and guided him thus, “Oh Shwetaki! You’ve performed the Yaaga as per my instruction very well and I’m impressed by it. Now I shall give you further guidance – I shall send Sage Dhurvaasa to you, who is my incarnation! He would perform the Satra-Yaaga on your behalf with all the required austerities. You need not worry! He would come and take care of everything!” As Bhagawan Shiva assured him thus, King Shwetaki was extremely happy. Sage Dhurvaasa arrived, and the Satra Yaaga was happening in a grand fashion!

This is one side of the story. However, during these twelve years when King Shwetaki was performing the “Tapas” with so much of ghee, Agni Bhagawan was getting choked! How much of ghee can he keep on consuming continuously for twelve long years? Thus, Agni Bhagawan fell sick and he straightaway went to Bhagawan Shiva for a solution. Bhagwaan Shiva explained to Agni Bhagawan thus, “Oh Agni! You straightaway go to the “Kaandava-Vanam”. Bhagawan Krishna and Arjuna would come there for some reason. With their help, you can burn down that entire forest area and have that as a medicine for your sickness!” Thus, on one hand, Bhagawan Shiva wanted this “Kaandava-Vanam” to be burnt down as food for Agni Bhagawan, and on the other hand, Bhagawan Krishna also wanted to destroy all the poisonous and dangerous animals that were roaming around in this forest area. Thus, both Bhagawan Shiva’s and Bhagawan Krishna’s wishes coincide very well. 

So for today, let us understand up to this point and let us wait for the next episode to witness whether the “Kaandava-Vanam” was burnt down or not! 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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