In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Vyaasa giving a detailed accord on the prolific Sage Naarada, as the latter was going to pay a visit to Indraprastha. Sage Vyaasa explains how Sage Naarada is an epitome of all knowledge and wisdom, and how his heart and body melts down when it comes to “Bhakti” towards Bhagawan Vishnu. We’ve to understand an important point here – If we’ve to find the combination of knowledge / expertise and ardent “Bhakti”, it can only be present in unique people like Sage Naarada. In many people we might see that they would be extremely scholarly in terms of education, experience, etc. but they would think too much about themselves! That “Bhakti” factor would be absent in them. However, on the other spectrum, there might be people who are ardent in terms of “Bhakti”, but they might not be very scholarly in nature. However, Sage Naarada is one unique example conveying the message that Bhakti and scholarliness in a person should go in tandem with each other. We might be extremely scholarly, but if that “Bhakti” factor isn’t there, that scholarliness goes to the drain. Thus, the message here is that, our scholarliness should be channelized in the “Bhakti-Maarga” and this is exactly what Sage Naarada does.
Thus, with all these significances, Sage Naarada makes his way into Indraprastha and reaches Yudishtra’s courtroom. As Yudishtra meets Sage Naarada, he was overwhelmed with joy upon meeting the great sage, and he does all the respectful gestures to him and makes him comfortable. As Sage Naarada was welcomed warmly thus, he was also extremely happy with Yudishtra. As Sage Naarada settles down, he starts inquiring with Yudishtra as to how the “Raaja-Dharma” is being executed at Indraprastha. Sage Naarada comes up with a huge set of questions, which Sage Vyaasa has compiled in the next fifty to fifty-five slokas! As Sage Naarada puts forth such a huge “questionnaire” in front of him, Yudishtra was thinking within himself thus, “Oh wow! My coronation was just over yesterday, and I’ve just taken oath as a king! Within just twenty-four hours, how can I accomplish all what Sage Naarada is asking me?” We might also have seen various political parties forming governments coming up with posters on the “Tenth day of forming the government”, “Hundredth day of forming the government”, etc., isn’t it? These political parties would come up with some public meetings and posters here and there highlighting their achievements within their first hundred days of forming the government. Of course, before the election, these political parties would have given some “assurances” to people while seeking votes. Thus, to project to the world that the government has lived up to people’s expectations, these meetings would be held. Similarly here also, Sage Naarada reminds Yudishtra of the assurances that he has given to his people with regards to the “Raaja-Dharma” and checks whether he is living up to the expectations of his people.
This is a huge “Adhyaaya” and of course, I shall explain just one or two important points that Sage Naarada is emphasizing with regards to “Raaja-Dharma” and we shall move forward. Sage Naarada first settles down and asks the first question to Yudishtra thus, “Oh Yudishtra! All of us might be knowing the four important parameters of our Sanaatana Dharma – “Dharma”, “Artha”, “Kaama” and “Moksha”, isn’t it? Let us set aside “Moksha” for the time being. Of course, only people who strive for it would be able to attain that, and let us discuss “Moksha” in a different context and at a later time. Now we shall talk about the other three. Oh Yudishtra! I know you’re an epitome of “Dharma”, and hence I wanted to check whether you’re focussing completely on “Dharma” and forgetting the other two (Artha and Kaama)! Or sometimes, many kings forget the “Dharma” part and focus completely on “Artha” (Earning wealth) and “Kaama” (Enjoying the earnt wealth)! Hence, I want to check whether you’re having all these important things in balance!”
How valid is Sage Naarada’s point here! Many of us might have this habit – We would keep earning a lot of money, but when it comes to spending, we would be totally a miser! This should not be the case, isn’t it? Even if we look at many temples today, there might be temples that get extremely good revenue in terms of crores of rupees per month. But if we look at what the temple spends towards its “Bhaktas” or towards the deity, it would be extremely dismal! For instance, the temple should channelize its income in terms of renovating and maintaining the temple with all sorts of cleanliness, orderliness, etc. The temple can recruit qualified “Archakas” and train them with all the Vedic lessons. The temple can procure new ornaments, dresses for Bhagawan. The temple can donate a lot of money for the poor and needy and also give free Anna-Dhaanam” (Prasadham) for people. In this way, many things can be done! But the question here is how many temples really do such things judiciously! Even government rules today say this very clearly – If you’re running a charitable trust and earning hundred rupees per month, you’ve to spend atleast 85 rupees towards “Dharma-Kaarya” (Charity) and can only save the rest of the fifteen rupees. It cannot be the other way round! A charity is not for saving truckloads of money. Instead, it is for spending the money in a “Dharmic” way to help people in some way or the other.
This is exactly what Sage Naarada asks here – As a king, it is important to earn money in terms of taxes and other sources of income, but it is equally important to spend that money judiciously for the welfare of people. The king shouldn’t just fill his coffers and keep quiet, just like how the present government of India does! As we know very well, we’re paying enormous taxes on fuel (petrol, diesel, cooking gas, etc.) in spite of crude oil prices being at skyrocketing levels! However, nobody knows what is being spent out of the huge taxes that we pay with regards to people’s welfare! This should not be the case, isn’t it? Hence, for today, let us understand this point very clearly and let us continue this discussion forward in the next episode as well! Stay tuned! 🙂