In the previous episode, we had witnessed Yudishtra preparing himself for the long-haul grinding in the forest, as Vidura gives him some important words of wisdom. Vidura clearly explains to Yudishtra that “Dharma” would never have a downfall in this world and all what is currently happening is just a mirage that “Dharma” is experiencing a dip. Moreover, Vidura clearly charts out a road-map for Yudishtra for the next twelve years – He should go and meet great Maharishis and learn important lessons from them, pertaining to “Dharma”. This is the main thought process with which Yudishtra should approach this twelve-year period of exile. Rather than brooding over the loss of face and kingdom, Yudishtra should use this as an opportunity to enrich his knowledge and wisdom on “Dharma”, which might be useful in the future at some point in time. Of course, not to mention, Bhagawan Krishna would always rally behind those who firmly follow the path of “Dharma” and there is no need to worry even a bit. These are the golden words of wisdom that Vidura gives Yudishtra, who in turn accepts them gracefully! This is the gross difference here – While Yudishtra accepts Vidura’s words and puts them to practice, Duryodhana completely discards Vidura’s words of wisdom and we’re going to witness what is going to happen to him in the near future.
Moving on thus, Yudishtra and Co. just drink a couple of glasses of water as they make their way to the forest. For that evening / night, Yudishtra decides to stay put at a place called “Pramaana-Koti”, which is very close to Indraprastha. As the people of that town see Yudishtra in such a state of affair, they are deeply pained. As Yudishtra is on exile, he is not wearing his luxurious robes of a king. He is just in a simple dress with no ornaments adorning him. Upon seeing Yudishtra in such a state, the people of Pramaana-Koti could not digest it. All of them propose to Yudishtra thus, “Oh great king! Till today you’ve taken care of us excellently well, and we never expected that you would be pulled down to this pitiable state! However, please do not worry. All of us are there with you to support you! We shall come with you wherever you go. We shall be pillars of support for you during these twelve years. We shall execute whatever you want us to do. If you require food, we shall get it for you from anywhere possible. We shall ensure that you and your brothers, along with Draupati are extremely comfortable! Oh king! Till today you’ve served us with all your heart and soul. Now, please give us an opportunity to serve you!”
As the people of Pramaana-Koti propose this, they are in tears! Yudishtra, upon seeing their unconditional love and surrender is also moved to tears. He takes a deep breath, thinks for a moment and replies back to all of them thus, “Oh people! I’m so moved and overwhelmed with all your support and love towards me! I know that all of you are there for me, and all of you would support me in all my endeavours. However, we should understand one thing clearly here – I’m on an exile, and this means that I would not have enough facilities to take care of all of you amidst the dense forest. I know that you would take care of me, but as a king, I should be the one to take care of you! If something happens to somebody, it would become extremely tough for all of us. Hence, I request all of you to remain in Indraprastha until I come back, and once I’m back, I shall ensure that I repay all your trust, love and affection that you are showing towards me at this tough hour of mine. Right now, since I do not have the power, resources, etc. to take care of you, I request you to pardon me if I’m wrong. But nevertheless, I shall be back some day and I shall repay your faith that you’re imposing upon me!”
Saying thus, Yudishtra assures his people, and with this, the people aren’t really convinced! They still do not have the heart to leave their beloved Yudishtra alone! They still want to follow him wherever he goes. Such is the dedication Yudishtra has shown to his people as a king, and this is something we should learn as leaders – The moment we get down to the level of people, talk with them freely, understand their issues and propose a solution to them, people would be extremely loyal and thankful to us! This, in Sanskrit, is referred to as “Sousheelyam” and this is exactly what Yudishtra is doing here! During our Ramayana project, we’ve witnessed a similar scenario as well – Wherein Bhagawan Rama leaves for the fourteen year-exile and the people of Ayodhya wanted to come along with Bhagawan Rama for the entire fourteen-year period. Such is the trust and benevolence that Bhagawan Rama has built amongst his people as a leader!
So for today, let us understand this important lesson in leadership that Yudishtra and Bhagawan Rama are demonstrating to all of us, and we shall wait till the next episode to continue this important discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂