In the previous episode, we had witnessed Yudishtra descending from Hastinapura and Indraprastha towards the forest on the twelve plus one year of exile. As Yudishtra departs, all the people gather at a place called “Pramaana-Koti” where Yudishtra stays overnight. His people did not want him to leave Indraprastha, but circumstances demanded him to leave. Thus, all the people were in tears of sorrow that their beloved king was leaving them alone in tatters. At one stage, the people proposed to Yudishtra that they would accompany him to the forest wherever he goes, and that, they would be of service to him at all times. However, Yudishtra declined it as he felt that he would not be in a position to take care of all the hundreds and thousands of them in the forest. Besides this, he doesn’t have the adequate resources to ensure their food and safety needs. Thus, Yudishtra assured all his people that he would come back “very soon” and would again take over the reins of the kingdom. We’ve also witnessed a similar accord during our Ramayana project wherein Bhagawan Rama was also confronted with the same situation when He left Ayodhya.
Thus, in due course of yesterday’s episode, we witnessed an important quality of leadership called “Sousheelyam” and with this quality, how can a leader become the “leader of the masses”. This is exactly what is happening in the case of Yudishtra and Bhagawan Rama, wherein people are rallying behind them when they are in a problematic situation. What makes people rally behind them? It is only because the leaders have gone down to the level of their people and have an excellent connection with them emotionally and professionally. This is what makes a leader successful! Moving on thus, as Yudishtra makes an emotional appeal to his people, many of them walk back with utter disappointment written all over their faces. They are unable to digest the fact that Yudishtra is not with them anymore. However, few of them still try and accompany Yudishtra to the forest, and with this, we come to the end of the “Dyuta Parva”, which is part of the main “Sabhaa Parva”, paving the way for the next important Parva called “Vana Parva”. Thus, we can see here that we’ve completed the discussion on two important “Parvas” – The “Aadhi Parva” and the “Sabhaa Parva”.
Now, in this “Vana-Parva”, as an introductory note, we shall be witnessing all the major events that unfolded when the Paandava brothers were in the forest for the next twelve years. There are excellent and detailed descriptions on various aspects of “Dharma” in this “Parva”, as narrated by various sages, Vidura himself, and Yudishtra himself! Bhagawan Krishna too has a major role in this “Vana Parva” and as we progress further, we shall witness how each one of them contributed to the rich narrative of “Dharma” one by one. Now as we commence the “Vana Parva”, we’ve to start with an important question that King Janame-Jaya is asking Sage Vaishampayana. Readers have to be extremely careful and cautious here. I shall be going back and forth to this important conversation between these two, as Sage Vaishampayana is the one who is narrating all these stories to King Janame-Jaya. At this point of King Janame-Jaya’s tenure, nobody is present – Neither the Paandavas are alive, nor the Kauravas were there! Now King Janame-Jaya is asking Sage Vaishampayana thus, “Oh great sage! You had narrated to me that my great grandfathers had lost the gambling game very badly and they had to go on an exile! Isn’t exile a tough task? Also, I’ve heard that Yudishtra was a person who knows only to keep giving everything to people. How did he manage this twelve-year period by safeguarding this aspect of “Dharma” which is very important to him? How did he manage to feed all the brahmins and the Maharishis who accompanied him to the forest? Also, did Duryodhana and the others cause any harm to Yudishtra and Co. during these twelve years? What did Duryodhana do during this time? How did Yudishtra and Co. manage Duryodhana’s wrath? How did Yudishtra’s life shape up during this tough period?”
As King Janame-Jaya asks an important set of questions thus, Sage Vaishampayana is going to give an elaborate answer as usual! This answer of Sage Vaishampayana forms the crux of the “Vana Parva”, which we’re going to commence discussion on! So for today, let us understand up to this point and in the next episode, we shall witness the grand beginning of one of Mahabharata’s most important “Parvas”! Stay tuned! 🙂