Episode # 351 – “Your real wealth is “GNYAANA” & “DHARMA” & nothing else” – Sage Shaunaka advises Yudishtra!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Yudishtra departing from the “Pramaana-Koti” town and descending into the forest. Along with the Paandavas and Draupati came a few learned scholars and some important sages who lived in Indraprastha at that time. As Yudishtra walks deeper into the forest, he gets into an important conversation with Sage Shaunaka on the way. Yudishtra laments to Sage Shaunaka that he never expected things to take such a drastic turn towards “Adharma” and that he never expected Duryodhana to go to such a low extent of physically assaulting his wife in public. Yudishtra feels bad that for following the path of “Dharma” meticulously, this is the reward that he has got! Yudishtra is almost in tears as he talks to Sage Shaunaka thus, “Oh great Sage! Look at what I’ve got by following the path of “Dharma”. I had taken a pledge that I would not hurt anyone through my words and actions, and this has been clearly targeted by Duryodhana and Co. I had taken a pledge so as to avoid any kind of feud or miscommunication with them. I still consider Duryodhana as my own brother, just like how I see Bheemasena and the others here. However, Duryodhana never reciprocates and instead, he has pushed me to the brink! Now I neither have any property of my own, nor I have the resources to serve all of you!” 

As Yudishtra laments thus, Sage Shaunaka replies patiently to him. He tries to first console Yudishtra and then gives him an important piece of advice. This advice is going to be an important lesson for all of us to understand. Now let us see Sage Shaunaka’s explanation in detail. Sage Shaunaka says thus, “Oh Yudishtra! It is highly unfortunate that a person like you who is an epitome of “Dharma” has to go through all this. It is tough, but believe me – This is not the end of life. In fact, I would say that your life starts now! You’re thinking that you’ve lost all your property, but you’re wrong here! You’re thinking that the wealth that you possessed at Indraprastha was yours, but practically it is not! You think that the gold and other precious resources that you had at Indraprastha are your wealth. But in reality, you’re wrong! If you ask me, I would say that you’ve never lost anything in life! I say this because, the real wealth in this world is your deep knowledge about “Dharma”. You have these two resources embodied in you – “Gnyaana” and “Dharma”. These resources are the permanent ones that would come with us throughout our lives. All the other resources like money, gold and other forms of physical wealth might be with us today, or would be transferred to somebody else tomorrow! Thus, the physical wealth is highly temporary in nature. However, what is permanent is your “Gnyaana” (Knowledge) and “Dharma” (Righteousness). This is what Bhagawan wants us to have. Thus, please do not worry about the wealth that you’ve lost. This is the time wherein you’ve to focus on building the two permanent types of wealth, and consider this as an opportunity given by Bhagawan Krishna to enrich yourself in this!” 

As Sage Shaunaka says thus, Yudishtra has a doubt. He asks thus, “Oh Sage! Whatever you’re saying is right. But as a king, isn’t it my “Dharma” to serve and take care of all of you? Isn’t the duty of the “Kshatriya” to take care of the “Brahmins” by feeding them and ensuring that all their needs are met? Now that I’m a popper, how will I fulfil my “Kshatriya-Dharma” to all of you? I’m not worried about the wealth that I’ve lost to Duryodhana. I know that I can earn them back some day. But this is my greatest worry now!” As Yudishtra expresses his concern thus, Sage Shaunaka gives a very convincing and beautiful reply to him. He says thus, “Oh Yudishtra! You’ve asked a very valid question here. However, please understand one thing – Now you’re not the king. You’ve lost your “Raajya” and you’re one among us now. Hence, the “Dharma” that a king should serve and take care of the Brahmins would not be applicable to you for the next thirteen years. So, please do not worry about it. We know how to take care of ourselves. As we are immense in “Tapas” (penance), we can easily fulfil our needs whenever we want. All of us are here with you to teach you the essentials of “Dharma” and please use this opportunity to learn as much as you can!” 

As Sage Shaunaka says thus, all the Brahmana Rishis present around him second his opinion! Now all of them explain to Yudishtra thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Do you think that we were living in Indraprastha along with you just because you were giving us “Dhaanam” and performing “Dharma” to us? Do you think we maintain a record of whether Yudishtra is doing “Dhaanam” today or not? Not at all! We do not care whether you give us the “Dhaanam” every day or not! But we were all with you only because of the path of “Dharma” that you follow! Oh Yudishtra! Please understand one thing very clearly – All of us would only reside at a place where there is “Dharma” being practised! You were practising “Dharma” at Indraprastha, and hence we were with you! Now that you’ve come to the forest to practise “Dharma”, and hence we’ve all come with you! So what if you do not have the money or wealth to feed us? We are not bothered about all that. We are only behind the “Dharma” that you follow! That is more important for us, rather than the other things! As Maharishis, we do not require food and water daily. We’ve been without food and water for days, months and years together! Hence, we know how to manage ourselves, and you do not need to worry about taking care of us! It is you who’ve to take care of yourself with adequate food and water, because you are a “Kshatriya” prince. You’ve got the duty of getting the Indraprastha kingdom back and hence, you’ve to keep yourself healthy at all times!” 

As the Maharishis advise thus, Yudishtra is convinced and satisfied. These were the words of wisdom that Yudishtra is expecting here, and he has got it! So for today, let us understand this important section well and let us try and understand this key truth in our daily lives as well! We shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion forward! 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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