In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the discussion wherein Surya Bhagawan is gifting Yudishtra with the “Akshaya Paatra”, which would serve unlimited quantity of food that would satisfy the hunger of all the people and animals around him for the next twelve years. We’ve also witnessed in due course how Yudishtra used the “Akshaya Paatra” for fulfilling his path of “Dharma”, and not for satisfying any personal luxuries. Thus, if a “Mantra” is given by a spiritual master, we should employ it for the cause of the world, and not for the cause of ourselves. If we’re chanting a Mantra constantly for selfish need fulfilment, the Mantra might not have its full effect. However, if it is chanted meticulously for the benefit of the world, it would have its own positive vibrations. Here too, Yudishtra is chanting the “Surya-Namaskara” Mantra, not for himself, but for the benefit of the Brahmins and the cows! Thus, Surya Bhagawan has gifted the divine “Akshaya Paatra” to Yudishtra, so that his steadfast “Dharma” doesn’t hit a roadblock.
Moving on thus, Surya Bhagawan continues his accord with Yudishtra. He now gives some important instructions to Yudishtra as to how to use the “Akshaya Paatra”. Surya Bhagawan explains thus, “Oh Yudishtra! This divine vessel would keep producing food continuously with all the varieties required to fulfil the hunger of all the people who come to you. Paanchaali (Draupati) should be the last person to consume food from this. She should serve everyone and finally have her share as well. Once Draupati finishes consuming food from this, the food supply would automatically stop and it would again be active only for the next day! Oh Yudishtra! This vessel would serve you for the next twelve years. Please keep this “Akshaya Paatra” for the next thirteen years with you, and please hand it over to me during the start of the fourteenth year! You should not keep this with you beyond that!”
We might have a doubt here with regards to the arithmetic – Surya Bhagawan says on one hand that this vessel is going to serve food for the next twelve years. However, when it comes to returning it back, he asks Yudishtra to return it back after the thirteenth year. It looks like there’s some discrepancy with regards to the number of years, isn’t it? The requirement for Yudishtra to serve people is only for twelve years, post which he has to go on the “Agnyaata-Vaasa”, wherein he shouldn’t be spotted by anyone! If that is the case, how can he serve food to people? If he calls everyone and starts serving, Duryodhana and Co. would come to know that Yudishtra is in this place and it would be a serious danger. According to the rule, readers might recollect – If the Paandavas are spotted by Duryodhana and Co. during that thirteenth year, they would again have to go to the “Vana-Vaasa” stage for the next twelve years, and have to undergo the “Agnyaata Vaasa” for the subsequent thirteenth year. Hence, Yudishtra wants to avoid all of this. Thus, we’ve to be clear here that Yudishtra’s “Dharma” of serving people unconditionally does not apply for the thirteenth year. This is the reason why Surya Bhagawan is also explaining here that this “Akshaya Paatra” would feed all the people for the next twelve years and not for the thirteenth year. Readers should make note of this point very clearly.
Thus, as Surya Bhagawan gives the vessel, Draupati immediately takes it and runs inside the kitchen area. She wants to test whether it is working as per Surya Bhagawan’s accord – The reason behind her testing is very simple – What if she calls everyone and if it doesn’t work, how would she prepare food for all those people including the Maharishis? Hence, Draupati quickly cuts a few vegetables and puts them along with the rice grains. As Draupati starts putting things into the “Akshaya Paatra”, it starts giving out enormous amounts of food! With this, Draupati is extremely happy and satisfied. Surya Bhagawan too provides his divine “Anugraha” to all of them and he leaves back to his “Surya-Mandalam”. Thus, for the next twelve years, there is no problem obtaining food. This is one side of the story.
Now let us see what happens at Hastinapura. We’ve to change the context of the story from the forest to the Hastinapura palace, wherein Vidura is going to have an important conversation with King Dhridiraashtra. Now that all of them have left the palace, Vidura is going to render some important advice to King Dhridiraashtra. So for today, let us understand up to this point, and we shall wait till the next episode to witness what Vidura is going to say! Stay tuned for an important accord! 🙂