In the previous episode, we had witnessed the Paandavas and Draupati making their way from the Kaamyaka Vanam to the Dvaitha Vanam, which is again a dense forest area surrounded by great Maharishis performing their penance. As Yudishtra makes his way to the Dvaitha Vanam, all the Maharishis welcome him with great grandeur! Yudishtra also pays his respects to all of them and the Maharishis express their happiness that for the next twelve years, they can discuss various aspects of “Dharma” with Yudishtra. Yudishra too acknowledges the Maharishis’ words and expresses his willingness to learn more about “Dharma” from all of them. Thus, both the Maharishis and Yudishtra are extremely happy with each other’s presence and from now onwards we’re going to witness enormous aspects of “Dharma” being discussed and exchanged between Yudishtra and various Maharishis in the Dvaita Vanam”.
It is at this time, Sage Maarkandeya comes to visit Yudishtra. As mentioned above, from now onwards, many great Maharishis would visit Yudishtra and first in the line is Sage Maarkandeya. Many such great Sages would talk about important aspects of “Dharma” and these are the crux of the entire Mahabharata story. It is not just the battle and the feud between Duryodhana and Yudishtra, but also the important principles of “Dharma” being explained, which is significant in the Mahabharata text. Thus, Sage Maarkandeya arrives and Yudishtra & Co. pay their respects to him, thus making him comfortable. As Sage Markandeya gets comfortable, he says thus, “Oh Yudishtra and Co.! I heard that all of you are in the forest for the past few months, roaming here and there. I also heard that you would be spending the next twelve years or so in the forest. I just came to tell you something very important and which would be useful for you for the rest of your lives!”
As Sage Maarkandeya is talking thus, to Yudishtra and Co., many other Maharishis have also accompanied him. As the other Maharishis shed tears upon seeing the plight of Yudishtra and Co. wandering in the forest area, Sage Maarkandeya is in a complete state of “Aananda” (Bliss) and is laughing as he’s talking! Upon seeing Sage Maarkandeya laughing as he’s talking, Yudishtra has a doubt within him. He asks Sage Maarkandeya thus, “Oh great Sage Maarkandeya! While all the other Maharishis surrounding us are sad that I’m in this plight, you’re the only one who is quite different from all of them! What makes you laugh like this as you’re talking? What’s the secret behind this? I want to learn this from you!” As Yudishtra asks thus, Sage Maarkandeya replies back, “Oh Yudishtra! I’m in a state of penance wherein I do not know the difference between happiness and sorrow. For me, everything is the same, and this is the reason I’m laughing at everything! Perhaps, the other Maharishis around you aren’t yet at that level. Once they reach that level of penance, which is the highest state, they would also refrain from crying and feeling bad upon seeing your plight! Moreover, are under the impression that you’ve lost something great in your life! However, what I understand upon seeing you is that you’ve not lost anything in life! At the same time, King Dhridiraashtra is of the opinion that his son Duryodhana has attained something great and is feeling happy about it! However, on the contrary, he fails to understand the reality that Duryodhana hasn’t achieved anything great in his life! Thus, see the plight of this world – The Maharishis around you haven’t realized that you’ve not lost anything in this world. At the same time, King Dhridiraashtra doesn’t realize that Duryodhana hasn’t achieved anything by doing whatever he did to you! Upon seeing all this, I feel like laughing aloud! This is why I’m laughing!”
So what is Sage Maarkandeya trying to convey here? There is a very important hidden message that is discussed by Sage Vyaasa behind Sage Maarakandeya’s words! What is that message? How is it applicable to all of us today? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂