In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Brihadarsha concluding the lengthy accord on the “Nala-Upaakyaanam” wherein he drives home an important point that there are predecessors in the past who had undergone the wrath of suffering because of the ill-effects of the gambling game. We had seen how King Nala, under the influence of Kali-Purusha had to undergo enormous suffering by losing his kingdom and wealth, by roaming in the forest with his wife, Damayanti, by losing even his one piece of cloth that he was wearing, by losing his wife in the forest, by being bitten by a snake, by working as a charioteer under King Rituparna, until he learnt the art of gambling, which finally chases away the Kali-Purusha from his body. Thus, finally King Nala was able to reunite with Damayanti and with that, he obtained the kingdom and wealth that he had earlier lost. With this event, Sage Brihadarsha motivates Yudishtra to stay strong and follow the path of “Dharma” meticulously than ever before. Of course, Duryodhana and Co. have the upper hand at the moment because they’ve outsmarted Yudishtra in the gambling game. But this is not going to last long! Time will heal a lot of problems in life, and this is the biggest message that Sage Brihadarsha had to convey to Yudishtra.
Thus with this, we come to the end of the “Nala-Upaakhyaana Parva” and moving on, we shall witness what happened to Arjuna next. As we had witnessed earlier, Arjuna had a good time at Indra’s Svarga Lokha and he had learnt the arts of music and dance. Meanwhile, we had also witnessed earlier that Urvashi had fallen in love with Arjuna, but since he did not accept her, she became angry with Arjuna and cursed him. However, Urvashi’s curse is going to become an “Anugraha” for Arjuna later, during the “Agnyaatavaasam” period. After all this fiasco, Arjuna should have ideally returned back to Yudishtra and Co., but he did not. Rather, he spends more time with Indra in the “Svarga Lokha”, and this time period is almost five years! Readers should understand that the entire tenure for the Paandavas in the forest is twelve years, out of which, they had spent four to five years in the “Kaamyaka Vanam” and the “Dvaitha Vanam”. Subsequently, Arjuna goes for his “Teertha Yatra” to the Gandha-Madhana Parva and then to the Svarga Lokha, where he is currently in, and this tenure is another five years. Thus, after Arjuna returns from the Svarga Lokha, it is almost the eleventh year running. This is when the Paandavas begin to strategize how to win over Duryodhana and how to regain whatever they had lost earlier.
So for now, let Arjuna remain in the “Svarga Lokha” for sometime, and in the meanwhile let us witness what happens with Yudishtra and the others in the “Bhoo-Lokha”. We now move on into the “Teertha-Yatra Parva”. One fine day, Yudishtra talks to his brothers and Draupati thus, “Oh brothers! Oh Draupati! All of us are pained with the absence of our Arjuna and nobody knows his whereabouts as of now. I’m sure he would be safe and secure because of Bhagawan Krishna’s divine “Anugraha” and I’m also sure that he would return back to us at some point in time. He has gone on a mission somewhere, and once he is done with it, he will be back amongst all of us. However, until the time he comes back, all of us should leave this “Dvaitha Vanam” and go on a “Teertha-Yatra”. We shall together visit many “Punya-Kshetras” around our Bhaarata Desha and let us spend our time in this way.
Thus, with this, we shall commence the “Teertha-Yatra” Parva and so for today, we shall understand up to this point. We shall wait till the next episode to witness which are the places the Paandava brothers had visited! In fact, we would be surprised to know that the Paandava brothers have made their way to South India as well, all the way up to Sri Lanka wherein King Vibhishana was still ruling the kingdom! We’re going to witness all this starting from the next episode! Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂