Episode # 548 – The “Pathivrata Dharma” – Sage Markandeya illustrates with a beautiful story!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Maarkandeya narrating an important aspect of “Dharma”, wherein it is the bound duty of a son to take care of his parents during their old age. However, Sage Maarkandeya also feels sad that this “Dharma” is not being followed properly in the present day by people. If Sage Maarkandeya had to feel sad during the “Dvaapara Yuga”, what should we say about the present “Kali Yuga”? What we can assume simply is that none of us, (or only a handful of us) is following this “Dharma” properly! Of course, there are a multitude of factors contributing to the gross violation of this “Dharma” – The main factor being the attitude of the wife’s family. If the in-laws (Wife’s parents, siblings, etc.) are of an extremely dominating and a self-centred type, it becomes very difficult for the husband to execute his duties towards his parents. We’re witnessing this in many families today and this is one of the main reasons why couples end up in divorce in the present situation. There should be a balance in terms of family interference in the affairs of a couple, and if this balance is starting to tilt, it becomes difficult to manage. 

Moving on thus, Sage Maarkandeya is now going to explain the next aspect of “Dharma” which Yudishtra had asked earlier – The “Pathivratha Dharma”. He says this in the next Parva thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Let me tell you one small incident and through this I shall drive home an important point pertaining to this. There was once a Brahmana Rishi by name Kaushika. This Kaushika was once sitting beneath a tree and was performing penance. On top of the tree there was a swan sitting, and by mistake, the swan excreted on Kaushika’s head. Upon realizing this, the Rishi got extremely angry and had a fierce look at the swan. With this one look itself, the swan was burnt down to ashes! Upon seeing this, Sage Kaushika was extremely happy with the power of penance that he has gained over time. Moving on with this, Sage Kaushika continued with his penance for the day, and slept off. Next day morning as he woke up, he started to go around obtaining the “Bhiksha” for his meal. Normally, Sage Kaushika will only go to those houses to obtain “Bhiksha” wherein people are living with a high-level of “Atma-Shuddhi” (Spiritual advancement and a clean mind). Thinking thus, Sage Kaushika went to a woman’s house. Sage Kaushika had heard a lot about this woman, and he knows that she is an epitome of various aspects of “Dharma”. When Sage Kaushika knocks at her door, her husband comes out to receive him. However, he was not feeling well. The woman comes out and requests Sage Kaushika to wait for a moment, as she had to urgently serve her husband with food, due to his illness. It is the duty of the wife to take care of the husband at all times, isn’t it? 

Thinking thus, this woman requested Sage Kaushika to wait. However, this did not go well with Sage Kaushika. How can a Brahmana Rishi be asked to wait, without giving priority? Thinking thus, Sage Kaushika was waiting for the woman to come. Finally, after a few minutes, the woman turned up. She had finished serving her husband by that time and by the time she came to Sage Kaushika, he was fuming with anger! Sage Kaushika asks her thus, “Is it fair on your part to make a Brahmana Rishi wait like this? What were you doing all this while? Don’t you know your priorities?” As Sage Kaushika angrily asks thus, the woman replies calmly: “Oh Great Sage! I understand the reason for your anger! However, just like how my priorities are important for you, your priorities are important for me too – As a Brahmana Rishi, patience is very important for you, isn’t it? I expected you to be patient till I come. The essence of intense Tapas is to be patient, isn’t it? Hence, if my priority according to you is not to make a Brahmana Rishi wait, your priority towards me is patience! If you’re not exhibiting it, how can you point fingers at me?” 

Now this is becoming a sort of a debate between Sage Kaushika and the woman. So for today, let us understand up to this point, and let us wait till the next episode to witness Sage Kaushika’s reply to the woman! 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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