In the previous episode, we had witnessed the commencement of the “Viraata Parva” with an introduction to what is the main event that is going to take place here. We’re going to discuss at length, the “Agnyaata Vaasam” and how the Paandava brothers spent their last year in the forest in the disguised and unnoticeable form. We’ve commenced the “Viraata Parva” with King Janame-Jaya asking Sage Vaishampayana a series of questions about the Paandavas and how they spent their time during the “Agnyaata Vaasam”. We are now going to witness Sage Vaishampayana’s detailed answer as to what happened to the Paandavas during this crucial juncture. As mentioned many times earlier, this “Agnyaata Vaasam” period is going to be a “make-or-break” one for both Duryodhana as well as Yudishtra. On one hand, Yudishtra is trying to fulfill the “Agnyaata Vaasam” without any hiccups, whereas on the other hand, Duryodhana is going to try and spot the Paandava brothers, so as to extend their “Vana-Vaasam” by another thirteen years, as per the earlier rule. If Duryodhana is successful in doing so, he would be able to rule the undivided Hastinapura territory all by himself without any interruption from anyone. However, if Yudishtra is able to finish his “Agnyaata Vaasam” successfully, he can rightly claim his Indraprastha once again from Duryodhana’s clutches. Let us see who wins this epic “cold war”!
Moving on thus, as the Paandavas discuss and deliberate upon various choices of places to spend their thirteenth year, Sage Vaishampayana explains the strategy clearly. Yudishtra says thus, “Oh brothers! Let us go to an uncharted territory and let us perform some jobs that all of us are individually expert in! Out of all the cities that we’ve analyzed, I feel that the “Viraata Nagara” is the safest and the best place for all of us to live in. The choice is picked up from a series of territories that are put up for analysis on the table – “Janapadham”, “Paanchaalam”, “Chedi Desham”, “Matsya Desham”, “Viraata Desham”, “Soorasenam”, “Patacharam”, “Dashaarnam”, “Nava-Raashtram”, “Malla Desham”, “Shaalva Desham”, “Yugandhara Desham”, “Kunthi Raashtram”, “Sauraashtram”, etc. Of course, these are old names of various areas of our great Bhaarata Desham put together. Whenever we get free time, we shall research upon each of the above-mentioned names and we would get the exact present locations in today’s India. This would be a very interesting task and an assignment for all of us to perform. Listing out all these places thus, Yudishtra asks his brothers – “Out of all these places, which is that one place wherein you would like to go and live for the next one year?” The unanimous decision here is that all of them would proceed towards the “Viraata Desha” and lead their lives there. Yudishtra too agrees upon the decision and now the contemplation is how do they lead their lives at the “Viraata Desha”. In other words, as each of them should be in disguised forms, what are the forms that each of them would take?
Now here is the trick which all of us need to understand – Once the Paandavas change their forms, they cannot lie. If they lie, they would be committing an “Adharma” (Sin of uttering a lie) , and Duryodhana is waiting eagerly to catch the Paandavas in this wrong foot! Thus, Duryodhana is very keen on finding the whereabouts of the Paandavas somehow, even if they are in a disguised form. Duryodhana somehow wants to make Yudishtra utter a lie, which would hinder his progress towards the path of “Dharma” and this would ultimately pave the way for “Adharma” to creep in, which might determine Yudishtra’s downfall! This is Duryodhana’s plan! So for today, let us understand up to this point, and in the next episode, we shall continue this interesting discussion forward! Stay tuned! 🙂