Episode # 373 – King Dhridirashtra “CHASES” Vidura away from Hastinapura angrily!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Vidura lamenting to King Dhridiraashtra that Duryodhana is walking on a very dangerous path, which would certainly make him and his entire clan extinct. Vidura repeatedly highlights the point to King Dhridiraashtra that even now it is not too late. He can still correct many things as a leader. He can give stern instructions to Duryodhana and sideline him for sometime until Duryodhana mends himself. During this time, King Dhridiraashtra can call back Yudishtra and Co. and give away the Indraprastha kingdom that Duryodhana has illegally abducted. If he is not doing this immediately and if he allows things to escalate further, Vidura explains that life is going to get tougher and tougher by the passing day for Duryodhana. As Vidura advises repeatedly thus, King Dhridiraashtra is not ready to listen to his words. Instead, he gets angry at Vidura and retaliates that Vidura is only concerned about the welfare of the Paandava brothers every time. Rather than feeling happy and congratulating Duryodhana on his success against the Paandavas, King Dhridiraashtra feels that Vidura is taking the side of Yudishtra and constantly demotivating Duryodhana. However, the situation is right opposite to what King Dhridiraashtra thinks! Vidura is actually talking in favour of Duryodhana and trying his level best to protect him from an imminent danger, however, neither the father nor the son understood this! 

As King Dhridiraashtra angrily replies thus to Vidura, he leaves Vidura in the chamber and rushes away! However, before leaving, King Dhridiraashtra also says something which hurts and wounds Vidura even more! King Dhridiraashtra says thus, “Oh Vidura! I’ve told you enough and more from my side! Now it is your call! You can stay at Hastinapura palace if you wish! Else… The door is open! You may leave this place once and forever! I do not care! I do not want anyone in my palace who talks against the interests of my son Duryodhana!” As King Dhridiraashtra angrily spits his words on Vidura, he leaves the place immediately! Poor Vidura is shocked beyond words and is now completely helpless! Not knowing what to do at that moment, Vidura sinks on to the chair with despair and sadness! Tears roll by Vidura’s cheeks and he is completely agitated! Vidura is a “Mahatma”, and if he gets agitated, it is not going to be because he is insulted by his brother. His agitation is because he is unable to convince King Dhridiraashtra and Duryodhana and “Adharma” is happening right in front of his eyes! 

After some time, Vidura composes himself and arrives at a decision thus – From now onwards, there is no point in residing at Hastinapura anymore! Where there is “Adharma” happening blatantly without a check, there is no place for Vidura henceforth. Thus, Vidura decides to desert King Dhridiraashtra and leave the palace of Hastinapura. He quickly packs his things and moves swiftly to the “Kaamyaka Vanam”. Incidentally this “Kamyaka Vanam” is the forest area where the Paandavas are also residing. Vidura thus leaves for the “Kaamyaka Vanam” which is quite close to Kurukshetra. He takes a chariot of his own and crosses the rivers of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati to reach this place. In fact, before Vidura arrived there, the Paandavas were roaming around somewhere else. However, as fate would have it, just when Vidura arrives at the “Kaamyaka Vanam”, the Paandavas also arrive precisely at the same time. Thus, the place where Yudishtra thinks of setting up his hamlet is exactly the same place where Vidura is sitting! 

As the Paandavas arrive at the “Kaamyaka-Vanam”, they are surprised to see Vidura sitting there! As Yudishtra sees Vidura, he is completely taken aback! He thinks thus, “Oh wow! What is Vidura doing here alone? Why has he left King Dhridiraashtra and the others back at Hastinapura and come? Has he come to meet us here? Or, has he been deserted by people there? If Vidura is here, who would explain the “Dharma” aspects to King Dhridiraashtra and Co. at Hastinapura?” Thinking all of these thus, Yudishtra comes closer to Vidura. As both of them meet each other, Yudishtra sees Vidura in tears! He immediately asks Vidura thus, “Oh great scholarly Vidura! What are you doing here in this dense forest area? Why did you come here? Are everybody at Hastinapura doing fine? How is Mother Kunthi Devi? How is Mother Gaandhaari? How is our King Dhridiraashtra? Are everybody okay? What made you come here by leaving all of them back at Hastinapura? Is there any problem? Your face looks so dull and tired. What happened there? Can you please tell me in detail? By the very look of your face, you seem to be totally worried! I’m unable to understand the reason behind this worry that you’re showing in your face!” 

As Yudishtra asks with a lot of concern, Vidura is going to give a very important reply to him. So for today, let us understand the fact that Vidura has quit Hastinapura and is now going to have a very important conversation with Yudishtra in the forest. We shall wait till the next episode to witness this conversation and Vidura’s reply to Yudishtra’s question! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 372 – “If Duryodhana continues this “Adharma”, his life is in great danger!” – Vidura slams King Dhridarashtra!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the commencement of the next segment of discussion wherein Vidura is conversing with King Dhridiraashtra. Now that all the gambling events are over and the Paandavas have left the Hastinapura palace, King Dhridiraashtra is feeling guilty of whatever has happened. He clearly feels that a gross injustice has been meted out to his brother Paandu’s sons by Duryodhana and Co. Anger and tension is starting to simmer between the two camps. As he was deep into his thoughts with all these things, Vidura makes his way into King Dhridiraashtra’s chamber and now, Vidura is going to render a few words of important advice. We’ve witnessed yesterday that Vidura explains how things are not too late as yet. He explains to King Dhridiraashtra thus, “Oh king! You still have a lot of time and opportunity for course correction. Please do not think that everything is over! Things have just started taking shape. Even now it is not too late. You can still convince Duryodhana, talk with him and see what can be done to pacify the Paandavas. If Yudishtra gets pacified even at this moment, he would forget all whatever has happened and your sons would graciously escape from the wrath of their strong valor and Bhagawan Krishna’s anger!” 

Moving on thus, Vidura continues further: “Oh King Dhridiraashtra! Please understand one thing very clearly – “Dharma” is the same for everyone in this world. It is not that your sons have one school of “Dharma” and the Paandavas have another school of “Dharma”. You should treat both your sons and Paandu’s sons as the same. Afterall, Yudishtra has enormous respect towards you, even after Duryodhana has meted out enormous amounts of humiliation towards him. You should learn to appreciate this in him. Please do not separate the Paandavas and Kauravas and please do not encourage rift between both of them. If you’re starting to differentiate between the two camps, please understand that you’re paving the way for a complete “Kula-Naasham” (Destruction of the entire clan). Thus, if you’re giving something to somebody, please do not show partiality towards one for the other. This is a wrong approach as a leader. You should be an epitome of neutrality between both the camps!”

As Vidura explains thus, King Dhridiraashtra should take his words in the right sense, shouldn’t he? However, what happens here is on the contrary! Rather than appreciating Vidura’s words, King Dhridiraashtra gets angry! Now that Duryodhana has won the gambling game and he has sent the Paandavas to the forest successfully, King Dhridiraashtra’s anger knows no bounds. Atleast till now, there was some fear sticking to him because, before the game was played, King Dhridiraashtra did not know how the outcome could impact his son. Now that he is seeing in front of his eyes that his son is happy, his courage and over-confidence takes over! He replies to Vidura angrily and arrogantly thus, “Oh Vidura! You’re talking about partiality and me not being neutral, aren’t you? However, I’m seeing extreme partiality in whatever you’re talking about. You’re always siding towards the Paandava brothers and you’re unable to see the happiness that my son Duryodhana would get. Before the game was played, you were supporting the cause of Yudishtra, and even now you’re the same. Even for a single day you’ve never spoken in favour of my son, and hence, what kind of a minister are you to me? Your only job is to speak in favour of the Paandavas! Whatever you say to me doesn’t appeal to me as “Dharma” to my son. You might be right in whatever you’re saying, but you should tell something in favour of me also. You’re tailor-making “Dharma” to support the Paandava brothers and by that, you’re not concerned about my sons’ lives at all!” 

As King Dhridiraashtra laments angrily thus, Vidura immediately clarifies: “Oh King Dhridiraashtra! Please understand – I’m NOT talking in favour of the Paandava brothers at all. I’m ONLY talking for the benefit of your son Duryodhana! Right from day one, my stance has always been towards your son only! It is you who is not understanding this. You’re thinking that Duryodhana would be happy and content with all the wealth and luxuries of being a king. However, I’m thinking that his “Atman” should be content and moreover, he should be alive in the first place, to experience the luxuries that you’re talking about! If he walks this dangerous path of “Adharma”, his life is in great danger! Can’t you understand even this simple point?” As Vidura asks thus, a heated argument results between the two, and at the end, King Dhridiraashtra walks away angrily into his palace! 

So for today, let us understand up to this point and in the next episode, we shall witness what Vidura’s reaction is going to be! This is a “make-or-break” situation at Hastinapura here! Is Vidura going to walk away? Or, is Vidura going to try and convince King Dhridiraashtra again? Stay tuned for an important accord! 🙂 

Episode # 370 – “You still have a chance for course correction!” – Vidura advises King Dhridarashtra!!!

In the previous episode, we had completed the detailed discussion on Yudishtra obtaining the “Akshaya Paatra” from Surya Bhagawan, courtesy – Sage Dhoumya who taught him the auspicious “Surya-Nanaskara Mantra”. Yudishtra on his part, meticulously chanted it for the benefit of all the people and the cows who accompanied him to the forest. Impressed by this, Surya Bhagawan gave the “Akshaya Paatra”, which supplies unlimited food to all the people and cows assembled there. With the instructions clearly given by Surya Bhagawan, Yudishtra feeds all the people and cows with it, which in turn fulfils his “Dharma” that he should feed everyone sumptuously to their full satisfaction at all times. As this happens, we now shift our focus to what is happening in Hastinapura. We had left Hastinapura at a point wherein the Paandavas had accepted the “Vana-Vaasa” for twelve years and the “Agnyaata Vaasa” for the thirteenth year, isn’t it? Duryodhana and Sahuni had won the second round of gambling, which led Yudishtra to renounce everything and leave! 

Now that everything is over, King Dhridiraashtra is worried as to what has just happened! He knows that his son Duryodhana has created a problematic situation for him, which is not going to be easy for any kind of course correction in the future. An irreparable damage has been caused, which might lead to a huge disaster. As King Dhridiraashtra is thinking thus, Vidura hurries into his chamber. Upon seeing Vidura coming towards him, King Dhridiraashtra laments to Vidura thus, “Oh Vidura! I know that you were the only person who stood by the “Dharma”. I know that all your words are correct and I should have paid heed to it. However, please forgive me for not obeying your words, as I was pushed to a corner by all the people sitting there. Duryodhana was extremely aggressive and so were Sahuni and the others. It was a compelling moment for me to support Duryodhana. Of course, I nullified the first round of gambling after Draupati was insulted in public. I had somehow dosed down the situation a bit. However, I couldn’t control Duryodhana any further. I was completely cornered and helpless!” 

As King Dhridiraashtra says thus, he is in tears of sorrow. Now as Vidura is looking on, King Dhridiraashtra continues thus, “Oh Vidura! I know you would have something to tell me with regards to course correction. However, I feel that everything is over and it is now too late for any sort of course correction! The Paandavas have left for the forest for thirteen years. If I’ve to reverse this decision, it is not going to be easy. I feel that it is next to impossible. So what else can be done? It is not going to be easy either to pacify the Paandavas. Of course, Yudishtra would still accept my request, but will Bheemasena and the others accept anymore? The way in which Bheemasena and the others took the “Shabadhams” in front of the entire crowd the other day still rings fresh in my ears. Of course, I see a huge danger in front of the Hastinapura kingdom and most importantly Duryodhana. I do not really know what would be the way forward from here on!” 

As King Dhridiraashtra sheds tears of sorrow and frustration thus, Vidura tries to calm him down. Vidura replies now to King Dhridiraashtra thus. “Oh great king of Hastinapura! I understand your deep concern that you weren’t able to act on that decisive day. Of course, I understand that you were pushed to a corner and were forced to favour Duryodhana at that point. However, please understand one thing – It is still not too late. The problems have just started. You’re saying that everything is over. But what I feel is that everything has just started. “Adharma” is still just starting to take shape, and it is still not too late for course correction. You can still do a lot of things to mend Duryodhana’s ways and pacify the Paandava brothers, but all what is required is your strong willpower. If you’re ready to exhibit your assertiveness at this critical moment, things can be reversed quite easily, before it becomes even worse!” 

As Vidura explains thus, we should also understand an important point that he is trying to drive home – It is fine for all of us to make a mistake. But what do we learn from that mistake? How do we move forward by correcting it? What steps are we taking for course correction and how early are we doing it? This is what Bhagawan wants from all of us. It is not the fact that the moment we make a mistake, Bhagawan would punish us then and there. He gives us a lot of time and innumerable opportunities for course correction. But the real question here is whether we’re using those opportunities to correct ourselves and mend our ways! So for today let us understand this important point and let us introspect within ourselves. So what is King Dhridiraashtra going to do now? Is he going to listen to Vidura’s accord and mend his ways? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 369 – Surya Bhagawan instructs Yudishtra on how to use the “Akshaya-Paatra”!!!

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! 🙂 

Episode # 368 – Surya Bhagawan gifts the “AKSHAYA – PAATRA” to Yudishtra!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the discussion wherein Bhagawan Krishna played a “Divine Leela” with the “Akshaya Paatra”, and Draupati illustrates how Bhagawan’s “Naama-Japa” comes to the rescue of ardent devotees when they are in a fix. Moreover, one of Bhagawan Krishna’s important purposes of incarnating in this world is to illustrate His “Aashrita Sulabham”, which means that He is readily accessible to all His devotees who merely calls Him by name! Also, whatever His devotees offer to Him with their love and devotion, Bhagawan would immediately accept – Irrespective of a sumptuous meal or even a small food grain. All what is important for Bhagawan is the attitude with which we make the offering. Draupati and Vidura are excellent examples for this in the Mahabharata. 

Thus, coming back to our context here, we’ve witnessed that Sage Dhoumya had given this “Surya-Namaskara” Mantra to Yudishtra in order to ensure that his “Dharma” of feeding all the Brahmins and the cows is fulfilled. Sage Dhoumya explains to Yudishtra thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Please chant this Surya Namaskara Mantra every morning after your regular oblations. Soorya Bhagawan will ensure that all your needs are met. Thus, whoever chants this Mantra meticulously every morning, his / her home would be filled with priceless “Ratnas” (Ornaments like gold, diamonds, etc.) in an unlimited quantity!” As Sage Dhoumya says thus, we might immediately think here – “Oh wow! If we also chant this, we would also get all the gold and diamonds in the world, isn’t it? :)” Of course we would! The great words of Maharishis aren’t going to prove futile. However, the purpose for which Sage Dhoumya is giving this Mantra to Yudishtra is something that we should always have in mind. Sage Dhoumya is giving this to Yudishtra, not for satisfying his personal selfish luxuries and needs. This Mantra is for the benefit of all the others who are around Yudishtra. This Mantra is to obtain food for all the Brahmins and the cows that are following Yudishtra. Whereas, if we’re asking for all the “Ratnas”, mostly it would be for fulfilling our selfish needs. 

Thus, we should understand one thing here – Mantras would work if our attitude is selfless. Whereas, if we chant them for fulfilling our selfish worldly pleasures, they wouldn’t work. This is something that all of us should understand very clearly at this point. Thus, of course, we shall all chant the “Surya-Namaskara” Mantra and I shall give the entire set of 7-8 slokas in a separate episode. Or, we shall even find it with a simple “Google” search. However, what we should remember here is that we should chant the Mantra for the benefit of the entire world. We should pray to Surya Bhagawan that the entire world should get sufficient food, clothing and shelter for a sustained existence without any diseases or suffering. If this is our prayer, Surya Bhagawan would definitely answer it! Thus, Yudishtra obtains the “Akshaya Paatra” from Surya Bhagawan with his immense “Tapas”, which impresses him. 

Thus, as Yudishtra performs his penance, Surya Bhagawan comes in front of him and says thus, “Oh Yudishtra! I’m extremely impressed with the consistency of your path of “Dharma” that you’ve undertaken. For this, I shall ensure that all of you, including the Brahmins, Maharishis, cows, etc. would be adequately fed from this moment onwards. Thus, for the next twelve years when you’re in the forest, I shall feed all of you sumptuous! So here is the “Akshaya Paatra” which would generate unlimited food for all of you here!” You may consume as much food as you want and you can relish the food that comes out of it. Please remember that this food is the “Prasadha” that is offered to Bhagawan and it comes directly to you!” 

As Surya Bhagawan says thus, Yudishtra is immensely happy and satisfied. His path of “Dharma” from now onwards would not be compromised and this is the reason for which he is happy. We’ve to note this very carefully – Yudishtra is not bothered whether his prayers are answered or not, or whether he obtained the “Akshaya Paatra” or not. He is happy because his path of “Dharma” is protected and there is no obstacle for it any more! So for today, let us understand this point very clearly and in the next episode we shall move on from this discussion to the next! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 367 – “Aashruta Sulabham” – A hallmark of Bhagawan Krishna’s divine incarnation!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Yudishtra obtaining the “Akshaya Paatra” from Soorya Bhagawan, as a token of his immense penance. Impressed by Yudishtra’s path of “Dharma” and his consistency to follow it, Bhagawan Soorya wanted to ensure that Yudishtra’s “Dharma” doesn’t stop for any reason. Hence, he presented Yudishtra with the “Akshaya Paatra”, which can feed “n” number of people continuously with a sumptuous meal every passing day. Usually, Draupati has the last meal from it after feeding all the people around her. After Draupati finishes her quota, the “Akshaya Paatra” would stop generating further food from it. However, one fine day, Sage Dhurvasa had come at a time when Draupati had just finished her meal! The “Akshaya Paatra” had stopped generating the food, and Draupati was perplexed upon how to feed Sage Dhurvasa, who is an embodiment of anger! Helpless at that stage, Draupati called out for Bhagawan Krishna once again, and He immediately appeared in front of her! As Bhagawan understood the situation, He asked Draupati to bring the “Akshaya Paatra” and indicates a small rice grain sticking to one corner. Draupati gives that rice grain to Bhagwaan Krishna and as He consumes it, Sage Dhurvasa’s hunger gets completely neutralized! In turn, Sage Dhurvasa was extremely happy and he provided his divine “Anugraha” to Draupati and the Paandavas as he took leave! 

Now what do we understand from here? With just one single call, Bhagawan Krishna rushes to the rescue of His ardent “Bhaktas”, isn’t it? This is not the first time we’re seeing such an incident. We’ve already witnessed how Bhagawan Krishna “invisibly” protected Draupati when she was being molested publicly at Hastinapura by Duryodhana and Co. Even that happened with just one single call made by Draupati to Bhagwan Krishna! In fact, we’ve witnessed in our earlier “Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana” project that Bhagawan Krishna had consumed enormous amounts of food during the spiritual offering made to the “Govardhana Mountain” by the people of Gokula. This happened during His childhood days. There was an enormous variety of food that was to be offered to “Govardhana” and Bhagawan Krishna consumed all of it by Himself! If He can consume so much food, we might ask a question here – How did Bhagawan Krishna’s hunger get satisfied with just that one small rice grain that Draupati had to offer? Isn’t this contrasting? In these similar lines, we’re also going to witness how Bhagawan Krishna’s hunger got satisfied at Vidura’s place, where Vidura was just offering a few banana skins! How does this happen? What is the deeper spiritual meaning behind this? 

The meaning is very simple – It does not matter how much food we’re offering to Bhagawan. All that matters is the attitude with which we’re offering food to Him! Even if it is just a small rice grain, or a couple of fruits, or whatever, if we’re offering them with utmost devotion and tears in our eyes, Bhagawan is going to accept them with glee. Thus, attitude is more important than the quantity / quality of food that we offer to Bhagawan. In fact, this is yet another characteristic of Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation. In Sanskrit, we call this as “Aashrita Sulabham”. This means, Bhagawan is ever ready to come to the rescue of His ardent “Bhaktas” with just one single call. Also, whatever they offer to Him with their love and devotion, Bhagawan would immediately accept! This is the hallmark of Bhagawan Krishna, right from day one till the final stages of the Mahabharata. We’re going to witness in the future episodes as to how Bhagawan Krishna even accepted to be a charioteer to Arjuna. This is an important stage in the Mahabharata where Bhagawan Himself volunteers for this. We might imagine thus: “Oh wow! Bhagawan Krishna is the supreme consciousness and all-pervasive! He is the supreme Lord of the entire world! Yet, why should He undermine Himself to just be a charioteer for someone who is just another normal human being?” The answer is very simple – Bhagawan Krishna would come down to any level possible to secure His devotee. Arjuna was extremely devoted to Bhagawan Krishna at all stages, and Bhagawan Krishna took this as an opportunity to reciprocate Arjuna’s Bhakti and unconditional surrender. He was ready to accept Bhagawan Krishna as His Guru and he was ready to listen to Bhagawan Krishna’s divine words of wisdom, wasn’t he? 

Thus, for today, let us understand this important point and let us wait till the next episode to witness the continuation of this important discussion! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 366 – Bhagawan Krishna’s “Divine Leela” with the “Akshaya-Paatra” of Surya Bhagawan!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Dhoumya providing his “Anugraha” to Yudishtra in the form of the famous “Surya-Namaskara Mantra” for the sole reason of carrying out his “Grihasta-Dharma” of feeding all the people who have followed him to the forest. Yudishtra too obliges and receives the Mantra with all the requisite procedures that a “Sishya” should follow. With this, Yudishtra obtains the Mantra and the next day he chants it with all his devotion towards Bhagawan Surya. Impressed by Yudishtra’s dedication towards the path of “Dharma”, Surya Bhagawan immediately gifts him with a huge “Akshaya_Paatra”, with which he could serve unlimited food for all the people who are with him. From that day onwards, the “Akshaya-Paatra” takes care of the hunger of all people and with this, Yudishtra’s “Dharma” is also fulfilled successfully. Thus, the important aspect that we should understand here is that, if we’re honest and sincere towards “Dharma”, Bhagawan would ensure that we are stacked up with adequate resources to carry out our “Dharma” properly. 

Thus, with the “Akshaya-Paatra”, Yudishtra as a routine feeds all the Brahmins and the Maharishis every day and Draupati would be the last person to consume food from it. Once Draupati finished her meal, the “Akshaya-Paatra” would stop generating food for that day. Thus, this routine was going on for a while, and in fact, Bhagawan Krishna played a “Leela” (Divine game) with this “Akshaya Paatra” itself. One day, Sage Dhurvasa makes his way to visit the Paandavas and Draupati. All of us know who Sage Dhurvasa is, and what is he known for! 🙂 Unfortunately for Draupati that fine day, Sage Dhurvasa makes his way into their hamlet immediately after she consumes her food for the day! As we’ve seen earlier, the “Akshaya-Paatra” would stop generating food after Draupati finishes her meal! In fact, Duryodhana sends Sage Dhurvasa to the Paandavas on purpose! He wants Sage Dhurvasa to get angry and curse them! Through some means, Duryodhana comes to know that Yudishtra has this “Akshaya Paatra” and he wants to use it to his benefit here! However, as we’ve witnessed earlier, during times of a problem, Draupati knows only one thing – To call out for Bhagawan Krishna for help! Bhagawan Krishna also immediately responds to Draupati and appears before her. Upon explaining the situation that she is unable to feed Sage Dhurvasa who is her “Atithi” (Guest) from the “Akshaya-Paatra”, Bhagawan Krishna suggests an idea here. He asks Draupati to bring the Akshaya Paatra, only to find out that there is one small food grain sticking on to its corner! Bhagawan Krishna takes that food grain and eats it, and with this, Sage Dhurvasa’s hunger also gets neutralized! Thus, instead of getting angry, Sage Dhurvasa was very happy and he provided his divine “Anugraha” to Yudishtra and Co. and left the place! 

Thus with this, Duryodhana’s plan of somehow using Sage Dhurvasa to pitch for Yudishtra’s downfall hit yet another roadblock! Bhagawan Krishna thus played this “Divine Leela” to protect the Paandavas from the curse of Sage Dhurvaasa. Thus, from this small incident, we can understand the significance of both the “Akshaya-Paatra” as well as Bhagawan Krishna’s divinity! So for today, let us understand and experience this important “Leela” of Bhagawan Krishna and let us wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! We might be wondering how Bhagawan Krishna’s hunger was satisfied with just that one small food grain, isn’t it? In fact, it did not just satisfy Bhagawan Krishna’s hunger, but also of Sage Dhurvaasa. How did this happen? What are some anecdotal references regarding this “Leela” of Bhagawan Krishna? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 365 – Sage Dhoumya teaches Yudishtra the important “Surya-Namaskara-Mantra”!!!

We’re at an important juncture wherein Sage Shaunaka is finding it tough to answer one of Yudishtra’s questions and this is where Sage Dhoumya volunteers to answer. In yesterday’s episode, we recalled who Sage Dhoumya is. We’ve seen that Sage Dhoumya is the chief mentor of the Paandavas and his presence with them at all times ensures that they are safe and secure. Now, as Sage Shaunaka thinks for an answer to Yudishtra’s question, Sage Dhoumya stands up to give an answer. We shall witness Sage Dhoumya’s answer today. Sage Dhoumya says thus: 

“Puraa shrishtaani bhoothaani peedyante shudayaabrisham!

Tato nu kampayaa teshaam savitaah svapitaa yathaa!!”

Here, Sage Dhoumya explains thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Bhagawan Surya (Sun God) is the one who enlightens this entire world with his bright light. It is in this same “Surya-Mandalam” is Bhagawan Narayana resides as well. Now let me do one thing – I shall educate you with an important “Mantra” that is devoted to Surya Bhagawan. This “Mantra” is called “Surya-Namaskaara Mantra”. As you keep chanting this Mantra repeatedly with dedication, Bhagawan Surya would be impressed. With his divine “Anugraha”, Bhagawan Surya would guide you as to how to feed all these people who have come with you!”

As Sage Dhoumya advises thus, Yudishtra is surprised. He did not expect this sort of an answer perhaps. Yudishtra asks thus, “Oh respected Sage Dhoumya! Why should we worship Bhagawan Surya for this? Is there a specific reason to do so?” Sage Dhoumya replies thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Yes! Bhagwan Surya is the one who is solely responsible for the survival of this entire world! It is only with his light are the crops and trees growing! It is only with the crops, we get rice and other food grains, isn’t it? Hence, it is Surya Bhagawan who is feeding all of us every passing day, isn’t it? So, what is wrong in directly approaching Surya Bhagawan for guidance? Hence, you can ask Surya Bhagawan directly and there is no problem with that!” 

As Sage Dhoumya gives confidence thus, Yudishtra gets prepared to learn the “Surya-Namaskaara Mantra” from him. It is at this place in the Mahabharata text wherein we have the “Surya-Namaskara” clearly described. In fact, there is a “Astothra Shata Naamaavali” (108 divine names of Bhagwan Surya) that is chanted by Sage Dhoumya as he passes on this important knowledge to Yudishtra. Thus, Bhagawan Surya has the following names. I’m just listing a few examples here – “Suryaha”, “Aryamaa”, “Bhagaha”, “Tvashtaa”, “Pooshaa”, “Arkaha”, “Savita”, “Ravihi”, “Gabhasthimaan”, “Ajaha”, “Mrutyuhu”, “Prabhaakaraha”, “Prithivyaa Pascha”, “Kam-vaayuscha Paraayanam”, etc. Thus, there are several slokas in this “Adhyaaya” that sing in praise of Bhagawan Surya, which in turn forms the “Surya-Namaskaara Mantra”. We can also chant these slokas everyday to obtain the divine “Anugraha” of Surya Bhagawan. Thus, Sage Dhoumya’s point here is that, if Yudishtra chants this “Surya-Astothra-Shata Namaavali” (108 divine names of Bhagawan Surya), Surya Bhagawan would directly guide Yudishtra in feeding all the people who have followed him. 

Thus, during the dawn time of the next day, Yudishtra wakes up early, finishes all his oblations and gets ready to chant the “Surya-Namaskara Mantra”. He does so in a very nice manner, which impresses Surya Bhagawan straightaway! Thus, Surya Bhagawan presents Yudishtra with a huge “Akshaya Paatra”, with which, he can feed any number of people who come to him for food. This term called “Akshaya-Paatra” is quite famous even today isn’t it? Normally it means that this vessel (“Paatra”) rejuvenates with food at all times. Hence, whatever food items we think of, would be available in it, in unlimited quantities. Thus, Yudishtra obtains this “Akshaya-Paatra” from Surya Bhagawan and from that day onwards, he is able to feed everyone with ease, and with utmost satisfaction. Thus with this, Yudishtra is also satisfied that even though he is a popper at that stage, he is still able to walk the path of his “Dharma” of feeding all the Brahmins and the Maharishis who have come with him to the forest. 

Hence, the important point for all of us to understand here is very simple – Where there is a will, there is always a way! Yudishtra genuinely opined that there should be nothing that stops him from executing his “Dharma”. Sage Dhoumya was a guiding light for him with this important suggestion of worshipping Surya Bhagawan directly. Yudishtra obeyed Sage Dhoumya’s words and immensely benefited from it! This is what we’ve to learn – If elderly people, Gurus and Mahatmas say something, we’ve to make it a point to listen and act, rather than questioning them back. Moreover, if our reasoning is genuine, Bhagawan would always find out ways to resolve the hurdles that might come our way in preventing us from executing our “Dharma”. So for today, let us understand this important point and let us wait till the next episode to find out what happened next! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 364 – Sage Dhoumya – The chief “MENTOR” for the Pandava brothers!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Bheemasena and Draupati raising queries to Sage Shaunaka whether they would be getting back their kingdom in due course, for which, Sage Shaunaka declined a direct answer. He replied in a very generic manner by saying that if they follow all the above-mentioned aspects of “Dharma”, they might still get back their kingdom at some point in time. Irrespective of whether they get back the kingdom or not, it is their bound duty to follow the path of “Dharma” at all times. Sage Shaunaka makes it very clear that he is not interested whether Yudishtra goes back to Indraprastha or not. All what is important for him is whether he follows “Dharma” or not. As Sage Shaunaka expresses his thoughts clearly thus, Yudishtra once again raises a query – If he’s unable to feed all the sages and brahmins who had accompanied him, wouldn’t it create a deviation from his path of “Dharma”? Of course, the Maharishis can feed themselves at any point in time, but the question here is whether Yudishtra is following the path of “Dharma” by feeding them. As Yudishtra asks a genuine question thus, Sage Shaunaka is going to give an important reply. 

Sage Shaunaka explains thus, “Oh Yudishtra! This is your big concern, isn’t it? I totally understand. It is your Grihasta-Dharma” to serve all the Brahmins and Maharishis. Now that you’re not having sufficient infrastructure to serve everyone, let us think of some method to solve this issue!” As Sage Shaunaka and Yudishtra start thinking of various ways to resolve this, Sage Dhoumya stood up from amidst the crowd! We’ve already witnessed who is Sage Dhoumya. Now here is a test of memory for all our readers. Who is Sage Dhoumya? We’ve witnessed a “Upa-Parva” by name “Chaitrarasa Parva” wherein Chitrarasa was a “Gandharva” by nature. As the Paandava brothers were proceeding towards the Paanchaala Desha to meet Draupati for the first time before their marriage, it was this Chitrarasa who introduced the Paandavas to Sage Dhoumya. We’ve witnessed earlier that Chitrarasa initially came for a fight with the Paandava brothers, even though they were dressed as “Brahmana Rishis”. He clearly found out that these five people were not Brahmanas at any cost. As Arjuna and Chitrarasa began fighting, Chitrarasa realized that these people were Kshatrya princes and were extremely talented in nature. Thus, a long dialogue between Chitrarasa and the Paandava brothers followed by, and in fact, Chitrarasa showed them the way to Paanchaala Desha. However, he did not want them to go there all by themselves, and hence he advised them to take Sage Dhoumya along.  

Thus, from that day onwards, Sage Dhoumya is with the Paandava brothers at all times. Even when Yudishtra was ruling at Indraprastha, Sage Dhoumya was one of his important advisors. Even now, Sage Dhoumya is walking along with Yudishtra in the forest, as this conversation between himself and Sage Shaunaka is going on. Not only at this stage – Sage Dhoumya is going to be there along with Yudishtra and Co. even in the future as well. Whenever Yudishtra gets into any trouble, Sage Dhoumya is always with him to bail him out! In fact, even Bhagawan Krishna is going to express His gratitude to Sage Dhoumya at a later stage. Bhagawan Krishna is going to say to Sage Dhoumya thus, “Oh Sage Dhoumya! It is only because you are alongside these Paandava brothers, I’m relieved. I’m confident that if you’re with Yudishtra and Co., the Paandavas are safe and secure. I do not need to worry too much about them!” If Bhagawan Krishna had to utter these words to Sage Dhoumya directly, we can understand how significant Sage Dhoumya’s role was with the Paandavas in nurturing and protecting them. In other words, Sage Dhoumya was the mentor for the Paandavas at all stages! 

So now, Sage Dhoumya is going to give an important accord, both to Yudishtra and to Sage Shounaka. So for today, let us understand up to this point, as to who Sage Dhoumya was and what was his role towards the Paandava brothers! We shall wait till the next episode to witness what Sage Dhoumya opines to Yudishtra, pertaining to this problem. Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 363 – “Are we still going to get our kingdom back?” – Drauapti asks Sage Shaunaka!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Shaunaka rendering a very important advice to Yudishtra with regards to “Atma-Gnyaana”. He says that the only thing that grows in a human being is “Gnyaanam” or Knowlege. This is something that all of us are experiencing in our regular routine too. If we get involved and interested in a subject, we tend to go deeper into it and explore more to understand many intricacies and nuances of it. For instance, if one is interested in music, he / she tries to learn from an accomplished musician and gets more and more involved. Moreover, he / she tries a lot of improvisation and innovation in various aspects of music and tries to grow it further and further, isn’t it? Such is the case in almost all domains that we see today. Similar is also the case for learning about the “Atman”. The more we devote time, interest, effort and involvement in understanding about the “Atman”, the more we would learn. However, the gross difference between learning about the “Atman” and other forms of worldly education is that we tend to show more interest towards worldly education as compared to the “Atman” education. Why is that so? The primary reason is because whatever we learn as part of our worldly education can be seen right in front of our eyes. Hence, we’re easily able to connect what we learn and what we see and experience. However, this feature is somewhat lacking in the “Atman” education. Whatever we might learn from our “Sanaatana Dharma” literature, we might not be able to visualize and experience immediately. This creates a disconnect in us, and eventually we tend to lose interest. Thus, for pursuing the “Atman” education, “Vairaagya” or “Will power” is extremely important. Of course I’m not saying that we would never see the connect between what we learn and what we see here. The point is that, this “Atman” education would require some time, persistent effort, and consistency to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hence, we’ve to take the effort for the same! 

Moving on thus, as Sage Shaunaka explains all these points to Yudishtra, he concludes by saying thus, “Oh Yudishtra! This thirteen-year period is a golden opportunity for you, which not many kings would get. Hence, rather than considering this as an exile or a punishment period, you should feel happy that you’ve got this chance to understand about your “Atman”, various aspects of “Dharma” that revolve around the “Atma-Gnyaanam”, etc. Hence, go to all the sages who are experts in all these aspects of knowledge and try to learn as much as possible. This is your learning phase, and once you finish this phase successfully, you would be able to execute your duties as a king with all the aspects of “Dharma” in place! Thus, once you go back to Indraprastha, people should see a visible change in you – A change towards the path of “Dharma”!” 

As Sage Shaunaka concludes thus, Bheemasena and Draupati look up in surprise! Till that point, both of them were frowning and were hanging their heads down and now, the moment Sage Shaunaka talks about going back to Indraprastha, both of them look up in awe! Draupati asks thus, “Oh Sage Shaunaka! What is the meaning of your last sentence? Are we still going to get back our kingdom anytime soon? Is that really going to happen?” As Draupati asks thus, Sage Shaunaka doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry! He quickly replies to Draupati thus, “Oh Draupati! I never said in assurance that you would get back your kingdom very soon. Please do not mistake my words. Did you not hear all the advice that I rendered till now? Why do you only want to capture the last sentence that I uttered? What I meant to say here is that, if at all you get back your kingdom in the future, all these aspects of “Dharma” that you would learn for the next thirteen years would be of immense usage. If by any chance you’re not able to get back your kingdom, then also these aspects of “Dharma” would be of immense usage. I’m not an astrologer to exactly predict whether you would get your kingdom back or not, and when you would be able to go back to Indraprastha! I’m just a normal sage who knows “Dharma” and I’m explaining to you about it! Hence, please do not come to a conclusion that you would surely get back your kingdom! Time would give an answer to all these things and you’ve to be patient!” 

As Yudishtra listens to all these conversations and accords from Sage Shaunaka, he slowly replies thus, “Oh Sage Shaunaka! I’m indeed extremely happy that all of you are here with me to make me understand the various aspects of “Dharma”. Please do not think even for a moment that I would deviate from my path of “Dharma”. That is never going to happen. However, what I’m more concerned about is that, feeding all of you is also a part of my “Dharma”, and because of my current state of affairs, I’m afraid that I’m deviating from my path of “Dharma”. I totally understand that you can live on your own without any food and water – Thanks to your immense power of penance! However, my concern is not that. My concern is that I would not be able to satisfy my “Dharma” by not feeding you! Moreover, you were talking about money, wealth, etc. Never in my life till today, have I accumulated money and wealth for myself. I’m least interested in the luxuries that I want to experience. My intent behind earning the wealth and money is only to feed all of you and to ensure your happiness. This is my “Dharma”. Hence, Sage Shaunaka! Please clarify my concern and throw some light on it from your rich knowledge about “Dharma”!”

As Yudishtra asks thus, Sage Shaunaka is going to render a very important answer! So for today, let us understand up to this point and we shall wait till the next episode to continue witnessing Sage Shaunaka’s important answer! Stay tuned! 🙂