Episode # 405 – “Anger (“Krodham”) is the biggest enemy for human existence!” – Yudishtra answers Draupati!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important point of discussion wherein, Yudishtra is bearing the brunt of all the people around, including Draupati and Sage Maarkandeya. Is this the heavy price that Yudishtra has to pay for meticulously following the path of “Dharma”? All of us would have this burning question within ourselves – Should we still pursue the path of “Dharma” with all these problems and sufferings that come by? Duryodhana, even though he was on the path of “Adharma”, enjoyed all his life and it is only during the Kurukshetra war, he had to die, isn’t it? Till that time, Duryodhana was extremely happy with all the facilities and luxuries of the Hastinapura kingdom. Whereas, Yudishtra and Co., just because they wanted to uphold the path of “Dharma”, had to undergo enormous sufferings! Why is this happening? This is exactly what Draupati is also asking Yudishtra – Why should we suffer like this in the forest for thirteen years for following the path of “Dharma”? Why don’t you take action against Duryodhana immediately and finish him off for all what he did? For how long are we going to suffer like this? 

These were extremely valid questions from Draupati, if we look at it from a commoner’s point of view. However, Yudishtra had a different thought process. What is Yudishtra’s reply going to be? Let us witness now. Yudishtra replies to Draupati thus, “Oh Draupati! What did you ask me? When am I going to exhibit my anger and frustration on Duryodhana to avenge the insult that he did to you, isn’t it? Let me tell you one thing – Anger (Krodham) is the biggest enemy for life and human existence. Anger will destroy relationships. Anger will cause undue disaster within the family. Hence, I’m not at all for exhibiting anger. I might be branded as a king below par, but I do not care about all that. I’ll exhibit the highest level of patience, even against my bitter enemy. Time will give the best reply to Duryodhana and Co. Bhagawan will take care of Duryodhana in the right way at the right time. Who are we to interfere in Bhagawan’s process of cleansing the world? Hence, Draupati! Please exhibit some amount of patience. I understand that you’ve gone through tough times. I understand that all of us are suffering for no fault of ours. But this is the time wherein we’ve to be patient. If anger comes in the middle, then all whatever we’re trying to accomplish today would go into the drain. If we are patient in life, we can achieve enormous amounts of glory! More than the “glory” part, patience (“Kshama”) will resolve a lot of disputes in life with the passage of time. Hence, let us wait till the apt time comes! Of course, I’m not saying that I won’t react to Duryodhana’s atrocities. All I’m saying is that this is not the time to do so. We’ve to wait for the right time to do anything. This is the hallmark characteristic of a great king!”

Saying thus, Yudishtra continues further, “Oh Draupati! We should know when to react to certain things, and when to keep silent. Just because one keeps silent, it is wrong to brand him as a cowardly king, unfit for anything. If we pour out our anger and frustration immediately, it might lead to various other consequences. Oh Draupati! Please think of this – Bhagawan Krishna visited us a few days back. Did He at any point in time, ask us to get ready for a battle with Duryodhana? He just came and advised us and went back, didn’t He? If the time would have been right, Bhagawan Krishna would have motivated to go on an all-out war on Duryodhana, isn’t it? If Bhagawan Himself is silent on this at the moment, why should we make a hue and cry out of this now? Hence, let us wait for the right time for taking the right action!” Saying thus, Yudishtra tries to console Draupati who is brimming with frustration at the moment! So for today, let us understand this important answer from Yudishtra, and in the next episode we shall witness whether Draupati obtained her answer, or if she is going to fume further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 404 – Why is Yudishtra blamed for all that happened and why not Duryodhana? An interesting discussion!!!

We’re at a critical juncture wherein Draupati finally opens up to her husband Yudishtra over his alleged silence when the entire “Adharma” was unfolding right in front of everybody’s eyes at Hastinapura. Till this point, for some reason, Draupati had decided to remain quiet and had burning questions in her mind. Even though Bhagawan Krishna tried to dose her anger and frustration down to some extent, it really didn’t bear much result. Sage Maarkandeya too tried his best by sending a message of being patient, but that too seemed to have not worked well with Draupati. As everyone opined to be patient, this only fuelled more anger inside Draupati. For how long will she be patient? What is the solution to this problem? Is “silence” over “Adharma” the solution that a “Kshatrya” goes after? Is this not an act of a coward who is not having the ability to fight back? Thus, Draupati pours out all her questions that were boiling in her mind all these days and Yudishtra had to bear the brunt of Draupati’s anger. 

Of course, we cannot discount Draupati’s anger just like that. She has a valid point to make here – How can someone desert her like that when she was subjected to injustice in front of the entire courtroom? If that is the “Dharma” Yudishtra is going to follow, why at all did he marry her? We’ve already seen Sage Maarkandeya pointing fingers at Yudishtra at his alleged acceptance to play the gambling game in the first place. He should have anticipated the disaster that would evolve if he commits himself to the gambling game. Moreover, playing the gambling game is an illegal affair and is against the “Raaja Dharma”. Hence, as we’re seeing here, it is not just Duryodhana and Sahuni who are at fault. Yudishtra is also having his part! 

As we’re witnessing this context, we might have an innate question within all of us here, which we shall try to address in today’s episode. The question is very simple – Duryodhana and Sahuni are doing so many wrong things, and yet, not many people complain about it. However, Yudishtra just commits one mistake of accepting to play the gambling game, and the whole world talks about it! Why is this so? We’ve seen this during our previous Ramayana project as well, when Bhagawan Rama committed just one mistake during His childhood days of playing against Manthara and because of which, He had to endure fourteen years of forest life! Why is it that people who are honest and sincere are being blamed and feigned always? Why are people who are perennial wrongdoers getting away easily? Even today this scenario prevails isn’t it? Politicians who are perpetual wrongdoers, escape the law so easily whereas common people like us bear the brunt of it even for a small mistake of negligence! Why is this happening in society at all times? 

The answer is simple – There is no use of going after perpetual wrongdoers! Only people who have the intent of following “Dharma” like all of us are in the dock! It is like this – We can never lift and straighten a dog’s tail, can we? Similarly, a student who perpetually is mediocre in his / her studies cannot be pushed beyond an extent to score 100% in the exams isn’t it? Only a student who is studious and systematic by nature can be pushed to score well in an exam, isn’t it? To score well in competitive exams, the student should have the intent and the interest to study and secure high marks, isn’t it? Similar is the case with Yudishtra here as well. Yudishtra has the intent to follow the path of “Dharma” meticulously, doesn’t he? It is only Yudishtra who can be pushed and motivated further to walk the path, no matter whatever obstacles come by. This is why we witness an enormous number of sages queing up to meet Yudishtra one after the other, and we’re going to witness all this in our coming episodes. 

Thus, the point here is that Yudishtra is meticulously making efforts to follow the path of “Dharma”, no matter whatever obstacle comes by. In fact, it is only due to the “Dharma” that he should not go back from his “Shabadhams” that he had taken earlier, Yudishtra had to keep quiet when Draupati was being insulted in the public courtroom. We’ve seen this earlier as well. It is not that Yudishtra had an addiction towards gambling and he just went with the flow of it, without bothering whatever happened to his wife. He perfectly knew that disasters were unfolding one after the other, but he chose to remain silent at that critical point, only to safeguard his “Dharma” of remaining silent. Draupati, of course, did not understand this point in-depth, and this is the reason she is shouting at Yudishtra now. 

So for today, let us understand this point very clearly and in the next episode, we shall see how Yudishtra explains his stance to Draupati, which is a beautiful accord in itself! There are a lot of aspects of “Dharma” that are hidden in what Yudishtra is going to talk! Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂 

Episode # 403 – “Is your “Dharma” more important than your wife getting publicly insulted? Draupati slams Yudishtra!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an offshoot discussion with regards to the conversation between Sage Maarkandeya and Yudishtra at the Dvaitha Vanam. As the conversation comes to an end, Sage Maarkandeya conveys an important message to Yudishtra that as a king, it is not possible for him to win over the world with mere financial and positional powers. All what is required for Yudishtra to taste success as a king is “Dharma”, along with the path of “Sathyam” which is nothing but the “Truth” and “Honesty”. This is not only applicable for Yudishtra and Co. but also for all of us. Yesterday we’ve witnessed how organizations today enhance their reputation to be known as “Best places to work” in the world. For them to achieve this feat, they enhance the trust factor in their employees and make sure that they stay with them forever. Organizations also create that environment wherein people feel free to express themselves openly, there is a sense of transparency within the organization, etc. which makes them ultimately the best places to work! Thus, we can see here that if “Dharma” and “Satya” prevail, any individual or an organization would automatically taste success sooner or later. This is what we’ve to understand from Sage Maarkandeya’s message to Yudishtra. 

Moving on thus, Sage Maarkandeya leaves the Dvaitha Vanam and proceeds with his other works. As Sage Maarkandeya leaves, Draupati is full of anger! Her sense of vengeance towards Duryodhana and Co. never came down even after she heard a long accord from Bhagawan Krishna Himself and also from Sage Maarkandeya. Something is troubling her constantly and the insult that she had to endure in the Hastinapura courtroom was fresh in her memory, as if it happened just a few minutes ago. With this mindset, Draupati turns to Yudishtra and bursts out with all her anger! For the next 4 to 5 Adhyaayas we’re going to witness an important conversation between Draupati and Yudishtra with some important questions and answers. We might also have these questions within us, but many a time, we might not be able to ask them openly in any forum or to someone. However, Draupati did not hold herself back. She had the guts to ask all her questions in a bid of venting out her anger and frustration on Yudishtra. If we read this through, we might be able to understand in-depth what Draupati asks and what are the questions that we also have in mind. 

Draupati asks thus, “Oh Yudishtra! You know how King Dhridiraashtra let us down, don’t you? I know that you wouldn’t let me down in the same way, nor would you let your other four brothers down. However, when it comes to the question of protecting “Dharma” or walking the path of “Dharma”, you would not hesitate to let all of us down, isn’t it?” Now this is a very smart question from Draupati. She knows that she is putting Yudishtra in a fix with this question here. Now Yudishtra has to give a reply to Draupati by taking a stance here. What does Yudishtra reply? He says thus, “Oh Draupati! Yes! You’re extremely right! I would never leave you nor my four brothers. However, if it is for the sake of “Dharma”, I would have no other option but to leave all of you! If it is the question between you and “Dharma”, I would always prefer “Dharma” than anyone else!” 

Now this reply comes straightforward from Yudishtra’s mouth! This sends shockwaves of anger inside Draupati! Already she is fuming with anger, and this reply from Yudishtra ignited it more, as if more oil is added to an already burning fire! Drauapti replies to Yudishtra thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Now I understood your real intention! You would leave me all alone! You would not bother if I’m insulted by someone outside of our marriage! You would not be bothered if your brothers are getting killed! All what you want is “Dharma”. Can “Dharma” come at the cost of your family and kith and kin? When is this going to change? It is only because of this stance of yours, we’re suffering today! If you would have spoken atleast one word against Duryodhana that day when I was getting insulted and humiliated, things would have been a lot more different! But your “Shabadhams” were more important for you than your wife getting publicly insulted, weren’t they? Who asked you to take such hard “Shabadhams”? Don’t you think that by doing such foolish things, you’re getting exploited by Duryodhana and Co.? Why don’t you realize this? Moreover, if you want to follow whatever “Shabadhams” you’ve took, why are you making me suffer? If you want, you follow them in whatever way you want. Let it not affect others as well! If you want to suffer, go ahead and experience it. But why make others suffer at the cost of upholding your “Shabadhams” and “Dharma”? Oh Yudishtra! You never got angry when Nakula and Sahadeva were insulted publicly by Karna and Duryodhana, isn’t it? You never got angry when Duchaasana pulled me by my hair in front of the public courtroom, isn’t it? If you do not get angry for even these kinds of heinous crimes being done in front of your eyes, what kind of a king are you? If you do not know to punish the people who are doing wrong things, what kind of a “Kshatrya” are you? How many days / months / years are you going to be like this? Are you going to take any action against the perpetrators of the crime? Are you going to kill them for what they’ve done? What is your action plan? For how many days are we going to live like this in a forest? Don’t you have an iota of shame that your wife was humiliated in this fashion? What kind of a husband are you, to just be a silent spectator to whatever happened?” 

Asking question after question thus, Draupati lambasts Yudishtra for his innate silence! Now we’ve to witness what Yudishtra is going to respond to Draupati’s questions! This is going to be a very interesting reply here and we shall discuss this in a great detail in the next episode! Stay tuned for an interesting accord from Yudishtra! 🙂 

Episode # 402 – Organizations can become “BEST PLACES TO WORK” with “SATYA” & DHARMA” – A key message!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important message from Sage Maarkandeya to Yudishtra and Co. wherein he emphasizes the point that “Sathyam” (Truth) and “Dharma” (Righteousness) are the two important weapons with which one can win over the entire world. It doesn’t matter if one has enormous financial strength and positional powers. If both the above-mentioned weapons do not accompany these powers and finances, one is sure to get doomed. This is also an indirect message to Duryodhana and Co. that they are going to face the doom within a short period of time. Saying thus, Sage Maarkandeya consoles Yudishtra and Co. and makes them feel better. This is an important message for all of us as well – In today’s context, most of us keep running behind enormous wealth, money, positions, powers, etc. But little do most of us remember that we should also do the same running behind in pursuit of “Dharma” and “Sathyam” as well. For this, we’ve to focus on our spiritual pursuit too, along with our professional commitments. Just like how we have “commitments” at our workplace, we also have “commitments” with Bhagawan to fulfil as part of taking birth in this world. Now what are the commitments that we’ve to fulfil for Bhagawan? They are nothing but following the path of “Sathyam” and “Dharma”. 

We should ask a simple question here within ourselves – Are our everyday actions focused on “Sathyam” and “Dharma”? Our actions might be in terms of fulfilling our personal or professional commitments here. Even at our workplace in our respective organizations wherever we work, we should constantly have a check on whatever actions that we perform – Are we performing the actions as per the “Dharma” of our workplace? Every workplace would have its own set of “Dharma” isn’t it? We should ensure that we follow them correctly without any deviation. Especially when it comes to organizational ethics and values, we should be very careful. Just because there is an opportunity to swindle enormous amounts of money without the knowledge of anybody around, or by exploiting someone else, do we still go ahead in doing it? Or, do we pause and think whether this act of ours is wrongful or unethical? This is where the test is – Are we steadfast on our “Dharma” of not cheating our organization that is duly paying us and taking care of our needs in all ways? Or, are we going ahead in cheating the organization by swindling its money, just because we see an opportunity to do so? If all of us start thinking on these lines, every organization would become the most ethical and value-based in the world! We should strive forward to bring about this change and this change should begin from ourselves. 

In today’s corporate scenario, there are many surveys being taken all across the world with regards to “Best places to work”, isn’t it? If we look at the various parameters within the survey, most of them would point to some form of ethics, value systems, etc., that the organizations have built over time, which again corresponds to what we’re currently talking about – “Sathyam” and “Dharma”. If these two vital parameters are taken care of, every organization in this world would qualify to be “Best places to work”, isn’t it? Hence, as employees ourselves, we should bring about the change. We shouldn’t expect someone else to start this. We should create this awareness and we should “walk the talk” with our righteous actions, focused on the truth. We should always remember one thing very clearly – There can be no instance wherein a person following the path of “Dharma” is cheated or dethroned from any position! This is the same across all the “Yugas” including the present ‘Kali Yuga”. We should not come to a quick conclusion that whatever Sage Maarkandeya is saying here, is applicable only to the “Tretha Yuga” and the “Dvaapara Yuga”. The applications are there for all of us to see in the present “Kali Yuga” as well. Hence, we should not get into this shell that no “Dharma” is applicable to the “Kali Yuga” and lose hope. “Kali Yuga” has its own “Dharma” and it would persist if we persist with it. 

Hence, the important point for all of us to ponder here is that, whatever may be our actions – whether it corresponds to our professional or personal commitments, we should follow the path of “Dharma” and “Sathyam” in executing them. At any point in time, we should never compromise or go against our “Dharma”. Maybe at that time, it might seem and sound juicy and attractive to deviate, but in the long-term, we might have to face disastrous consequences for our actions. We should always keep this in mind. Moreover, there has never been an instance where one person dumps or “outsmarts” another person in a perverted manner and achieves long-term success. We can cheat and outsmart one person today, or many people tomorrow. But this process can never be a continuous one. At some point, if we get caught, we would have to face the music! Thus, readers should always have this in mind that as far as we can, we should never cheat or try to dominate over another person to achieve success. Success should come from our hard work and there is no substitute for it! It should never come at the cost of others’ downfall. This is exactly what Sage Maarkandeya is advising Yudishtra and Co. here, and this is exactly where Duryodhana and Co. went wrong as well! Thus, from all these instances and narratives, we should learn our lessons very carefully! So for today, let us understand these important points and let us wait till the next episode to continue further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 401 – You can win over the world only with “SATHYA” & “DHARMA” – Sage Maarkandeya advises Yudishtra!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Maarkandeya calling a spade a spade to Yudishtra and Co., as all the others around them are feeling bad about Yudishtra’s plight in the forest. Sage Maarkandeya hits the bull’s eye straightaway by asking him certain tough questions on the face – “What right do you have to question Duryodhana and Co. for the abuse and the insult, if the fault is on your side? If you would have not played the gambling game, would you be in this mess today? Who is responsible for that? If you’re at fault, who are you to dictate Bhagawan Krishna as to whom to kill or whom to leave?” As he asks these questions, Sage Maarkandeya draws comparisons from the Ramayana text, wherein for no fault of His, Bhagawan Rama accepted exile, sacrificed Mother Sita to Ravana for ten months, waited for Sugriva and Hanuman to aid Him in His search operation, but failed initially! If Bhagawan Rama, who was the “Chakravarthy” of a great kingdom called Ayodhya had to undergo so many things without any fault from His side, afterall Yudishtra is a small king for a small territory called Indraprastha in some corner of the country! Moreover, with half of the fault on his side, how can he complain that he’s suffering? He’s bound to suffer! 

As Sage Maarkandeya slams the Paandavas thus, Bheemasena and Arjuna requested him to explain who is Bhagawan Rama and what were those sufferings that He had to endure. This follows a long description of the entire Ramayana story, which I’m not entering into at the moment, because we’ve already witnessed it in detail earlier. We shall move forward from here on. After Sage Maarkandeya gives a jist about the Ramayana story to the Paandavas, he further continues thus, “Oh Yudishtra and Co.! It was the same Bhagawan Rama whom I met at Rishyamukha Parvatha, and today I’m meeting you in the “Dvaitha Vanam” forest!” We might immediately wonder, “Oh wow! When was the time period of the Ramayana? It was during the previous “Yuga” isn’t it? Lakhs of years would have passed by, from the point where the Tretha Yuga got over and to whatever we’re witnessing in the “Dvaapara Yuga”!” We should also note here that this entire Mahabhaarata takes place during the end of the “Dvaapara Yuga” and the “Kali Yuga” is about to begin very shortly after this. If such is the case, how many lakhs of years might have passed by? Still Sage Maarkandeya has been alive and has met both Bhagawan Rama and now Yudishtra! This is an astounding fact that readers might want to explore more upon! 

However, as Sage Maarkandeya talks to Yudishtra, he now comes to the important point that he wanted to empahsize. Sage Maarkandeya explains thus, “Oh Yudishtra! I know that you’re meticulous on the path of “Dharma” that you’re following. Please do not take my harsh words in a wrong way. The problem in today’s world is that people who are powerful think that the entire world runs on their head only! This is an extremely wrong perception that people have! One might be extremely strong in terms of financial stability or in terms of being in a powerful position in a kingdom. With all these financial and positional powers, one can never win over the world at any cost. However, if one follows the path of truth (“Sathyam”) and righteousness (“Dharma”), he / she can win over the world quite easily! Sadly, not many people understand this secret of success! Bhagawan Rama in the Ramayana won over the world with His “Sathyam” and “Dharma”. Similarly, my advice to you is that, if you’ve win over the world, you’ve to follow the path of “Sathyam” and “Dharma”. I know you’re already doing this, but still, I just wanted to reiterate this important point to you!” 

So for today, let us understand this important point and let us wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 400 – “If you’re at fault, why do you blame others?” – Sage Maarkandeya slams Yudishtra!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the arrival of Sage Maarkandeya at Yudishtra’s place in the “Dvaita Vanam”. We’ve already witnessed that the Paandavas have moved on from the Kaamayaka Vanam to the Dvaita Vanam, along with all the Maharishis and the Brahmanas who had followed Yudishtra. As all of them settle down in their new place, the first important sage to come and meet Yudishtra is Sage Maarkandeya. As the great Sage arrives, he directly and straightaway conveys an important message, but with enormous laughter. He is in a state of complete “Aananda” (Supreme Bliss), and upon seeing this, people around him had a doubt – All of them at that point are sad upon looking at Yudishtra’s plight of losing the kingdom illegally to Duryodhana’s atrocities. Everybody see Yudishtra as a victim who had lost all his property, kingdom, etc. However, Sage Maarkandeya has other ideas! He replies to Yudishtra’s doubt in a beautiful but insightful manner that the reason behind his “Aananda” state is that he doesn’t differentiate between happiness and sorrow in this world! Moreover, he says that Yudishtra hasn’t really lost anything, unlike the opinion of others who are portraying Yudishtra as a victim. 

Moving on, Sage Maarkandeya explains further to Yudishtra thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Upon seeing you in this state, I got reminded of Bhagawan Rama when He was also in the forest for fourteen years!” Now, this is somewhere in the “Dvaapara Yuga”, which we’re currently witnessing, but Sage Maarkandeya is talking about the previous “Trethaa Yuga” where Bhagawan Rama incarnated. He says further thus, “Oh Yudishtra! When Bhagawan Rama had lost Mother Sita to Ravana, He went searching for her, all along the “Rishyamuka Parvatha”. He had met Sugriva and Hanuman, who had promised Him to aid the search operation. However, the subsequent four months were rainy months and the search operation couldn’t take place. However, after the four-month-inertia, Sugriva should have come forward to carry out the operation, isn’t it? Sugriva never came! Hanuman never came! If such was the state for a great “Chakravarthy” like Bhagawan Rama, who was the incarnation of Bhagawan Vishnu Himself, who are you? You’re just a small king of a small territory. Do you know Bhagawan Rama’s character? He was an embodiment of “Dharma” Himself! Whatever action He did, would exactly be as per the textbook of “Dharma”, and there would be no deviation from it even for an inch! He doesn’t know how to twist anything and talk! Whatever he would talk, would be straightforward and would be the truth and nothing else! Such was the nature of Bhagawan Rama! If He had to undergo all these sufferings, who are you? In fact, you have played the gambling game along with Duryodhana, didn’t you? Don’t you know that the gambing game is something that is against “Dharma” of a king? Hence, half of the mistake lies on you as well! It is not that Duryodhana is entirely at fault. You also have a share of it for whatever happened! Whereas, see how Bhagawan Rama suffered – What mistake did He do for him to be denied to be the king of Ayodhya? What mistake did He make to be sent on exile to the forest for fourteen long years? Still, Bhagawan Rama endured all of that! Whereas in your case, you have half of the mistake on your side! Draupati was talking to Bhagawan Krishna that Duryodhana should be destroyed at any cost, didn’t she? What right does she have to talk such things to Bhagawan? If you have the fault by your side, own it up and endure the punishment with responsibility, rather than cribbing and creating an alibi for yourself! However, Mother Sita had to endure all the torture that Ravana gave her and what mistake did She do for all that? Still she endured all of it with patience and perseverance! This is what is constantly running in my mind! Hence, according to me, you are all in fault as well! Hence, you do not have the right to blame someone else for what you’re experiencing now!” 

Saying thus, Sage Maarkandeya continues with his divine laughter! In fact, whatever Sage Maarkandeya had said to Yudishtra and Co., was a direct slamming on Yudishtra’s face! Without any twist or turn, Sage Maarkandeya made his point very clear that Yudishtra had no right to blame anyone for whatever he is experiencing right now! As Sage Maarkandeya explains thus, Arjuna and Bheemasena ask him back, “Oh Sage! You had spoken about Bhagawan Rama. Who is He? What is His story? Can you please explain to us in detail?” As both of them ask thus, Sage Maarkandeya explains the entire Ramayana story, into which I’m not going right now. We’ve already witnessed the entire Ramayana as part of our first project! But for today, let us realize what is the in-depth meaning behind Sage Maarkandeya’s hard-hitting words to Yudishtra and Co.! We shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! 🙂 

Episode # 399 – Sage Maarkandeya meets Yudishtra at Dvaita Vanam – An important event!!!

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! 🙂 

Episode # 398 – The Paandavas move to the “DVAITHA VANAM” – A picturesque forest area!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important discussion on the connection between performing our “Nitya-Anushtaanam” and exhibiting “Sharanaagathi” towards Bhagawan. There is a wrong perception amongst many of us today that if we’re exhibiting “Sharanaagati” towards Bhagawan, or if we’re trying to meticulously chant Bhagawan’s divine names, it is not required to perform our daily “Nitya-Anushtaanam”. Or, some of us might even think that by doing “Sharanaagati” towards Bhagwan, we’ve ascended several notches and levels up the spiritual ladder and at the state we’re in, things like “Nitya-Anushtaanam” are out of equation for us! These are extremely wrong perceptions that we’re having and we’ve to come out of all these. We’ve not ascended any level up the spiritual ladder. We’ve to understand that we’re still at a very low level – Perhaps at the lowest level! Hence, there is no question of compromising on our “Nitya-Anushtaanam” and we’re bound to perform it. Of course, “Sharanaagati” is important and of extreme significance, but Bhagawan never gives us the liberty to leave behind our “Nitya-Anushtaanam” for this. We’ve to have a firm understanding of this as we move on. 

Moving on thus, as this conversation between Bhagawan Krishna and the Paandavas come to an end, Bhagawan Krishna leaves their place amidst a beautiful send-off from the Paandava brothers. Bhagawan Krishna assures them that henceforth if they encounter any issue while residing in the forest, He would immediately come to their rescue at all times. With this, the Paandavas too decide that they’ve had enough at this Kaamyaka Vanam area and they should also move on from here. The next place that they enter is called the “Dvaitha Vanam”. Yudishtra takes along all his brothers and Draupati and all of them enter into this area of the forest. Now we’re going to slowly start witnessing all the events that happened when the Paandavas were camping at the Dvaitha Vanam. 

Now, as the Paandavas are starting their walk from the existing Kaamyaka Vanam area, they’ve to go into another forest area wherein there would be no people. The forest area should be completely lonely and this is where they decide that the “Dvaitha Vanam” would be the correct place for that. Thus, they start their journey towards “Dvaitha Vanam” and as they near the place, it looks extremely beautiful with enormous amounts of tall trees and shrubs everywhere. There is a beautiful river that is flowing in between all these natural resources, with clear and pure water in it. There are so many “Maharishis” sitting in various corners and performing intense “Tapas”. The entire place is full of spiritual vibrations along with the beauty of nature. It is a real paradise on earth! Upon looking around the place, Yudishtra decides that this is where they can camp for the next twelve years. 

So far, we’ve witnessed all the previous events that happened at the “Kaamyaka Vanam”, which spanned only for a few months. Now that all of them came to know that the Paandavas were stationed there, Yudishtra decided that they would move away from the “Kaamyaka Vanam” to “Dvaitha Vanam”. Thus, the decision here is to spend the remaining twelve year period here in this place, without any disturbance from anyone. As Yudishtra and Co. enter the contours of the “Dvaitha Vanam”, the Maharishis who are residing there are extremely happy. All of them go together and offer a grand welcome to Yudishtra and Co.. In turn, Yudishtra too pays his respects to all the Maharishis who had gathered there. As Yudishtra bows down to all of them, the Maharishis tell him thus, “Oh Yudishtra! You are an epitome of “Dharma” and we are extremely fortunate to have you with all of us! We were indeed waiting for an opportunity to meet you at Indraprastha, but we’ve got that opportunity here itself! Do not worry about whatever had happened to you in the past. We’ve now got all the time in the world to discuss various aspects of “Dharma”. You can learn from our enormous “Tapas” experience and we shall impart you all the knowledge that we have gained over these years!” 

As the Maharishis say thus, Yudishtra and Co. are extremely happy with their golden words of assurance! This is what Vidura had advised earlier as well. Now, Vidura’s advice is coming true! Yudishtra realizes that this is the greatest learning opportunity for him with regards to various aspects of “Dharma”! He acknowledges the Maharishis’ proposal and hospitality and the learning commences! So for today, let us understand up to this point and we shall witness the continuation of this discussion in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 397 – Can we compromise our “Nitya-Anushtaanam” for chanting Bhagawan’s divine names? An important discussion!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an important point pertaining to “Sharanaagati” and how Bhagawan Krishna is indirectly illustrating it. We’ve witnessed it from the instance wherein Draupati is appealing to Bhagawan Krishna for help, at a time when she was passing through her monthly menstrual cycle. Normally this is a time when women refrain from performing any spiritual activities, however, for “Sharanaagati”, this doesn’t matter. Even though Draupati was undergoing the menstrual cycle at that time when she was physically assaulted by Duchaasana, she fervently called for Bhagawan Krishna’s help, which was duly responded by Bhagawan invisibly. Thus, we can understand that “Sharanagati” can be exhibited by anyone at any point in time. This doesn’t have any hard or fast rule in this regard. This is an important point that all of us have to keep in mind. There is no time or place or situation to chant Bhagawan’s divine names. It can be done by anybody from anywhere in this world and at any point in time. All what is important here is whether we’re chanting Bhagawan’s divine names with utmost devotion or not. For our sincere calling and Bhakti, Bhagawan will definitely respond! We should have this faith within all of us at all times as we move forward with our lives. 

However, having said this, there might be a gross misunderstanding here – Just because we’re chanting Bhagawan’s divine names at all times, should we compromise on our “Nithya-Anushtaanam”? In other words, can we stop performing our regular “Sandhyavandanam” or “Tarpanam” during the “Ama-Vaasya” (No moon) days or our yearly “Shraadha Karma” for our parents and instead just keep chanting Bhagawan’s divine names? None of the “Shaasthras” would approve of this! Of course, Bhagawan’s divine names have their own stature and significance. There’s no question about that. But it is not that we compromise on our “Nitya-Anushtaanam” and go for this. Then there would be one question here – If we’re performing the “Nitya-Anushtaanam”, why should we then chant Bhagawan’s divine names at all times? Or, is performing our “Nitya-Anushtaanam” going to take us towards “Moksha”? Chanting Bhagawan’s divine names are only going to serve the ultimate purpose, isn’t it? Then why perform these “Nitya-Anushtaanam” and other “Karma” that are associated with it? 

Now here is an important understanding that all of us should have – Of course, performing our “Nitya-Anushtaanam” is not going to take us anywhere! This is clearly mentioned in all the “Shaastras”. Chanting Bhagawan’s divine names is only going to serve this ultimate goal. However, there would be enormous amounts of “Paapa Karma” that we’ve accumulated over the past and in the present as well, which would come in the middle and “block” us from chanting the Bhagawan’s divine names. Bhagawan’s divine names might not be able to prevent this blockade. It is like this – In an agricultural field, there would be so many important crops that would be grown, in the likes of rice, wheat, millets, etc. However, along with that, there would also be some other unwanted weeds and poisonous plants that might also automatically grow. The crops would give us good yield, but if these weeds are allowed to blossom, they would destroy all the crops, won’t they? So what do we do in this case? We keep cutting down all the weeds and constantly try to prevent them from growing with the usage of certain chemicals, don’t we? Similarly, Bhagawan’s divine names are like the crops of rice, millets, etc. Our “Paapa Karma” is like the unwanted weeds that keep growing on their own, and prevent these rice crops from giving the maximum yield. Thus, to prevent this, just like how we use the chemicals and other equipment to constantly keep a check on the weeds, our “Nitya-Anushtaanam” would constantly keep a check on our unwanted “Paapa-Karma” and prevent it from coming in the middle of our chanting of Bhagawan’s divine names. 

Hence, the important point to be understood here is that, as we keep performing our “Nitya-Anushtaanam” correctly, our “Paapa Karma” keeps dwindling, which would automatically pave the way for the blockade to be released, which would in turn enable us to chant Bhagawan’s divine names without any disturbance. Thus, chanting Bhagawan’s divine names without any disturbance would ultimately take us to “Moksha” or “Vaikunta”! Thus, we can see here that both are important. So, for today, let us develop this important understanding and let us perform our “Nitya-Anushtaanam” correctly without any blemish or mis-guidance on this. We shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 396 – “SHARANAGATI” can be done by anyone at any point of time – Bhagawan Krishna illustrates!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed a very important point as to why Bhagawan Krishna “smartly” and “strategically” abstained from Hastinapura at that crucial time of the gambling game. Bhagawan Krishna outwardly tells Arjuna that He had gone for an important battle against the king of Shaalva Desha and because of that, He got held up there. It is only at this point the gambling game happened and Draupati was insulted. However, Bhagawan Krishna made sure that He protects Draupati “invisibly” from wherever He was! So the question arises here as to why didn’t He come in person and do the needful to the Paandavas and to Draupati at this critical juncture? Perhaps, if Bhagawan Krishna would have been at Hastinapura, maybe the entire gambling game episode wouldn’t have taken place! The only answer that we could give at this point is – “Deivamatra Pramaanam”, which means, whatever has to happen in this world, would definitely happen because of Bhagawan’s divine “Sankalpa”. If this gambling game might not have happened, how on earth would Bhagawan kill Duryodhana and Co.? He has to create that opportunity for Duryodhana to perform all the “Adharma” that he had to do, isn’t it? Only with that, He would be able to punish Duryodhana and the others, and thus teach a lesson to the entire world of future generations to come! Thus, this is one way of looking at it. 

Of course, in the previous episode, we had spoken that if Bhagawan Krishna would have been there, the first person whom He would have punished would be Yudishtra himself! According to Swami Pillai Lokachaarya, Yudishtra himself is at a spot here – When Draupati fervently called Bhagawan, she immediately became Bhagawan’s property. Yudishtra, since he failed to protect Bhagawan’s property, is liable to get punished! However, if Bhagawan had to punish Yudishtra, it would be affecting Draupati’s marriage. Thus, Bhagawan Krishna chose to remain silent at this critical juncture and allowed things to unfold on its own. Like this, there might be several other reasons as to why Bhagawan Krishna decided to abstain from Hastinapura at that crucial juncture, and if we read through the various commentaries written by the Alwars and the Aachaaryas, we might be able to decipher them with a lot of clarity! Thus, it is for all of us as ardent Bhaktas of Bhagawan Krishna to read and understand! 

Moving on further thus, there is another important point that needs to be noted here. First of all, not coming to the rescue of Draupati during that critical juncture, is not just the fault of the Paandava brothers alone. Of course, the Paandavas are the husbands of Draupati, and it is the responsibility of the husband to ensure the safety and security of his wife. If we move further than this, who else was sitting there? Bhishmachaarya, Guru Dhronachaarya, Sage Kripachaarya, etc. were also part of the gathering, isn’t it? When Draupati fervently called for help, did anyone amongst these three people come forward to help her? None came forward, didn’t it? If such was the case, what is the point in proclaiming themselves that they are the “Seniors” of the kingdom? Vidura was the only person who rose up to the occasion, and everybody else kept quiet. This was a huge blunder, and if Bhagawan Krishna would have been there, all their heads would have been chopped off on that very spot! Thus, in order to avoid a chaotic situation at Hastinapura, perhaps, Bhagawan abstained Himself! 

Also, there is one another important point with regards to “Sharanaagati” that needs to be emphasized here. Now the question comes – At what time did Draupati exhibit Sharanaagati towards Bhagawan? It was the time when she was in her monthly menstrual periods cycle. Normally we would say that during these 3-4 days time period, nothing spiritual should be performed by women, but there is a twist to this tale – “Sharanaagathi” can be exhibited at any time by anyone! It doesn’t matter if the woman is undergoing her menstrual cycle or not. It doesn’t matter if one hasn’t took a shower in the morning or not. It doesn’t matter whether it is during the middle of the day or during the middle of the night! “Sharanagati” towards Bhagawan can be exhibited by anyone at any point in time! Now, if Draupati’s mishap would have happened after her periods were over, we might never know this fact at all. Hence, to illustrate to the world that “Sharanagati” doesn’t have any sort of rule or regulation to be followed, Bhagawan Krishna purposefully enacted this entire “Leela” at a time when Draupati was in her menstrual period! 

Thus, in this major event of the Mahabharata, there are innumerable lessons that we can learn and follow. So for today, let us have a deeper understanding as to why Bhagawan Krishna enacted this entire divine play and why He smartly abstained physically from being present there! We shall continue this discussion in the next episode as well! Stay tuned! 🙂