Episode # 645 – “More than winning wars, following “Dharma” is important for me” – Yudishtra answers Yaksha!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of Yaksha’s questions to Yudishtra. Here, we’ve seen how Yudishtra had answered all of Yaksha’s questions pertaining to “Dharma” and we’ve come to a stage wherein Yaksha is giving an option to Yudishtra in choosing to waking up one out of the four brothers who had fallen unconscious. To this, Yudishra chooses Nakula to be waken up and this surprises Yaksha. Upon asking the reason for Yudishtra’s choice, Yudishtra replies that Nakula can be one representative of Maadri’s next generation, and as Kunthi’s representative, Yudishtra himself is there. Hence, a mother should not be left childless after she has given birth to children. This shows how much importance Yudishtra is giving for a mother and we should understand this point clearly. 

Moving on thus, as Yudishtra gives such an explanation, Yaksha follows it up with his next question – “Oh Yudishtra! You’ve given a very important reasoning for choosing Nakula to be woken up. However, I’m not very convinced with your answer yet. Why do you want Nakula to be specifically woken up? Sahadeva is also Maadri’s son isn’t he? So why not Sahadeva and why Nakula? Of course, I can understand the fact that Bheemasena and Arjuna are Kunthi’s sons and since you are alive as her representative, you do not want to choose them. But why Nakula instead of Sahadeva? Is there any reasoning for that?” Yudishtra replies to this question thus, “Oh Yaksha! Nakula is the eldest of the two. Only if the eldest son is alive, will he be able and eligible to perform all the aspects of “Dharma” for his mother and father. If the eldest son is not there, “Dharma” will come to a standstill isn’t it? Hence, in my case, this condition is satisfied, as I’m alive. However, for the “Dharma” that has to be performed for Maadri, Nakula is the one who should be alive. This is the reason behind me opting for Nakula, instead of Sahadeva!” 

Yudishtra continues thus, “Oh Yaksha! You had mentioned earlier that if I would have woken up Bheemasena or Arjuna, I would have won over my enemies in the battlefield. You may be right by saying that. However, I’m not a person who is an opportunist. I do not look up to my brothers to help me defeat my enemies. I want all of them to follow “Dharma”. For me, “Dharma” is more important than being a ruler of a country. Hence, I refrained from selecting Bheemasena and Arjuna from being woken up. Of course, I know very well that both of them are extremely powerful. But if I see only their power behind my decision, I’ll become an opportunist who is hungry for power. However, I’m someone who is more interested in “Dharma” rather than gaining power. Winning in a war is not important for me as compared to following “Dharma”. If I follow “Dharma”, victory in wars will automatically follow and I need not chase it. I’m not dependent on Bheemasena or Arjuna for my victory in wars. I’m only dependent on Bhagawan for all my requirements, and if Bhagawan has to help me, I’ve to follow my “Dharma” correctly. Thus, only if I bring back Nakula, will “Dharma” sustain. “Dharma” towards parents is the most important thing that any son should execute in his life, no matter whatever he does!” 

As Yudishtra answers confidently thus, tears of joy start rolling down Yaksha’s eyes! Yaksha replies thus, “Oh Yudishtra! I never anticipated that you would give such great replies pertaining to “Dharma” like this! You’ve once again proved to be an epitome of “Dharma” in all possible ways! Hence, I order hereby that all your four brothers would get up from their unconscious state immediately and all of you will rejoin each other as before!” Thus, with this, we come to the end of the great “Yaksha-Prashnam” and for today, let us understand up to this point. We shall continue this interesting discussion further in the next episode as well! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 644 – Yudishtra picks Nakula to be woken up first by Yaksha – Why???

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the conversation between Yudishtra and Yaksha as part of the “Yaksha-Prashnam”. We’ve seen that Yudishtra has accepted to answer Yaksha’s series of questions pertaining to “Dharma” as part of Yudishtra’s bid to save the lives of his four Paandava brothers who had fallen unconscious after consuming water from Yaksha’s pond. In this way, Yaksha asks one question after the other and we’ve discussed some of the most miraculous and ridiculous things that happen in this world. One of the most ridiculous things that Yudishtra talks about here is how living beings get carried away by the illusion surrounding death. Even as we keep seeing others dying in front of our eyes, we easily tend to think that our lives are permanent and their lives are temporary! 

We keep seeing this every passing day, don’t we? If someone from our family or friends’ circle passes away, our entire conversation behind it is structured around the point that the person passed away “unfortunately”! So what is the meaning of the word “unfortunately” here? Is it unfortunate to die and fortunate to keep living in this world? We also say that the person “suddenly” passed away “unexpectedly”! Don’t all these sentences signify that we are never prepared to face the reality of death? We want to keep living in this world permanently and this intention clearly comes out through these sentences, isn’t it? This is where the problem lies and this is exactly what Yudishtra points out! Of course, I’m not saying here that we should keep fearing death every passing day. In fact, we should not even think about it, but at the same time, we should be prepared to face the situation, rather than brooding over it. We should live the present moment happily and should be open to face anything in life. We should also understand that nothing is permanent in this world and whatever happens here is Bhagawan’s will and wish! This is the basic understanding that Yudishtra wants all of us to have. 

Moving further, Yaksha asks many other similar questions, for which Yudishtra gives clear answers. With this, Yaksha is quite happy with Yudishtra’s answers. Yaksha says to Yudishtra thus, “Oh Yudishtra! I’m extremely satisfied with all your answers pertaining to “Dharma”. I know that you are not an ordinary human being. Now I give you an option – Your four brothers are lying unconscious, aren’t they? If I tell you that you have a choice of waking up one amongst the four brothers, whom will you choose?” Now this is a tricky question that Yaksha is putting forth to Yudishtra. As Yaksha asks thus, Yudishtra quickly replies back: “Oh Yaksha! If given an option in this way, I would like to wake up Nakula!” As Yudishtra says spontaneously thus, Yaksha asks back: “Oh Yudishtra! Why Nakula? Is he going to help you in any way? Whereas if you wake up Bheemasena or Arjuna, they are going to be instrumental in helping you fight your enemies! What is Nakula going to do to you?” 

As Yaksha asks thus, Yudishtra further replies: “Oh Yaksha! I do not answer anything without giving it a thought. I always think twice before I answer, even though my answers might come spontaneously. I would prefer Nakula to be woken up because of this reason – As a representative of Kunthi’s sons with King Paandu, I’m there. I’m not going to be harmed in any way because I’ve answered all your questions. Hence, if not three, atleast one of us is alive. However, who will represent Maadri’s sons with King Paandu? Nakula and Sahadeva are Maadri’s sons, aren’t they? Atleast one should be alive to ensure that the tradition is kept going, isn’t it?” Readers should understand one thing here – Maadri is not even alive at this point. We’ve seen earlier that as King Paandu passed away, Maadri too jumped along with him into the pyre and killed herself. However, Yudishtra is making this statement very clear. This is where we can understand how much importance and respect Yudishtra is giving to a mother. If all the children of a mother are dead, how much pain and grief will she undergo? If atleast one of her children is alive, the mother will feel a bit relieved, won’t she? Of course, she will have the pain of losing the others, but the satisfaction that atleast one is alive to take care of her will comfort her. This is the inner significance of Yudishtra’s statement here – The importance of a mother in this world! 

So for today, let us understand up to this point and in the next episode, we shall witness the next tricky question that Yaksha is going to ask Yudishtra! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 643 – “Illusion behind death is the most ridiculous aspect amongst living beings” – Yudishtra explains!!!

In the previous episode, we had commenced an important discussion between Yaksha and Yudishtra, which is called “Yaksha-Prashnam”, wherein Yaksha is asking a few important questions pertaining to “Dharma” and Yudishtra is giving answers to them. This is in a bid to save the lives of Yudishtra’s four Paandava brothers, who had fallen unconscious after consuming water from Yaksha’s lake. In this manner, we’ve witnessed the first set of four questions which Yaksha asked and what is Yudishtra’s reply for all of them. Most importantly, Yudishtra explains one of the most miraculous things in this world wherein the “Atman” resides inside the “Deham” even though the “Deham” has not one but nine openings in it. As Yudishtra explains this, Yaksha asks the next question: “Oh Yudishtra! Fine! The “Atman” residing inside the “Deham” with nine holes is miraculous. But is there something else that is more miraculous than this in this world?” 

As Yaksha asks thus, Yudishtra talks about the next miraculous thing in this world. He says thus, “Oh Yaksha! Yes. There is an even more miraculous thing that keeps happening in this world. More than miraculous, it is ridiculous – Those living beings which are alive in this world think that they are going to live permanently without any death! This feeling comes in, even while seeing other living beings die in front of them! Human beings are no exception to this as well. Even though we see our friends, family members, etc. pass away as our life progresses, we do not realize the fact that we are also going to pass away like this some day into the future! Without this awareness, we keep fighting with one another for petty things, unable to decipher the fact that nothing is permanent in this world! This lack of awareness is extremely miraculous and ridiculous at the same time for me! Moreover, when it comes to human beings, the 4-5 people who carry the dead body of a person will think that if there are more deaths in the locality, they can do this job and earn more money! Is there anything else more ridiculous than this? Without realizing that these people who are carrying dead bodies today, are also going to be carried by some other people in the future, they keep account of the number of dead bodies they carry and the amount of money that they can make per body! Hence, the illusion that takes over at this time is extremely miraculous!” 

We might have seen this even in our own families and friends’ circles. Whenever our aged grandparents or relatives pass away, we get that thought that they have had the unfortunate event of death in their lives, but we are “Chiranjeevis” without any death! Little do we realize that we are also going to go on the same pyre some other day in the future! Moreover, we keep running here and there to earn more and more money. However, is there a guarantee for our existence the very next moment? What if we meet with an accident somewhere or what if an earthquake or any other natural calamity occurs? Or, what if an unforeseen circumstance happens and we get hospitalized with some critical ailments? We never know what will happen in the future, yet, we keep planning for years ahead! Of course, I’m not saying that we should not plan anything for the future. However, what I’m trying to say here is that, we should try and live the present moment more than planning for the future. We should make the maximum out of the present moment and ensure that we execute our “Karma” (Action) in the best way possible. 

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

Episode # 642 – “The ‘Atman’ miraculously resides inside the ‘Deham’ of every being” – Yudishtra answers Yaksha!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Yaksha warning Yudishtra not to consume water from his pond and he wants Yudishtra to answer his questions one by one. Upon seeing his brothers lying unconscious after consuming the pond’s water, Yudishtra has no other option but to accept Yaksha’s demands. Thus, Yudishtra replies to Yaksha that he is ready to answer his questions, to the best of his ability and as per “Dharma”. Now we begin a very important conversation between Yudishtra and Yaksha and we’re going to see various aspects of “Dharma” being explained in a very lucid manner by Yudishtra. Let us commence this conversation in todays’ episode. 

As Yudishtra prepares himself thus, Yaksha asks the first question – “Oh Yudishtra! Please tell me about yourself, and what is the significance of you and your four brothers. I shall also tell you my significance!” As Yaksha asks thus, Yudishtra replies firmly back: “Oh Yaksha! I do not think this is a valid question. I do not believe in talking about myself or my brothers much. No matter who we are, what are you going to gain by knowing about me? I’m also not interested in understanding anything about you. All I want now is to get my brothers back with consciousness. I do not want to waste time dwelling into my past or your past. Hence, if you have better questions to ask, you may do so. Else, allow my brothers to wake up!” 

As Yudishtra firmly answers thus, Yaksha understands slowly that Yudishtra is not an ordinary person as he thought earlier. He now goes straight into his questions. Yaksha asks thus. “Oh Yudishtra! Now let me ask you my first set of questions – Who is the one in this world who makes Soorya Bhagawan rise in the east every day? Who is the one following Soorya Bhagawan’s path every passing day? When does Soorya Bhagawan set every day? What is the significance of this entire process?” Thus, Yaksha begins with a set of four questions and from now, every sloka will have four questions each. At important instances I shall quote the slokas and we shall witness things in detail. As Yaksha asks the first set of four questions, Yudishtra starts replying one after the other. Yudishtra’s answers are as follows: “Oh Yaksha! Soorya Bhagawan rises in the east every passing day due to the divine “Anugraha” of the all-prevailing “Brahman”! Irrespective of whether it is Yama, Soorya, Chandra, or whoever it might be, all of them are being directed and instructed by the all-prevailing “Brahman” only. It is the “Brahman” who issues orders to all these people to do their respective tasks properly. All the Devas (Celestial beings) follow Soorya Bhagawan along his path. Also, Soorya Bhagawan sets every day and rests with “Dharma”. Thus, Soorya Bhagawan is an epitome of “Dharma” and he will always stand by it at all times!” 

As Yudishtra gives answers thus, Yaksha asks the next set of four questions. The important crux of this set of questions is as follows: “Oh Yudishtra! Which in this world do you think is the most miraculous and is very difficult for the human mind to understand and comprehend?” Yudishtra replies thus, “Oh Yaksha! According to me, the breathing that all living beings do to sustain life on this earth is the most miraculous thing that happens in this world! The passage of air in and out of the bodies of every living being, including human beings and all animals and insects, worms, micro-beings, etc. is something that no human mind can understand and comprehend! The fact that only if the air passage is clear will the life sustain for any living being is something beyond comprehension! Moreover, the “Atman” which is inside all living beings is the next most miraculous thing ever! Even though every living being has the “Nava-Dvaarams” (Nine openings) in each of them, the “Atman” still stays inside without escaping through any of these nine openings! Isn’t this miraculous? For instance, if an animal is tied to a pillar with a rope and if the rope is removed, the animal will immediately try to escape isn’t it? Similarly if a bird is caged into a box and if suddenly the cage is opened, won’t the bird immediately fly away? In these lines, the “Atman” is caged inside this physical body. However, even if the physical body has nine openings, which are open at all times, the “Atman” doesn’t escape out so easily! This is miraculous!” 

Now this is an extremely thought-provoking answer from Yudishtra. So for today, let us understand up to this point and we shall take this discussion forward in the upcoming episode as well. Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂 

Episode # 641 – Yudishtra agrees to answer Yaksha’s questions pertaining to “Dharma”!!!

We’re at an important juncture in the entire Mahabharata text, wherein we’re going to witness some essential aspects of “Dharma” as explained by Yudishtra. Sage Vyaasa has given enormous importance to this segment, and we call this as “Yaksha-Prashnam”. Yaksha is going to ask a few important questions pertaining to “Dharma” and Yudishtra is going to give interesting answers to them. We’ve witnessed in the previous episode, the situation that leads to this conversation. Sahadeva, Nakula, Arjuna and Bheemasena fall prey to Yaksha’s poisonous lake, as they consume the water from it. All of them fall unconscious after they drink water from that lake, even after Yaksha’s warning and request to answer his questions before drinking the water from it. As the four brothers aren’t coming back, Yudishtra gets tensed and worried about the whereabouts of them. Thus, he himself goes personally to that spot to inspect, and he finds his brothers to have fallen unconscious. Upon investigation, Yaksha comes in the form of a swan and explains the situation.

Yaksha says thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Please understand one thing very clearly – I’m the one who is responsible for the condition of all your four brothers. Have you come here to be the fifth one to fall prey to my wrath? Your brothers ignored me and refused to answer my questions and went ahead to drink the water from this pond. If you go your brothers’ way, you will also meet the same fate as them! Your brothers are just one stage before death! If you’re following your brothers’ way, you will also go to the same stage as them!” As Yaksha says thus, Yudishtra replies: “Oh swan! Who are you to hold my brothers ransom to your wrath? What is your problem? You’re afterall a silly swan! You do not know how powerful me and my brothers are. If Bheemasena and Arjuna are in their form, you will not even be able to stand in front of them for a minute!” 

As Yudishtra gives a somewhat angry reply in this way, Yaksha replies back, “Oh Yudishtra! You speak about Arjuna’s and Bheemasena’s powers, aren’t you? They were beaten by none other than me! You do not know to whom you’re talking with! If I conspire, I can blow away all of you to pieces! Hence, do not underestimate me by having a mere look at what you see! If you want, you may go ahead and examine my unending powers and check for yourself!” As Yaksha replies aggressively thus, Yudishtra calms down and understands the situation. He replies calmly thus, “Oh swan! Fine! I’m not here to test you or anyone of what powers you have. So what are your questions that I need to answer? Ask me. I shall give you the best answers to my understanding of things!” As Yudishtra says thus, Yaksha replies, “Oh Yudishtra! I’m happy that you do not want to go your brothers’ way! Your brothers ignored me by just looking at my appearance and underestimated me. They consumed the water from my pond without abiding by the owner’s rules and regulations! Now let me ask you a few questions and you may give the answers for them!” 

Saying thus, Yaksha begins his accord. Yudishtra concludes that this is not an ordinary swan, but a “Yaksha” who has come to create chaos. Hence, he decides that it is better to not create more chaos as his brothers’ lives are at stake. Thus, Yudishtra prepares himself to answer Yaksha’s questions one by one. So in this way, Yudishtra is ready to take on Yaksha’s questions and for today, let us understand up to this point. We shall wait till the next episode to commence Yaksha’s questions and Yudishtra’s answers for them! Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂 

Episode # 640 – The “YAKSHA-PRASHNAM” – Yudishtra meets Yaksha!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Yudishtra and the Paandava brothers moving on with their final phase of “Vana-Vaasam”. They are now in their final year of the time period and the next year should be the “Agnyaata-Vasam” wherein they’ve to live in disguise without being spotted by anyone. As they move from one place to the other amidst the dense forest, we’ve witnessed how a Brahmana Rishi comes running for help from Yudishtra to reclaim his wooden piece for performing his “Agnihotra Karma”, and how Sahadeva, Nakula, Arjuna and Bheemasena fall prey to a poisonous lake while they search for the deer which has that wooden log. As the four Paandava brothers go chasing the deer, they start feeling thirsty and when they try to consume the water that is in a nearby lake, all of them fall unconscious one after the other. As Yudishtra is waiting for all of them to return, he gets tensed as none of them came back! Finally, Yudishtra himself makes his way to catch the deer and help the Brahmana Rishi – Only to find all his four brothers unconscious on the ground near that fateful lake! As Yudishtra sees this, he is stunned beyond words! What had happened to his brothers? He looks around cluelessly! 

We should understand here that this lake belongs to a “Yaksha” and whoever wants to consume water from this lake, he / she should obtain due permission from the “Yaksha” before they do. However, Sahadeva and the others did not know this. They consumed the water from that lake without obtaining the “Yaksha”’s permission, and as a result, all of them fell unconscious and had to bear the brunt. Initially, Yaksha has stopped Sahadeva and the others before they consume the water. Yaksha had warned them earlier that they had to obtain his permission. Moreover, Yaksha wanted Sahadeva and the others to answer a few questions that he wanted to ask. However, the Paandava brothers did not bother to listen to Yaksha and instead, abused him. The Paandava brothers thought who is Yaksha to question them. Finally when they tried consuming the water from the lake without his permission, one after the other fell unconscious! 

Finally as Yudishtra arrives at the scene, he sees all his four brothers lying unconscious, but there are no injuries or wounds on their bodies. They seemed to be perfectly fine, but are lying unconscious. Yudishtra, upon seeing their condition concludes that there had been no war or fight of any sorts, yet, how did they fall unconscious like this? Perhaps did any celestial beings or some other extra-terrestrial beings attack them? As Yudishtra looks around thinking thus, he hears a voice from nowhere, trying to talk to him! As Yudishtra looks anxiously, there is a beautiful swan amidst the waters of the lake, which is talking to Yudishtra. The “Yaksha” has come in the form of a swan in front of Yudishtra and starts an important conversation with him. The swan explains to Yudishtra how his four brothers landed up in such a state of affairs. The swan introduces itself to be a “Yaksha” and explains that Sahadeva and the others wanted to drink water from the lake, which belonged to him. Even though Yaksha warned them, they did not listen to him and hence they landed up in this state! Hence, Yaksha requests atleast Yudishtra to pay heed to his words and answer a few questions from his side! 

So for today, let us understand up to this point and in the next episode, we are about to commence a very important accord called the “Yaksha-Prashnam”, wherein Yudishtra is going to give important answers to some important questions! Stay tuned for an interesting accord! 🙂 

Episode # 639 – Four Pandava brothers fall unconscious after consuming water from a pond!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed some of the key takeaways from the two important events that we had witnessed – One of Mother Sita and the other of Savitri. The underlying message here is that we should never buckle down under pressure when we are suffering. Rather, our faith in Bhagawan and perseverance should increase further and further. Sage Markandeya gives this accord to make Yudishtra understand that he needs to get up from this situation and move on further in life, instead of brooding over whatever happened in the past. Sage Markandeya tries to motivate Yudishtra by talking about all these great people and how they led their lives to glory even though they had to undergo a lot. With this, we come to the end of the two important “Upa-Parvas” – The Rama-Upaakhyaana Parva and the Pathivrata-Maahaatmya Parva. 

Moving on thus, we are now coming towards the end of the great “Vana-Parva” and almost twelve years of Yudishtra in the forest is inching towards a close. At this point in time, the Paandavas decide that they would move to the “Dvaitha Vanam” area. Till now they were spending time at the “Kamyaka-Vanam” and now the twelfth year is running. The next year should be the “Agnyaata-Vasam” wherein they should live in a disguised manner for a period of one full year. But before this, Yudishtra and Co. decide that they would spend some more time in the “Dvaita Vanam” and they move in there. As the Paandavas settled down in a beautiful forest area, there was a Brahmana Rishi who came running all the way to see Yudishtra. As the Rishi comes closer, Yudishtra senses that there is some problem going on with him. As the Brahmana Rishi comes to Yudishtra, he explains his situation thus, “Oh Yudishtra! I need your help urgently. I had kept a very sacred wood piece near my place for performing my “Agnihotra Karma”. However, I saw a deer taking away that wooden piece with it. I need your help in getting it back, so that I would be able to perform my “Karma” without any problem. As a “Kshatrya” prince, isn’t it your duty to protect the Brahmana Rishis? That’s why I came to you. I know you are residing here. So, please help me in getting back my wooden piece from the clutches of the deer!” 

As the Rishi says thus, Yudishtra is more than happy to help. He assures the Rishi that the five brothers would somehow help him get back the wooden piece. First, Sahadeva goes in pursuit of the deer. Hr goes deep into the forest and spots the deer with the wooden piece roaming around here and there. Sahadeva tries to give chase, but the deer is very smart. It somehow keeps escaping from Sahadeva’s eyes and runs all along. After a long pursuit, the deer wins the race and Sahadeva is all tired and hungry! More than hunger, it is the thirst for water that dominates Sahadeva. As he searches for a good source of drinking water, Sahadeva comes to a beautiful pond, which is full of crystal clear water. Deciding that he would drink water from this pond, Sahadeva bends, takes a handful of water and drinks it. However, to his horror, Sahadeva falls on the ground unconscious immediately after drinking the water from that pond! 

Now, as Sahadeva has met with such a disaster, Yudishtra and Co. are getting tensed every moment. Yudishtra sends Nakula to check for the whereabouts of Sahadeva, and Nakula initially goes for the pursuit of the deer. However, the deer once again acts smart and eludes Nakula’s eyes. Finally, Nakula too lands up near that fateful pond and to his horror he finds Sahadeva unconscious there. Overcome by thirst, Sahadeva too tries to drink some water from that pond, only to fall unconscious too! As Nakula also meets with the same fate, Yudishtra is puzzled and sends Arjuna and Bheemasena subsequently. Both of them also meet with a similar fate, falling unconscious after drinking the water from that pond. 

As all the four brothers fall unconscious one after the other, Yudishtra senses that there is a huge disaster in the making! Thus, he himself makes his way to that place and sees what happened and to his dismay, he sees all his four brothers lie unconscious! So what does Yudishtra do from here on? We shall witness in the next episode an interesting set of events that is about to unfold! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 638 – Key takeaways from the “Rama-Upakhyana Parva” & the “Pativrata-Mahatmya Parva”!!!

In the previous episode, we had concluded the detailed accord of Sage Markandeya to Yudishtra as part of the “Rama-Upaakhyana Parva” wherein he narrates the entire Ramayana story and highlights how much of suffering Mother Sita had to endure during her “Vana-Vaasa” time with Bhagawan Rama. Even though the onus was on Bhagawan Rama for the fourteen-year-exile, Mother Sita took it upon herself to cooperate with Bhagawan Rama, only to face a disaster for herself! Stressing upon this point, Sage Markandeya asks a simple question to Yudishtra thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Do you think Draupati had even undergone a miniscule amount of suffering as compared to what Mother Sita had to endure? Mother Sita, even though being an incarnation of Goddess Mahalakshmi had to endure these things. Hence, suffering can come to anybody at any point in time and please move on with things, rather than brooding too much over them!” 

Moving on further from here, we now get into the next Parva called “Pathivrata-Maahaatmiya Parva”, wherein there is a reference to a woman by name “Savitri”. Many of us might have heard of “Satyavaan & Savitri” and how Savitri was an epitome of the “Pathivrata Dharma”, just like how Mother Sita was. Of course, this “Charitra” might be known to everyone and I’m not going into much of detail into it at this point. However, the important point that Sage Markandeya drives home to Yudishtra is this – “Oh Yudishtra! You’re talking of how Draupati is suffering because of you, aren’t you? Now look at how Savitri literally waged a war to bring her husband back to life from the cusp of death! Here, Draupati is only worrying about herself and she expects all of them around her to feel pity for her! However, Savitri was not like that. She endured suffering for her husband, just like how Mother Sita did for Bhagawan Rama. These women were selfless in their service to their husbands!” 

Narrating all these events, Sage Markandeya establishes the fact that Draupati has not really endured any big difficulty at all till now! If we’re part of the “Samsaara”, we’re bound to endure certain suffering from time to time. We should not worry about those sufferings and should keep moving on with life, rather than brooding over them every passing day. This is the maturity that all of us should inculcate within ourselves. Thus, the lesson that we learn from the “Rama-Upaakhyaana Parva” and this “Pathivrata-Maahaatmya Parva” is that, no matter how much suffering we’ve to endure, we should never panic. Our faith towards Bhagawan should only increase by all these, and we should be steadfast towards our spiritual path. Ultimately, we should never compromise on this, just because we’re enduring some suffering. Many of us get into this trap – Just because we’re suffering, can we get into a mode wherein we would do something that is a blatant “Adharma” and blame it on what we’re undergoing right now? This is absolutely wrong and we shouldn’t be doing such things! No matter whatever we’ve to undergo and endure, we’ve to always stick by our “Dharma” and should never deviate from it. Of course, saying this is very easy and implementation is tough, but this should not be an excuse for us to be complacent, isn’t it? Hence, for today, let us understand these points clearly and let us ensure that we follow the path of “Dharma” no matter whatever happens around us! We shall wait till the next episode to continue with the next “Parva” in the Mahabharata text! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 637 – “Can Mother Sita’s suffering be even compared to that of Draupati’s?” – Sage Markandeya asks Yudishtra!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Bhagawan Rama defeating Ravana and killing him once and for all. This marks the end of the Rama-Ravana battle and with this, “Dharma” is re-established by Bhagawan Rama in this world. Now comes the important pointer as to how Mother Sita was once again accepted by Bhagawan Rama, and in this regard, we’ve witnessed how Mother Sita had to pass the “Agni-Pariksha” to prove her chastity to Bhagawan Rama in front of the entire public. Now this incident can be viewed in multiple ways – One, as a testimony through which Bhagawan Rama is proving to the entire world that His wife is extremely pure, even though she had to reside in Ravana’s Lanka for ten months. The other way of looking at this incident is slightly on the negative side, which many of us might think twice before accepting – Did Bhagawan Rama exhibit “Male chauvinism” in demanding Mother Sita to prove her chastity? Isn’t this an insult to Mother Sita and in fact, the entire womanhood? Why did Bhagawan Rama go for this, even though He knows the chastity of Mother Sita? These are the questions which people ask while going through this incident and let us be honest with this here. 

I’m highlighting upon this point specifically here because, these were the kinds of tortures that Mother Sita had to undergo during her “Vana-Vaasam” period, which, Draupati did not have to undergo during her “Vana-Vaasam” period with Yudishtra and Co.! Sage Markandeya highlights this point specifically to Yudishtra here, to prove the point that Draupati did not have to undergo such painful things unlike how Mother Sita had to! Even though Mother Sita knows herself that she is an epitome of purity, she had to accept Bhagawan Rama’s instruction to go through the test in front of everyone. Even later on, after Bhagawan Rama returns back to Ayodhya and after His coronation, Mother Sita had to be once again sent to the forest, being “abandoned” by Bhagawan Rama completely, at a time when she was pregnant! This is mentioned clearly in the “Uttara Kaanda” of the Valmiki Ramayana. Just because a dhobi in the Ayodhya kingdom made an ill comment about Mother Sita’s chastity, even though she had passed the “Agni Pariksha” to prove herself earlier, Bhagawan Rama still ended up abandoning her completely! Now we might again raise a question as to how fair this could be on an innocent and a pure woman, isn’t it? 

Thus, overall as a conclusion to the “Rama-Upaakhyana Parva”, Sage Maarkandeya highlights all these points to Yudishtra to prove that Mother Sita had to undergo enormous suffering for no fault of hers! Just because she was abducted by Ravana and there was nobody to protect her at that point in time, does it mean that Mother Sita’s chastity should be time and again doubted and proved? Hence, this incident itself shows how much Mother Sita had to endure during this time period and Draupati’s suffering is nothing when compared to this! 

So for today, let us conclude the “Rama-Upaakhyana Parva” on this note, and in the next episode we shall make a move-on with the next “Parva” and witness what happened next in the Mahabharata! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 636 – Mother Sita passes the “Agni-Pariksha” of Bhagawan Rama!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Bhagawan Rama emerging victorious against Ravana in the marquee battle. This accord is being narrated by Sage Markandeya to Yudishtra as part of the “Rama-Upakhyana-Parva” in the Mahabharata text. It is amazing that the entire Ramayana text finds a place prominently in Mahabharata. The context comes at a point when Sage Markandeya visits Yudishtra and Co. and Yudishtra lamenting that Draupati is unduly suffering because of his mistakes! In order to console Yudishtra, Sage Markandeya explains how Mother Sita had to endure much more suffering during her “Vana-Vaasam” period along with Bhagawan Rama, as compared to Draupati. In this way, we’ve witnessed the entire Ramayana story until the point where Bhagawan Rama wins the war against Ravana and now it is time for Bhagawan Rama to take Mother Sita along with Him to Ayodhya. But does He do this straightaway, or, is there a twist in the story? Let us witness today! 

As Hanuman goes and asks Mother Sita to get ready to meet Bhagawan Rama, she is very excited to see her husband victorious! As Mother Sita comes in front of Bhagawan Rama, she wants to hug her husband with all her emotions! However, Bhagawan Rama has other ideas! He openly proclaims thus, “Oh Sita! For the past ten months you’ve been residing at Ravana’s place, didn’t you? Hence, how can I allow you to live with me henceforth? The world would cast a doubt on your chastity and purity! Hence, there are only two options left in front of you – Prove your chastity in front of me to your world and with that you can live with me, or, if you’re not willing to do so, you may feel free to go back to your father’s place and continue living with him henceforth!” 

These words stun everyone standing around Bhagawan Rama! Hanuman is completely speechless, and so are Sugriva and Vibhishana! Mother Sita is completely shattered! She is one of the greatest “Pathivratas” in the world and these words from Bhagawan Rama breaks her heart completely! Isn’t this a great insult to womanhood in public? However, Mother Sita composes herself within a few minutes and lets out an open challenge to Agni Bhagawan thus: “Oh Agni Bhagawan! This is a do-or-die test for me here! If it is true that I had not voluntarily or consciously thought about any other person other than Bhagawan Rama as my husband and beloved, you may burn me to death here itself! If it is true that I had even touched Ravana once by choice, please burn me to death here itself! If it is true that I did not come to Lanka voluntarily and if it is true that I was abducted by Ravana, please let Bhagawan Rama realize the truth and accept me as I am!” 

As Mother Sita lets out an open challenge, she lights a huge pyre in front of her and jumps into it, with ardent prayers to Agni Bhagawan! Hanuman and the others are stunned to bits! Hanuman is now angry with Bhagawan Rama for the first time ever in his life! How can Bhagawan Rama doubt Mother Sita’s chastity like this, and that too in open public in front of everyone? Doesn’t He even have a heart? Hanuman knows Mother Sita in and out as he has already interacted with her before. Thus, as everyone are anxious and simmering, within just a few seconds, Agni Bhagawan appears in front of everybody! Agni Bhagawan explains thus, “Oh Bhagawan Rama! Your Sita is one of the most purest women that the world has ever seen till today! I will not be able to touch your wife even for a moment, and if at all I do so, I would be the one to be burnt down and not her! You have to accept Mother Sita as she is! She is extremely pure and I assure of it! Hence, Bhagawan Rama! You do not know what you’re doing to her! Moreover, please realize that you are none other than Bhagawan Vishnu Himself! Mother Sita is none other than Goddess Mahalakshmi herself! Both of you have incarnated in this world to establish “Dharma” and to destroy the “Adharma” in the form of Ravana! Hence, you should accept your divine consortium and move on with your incarnation!” 

As Agni Bhagawan says thus, tears roll down Bhagawan Rama’s eyes! He immediately accepts Mother Sita and hugs her with Him! With this, all of them are happy once again! Hanuman rejoices at this moment! Mother Sita has passed the “Agni-Pariksha” successfully! So for today, let us celebrate this glorious moment in the life of Bhagawan Rama and Mother Sita and we shall continue this narrative in the next episode as well! Stay tuned! 🙂