Friday, 10 July 2015

Lessons from Great Personalities- Life of Draupadi

The Pandava brothers along with Draupadi and Kunti were in exile after the wax house episode.   One evening, Dharmaja and Draupadi were taking a quiet stroll in the forest.   While walking, they saw a big fruit lying on the ground. They thought given its size everyone can have it for their dinner.   But they were unable to move the fruit.   The other Pandavas who came in search of them also tried in vain and all were exhausted.   Suddenly they observed that something moved under their feet and they realized that they were standing on Romarshi’s hair spread wide on the ground like a carpet.   The sage had undertook several years of penance for this special fruit which would free him from thirst and appetite.    Sensing some disturbance, the sage was just about to open his eyes.    

The Pandavas and Draupadi felt guilty and were scared that the sage, given the circumstances, might curse them.    Draupadi immediately prayed to Krishna wholeheartedly seeking His divine mercy to guard them. Moved by Draupadi’s prayers, Krishna appeared in front of her and remarked that though He always rescues His devotees, He also resides in hearts of the sages.  And Pandavas committed mistake by aspiring for the fruit for which Romarshi did great penance.   Falling at Lord Krishna’s feet, in tears, Draupadi fell at Krishna 's feet and said, "Oh Lord! We are left with none. But for you, we wouldn't have survived like this. We admit our mistake. Please pardon us and save us from the danger of the sage's curse".  Hearing this, Krishna, "Alright!  No matter what I do remain absolutely calm and still.   Act strictly according to my instructions. Now, I will go and be with Romarshi and begin conversing with him and come there exactly ten minutes later."
Krishna went to Romarshi.  He was very thrilled to see that the object of all his penance and austerities was right in front of him.   The sage received the Lord with all devotion and sincerity.   Krishna started talking to him, and as instructed the Pandavas arrived there.   Seeing them, Krishna prostrated in front of every one of them:   Watching this, Romarshi concluded if the Lord prostrated they must be Rishis of the noblest and highest order.  Then Romarshi too prostrated and did Namaskar to the Pandavas    With his anger pacified, the sage couldn't curse those whom he had reverentially welcomed.
Lessons to be learnt:
This anecdote speaks volumes of the profound and limitless love of God has for His devotees and showcases that He would go to any extent to protect them.  However, reciprocally the devotee should also be worthy of His compassion.     

Incident 4: The Durvasa Maharishi Episode
The Pandavas were in exile after the gambling game.   By the grace of Lord Krishna, they were happy and unruffled by the difficulties in the jungle.   The Kauravas could not bear that the Pandavas were happy and tried to create dissent amongst the Pandavas; but their wicked strategies were futile and were in despair.  At this moment sage Durvasa, known for his amazing combination of asceticism and anger arrived in Hastinatpur with ten thousand disciples for spending a 4 month retreat.   Fully aware of the sage’s prowess and nature, the Kauravas lavished their hospitality and served the group in all enthusiasm and zeal.   Completely mollified over, Durvasa asked Duruyodhana to seek any boon.   Seizing on this chance, exhibiting great humility Duruyodhana prayed that the opportunity to serve the sage was in itself the greatest boon and the Pandavas should also be given a chance to serve the sage and his retinue.   He added as a favor, when his entourage visits the Pandavas, they should do so after Draupadi has partaken her meal.   The sage understood the ploy and bursting into laughter told that he would accede to Duruyodhana’s wish.
The reason for Duruyodhana’s peculiar wish is that Pandavas were blessed with Akshayapathra, a vessel that could multiply the food, by Sun God.     Draupadi the dutiful wife, used to take her food only after the five brothers had had their full.    When she has finished and cleaned the Vessel, it can give no more.  Considering this singular complication in mind, Duruyodhana requested Durvasa to enjoy Pandavas hospitality after Draupadi had taken her food.   He imagined if the Pandavas were unable to fulfil the great sage’s and his followers’ hunger, in anger, Durvasa might curse them.  
As agreed Durvasa with his ten thousand disciples sought Pandavas generosity, just when Draupadi was resting after her food and after cleaning the sacred Vessel, and conversing with Pandavas.   While the Pandavas were venerating the sage, Durvasa, tired after the long journey, spoke with exasperation ‘We are going to the river for bath and noon rituals. Have food ready for me and my ten thousand followers, when we return.’  Hearing this announcement, the Pandavas sank in sorrow.   Draupadi shuddered in fear and pleaded yearningly with Lord Krishna to save them from this adversity.  
Moved by the prayers of the Pandavas and Draupadi, Lord Krishna entered their hut.   As soon as the Lord saw Draupadi He said ‘Draupadi!  I am hungry. First, appease My hunger and then you can seek your needs.”  Draupadi in a surprised tone remarked this is not time for fun and explained her plight.  But Krishna was adamant and asked her to get the sacred vessel and told that even if he get a particle, He will be satisfied.   Examining the vessel, Krishna spotted a fraction of a cooked leaf in the neck of the vessel.  Showing that little piece, the Lord exclaimed that this is sufficient to appease not only My hunger, but the hunger of all beings in the Universe and swallowed it.   At that very moment, Durvasa and his disciples on the river bank felt their stomachs overfull and their pangs of hunger, experienced a moment ago, miraculously vanished.   Durvasa wondered and felt despair that Pandavas were awaiting with lavish feast but there was no space for it.  The sage became aware of the Grace of Lord Krishna on Pandavas and liberally blessed them and took another route avoiding the residence of the Pandavas.
But Krishna commissioned Bhima to invite the sage and his followers quickly for lunch.   Durvasa blessed Bhima and the other Pandavas that they may attain all happiness and those who sent the entourage with sinful motives will be destroyed.  
I was very fortunate to do a role play in front of Swami as Draupadi and I profusely thank Bhagawan for this opportunity.
Lessons to be Learnt:
The devotee has to only surrender for every dilemma and the Lord responds magnificently in the way only He can.  The Lord can turn any adversity into an opportunity for grace.    One more fact is Sage Durvasa had no anger at all.   But they modulate their voice to transform people.  

To Be continued…….

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