Bhagawatam 092: Vidura leaves Hastinapura and proceeds on a pilgrimage

Om Govindāya Namah.

Replying to Parikshit’s question, Maharishi Śuka said, “Along with blindness, Dhritarashtra also lacked proper discriminatory knowledge. He lacked the right intelligence. Being incompetent in putting an end to the unrighteous and dishonest atrocities of his sons, he approved of them. His nephews, the Pandavas, became fatherless in their childhood. Dhritarashtra ensured that they entered the wax palace and then had the wax palace set on fire so that they would perish in those flames.

In his court his son Dushshāsana held Draupadi, his lawful daughter-in-law and Emperor Yudhisthira’s queen, by her hair.  Draupadi wept so inconsolably that the kumkum (red powder) on her breast was totally washed away. Even then Dritarasthra could not admonish his sons Duryodhana and Dushāsana who had indulged in such demeaning activity.

Using unrighteous methods Duryodhana and his companions defeated the noble King Yudhisthira in the game of dice. Based on the terms of the game, Yudhisthira, who was firmly established in the dharma of truthfulness, went into exile to fulfill his promise. After completing his entire period of exile Yudhisthira, who had no adversary in this world, returned to the kingdom and begged that he be given his rightful share in the kingdom as had been promised to him. However Duryodhana, who delighted in unrighteous activities, did not accede to his request.

Duryodhana, who refused to part with the land that rightfully belonged to the Pandavas, committed a heinous and unrighteous deed. Yudhisthira then begged Lord Krishna to go as an emissary to the court of the Kauravas and preach to them the rules of righteousness.

Krishna’s words were nectarous to the ears of Bheeshma and other noble souls present in the Kaurava assembly. However Duryodhana and other unjust people paid a deaf ear to Krishna’s advice. This was because they were not meritorious and they did not have any merit (punya) in their account. Only virtuous pious souls can listen to the words of God. Only they possess the capacity to understand divine words.

Dhritarashtra, who was in a moral dilemma, then invited his younger brother Vidura to his home for discussion. At that moment, Vidura, the exponent in the moral rules of conduct, gave his opinion and preached the rules of righteousness to his elder brother. Eminent scholars term this advice as ‘Vidura neeti’ and hold in high esteem.

Vidura preached, “O dear brother! You have committed a grave mistake which is beyond the levels of tolerance. Even then Yudhisthira, who has no enemy in this world, is tolerating it with utmost difficulty. Please return to them the land that rightfully belongs to them. Remember that he is together with his brothers and among them is Bheema, the snake which is hissing heavily with fury. You will have to fear this snake called Bheema. Be cautious.

Srikrishna, the Lord who bestows liberation, eternally protects virtuous persons. He has taken upon himself the responsibility of protecting the Pandavas. Being worshipped by the fearless and valiant Yadus, He presently resides in Dwaraka. He is that powerful Lord who has conquered innumerable kings.

Sin has taken on a form and in the name of Duryodhana it has entered your house. This Duryodhana despises Srikrishna and is pulling you away from Him. With fatherly love you are nurturing Duryodhana as a result of which all your auspiciousness and wealth is draining away. If you truly seek the welfare of your lineage then with immediate effect distance yourself from the wicked Duryodhana. Disown him”.

Vidura was a personification of all noble qualities. He was an exemplary character and hence was loved by one and all. Nevertheless these words uttered by Vidura infuriated Duryodhana. Rolling his eyes and with his lower lip quivering in intense fury, along with his younger brother Dushāsana, uncle Shakuni and other associates, he insulted Vidura, “Who allowed this Vidura, the son of a maid, and who is of a dishonest and crooked nature, to enter this palace? Living on my alms and nourishing his body with the food I offer, he dares to speak against me while favouring my enemy! Let his life be spared but ensure that he is thrown out of the city this very moment. If my order is not immediately complied with, I shall kill him.” In this way, in the presence of Dhritarashtra, Duryodhana insulted Vidura by uttering heinous words.

Like sharp arrows these harsh words uttered by Duryodhana pierced the heart of Vidura. A supremely noble person that he was, Vidura did not grieve when these words fell on his ears. He realized that the Lord’s illusory power was causing all this. Placing his bow at the doorstep of the palace he walked away from there.

It was due to their accumulated past merit, that the Kauravas had obtained the virtuous Vidura. Now, being insulted by Duryodhana, Vidura left Hastinapura and walked away. With the desire of acquiring merit, he visited many sacred pilgrim centres on earth.

Ganga and many other sacred places have originated from the feet of Lord Srihari. In all these places Srihari takes on varied forms and illumines through them. Vidura travelled alone through towns, through ever-pure gardens, mountains, rivers as well as the lakes that are devoid of all impurities and various other sacred places where the beautifully decorated idols of the Lord, who manifests in innumerable forms, glow radiantly.

Following rigorous disciplines like an Avadhoota such as living only on the fruits that had fallen from trees, bathing in the various sacred waters, sleeping on the bare floor, Vidura unknown to his kith and kin travelled across the globe.  He undertook varied disciplines and duties purely to please Lord Srihari. He reached Prabhāsa teertha.

Om Govindāya namah

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