First Canto Chapter Thirteen
In this chapter, Dhritarashtra together with Gāndhāri goes into the forest for Vānaprastha, upon the advice of Vidura.
Vidura, who had gone on a pilgrimage, was initiated into the knowledge of the Self (atma jnana) by Maitreya Maharishi. He returned to Hastinapura, well versed in this subject.
Vidura had asked many questions to Maharishi Maitreya. But after listening to just one or two answers, he developed absolute exclusive devotion towards Lord Govinda. With this he stopped further questioning.
Every question has only one answer, and that is ‘Understanding or realizing God!’ Every question, every research, every form of penance or every other effort culminates only in this answer. Always remember this! This is the final result. This is the end! Once this fact is understood, there are no more questions and answers. The person who understands, ‘God is everything; He is the answer to all my questions; for all forms, for all sensible and insensible topics, for Veda in totality, for all its essence, in fact for all knowledge, the final result is obtained only by understanding Him’- will no longer have any questions to ask.
Seeing their relative Vidura who had returned home, Dhritarashtra, Yudhisthira along with his younger brothers, Kripacharya, Sanjaya, Gāndhāri, Kunti, Draupadi, Subhadra, Kripi, Uttara and all other relatives, their spouses and their children were immensely overjoyed. They felt as if they had regained their lost life (prāṇa) once again!
They rushed and warmly welcomed Vidura. Embracing him, offering him obeisance and greeting him profusely, they shed tears of joy. They recollected the war events. In future in detail we will talk about the greatness of Vidura.
Yudhisthira seated Vidura comfortably and honoured him. Vidura then had his food and relaxed for a little while. Thereafter again when he was seated comfortably, Yudhisthira offered obeisance to him and in the presence of everyone, he enquired, “O Mahatma Vidura! We have grown up under your protection. You offered us shelter. You saved us, as well as our mother, from many terrible unfortunate calamities. You saved us from dangers of fire, water and poison. Do you remember us?
How did you sustain your life during the period of your pilgrimage, when you travelled throughout the entire earth? In which all sacred places and sacred rivers did you offer service?
bhavad-vidhā bhāgavatās tīrtha-bhūtāḥ svayaṁ vibho
tīrthī-kurvanti tīrthāni svāntaḥ-sthena gadābhṛtā
This is because ardent devotees of Lord like you are nothing but forms of the holy sacred places! As Lord Krishna who holds the mace eternally lives in your heart, you cause sacredness to the sacred pilgrim centres themselves! Every river you bathe in acquires sacredness! It becomes pure totally!
You may perhaps wonder, how can a river attain purity? A river is said to be so pure that it washes away the impurities of those who bathe in it. How then can someone bestow purity upon it? Yes. The river attains purity when an absolutely pure person bathes in it! These are the ardent devotees of the Lord. They have fixed their minds permanently upon the Supreme Lord! These are people who have willingly understood and realized God! Through knowledge (jnana) they have attained God! Through penance they have realized God! Through meritorious deeds of many births they have understood God! They are the holy persons in whom an aspect of Paramatma exists. They are Avadhootas. They are great Mahatmas.
It is not enough to add the title Avadhoota to one’s name. Many persons call themselves Mr. Avadhoota. Of what use is it? Just because a person is named Krishna, does he become the Supreme God Krishna? By taking on the name Rama, one does not become Rama, the Supreme Lord. Keeping Rama’s name is to remind the person that he should develop the noble qualities like Rama. It is a way to recollect Lord Rama time and again. It is for the benefit of parents, friends and acquaintances who need to call him. They too should earn some merit (punya) isn’t it? By repeated chanting the name ‘Rama or Krishna’, they definitely are acquiring lot of merit.
But the one who has been named Krishna is not earning any merit. This is because he indulges totally in unnecessary criminal deeds. None of his deeds are considered meritorious, such is his life. How then can be become Krishna? One should understand the good qualities of Krishna and imitate those qualities. What is the use of understanding His acts wrongly and trying to imitate them? Krishna swallowed fire. Can you swallow fire? He created this entire universe. Can you do so?
Imitating His ordinary deeds is not great. Krishna came like an ordinary being into the universe and performed extraordinary deeds. You are reducing him to an ordinary person and trying to imitate his ordinary deeds. Is it right? Even in the Puranas there are many such stories. There are instances of people holding a discus in their hand, wearing long flower garlands and a golden crown like him. By imitating his dressing style, can a person become Krishna, the Supreme Lord? It will at best be compared to a dramatic performance. No one will say, “Oh, Krishna has descended to earth for our benefit”. They will say, “He enacted Krishna’s role today”. They will further talk amongst themselves, “Do you recognize him? He is my neighbor Bhimarao. What make up! Have you heard his dialogues?” Irrespective of perfection in actions, disguise and behavior people still continue to accept that he is enacting the role of Krishna. They may say, “He acts superbly”. But none will say that “Oh, Krishna has come down for us again”.
Similarly, a person who externally displays the characteristics of an Avadhoota, cannot become a real Avadhoota. Just by looking into the heart of a person whom you accost, you will understand whether he is an Avadhoota or not. When he arrives it will be as if Lord Dattatreya himself is actually arriving!
Yudhisthira continued, “As Krishna eternally lives in your heart, you bestow auspiciousness and purity to the rivers themselves.”
When pure persons bathe in the river, it is as if Paramatma himself has bathed in it. Hence the river attains purity. When ordinary persons who have some accumulation of sin in them and who do not think about God bathe in these rivers, they obtain the purity from the river.
When you are passing by a street and accidently God’s names fall on your ears, you become pure. Likewise the person who was chanting that name also gets benefit when he chants:
Krishna! Krishna! Govinda! Krishna Govinda! Datta Krishna! Govinda!