Episode 48: Dhritarashtra attains liberation

Maharishi Nārada continued, “That Supreme Lord, who is the cause for the creation of all beings, has presently incarnated on this earth in the form of time (Kāla rupa) for the purpose of destruction of demons. His task is almost coming to an end. Just a small balance is left to be completed. Srikrishna is eagerly awaiting this completion.

You all have to wait on this earth as long as He lives here. Dhritarashtra, together with his wife Gāndhari and brother Vidura has gone to the ashram of saints located in the southern part of the Himalayas. In this place River Mandakini, in order to bring joy to the seven great sages, has split into seven divisions and is flowing. For this reason this place has acquired the name Saptasrotas.

In this sacred place, Dhritarashtra presently bathes thrice daily, diligently conducts Fire worship (Agni upasana), and consumes only water for his sustenance. Free from all forms of attachments, he is living contentedly with peace of mind. Having attained stability in posture (āsana siddhi), through performing of Pranayama he has totally restrained his mind and his senses. He exclusively focuses upon Srihari. Free from all vices he is now devoid of trigunas (the three modes of nature i.e. sattva, rajas and tamas). At all times he is able to retain his mind in the intellect (buddhi) and this intellect upon Paramatma.

Just as the space within the pot (ghaṭākasa) merges into the unending space, his intellect has merged completely into the Supreme Lord. In him, tendencies (vasanas, subtle impressions) have been erased in totality. Bringing to an end all the actions of the senses and by giving up food in totality, he is able to sit immobile like a rock. O king! Please do not become an obstacle for him, who has given up actions in entirety!

On the fifth day from today, Dhritarashtra will give up his body which will be reduced to ashes. When his body, along with the hut in which they are living, is thus being burnt by the Tretāgni (3 sacred fires), the chaste Gāndhāri will step into the fire.

Vidura, who will witness this wonder, will be overjoyed that Dhritarashtra and Gāndhāri have attained liberation! Mourning their death he will leave that place and proceed on pilgrimage”.

Swamiji explains: It can be said that Vidura’s desire was fulfilled. Due to that extensive preaching he had given, Dhritarashtra’s mind melted completely. When we listen to Dhritarashtra’s story we can understand the extreme infatuation he had towards life. His extreme love and infatuation towards his sons, his hatred towards the Pandavas and his treacherous schemes to destroy these nephews cause us to dislike him. We fail to understand whether he is a human being or a rock. Does he have any trace of sympathy and compassion in him, we wonder.

Even such a rock hearted person imbibed the preaching given to him and was transformed! Contemplating upon the essence contained in the message, he focused exclusively on the Lord and attained that supreme accomplishment (siddhi) which is possible only for eminent Yogis!

“Yudhisthira, why are you grieving for them? Discard this grief”. Having said this, Narada together with Tumbura left the place to travel towards heaven.

With this, Yudhisthira was relieved. He was immensely pleased at this good luck of his paternal uncle and aunt. He stopped grieving.

With this the thirteenth chapter of the first canto comes to an end.

First Canto Chapter Fourteen

In this chapter, the ill-omens sighted by Yudhisthira, his worrying about them and Arjuna’s return from Dwaraka are covered.

Maharishi Suta continued, “In order to meet his relatives and to find out about the future activities of Srikrishna, Arjuna left for Dwaraka. Many months passed but Arjuna did not return. Meanwhile Yudhisthira began to see some terribly fearful inauspicious omens.

Due to irregularities in the functioning of the seasons, eternal time (kāla) created fear in him. Anger, greed and uttering falsehood had become rampant in people. In order to earn their livelihood people now resorted to sins. Deceit had spread into all transactions. Friends began to cheat each other. Yudhisthira observed that times had changed drastically. Infighting and misunderstanding had increased between couples, between parents, siblings, friends and relatives.

All these changes were visible because this was the period just prior to the birth of Kali Yuga. With the onset of Kali Yuga, human nature underwent enormous change. Bad traits multiplied in plenty. Many types of ill-omens were clearly visible.

Yudhisthira, who was observing all this, said to his younger brother Bheema, “O Bheemasena! In order to meet our relatives and also in order to know the future activities of Srikrishna, who is of pure reputation, Arjuna has been sent to Dwaraka. It is now seven months since he left us. He has not yet returned. I wonder why? I am unable to understand clearly but for some reason I am apprehensive. Could it be that as Maharishi Nārada had predicted, the time for Srikrishna to give up His body, which He had taken on playfully as a pastime, has arrived? Or perhaps he has already given up His body?

It is purely because of Srikrishna’s grace that we have been blessed with wealth, kingdom, wife, children, lineage, life (prana) and victory over enemies. It is only due to His blessings and grace that we will obtain the future higher planes of existence (punya loka) also.

Bheema, within my body, on earth and in sky I can see many fearful inauspicious omens. My body is trembling. Fear has overtaken me. Entire surroundings and climate appear fearful indicating impending calamities.

Bheema this fear is deluding my intellect. My thighs, eyes and hands are constantly trembling. My heart is shivering. All these omens indicate that some disaster is approaching us shortly. Can you see that she jackal vomiting fire looking at the direction of the Sun? Look at the dog which without any fear looks at me and barks.

Cows and other special animals now walk past me on my left. Other lower animals walk past me on my right. My horses are weeping. This pigeon is behaving like a messenger of death indicating death. Two owls, having given up sleep and seeking total destruction, sit facing each other and shriek fearfully causing me to tremble fearfully”.

Narayana! Datta Narayana!


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