React OR Respond

Pandavas were once in a situation where Rishi Dhurvasa may have cursed them. During their times of exile, the pandava brothers: Yudishtira, Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva along with their wife Draupadi, stayed in a sacred forest-Kamyavana. Duryodhana plotted a plan for his enemies, the Pandavas, to face the wrath of sage. Once, Duryodana did a commendable service to sage Durvasa, a powerful mystic brahmana determined to observe the principles of Sanatana Dharma with great vows and under strict austerities. Pleased by the reception, the sage offered a boon to him. Using this chance, Duryodhana asked the sage to visit Pandavas in the forest for lunch in the late afternoon, in the evil thought that they cannot serve food after washing the Akshaya-pathram post lunch.

A crowd of disciples following their teacher-sage Dhurvasa, arrived at the Pandava kudil for food, in the un-time. The Akshaya-pathram can serve any number of people only until Draupadi eats from it at last. She had eaten from the Akshaya-pathram that day and the flock left her unnerved. The sage had gone for a bath in the nearby river before the meal and is expected to return for food at any time. She prayed to Lord Krishna, the only saviour all she could rely upon. Thus, he appeared also asking Draupadi for something to eat. Sorrowfully, expressing her difficulties, she began to cry in front of the Lord as a woman would only do this in such a position.

Lord Krishna, nevertheless, asked her to bring the Akshaya-pathram to check if there is some left out particles of food. He found a small grain stuck to the wall of the magical pot and ate it without any further delay. No sooner Lord Krishna ate the grain, sage Dhurvasa senses a certain fullness in his stomach. Lord Krishna now asks Bhima to call the guests, with his very own naughty smile. Meanwhile in the banks of the river, the sage and his disciples had finished bathing. Sage Dhurvasa, not knowing how to insult the pandavas and waste the food prepared by them, decided to leave with his disciples. Duryodhana’s evil plan was diffused and the Pandavas who surrendered themselves to the feet of God were saved!

सत्यमिति सत्यवचा राथीतरः।

तप इति तपोनित्यः पौरुशिष्टिः।

स्वाध्यायप्रवचने एवेति नाको मौद्गल्यः।

तद्धि तपस्तद्धि तपः।।

1.9.1 -Taittriya Upanishad

“Truth is first” said the truth speaker, the Rishi son of Rathitar. “Askesis is first” said the constant in austerity, the Rishi son of Purushishta. “Study and teaching of Veda is first” said Naka son of Mudgala. For this too is austerity and this too is askesis.

Like the Rishi sons say in the above verses of Taittriya Upanishad, truth, askesis and knowledge are all important in handling any situation. Draupadi was able to recollect God with rapt attention during her difficult times. She was successful in sailing through the situation, by her faith, not knowing what she had left behind. When we are put into difficulty, we have the choice to react or respond.

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