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Mahabharat Episode 59: After the War, the Meanness Continues

Mahabharat Episode 59: After the War, the Meanness Continues

“If you talk peace when you are strong and capable of doing things, it is meaningful.”—Sadhguru

What has happened so far: Ashwatthama releases a Brahmastra, cursing the entire Kuru lineage. Krishna steps in to save the just born child of Uttara. After the war, the Pandavas return to Hastinapur. But there are no triumphal celebrations. Too many lives are lost, too much death and destruction has happened. At the palace, Dhritarashtra and Gandhari make last attempts to kill Yudhishthira and Bhima, but they fail. Now the path to growth and prosperity of the Pandava kingdom is clear. 

No Winners, Only Widows

Sadhguru: Having finished the war, they all move towards Hastinapur. When kings return after such a war – call it great or gory – usually, there is celebration. But here, when they returned, all they heard was the wailing of the widows and orphaned children crying; there was only distress, pain, and grief. Yudhishthira’s heart shook, as he heard nothing but intense sounds of misery and grief, because there is no man who is not dead; all men from Hastinapur who had four limbs are dead, because they all went to battle, and they all got killed. When the Pandavas entered Hastinapur, the wailing rose – some in grief, some in anger, some in total hatred towards the Pandavas. The Pandavas had never witnessed anything like this before – people always used to love them. For the first time, they could see daggers in people’s eyes, because they, the Pandavas, had caused this whole thing. Yudhishthira asked himself, “What is all this for? I never wanted to be the king. Why did I cause this?”

When the Pandavas came back to the palace, the first thing they did was go and meet Dhritarashtra. When they met him, he spoke words of peace. He said, “You, the sons of Pandu, in many ways have been truthful and righteous. But my son, out of his arrogance, brought this upon himself and all of us. So this kingdom is rightfully yours now – you rule it.” Then he said, “I want to particularly see Bhima.” When Bhima was about to go forward, Krishna stopped him. Krishna said to put a metal statue of a wrestler in front of Dhritarashtra instead. So Bhima put the statue in front of Dhritarashtra. 

The Crushing Defeat of Meanness

Dhritarashtra hugged the statue, thinking it was Bhima, and crushed it. Dhritarashtra was known to be extraordinarily strong. He wanted to kill Bhima, because he could not come to terms with how Duryodhana was killed, how Dushasana was killed, how Bhima ate his heart and drank his blood. He wanted to end Bhima, but Krishna foresaw that and placed a metal statue, which Dhritarashtra crushed. Dhritarashtra had uttered words of peace and reconciliation, but in this act, what was raging in his heart came out. If you talk peace when you are strong and capable of doing things, it is meaningful. If you talk about peace when you are incapable, it is like a beggar talking about renunciation. If you got nothing and you renounce, it means nothing.

Yudhishthira was crowned as the king. And when he came to Dhritarashtra and Gandhari for blessings, putting up a loving face, Gandhari said, “I want to see Yudhishthira, the new king, once. I will undo my blindfold and look at him.” Krishna immediately sensed what this was about.

Gandhari’s Act of Wrath

One brother among the Kauravas had survived the war. This was because when Yudhishthira came suing for peace, he came unarmed. When he came unarmed, Duryodhana and Karna wanted to take him in; they wanted to imprison him right there. So this Kaurava brother, whose name was Durdasa - Dhritarashtra's son with Gandhari's maid -  , stood up, drew his sword and said, “No one is going to capture an unarmed man who has come to sue for peace,” and he protected Yudhishthira. Yudhishthira looked at him and said, “I will ensure that you do not die before me.” Because Durdasa protected Yudhishthira, Bhima also came in and said to him, “I will ensure that you do not die before me.” So Durdasa did not get killed in the war.

Gandhari wanted to see Yudhishthira, the new king. Krishna looked at Yudhishthira and asked him to stand aside. Instead of Yudhishthira, he brought Durdasa in front of Gandhari. When she opened her eyes and looked at him, Durdasa caught fire and burned up. Her intention was to burn up Yudhishthira, but she actually burned up Dhritarashtra’s son with her maid.

To be continued..

Editor's Note: A version of this article was originally published in the Forest Flower magazine, May 2020. To subscribe online, click here

The Mahabharat series is based on Sadhguru’s talks during the one-time Mahabharat program that took place in February 2012 at the Isha Yoga Center. Through the lives and stories of the varied characters, Sadhguru takes us on a mystical exploration into the wisdom of this immortal saga.

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