Narach Philosophy

VANA PARVA: IN THE FOREST


The Pandavas set out from Hastinapura, and proceeded in a northerly direction. The citizens went after them; but Yudhisthira comforted them, and asked them to go back; and, ascending their cars, they came to a great banyan tree, named Pramana, on the banks of the Ganga.

The Discourse of Saunaka: The next morning the Brahmanas, who had supported themselves by alms, came and stood before them; but Yudhisthira knew not how to feed them. Then a learned Brahmana, named Saunaka, well versed in the philosophy of the Soul, and in the Sankhya and Yoga systems, spoke to the Pandavas, saying, "O king, the understanding (Buddhi) which results from the study of the Smrtis is in you. Disease may be cured by medicine, but mental ailments are cured by Yoga alone. Attachment is the root of all misery and fear, and the man with attachment is tortured by desire that springs up in the heart; and so is the possession of wealth fraught with misery. Desire is the seed of resolve; and every creature acts and desires from ignorance, like a wheel that is constantly whirling. This is the word of the Vedas, Act, but act with renunciation. Therefore act, renouncing Abhimana (egoism), abandoning all motives and subduing the senses."

Worship of the Sun: But Yudhisthira was still afflicted with grief, because he could not support the Brahmanas. Thereupon Dhaumya, the priest who accompanied him, asked him to worship the Sun, the father of all creatures, in whom is all food that supports life; whose rays are warm and, becoming the clouds, they roar and flash with lightning, and pour down showers in due season. Yudhisthira then worshipped the Sun by his hundred and eight names, and adored him as he was bid; whereupon the Sun was gratified and provided him with food for all the twelve years of his exile.

Draupadi and the Boon of the Sun: The Sun gave him a copper vessel, and said, "I present this to you. So long as the Panchala princess (Draupadi) holds this vessel, the food in it will be inexhaustible. You will regain your kingdom in the fourteenth year from this." Thus, obtaining this boon from the Sun, Yudhisthira entertained the Brahmanas agreeably to his wishes. Thereafter the Pandavas, accompanied by Dhaumya, and surrounded by the Brahmanas, set out for the forest of Kamyaka.

The Forest of Kamyaka: The sons of Pandu went with their followers from the banks of the Ganga to Kurukshetra. They travelled in a westerly direction, and at last came to the forest of Kamyaka on the banks of the Sarasvati.

The Visit of Vidura and Krsna: There Vidura went to see them; and, having heard that they had been banished, Krshna also went to see them in the forest. He was filled with indignation at their plight, and threatened to destroy Duryodhana, Karna, Sakuni and Duhsasana.

The Worship of Krshna: But Arjuna pacified him and adored him as the cause of all creation, its course and end; the mover of all minds, who floats on the primeval waters in the beginning of creation, who is the younger brother of Indra, the Soul of all beings, dwelling in the body of the Sun and afflicting him with his effulgence; and from whose lotus-like navel Brahma himself came forth. Krshna was gratified, and said to Arjuna, "You are mine, and I am yours You are Nara, and I am Narayana. You are from me, and I am from you."

Then Draupadi worshipped Krshna as the sole creator of the world; as Sacrifice sprung from Truth, the active power pervading all; and related to him her grief. Krshna comforted and blessed her, saying that she should be queen once more.

The Cause of Pandavas Misfortune: Then turning to Yudhisthira, he said, "O king of earth, had I been present then at Dwarka, this misfortune would not have overtaken you."

The Departure of Krshna, Subhadra, and Abhimanyu: After staying with them for some time, Krshna took leave of the Pandavas; and taking Subhadra and Abhimanyu in his car, started for the city of Dwarka. The other princes also, who had come to see them, left for their respective countries; and the Pandavas, bidding farewell to the Brahmanas and the people who had gathered there, departed for another forest.

The Forest of Dvaita: They then repaired to the sacred and celebrated lake of Dvaitavana, and lived in the forest of Sala. Trees, washed by the Sarasvati, in the company of sages and Rishis.

The Discourse of Draupadi: But seeing her husbands in the forest, the mind of Draupadi knew no peace. She tried to rouse Yudhisthira to anger, but in vain. It was in vain that she pointed out that according to Smrtis there was no Ksatriya without anger, and anger was the energy of Rajas (Guna). She referred to the necessity of Action, observing that it was from ignorance that people desired for liberation from Action; and that it was by his perverse understanding that the king had been defeated in the gambling match. "All creatures," she said, "follow the ordinances of the Creator, for they are identical with him, and live in him. The Lord pervades the universe, performing all actions himself; and it is He who creates and kills." But Yudhisthira was not convinced. He praised Forgiveness as the highest virtue, and action without desire of fruit as the highest end. Virtue, he said, was the word of the Vedas, described as the foremost duty. Action bore fruit in the world, but Virtue was eternal; and so he followed the path of Virtue and Forgiveness.

The Advice of Vyasa: Thereafter Bhima urged the necessity of Action upon the king; but Yudhisthira was afraid of the power of the Kuru heroes and uncertain of the result of an open war. At this Vyasa appeared before him, and, imparting to him the knowledge called Prati-smriti, bade him send Arjuna to acquire the weapons of Mahendra, Rudra, Varuna, Kuvera, and Yama; and by his advice the king and his brothers returned to the forest of Kamyaka on the banks of the Sarasvati.