Saturday, 10 November 2007

Visiting Mahabharata...29 In Varanavata

The Panadavas reached Varanavata, which belonged to Lord Sankara and had gained immortality because of Harischandra. The city welcomed them in style. On the tenth day Purochana invited them to stay at 'Siva' specially commissioned for them by Dhritarashtra. The palace was surrounded by a moat dug around it, ostensibly to protect the Pandavas.

Yudhisthira speaks to Bheema of the strange smell pervading and his conversation with Vidura. They decide to continue to stay there in spite of the danger of a fire consuming them as they think that Vidura would have plans to save them. They feel that the danger would not be imminent and choose to play a waiting game.

(It is revealing to read about the observations of Yudhisthira of how people would react in case they are burnt to death!)

Our dear uncle will weep crocodile tears. Grandfather would be genuinely sorry but not sorry enough to punish Duryodhana. No one will be bold enough to accuse the king and Duryodhana. They are supreme. Suppose we accuse the Kauravas publicly. We will not be heard. We have no supporters. The best thing to do is to wait. We will surely escape from here thanks to our uncle Vidura. We will go about disguised..... we will collect friends and support..... this the best course of action.

Pandavas continue to live in that house, outwardly unsuspecting and inwardly dreading the ordeal that awaited them. It was the most terrible time of their lives.

(We can think of innumerable situations today which are similar to the terrible times Pandavas went through. Human situation has not really changed much, whether it is was thousands of years ago or it was indeed the another Yuga.)

Friday, 9 November 2007

Visiting Mahabharatha...28 The Pandavas sent to Varanavata (revisited in 2011)

Anyway, the king tells Yudhishthira that they should go and spend a year in Varanavata, a beautiful city. Yudhisthira immediately sees through the whole thing, but being obedient says 'I will do what you wish'. Bheeshma informed about the trip, fails to guess the real intent of this proposed trip. Duryodhana learns about the proposed trip and sets his plans in motion. Asks his trusted minister 'Purochana' to go and build a palace post haste out of inflammable material for the Pandavas and set it on fire after gaining their trust.

Soon the Pandavas are on their way. The people are unhappy and are worried. They suspect the blind king and beseech them not to go. Yudhisthira says he cannot refuse to obey his elders. Anyway, Vidura walks with them and speaks in 'mlecha bhasha' and in code with Yudhisthira. Later his mother Kunthi is curious about what Vidura had said. He tells her that he was warned of danger from fire and treachery from his cousins. They reach Varanavata after a journey of eight days.

(While author Kamala says Yudhisthira suspected treachery from the beginning, Samhita tells us that the Pandavas were happy to go till Vidura warns them of the dangers and suggests ways to overcome them.)