‘A pot can break while it is being spun on the wheel or while it is being removed. A few break as it is put down and a few when it is lifted up. It can break when it is still raw or when it is being baked or after it is baked. Hence do not grieve for your children. If what the shastras say is right, they will all go to heaven. They came from somewhere and go somewhere else. They were not yours before their birth and now that they are dead they are not yours anymore. Like the travelers who are here a few days, all life forms appear and stay for a few days and then go. In our life cycle, we do not know how many thousands of fathers and mothers we have had, how many wives and children came and went! We do not know what they are now and they do not know who we are! A unwise man has thousands of worries and hundreds of fears. But one who knows has no worries. Like we take care of our bodies with medicines, we must take care of the illness of our minds with wisdom.’
‘But it is not easy to have this wisdom'. Vidura tells an allegorical story. 'It is said that a brahmin was walking in a dark scary forest (existence) full of wild and cruel animals (disease). Scared he ran helter-skelter and finally found refuge in a place which was fenced all round. But an ugly demon (old age) lived there and embraced him. In trying to escape he fell into a well and grabbed at the branches covering the well and hung upside down. A poisonous snake (god of death) waited below and an elephant (age) stood near the well. Bees (desire) which were disturbed by his fall were buzzing around him. As the beehive was full of honey (enjoyment), it dripped down on his face and he licked it with relish and wanted to live so that he could enjoy more honey. In the meanwhile two rats,(day and night) one white and other black, were nibbling at the tree he was hanging on to. (desire to live). He does not know when the tree would break and when he would fall down. But he still wants to live and enjoy the honey’.Vidura then continues with his advice.
'Desire is the main cause for unhappiness. Your excessive greed brought you into this state. Logical understanding is the best medicine for your sadness. Control your mind and using the medicine of knowledge cure yourself. It is this that will bring you happiness. It is not the wealth, friends, relatives and victory that brings you happiness. In this time of calamity, stabilize your mind and become friends with everyone. The real merit comes by offering peace and not by fasting thousands of days or performing many yagnas. Understand this and be forgiving and perform the rituals for the dead.'
Offering condolences is always tough. Here Vidura, who was always offering counsel to his brother, mostly without success, has his final say. I suppose it is difficult to avoid the tone of 'I told you so!' I am sure he could not avoid feeling vindicated. He had even gone to extent of telling his brother to kill the child Duryodhana as the child's stars foretold serious calamities.
The women have not yet made an appearance in the parva! But it is better to stop here and think of Vidura and his life in the palace of the kauravas!