When the great war of Mahabharat got over. Dharamraj Yudhistir took over as the undisputed Emperor of the vast kingdom.
And, with the permission of Lord Krishna. He along with his patrani (chief queen) Draupadi and younger brothers, went to the bloody battlefield. To meet and ask after Bhishma Pitamah who was lying on the bed of arrows. Waiting for the sun to move to the position of uttarayan (northward movement of the Sun in the celestial sphere). So that he could wilfully leave his body.
Whereupon, on Yudhistir’s request. Pitamah began sermonising about the varn-ashram (natural phases of life) and the time tested relationship between the King and his subjects, to Yudhistir. When Pitamah was midway into his sermons, suddenly queen Draupadi laughed at him.
Pitamah felt a bit awkward at this, and stopping his sermon he asked,
‘My dear daughter, what makes you laugh?’
Draupadi hesitantly replied—‘It was a mistake Pitamah, I shouldn’t have laughed, so please excuse me.
Pitamah, was not satisfied with her reply. He softly said, ‘Any well mannered daughter-in-law of such a great family doesn’t suddenly laugh, and that too without a reason in front of elders. I know you are extremely cultured and well mannered so your laughter cannot be without a reason. Don’t hesitate to tell me the real reason for your laughter.’
With folded hands Draupadi said—‘Pitamah it may sound absurd and ill-mannered. But if you insist I will have no choice but to tell you, because I just cannot disobey your orders. You were just now giving rich sermons on dharma-updesh (Theology) but what came to my mind was. When Dushashan was disrobing me in Kuru-sabha (Kuru’s court) where was your dharma-updesh then. It appears to me, all this dharma-updesh that you learnt was only after the episode. With this thought in mind I couldn’t help but laugh. So, please pardon me.’
Pitamah was stunned at this. He waited for some time and then very softly said, as he was badly injured.
‘Daughter there is no question of your seeking an apology because in some ways you are right. I was well conversant with dhrama-updesh during that time also. But then I was feeding myself with the polluted bread of Duryodhanya and that had polluted my mind too. That’s why in the Kuru-sabha when Dushshan was disrobing you I could not use the dharma-updesh and dharma-gyan judiciously to save you. But with all the innumerable arrows of Arjun that have pierced my body. All my polluted blood, made out of the polluted bread of Duryodhana has drained out. With that my mind has become pure again and I’m able to think about religion and dharma-gyan in the right manner.
Moral of the story: The source of your bread goes a long way in making you.
By Kamlesh Tripathi
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