Once when the great battle of Kurukshetra was over, Lord Krishna bade farewell to the Pandavas and left for Dwarka. On his way he met his old Brahmin friend Utanga. Krishna stopped and alighted from his stupendous chariot and wished the Brahmin. Utanga, delighted at the sight of mighty Krishna, returned his greetings and proceeded to make the usual enquiries about the health and welfare of his relatives.
He enquired if Krishna’s cousins Pandavas and Kauravas loved one another as brothers, and whether they all were flourishing well enough. The innocent Brahmin had not heard about the great battle of Mahabharat that had already been fought. Lord Krishna was astounded by this question of his and for a moment he stood silent not knowing what to say in reply.
He then softly narrated what all had happened. How a great battle had been fought where almost all the Kauravas had been exterminated. Upon hearing the story Utanga got very angry. He retorted at Krishna telling him forcefully that He had failed in His duties and warned Him to be prepared to receive his curse. In reply the Lord just smiled and asked him not to use up the fruits of his hard earned penances.
He then proceeded to show Utanga his Visvarupa primarily to explain to him the message of Bhagavad Gita just as He had done for Arjuna. After this explanation of Krishna, Utanga recovered his calm and with that the Lord was at ease. He told the Brahmin to ask for any boon that he desired. Utanga said, that after having witnessed You—Lord Krishna in your Universal form there isn’t anything left in this world to be desired.
But when Krishna insisted, Utanga relented by saying that he should be able to find water whenever he felt thirsty in his long journeys. The Lord thus blessed him and went on His way.
Later when Utanga was passing through a desert he felt very thirsty and remembered the boon he had received from Lord Krishna. He decided to make use of it. The very moment, a nishad (Shudra) appeared before him attired in rags. He had five hunting hounds (dogs) in leash and an animal skin water bag strapped to his shoulder. He offered the bamboo spout of his water bag to the Brahmin to drink from.
Utanga stared at the man in disgust and told him he was not thirsty and asked him to go. Having said this, he re-approached the Lord in his mind for the boon that He had granted him. The outcaste, meanwhile pressed upon the fastidious Brahmin Utanga, over and over again, to quench his thirst, but it only made Utanga more and more angry, and he refused to drink the water. Finally, the outcaste disappeared.
Observing the strange disappearance of the Nishad the brahmin reflected, who was he? He could not have been a real Nishad. It was certainly my test where I blundered miserably. I rejected the holy water offered by the outcaste and proved myself to be an arrogant fool. Utanga was now in great anguish when a moment later Krishna Himself appeared before him with his conch shell and discus—Sudershan chakra.
O Purushottama! Exclaimed Utanga, was it right of You to have sent an outcaste, to offer unclean water to a Brahmin like me? Was this a kind gesture on your part? Asked Utanga in a bitter tone.
Lord replied smiling, Hey Utanga! It was only for your sake I had asked Indra to take ‘Amrita’ and give it to you as water. He said he would on no account give nectar to a mortal. But I prevailed upon him and he agreed to do so only if I allowed him to test you in the form of a chandal. I accepted the challenge believing you had attained that stage of understanding and wisdom. But you have made me suffer defeat at the hands of Indra. This story is from Mahabharat.
Moral of the story: Although, the Brahmin asked the Lord only for water, Lord gave him nectar, out of His causeless mercy. The Lord always cares for us more than we do for ourselves. And we just need to have the vision to understand His mercy.
By Kamlesh Tripathi
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