MISCELLANEOUS

Embodiment of Dharma

CHENNAI: : The Mahabharata is not just the story of the Pandavas and the Kauravas but a veritable ocean providing insight into the nuances of Dharma and human nature through its myriad characters. There is something to learn from every episode of the epic. One of the personalities who unassumingly proved to be a pillar of moral support to the throne of Hastinapura besides the venerable grandsire, Bhishma, was Vidura. Due to the curse of Sage Animandavya, Dharmaraja (Yama) was born as Vidura to Vyasa of the maid sent by Queen Ambika.

In his discourse, Sri B. Sundar Kumar said Vidura's exposition of Dharma to his brother Dhritarashtra, the Viduraniti, had become a byword on ethics because he not only preached but also practised it himself. Though he was the brother and minister of the king, he spurned power and pelf, and preferred to lead a spartan life outside the palace. No wonder then that Lord Krishna chose to be his guest when He went as the envoy of the Pandavas to Hastinapura to find an amicable solution.

He was singled out for this honour because of his devotion to the Lord and allegiance to Dharma. For all his erudition he was humble. After he discoursed on Dharma at length to Dhritarashtra throughout the night when the king had lost his sleep over the outcome of Sanjaya's visit to the Pandavas, he wanted him to expound on spirituality also. But Vidura declined saying that he would instead ask Sage Sanatsujata to teach him. His penance was such that the sage appeared before him the moment he wished his presence and taught the king at his behest. Though Vidura was a stickler for rectitude and retiring by nature, he was not afraid to speak his mind when the situation warranted, which can be seen in his counsel to his brother and Duryodana.

While Vyasa portrays Vidura's as an embodiment of Dharma in the Mahabharata, the sage dilates on Vidura's devotion in the Bhagavata Purana in the context of his meeting with Uddhava after the Lord's departure from the world. When Duryodana spurned Vidura's advice he left Hastinapura on a long pilgrimage and met Uddhava on the banks of the Yamuna. Uddhava then directed him to Sage Maitreya to learn about the glory of Lord Krishna and His final teachings.

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