The Real Story of Durvasa visit (BORI)

Part 1 – The Durvasa visit and Krishna  

Part 2 – The Durvasa visit and Krishna – Part 2

Part 3 – The Durvasa visit and Krishna – Part 3

These two chapters arose from several questions on looking at the BORI edition

  • What else has been dropped in BORI?
  • When did Yudhishthara meet Durvasa?

Looking at the Vana Parva, just after the Ghosha Yatra, lot of chapters have been dropped by BORI.

The biggest sections are Radheya’s digvijay which is not supported by most of the other recessions and only appears in some Bengali and couple of Devanagari versions. That is completely dropped so is most of description of Duryodhan’s yajna. Actually, the yajna of Duryodhana becomes a sorry affair and a pathetic attempt to match the grandeur of Rajasuya. Furthermore, Dakshiantya as well as Bhasa Bharata indicate it was disrupted by some youths.

The Radheya digvijay section was probably inserted to retrieve some of the shine lost by the Kaurava warriors after the debacle at Ghosha yatra and then the beating they receive at the hands of these “youths” at the yajna.

BORI after Ghosha Yatra and Duryodhana’s Yajna

After the debacle of the Ghosha yatra, Duryodhana was unable to found solace and Bheeshma’s comments were little too close to truth and hurt his ego and pride.

प्रत्यक्षं तव गान्धारे ससैन्यस्य विशां पते
सूतपुत्रोऽपयाद्भीतो गन्धर्वाणां तदा रणात्

Bheeshma’s comment is now famous and always assumed to be the one stated before war and in anger radheya took oath to never fight under Bheeshma. The comment was stated here in BORI. Bheeshma did not repeat it. It was repeated by Drona several times. The actual reason for Radheya refusing to fight under Bheeshma is a mystery.

Here in BORI, Duryodhana and Radheya insult Bheeshma who is upset and humiliated by his grandson and his minister’s behavior. This adds a mystery why Bheeshma put up with this sort of behavior from Duryodhana.

Then BORI continues:
There is no mention of any Radheya digvijay as well. That interpolation is also removed in BORI.

राजसूयं पाण्डवस्य दृष्ट्वा क्रतुवरं तदा
मम स्पृहा समुत्पन्ना तां संपादय सूतज

Duryodhana said to Radheya: “O Sootaputra, After seeing the Greatest of Yagnas (Kratunvara!) preformed by Yudhishthara, I wish to perform Rajasuya, make it happen.

आहूयन्तां द्विजवराः संभाराश्च यथाविधि
संभ्रियन्तां कुरुश्रेष्ठ यज्ञोपकरणानि च

Radheya said “Why not? call the Chief Brahmin, let us get the equipment and yajna samagri ready and perform the Rajasuya yagna.

Duryodhana summoned the Chief Priest Samanayaya and said “Please start the preparations for rajasuya Yagna.

स एवमुक्तो नृपतिमुवाच द्विजपुंगवः
न स शक्यः क्रतुश्रेष्ठो जीवमाने युधिष्ठिरे

The Priest with the backing of all the Brahmins stated “Till Yudhishthara is alive, you cannot perform this Yagna. But there is an alternate. You can worship the god by requesting all your feudatories and allies to send you gold and you create a Gold Plough with it. Then using that golden plough you can till the land and on that land, we will do this Vaishnava Yagna. This yagna does not need any permission or fighting or does not create any issues so there will be no problems to organizing it and conducting it.

Even in this section, the three line Anutubh meter is used.

Duryodhana asked for approvals from his brothers and Radheya and then ordered the craftsmen to work on the gold plough.

Soon Amatya and all Ministers came to him and said that the plough was ready after spending lot of gold and time for yajna has come. Yajna is started and Duryodhana takes the deeksha.

The Geeta press has a sloka here saying Dhritrshtra and Vidura saw great fame in Yajna;

BORI has the following phrase

प्रहृष्टो धृतराष्ट्रोऽभूद्विदुश्च महायशाः

It looked to अबुध् (foolish) Dhritrashtra as great fame has been won!!

The poet is harsh here. (Just before Vyasa describes the anger and humiliation of Bheeshma and now he is harsh on Dhritrashtra, his own son for allowing that to happen. This is in my opinion an nice human emotion that Vyasa displays!)

Then messengers were sent out to invite Kings and Brahmins. Dushasana seeing one messenger on his way, stopped him and told him to go to Dwaitavana and “Ask the sinful Pandavas and the false Brahmins accompanying them to come to the yajna.

The Geeta Press states स्ववीर्यार्जितमर्थौघमवाप्य Kurusttama while BORI corrects it स्ववीर्यार्जितमर्थौघमवाप्य कुरुनन्दनः

Actually I have noticed this a lot. There are these interpolations raising the rank of Duryodhana in many places along the Epic. This is Kali Yuga and maybe later editor is propitiating the Master of Kali Yuga.

BORI Correction:
The Messenger states “Kaurava Duryodhana with his collected wealth is doing the Yagna” 
while the interpolation states 
Best among Kurus Duryodhana with his collected wealth is doing the yagna”.

See the subtle difference.
Anyway Doota continues:

O mahatma, I have been sent by Dushasana to invite you to view the Yajna of King Duryodhana.

Yudhishthara stated “It is great and beneficial for our ancestors that Duryodhana is worshipping God and doing yajna. We would have definitely attended but there is a slight matter of our oath to stay in the forest for thirteen years. Please give our regards.

At this point, Bhima adds to the message:

श्रुत्वैतद्धर्मराजस्य भीमो वचनमब्रवीत्
तदा तु नृपतिर्गन्ता धर्मराजो युधिष्ठिरः
अस्त्रशस्त्रप्रदीप्तेऽग्नौ यदा तं पातयिष्यति
वर्षात्त्रयोदशादूर्ध्वं रणसत्रे नराधिपः
यदा क्रोधहविर्मोक्ता धार्तराष्ट्रेषु पाण्डवः
आगन्तारस्तदा स्मेति वाच्यस्ते स सुयोधनः

Please tell RAJA Duryodhana that after thirteen years are up, SAMRATA Dharmaraja Yudhishthara will definitely come for the Yagna. In that RanaSatrey (War Yagna), using our weapons, we will light the fires of our anger and sacrifice you and your supporters. When our anger manifest as ghee will further inflame the fires of shame which already burn the sons of Dhritrashtra (at hands of gandharvas) then only I will step in that city.

Messenger went back and told the message as is to Dushasana.

When the Yagna was completed, Duryodhana gathered the glitterati of the city and the invited guests and asked their opinions about the Yagna.

The Hastinapur establishment was already reeling under the losses of money and materials as well as cow wealth at hands of Gandharvas were further put out by organizing this yajna and its costs.

Yudhishthara had donated all the 8000 Rathas, 9000 Horses and 30000 elephants as well as entire Kuru kingdom herd to brahmans! Yudhishthara was magnanimous, kind and tolerant, he was no Idiot. He took the wealth of Kuru kingdom annexed by Gandharvas and rescued by his brothers and donated it for the yagna he was doing then. In couple of years he was going to go to War, why increase the wealth of the enemy. Similarly in Virata war, Arjuna does not kill the infantry of Kaurava army who surrenders separately and thus became the first defectors!

How can the muni roaming the forests for thirteen years have Seven Akshauhinis at his back and call so soon?” Asks Dhritrashtra again and again.

For a good man, people wait months, for a great man they wait years, for Dharmaraja, they were willing to wait for several Births! As the cheeky Sanjay replied. 

So the Who’s who of Hastinapur was in no mood to praise their prince Duryodhana.

अपरे त्वब्रुवंस्तत्र वातिकास्तं महीपतिम्
युधिष्ठिरस्य यज्ञेन न समो ह्येष तु क्रतुः
नैव तस्य क्रतोरेष कलामर्हति षोडशीम्
एवं तत्राब्रुवन्केचिद्वातिकास्तं नरेश्वरम्

Some people, who do not have sense when to keep quiet and when to say things, replied to Duryodhana “This yagna was not even sixteenth of the yagna, Yudhishthara did recently.” A stark and cutting comment on the failed Ghosha yatra.

Some people who are “vayu-grasta” (this is poetic humor here). People who have stomach issues (aka cannot keep their opinions to themselves). They also commented on the huge disparity among the Yganas they are used to seeing and the attempt of Kauravas.

सुहृदस्त्वब्रुवंस्तत्र अति सर्वानयं क्रतुः
ययातिर्नहुषश्चापि मान्धाता भरतस्तथा
क्रतुमेनं समाहृत्य पूताः सर्वे दिवं गताः
निषसादासने मुख्ये भ्रातृभिः परिवारितः
तमुत्थाय महाराज सूतपुत्रोऽब्रवीद्वचः

Duryodhana’s brothers and friends told him, this yagna of ours was like the yajna of Yayati, Nahusha, Mandhata and King Bharat. Hearing that Duryodhana was so happy and he entered the city of Hastinapur happy and content with Sootaputra and his brothers.

The commentary has a subhashitani on this:
उष्ट्राणां च विवाहेषु गीतं गायन्ति गर्दभा: परस्परं प्रशंसन्ति अहो रुपमहो ध्वनि:
Donkeys are singing song in weddings of camels. Both are praising each other, (donkeys say) how beautiful (camels are), (camels say) what a pleasant voice (of donkeys. i.e. donkeys are good singers). This is a typical scenario in a gathering of low achievement persons. None of them is of any excellence, but they praise each other, either because they don’t know what excellence is, or because they want some mental satisfaction. This is commentator swipe at Kauravas! But it is also an interesting life lesson.

Now whenever somebody praises you, remember this Subhashit 

I really appreciate the words of encouragement from all the comments and people reviewing our pages. But, I use this subhashita as reminder that one can always do better and one should always strive to do better. Whatever we may do we may just be the 16th part of the achievements of our betters, our modern day Yudhishtharas!

Pranshu B. Saxena

Continue…
Part 1 
Part 2 
– Part 3
Part 5

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