The Durvasa visit and the Krishna intervention.

That is a popular tale associated with Mahabharata. Durvasa is pleased by Duryodhana’s patronage and decided to reward him and Duryodhana asks him to go visit Yudhishthara after Draupadi had taken her evening meal.

The Only Meal

Well, Draupadi used to wake up before sun every morning, wake up Yudhishthara first and then start the preparations for the day. She would then wake up the other brothers and princes.

Make sure Kunti has everything for her needs and servants know what it is to be done. She would then engage with the ministers and discuss the affairs of kingdom and make decisions. Make sure everyone is fed and all work is being done. Then in later afternoon, make sure that the 60,000 woodcutters are fed and paid, the 3000 cooks are working the kitchen and then 58000 Ardhvareta Yatis and 30,000 student graduates are fed and everyone who is dependent on the state, poor, children, old, infirm, handicapped, dwarf and injured are fed.

She would supervise that process herself, feeding some herself. She would make sure all princes are fed, princesses are happy and her husbands, mother-in-law has everything for their evening rituals. Then when everyone had eaten, she would then break her fast and eat.

These daily rituals of the Queen are described in Sabha Prava, Vana Parva, Udyoga Parva et all. It is also described in details in the Jatakas also. Buddha and Yudhishthara have the following disagreement noting that Buddha borrowed most of his teachings from Yudhishthara and Bheeshma. Buddha criticizes Yudhishthara for giving away charity without care for regard of the merit of the person receiving the charity. And that woman helped him do that!

Buddha focus was that charity should only be given to higher and thus deserving souls and not souls desiring not to better one self or people going about mundane life. Even on occasion of Asvamedha yagna, Yudhishthara divided the wealth equally and gave to all castes and people as well as defeated kings. That was frowned upon by the establishment as the story of Brahmin and sattoo demonstrates.

On an occasion when Buddha and his disciples were prosecuted by a king, he tells them that this was the result of his doubting the charity of Dharmaraja in the famous discussion in the heaven. On another occasion, Buddha and his disciples were again persecuted by another King and his disciples asked him Why? again. He told them that he as Boddhisattva had derided Sri Krishna for giving a kingdom to his grandson, son of Chandali and the son of Jambavati. He also derided Krishna for allowing another son to marry a widow. (story of Pradyumana and Mayavati).

Buddha in his initial teachings was very anti women (because they served as temptations for Sakya youth to leave monkhood and not because Buddha was anti women, far from it). In later teachings, he changes drastically when he gets assured of the willpower of his followers. Sometimes, even great leaders need reassurances and love of their followers. Of course, these tales were written by some of those devoted followers who probably project their love and love’s travails, dependencies, insecurities onto Master’s.

What has this got to do with Durvasa and Krishna?

See, In Vana Parva, Pandavas had the aksha Patra which enabled them to feed the huge contingent with them. Puranas and Epic state that sometimes the guests were in thousands and they were fed. By the power of aksha-patra. Draupadi would have the last meal a habit she already had for years as the Queen of the Indraprastha. So everyone knew of that habit and Duryodhana asked Durvasa to go to visit Yudhishthara when Draupadi would have eaten.

Who goes to visit late in the evening when everyone is about to go to sleep? Durvasa did and with 10,000 disciples. Myriad. Many. The term is not exact.

Krishna comes to rescue. Every grain of food is important.

Anna ka har dana bachaiye.
Ek Chidiya Anek Chidiya, dana chugne aati….

The story is also heard by me in various temples and Krishna leelas in different devices and endings.

Main point is Durvasa, who is a big fan of Yudhishthara, why would heed the advise of Duryodhana?

Would the avatar of Siva be an instrument of machinations of Duryodhana? Can the brother in law of Krishna inflict curse on another brother-in-law Arjuna? The interpolating editor was a bachelor for he would otherwise know that hell hath no fury like wife whose sister you scorned!

Why would Durvasa risk his life and prestige ala Parasurama (and an angry wife) by going into lion’s den? He himself states that one angry glance of Dharmaraja and no more shishyas!!

Just a lot of ash and dust and probably a nephew of one of those shishya starting another four generational struggle to bring a river and redeem their souls. Well, I had said earlier and I will say it again. BORI is hard on Krishna fans.

The three chapters of Durvasa visit do not appear at all in the BORI text.

Why the interpolation?

Krishna visits Pandavas in the beginning of Vana Parva and apologizes for not being there at time of Dyuta. Satyaki and Balarama want to destroy Kauravas. Then, Pandavas visit the Yadavas at Prabhasa. Satyaki and Balarama have not given up their homicidal tendencies. Then Krishna visits with Satyabhama alone. He does not bring the blood-thirsty relations with him this time. He had enough of blood and gore talk and Samba salivating at tearing the arms of Dushasana and beating him to death with them.

This visit is dominated by the incandescent qualities and luminous intelligence of Draupadi as she confers with her samdhin, Satyabhama (after all Suthanu married Bhanu).

Next Krishna comes is at end of the Virata Parva with the BaraatBharataor BandBajaBharata! (copyright pending), aaj mere bhanje ki shaadi hai!

For 20,000 verses, Krishna disappears from the Epic!! He kills Sisupala and next serious Krishna moment is when he is caught napping by Duryodhana.

Adiparva has great Krishna moment at Khandava Vana daha at the end of that Mahaparva and then in Sabha Parva, Krishna gets to finally kill Sisupala. Then we have to wait longer than length of entire Ramayana to see Krishna in action. That is why the interpolations. Bring him into the tale which is not about him.

Adi Parva is introductory. Sabha is Tale of two Sabhas (copyright pending!), at Indraprastha and at Jayant (Dyuta gambling hall).

Vana comes into stark focus the power of three Kaunteyas. Arjuna and his amazing feats; in heaven and bottom of ocean. Bhima and his anger management classes he holds with bunches of asuras and rakshasas, so effective that none turn up for the second class.

Yudhishthara and the beautiful mind. Yudhishthara shines like a beacon of Dharma by end of Vana Parva. Pandavas conquer the Rakshasas, Gandharvas, Kubera, rakshasas, rakshasas, rakshasas, Krodhavashas, Rakshasas, Asuras, Gandharvas again and not to mention Jeejaji!

No divine assistance needed. Sahadeva goes on his own and constitutes a new yajna cycle. Yudhishthara marries Urdhavertas to Yatis, non agni yajnas to Agni Yajnas and finds the happy balance between extreme Yati austerity and the normal life, the Middle Path.

Yudhishthara creates the society of prevention of cruelty against animals. He creates the first World Wildlife fund and first animal sanctuary. He revives his brothers, impresses his dad, his remote ancestor Nahusha and Markandeya and gets to have some fun banging sindhu skulls together as well.

Arjuna gets to reject apsaras and Bhima gets to impress his wife. They defeat millions of Rakshasa alone, fight and impress Mahadeva, handle big snakes and little herons that poison lakes, defeat the Gandharvas alone, same Gandharvas who used Kaurava army as target practice and as cattle to sell. Defeated Jayadrathaand treated his army as so much confetti on the way to the barber shop, defeated the cattle stealers in less time than it causes Pradyuman singh to say Daya Pata lagao.

The entire might of Kaurava empire was brought low and rendered naked and defenseless with only Grandpa keeping his britches on by Arjuna on single chariot with a charioteer who was afraid to fight. Poor Kauravas could not even sleep together to share body warmth in cold of night on the way back!!

Krishna was not needed. Pandavas were content and able to work out all the issues themselves. Krishna is a supernumerary in Vana Parva.

But his followers do need him. There is no doubt. As I said, some of those devoted followers who probably project their love and love’s travails and tales onto Master’s. They added the interpolation of Krishna coming to help out against Durvasa. He would have if needed.

Pandavas had all the answers, enough muscles, enough missiles, enough food, enough calmness to handle any situation. So, the interpolations are told to try and see if Krishna can help them. Pandavas really did not need extra help. They were always content. I suspect even Lomasha is one of the big gods like Krishna or Siva in disguise because they want to be in the story!

Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature’s recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life

Bare Necessities of Life

This was the very thing which probably irritated the heck out of Vyasa as well. His five grandsons were a complete unit and always happy and content. And It was Vyasa only who showed them the flayer for Draupadi’s wedding and made them absolutely complete.

Bin Radhe Sab Adhey.

It was Vyasa who got them Draupadi and they were always fulfilled unit.

Maang ke saath tumhara humne maang liya sansaar….!!

Vyasa had to himself intervene again and again in this story to kick start it.

Not only Vyas, baap bête ki yahi problem thee.

Vidura always accused Pandavas of being too comfortable.

They lost their rightful kingdom in fires of Varnavata but were content to live as beggars as long as they are together. They had mother and they were happy. That would be heartbreaking for Vyasa. Story ends in first half of Adi Parva.

Why employ Ganapati, a good pen and a good weekend away from ashrama will be enough to write that story!!

So Pandavas were out in the forest, living in the guest room of a Brahmin, a potter’s hut, a trader’s shed and singing:

Wherever I wander, wherever I roam
I couldn’t be fonder of my big home under the sky
The bees are buzzin’ in the tree
To make some honey just for me
When you look under the rocks and plants
And take a glance at the fancy ants
Then maybe try a few

The bare necessities of life will come to you
They’ll come to you!

Mother nature’s recipes, o bare necessities will come to you!

So Vyas intervenes. He tells his grandsons, ahhm Bachoein, humne tumhare liye ladki dekh lee!

Enter Draupadi!! Ok make them less content, make them want something in life. 
Let them get this girl and then maybe the brothers will be less content. Each brother will want one such a pearl of womenhood and they would go out and make a name for themselves, be ambitious and do the work for Dharma.

Kahani to agey challe.

She does acts as a catalyst to their ambitions. Actually she does. For everything else, Vyasa’s grandsons were not very ambitious. They never sought out anything for themselves. They had the tendency to see good in everyone. That does not make for a great story. You need passion and aggression and heartbreak and the divine plan for a great story.

Rama was easy. Send him to forest, put him in straight line for Janasthana, do not pass go, do not collect 200, Go to Janasthana! Make sure there is tragedy of Jatayu, and we all know there is this monkey in the forest with a wise bear, unemployed right now and singing

Now come along with me and take a ride 
You’ll see what Mother Nature can provide 
That’s why a bear can rest at ease 
With just the bare necessities 
With fruits and nuts and other things beside 
Then as we wonder over my backyard 
We’ll flip a rock just like it was a card 
The beetles are selectable 
In fact, they are delectable 
So eat ’em up, it’s really not too hard 
Ba-doh-ba-dee-doh 
It’s all so easy 
Doh-ba-dee-doh-doh 
No cares, no strife 
Doh-ba-dee-doh-doh-doh 
No matter where we go 
We’ll find the bare necessities of life

Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware
Don’t pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear
Try to use the claw
But you don’t need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw
Have I given you a clue ?

Bare necessities 
The simple bare necessities 
Forget about your worries and your strife 
I mean the bare necessities 
Old Mother Nature’s recipes 
That brings the bare necessities of life

The bare necessities of life will come to you
They’ll come to you!

Rama came to them and rest is Ramayana.

For Vyas, it was a shock after shock. Bloody hell! Vyas has super migraine!
Sar peet liya!

All dumbos married her!!

Then he configures the storyline that they all marry that girl and then maybe they compete with each other and do heroic exploits to impress her and thus do what needs to be done for the Dharma.

She is equally understanding. She loves them equally. The brothers do not compete for her affections.

They are happy!!
Again!!
Duniya banana wale, kya tere man mein samaayi….
Kahe ko Aisi bibi banayi

Now, Vidura does something to help out Dad and the population reeling under Dhritrashtra, he gets the Pandavas the forest, the wastelands and ruins to build on. That is one challenge these contentaholics like. They like building things. All good guys do. They fix it and we are back to square one. They are content!! Again

So just try and relax, yeah cool it
Fall apart in my backyard
‘Cause let me tell you something little britches
If you act like that bee acts, uh uh
You’re working too hard

And don’t spend your time lookin’ around
For something you want that can’t be found
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin’ about it
I’ll tell you something true

The bare necessities of life will come to you

Now Narada acts in, a story about two guys and a girl, missing buffaloes and out goes Arjuna on a wedding adventure bar none! He even kidnaps Vasuki’s sister.

Agni comes in and there is a nice food fight with Indra as well. Teaches him to interfere with a hungry angry agni’s gluttonous glutinous groceries.

So far Krishna is not doing the active role, Vyas is doing the heavy lifting. That is why at end of Mahabharata, Vyasa decided that Okay, I did not focus on Krishna because my grandsons my dhammu bhimmu my arju chunnu munnuwere so good and I needed to focus on them. Vyasa then writes Harivamsa as appendix. He creates Eighteen Puranas and feels ok something is still missing then creates the Nineteenth Purana, Srimada Bhagwada so Krishna does not feel left out. As Jambavanta would say to his son-in-law:

It’s nice to ponder as we slowly roam 
While growing fonder of our jungle home 
We’ll watch the busy little bees 
Who’s making honey just for me 
As I dip for the honey from the comb 
Ouch! 
I’ve learned to love the food that’s by my side 
There’s hardly anything I can’t abide 
Now, ants are quite a tasty dish 
Don’t wait for me, eat all you wish 
You’ll like the way they tickle you inside 
Doh-ba-dee-doh 
It’s all so easy 
Doh-ba-dee-doh-doh 
No cares, no strife 
Doh-ba-dee-doh-doh-doh 
No matter where we go 
We’ll find the bare necessities of life 
(Piano break) 
Ba-doh-ba-dee-doh 
Ba-doh-ba-dee-doo

Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities 
That’s why a bear can rest at ease
With just the bare necessities of life

The bare necessities of life will come to you

Well Krishna’s fans felt he was left out, and that is why they interpolated these stories into the Epic. That is why BORI is hard on Krishna fans.

Pranshu B. Saxena
Continue…
– Part 2
– Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

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