Believe it or not, the article is about the MILK.
An excellent article on friendships actually also revealed some very important facts. And it is dedicated to people who asked about the importance of Nakula and Sahadeva.
Drona mentions that when he went to get a cow for Asvwathamma, he could not find any donor who would not be put out across many lands because they could not afford to give the cow and manage their own affairs after the donation.
Literally as a last resort he went to Drupada. This paints a dismal picture for this land of milk and honey or especially the land of Kurus under Dhritrashtra. The people of the land had such low disposable income.
This is further accentuated later by the story of Baka Dalbhaya who was denied milk by Dhritrashtra and he did the yagna with meat instead. Only on utter destruction threatening the land did, Dhritrashtra asked Indraprastha for help and milk was provided by Sahadeva. Baka Dalbhaya moved into Yudhishthara’s Sabha after that, he wanted some sugar with milk.
Yudhisthara was given the poorer forested portion of this sorry land of people with no disposable income. And they built an empire by the sweat and sheer hard work; we have already discussed that ad infinitum. Dharma had his justice, he had Bhima’s strength and Arjuna’s warrior skills. But the man in funny hat with hand inside his coat said that the army marches on its stomach.
The poor land returned untold wealth to the Pandavas who were even able to slake Baka Dalbhya’s thirst and help the chacha kingdom.
Did not Yudhishthara say, “we are 105 in eyes of outsiders”?
परस्परविरोधे तु वयं पंचश्चते शतम् |
परैस्तु विग्रहे प्राप्ते वयं पंचाधिकं शतम् ||
That was the miracle wrought by Sahadeva. When he took over the sorry herds of Virata, he used his skills as cow rearer and as an Ayurvedic doctor. Some months later, Virata remarks that the cows now give four times the milk since Tantipala has been employed. Imagine 400% increase in your royal income, for cows and milk was how the wealth was measured by the sons of Arya.
That was the importance of Sahadeva. (Also he could be giving them hormones which also explains the prowess of Matasya athletes even now in the London Olympics four of six Indian medals :-))
Even Duryodhana described the kingdom of Yudhisthara (created from BIMARU portion of Kuru Kingdom) supporting 88000 Students on full scholarship as well 10,000 Brahmins fed daily with Yajnaseni, without having eaten herself, daily seeing to the wants of everybody, including even the deformed and the dwarfs, hath eaten or not. That is the importance of Good Wife.
The power of the Epic army lay in the Rathis, Maharathis and Atirathis. They rode the powerful chariots, huge war machines, some spreading over 20 feet along length and 12 feet across traveling along the broken muddy and impassable roads of this nation. These war chariots were pulled by huge war horses, four to eight each along with support horses and the fast moving cavalry which sweeping across the wings held power of victory or defeat in each battlefield. The unit of this army was the HORSE. (Not our favorite Ambadhara who thankfully acquired some friends in the latest episode).
And the champion breeder extraordinaire of both the horses and bulls was the other son of Madri, Mr. Nakula.
Why the importance of Bulls you ask?
- Other than Michael and Rodman, for the chariots to travel across the countryside and whatever infrastructure you find, bulls go ahead to smoothen the roads and create a path for the chariots.
- They also provide the fuel to cook the food by the campfires and warm the soldiers against the vagaries of weather.
- They also act as disinfectants for the huge rows of toilets the army builds every day and leave behind.
- They also pull the smaller Chhakras wherein the supplies and the arrows of those Rathis ride along.
When Yudhishthara asked Yama to restore Nakula instead of Bhima and Arjuna, he was being Dharmic as well as calculating :-).
The importance of Nakula and Sahadeva. Ever helping, ever present, never complaining or needing the limelight.
As an aside in Mahabharata, we find a story of one of colleagues of Krishna and Dhaumya, Upamanyu, son of Vyaghrapaad (“he whose behind roars like lion”), the 26th Vyasa (KD is number 28 btw). His mother used to feed him water mixed with flour till one day he went to a neighboring hermitage and realized what real milk is. Having tasted it, Upamanyu worshipped Siva till he granted him his wishes (probably milkshake when he wants one, chocolate on sundaes, Uttanka stopped at rain clouds, no imagination).
By the way, Upamanyu is one of the earliest Tamils in the Epic. He is credited with writing Siva Bhaktavilasa.
Pranshu B. Saxena