Facing Death with Integrity

1.13.12-13

To answer the moral King’s questions, Vidura fully described all his experiences, one after another, leaving out the destruction of the Yadu dynasty. “Disturbing, painful things find us on their own, I need not tell him.” Compassionate Vidura could not bear to see their grief.

14

With the intention of benefiting his elder brother and bringing happiness to all, he stayed with them for some time, and was well treated with all amenities like a god.

15

While Yama was cursed to spend one hundred years in the body of a śūdra, Aryamā administered his duties of appropriately punishing the sinful.

Possibly this verse was directed by Sūta towards a question from the audience of sages, “Since Vidura is the incarnation of Yama, why was there no disturbance in the process of death, as there usually is whenever Yama leaves his post?”

16

Vidura saw that Yudhiṣṭhira’s kingdom was regained, there was a grandson to carry on the dynasty, and all the brothers were taking good care of the citizens, enjoying life with paramount opulence.

17

Those who are attached to these sorts of enjoyment become intoxicated and lost in them. Unseen, time’s supremely powerful doom creeps up on them.

Vidura thought of his brother, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, in this way.

18

Recognizing this, Vidura went to Dhṛtarāṣṭra and said, “King! Get out right now! Look! What you fear most is on the threshold!

Shocked, Dhṛtarāṣṭra asks, “What is it!?! What horrible doom approaches!?”

19

“There is no escape for anyone at any time! O Powerful One, it is the doom of the all-powerful that comes to all of us.

20

“It will overtake you and steal from your clinging grasp the thing you most adore: your very life! What else!? What of your wealth and so on!?

21

“Your father, brother, protectors and sons are all dead. Your own life is spent, and you are in the grip of old age. Yet you live on in someone else’s home?

22

“From the beginning you were blind. Now your hearing and memory are crippled, too. Your teeth rattle and your stomach limps. Cacophonously you cough up phlegm.

23

“Aho! How people desperately cling to their hopes for life!!! Like a groveling dog you now eat the scraps left to you by Bhīma.

24

“You set fire to their home, gave them poison, and degraded their wife! You stole their lands and wealth! …Now you must live on their charity?

Will we sink to any humiliation to cling to the rotting, decrepit old body? Our will we proudly and bravely cast it off when it is worn out?

25

“Your body clings to life like a pitiful miser; yet still dwindles against your will, like old clothing.

26

“If you really want what is good for you, free yourself entirely from all these bonds. Go someplace unknown and cast off your body. Such a man is called wise.

27

“The best person is he who becomes detached from this world and gives up his possessions and life with his very self wholeheartedly fixed upon Hari. It doesn’t matter if it is due to his own inspiration or the inspiration given by someone else.

28

“Therefore go northward. Tell no one where. Very soon the time is coming when humanity will diminish.”

Even if the old man could live on, all he would see is the decrepitude of Kali-Yuga, which was on the verge of beginning.

About Vraja Kishor


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