Thus his younger brother, Vidura, helped the king’s mind awake to a vision of wisdom. He steadfastly cut through the ropes of selfish love and set out on the path of liberation that his brother showed him.
The ropes which bind the soul to a humiliating condition are wound from fibers of sveṣu-sneha: love for oneself and one’s own. We cannot seek enlightenment and maintain selfishness at the same time.
Subala’s daughter saw her husband leaving. Being very saintly and dedicated to him she followed him towards the Himalayas. They accepted the rod of renunciation with pleasure, like a great warrior accepts a beating.
Subala’s daughter is more commonly named Gāndhārī. Sūta describes her as sādhvī : a saint. This is due to her serious renunciation of personal pleasures, as expressed in her self-imposed blindness. She was therefore already quite fit and ready to renounce the world for the sake of enlightenment. Sūta also describes her as pati-vratā: dedicated to her husband. So, on both counts she very happily and willingly followed him into complete renunciation. She is like a royal warrior. A warrior accepts beatings because it is part of being a warrior. Similarly we must embrace renunciation because it is part of the reality of life. We must not flee from death like cowards. We must march out and greet it head on, with dignity, when our time is due. Vidura and Gāndhārī have just displayed excellent examples of this principle. Dhṛtarāṣṭra also serves as an example, by the good fortune of his association with those exalted souls.
The one who makes no enemies [King Yudhiṣṭhira] finished his morning prayers and rituals. He bowed to the learned and gave them grains, cows, land and gold. Then he entered the palace to respect his elders but he could not find his uncles and Subala’s Daughter.
Vidura went to Dhṛtarāṣṭra and convinced him to renounce the world in the very solitary depths of the night. The next morning King Yudhiṣṭhira woke up and went about business as usual.
What is “business as usual” for such an exalted king? First he did morning prayer and ritual. The ritual was huta-agni: lighting a sacred fire. The prayer was maitra: a special him to Mitra, a form of the sun-god who protects promises, alliances, and pacts. Sūta addresses the King as ajāta-śatru: a person who does not create enemies. Prayer to the god of alliances and friendships is important for establishing this mentality. Completing his prayer and ritual, the King then went out to bow down before learned people and insure their well-being by giving them whatever food, money or other resources they needed. Next, he entered his palace. Upon entering the palace he would first do guru-vandana: offering respect to his teachers, guides and elders. But this morning he could not do guru-vandana, because he couldn’t find his aunt Gāndhārī and uncles, Vidura and Dhṛtarāṣṭra.
Full of anxiety, he asked Sañjaya, who was sitting nearby, “Where is our blind and old uncle? Where is my aunt, so sad over the death of her children? Where is my uncle, who has always protected me? Have I been so insensitive to him and his wife, who lost their entire family? Have my injustices so disturbed them that they’ve thrown themselves into the Ganges in misery?
“When our father Pāṇḍu fell and we were still little children, our uncles protected us from danger and disaster. Where have they gone?”
A wretched person always remembers the injustices done by others. A saintly person always remembers their favors.
At first Sañjaya could not reply because he was too confused by lamentation and affection, distressed by his loss at not being able to find his lord. Brushing away his tears with his hands, he calmed his own mind and, carefully remembering the feet of his master, began to reply.
“Oh beloved son, I don’t know what your uncles and Gāndhārī have decided. Those great souls have left me in the dark, O mighty armed.”