Mahabharat is often looked at as just a tale of wars. However, it is more than just a story of clashes between two members of a clan. The wisdom of Vidura, the resentment of Dhritarashtra, the loyalty of Bhishma, the ahamkara of Duryodhan, the righteousness of Yudhishthir, and the bravery of Arjun are just some shades of character that are a part of this Itihasa. All of this makes Mahabharat a tale of personalities, a story of different characters and of human nature.
Each of us would have a favourite personality/figure from this great Itihasa; someone we admire and look up to. Arjun or Shri Krishna are the names that might have crossed most people’s minds and a few would have identified Pitamaha Bhishma as their favourite. But there is one person in this entire epic who is not spoken of much even though his contribution is immense.
Vidura – an incarnation of Dharma
The character that I find most fascinating is Vidura, the Prime Minister and half-brother of Maharajas Dhritarashtra and Pandu. He was a shishya of Bhisma, just like his half-brothers and was taught politics as well as administration by his Guru. He was not only intelligent but also an able administrator.
He is said to be the representative of Dharma, loosely translated into truth and righteousness. Dharmaraja Yama took birth as Vidura to live out Rishi Mandavya’s curse. It was his ability to speak the truth with authority that made him an able counsellor to both his brothers when they occupied the throne of Hastinapur. Vidura always sided with righteousness and that is the reason why he insisted that Pandu be crowned king instead of blind Dhritarashtra. It was this very same principle which made him prevail over Dhritarashtra to make Yudhistir the Yuvraj instead of his son Duryodhan.
Vidura took a vow and refused to participate in the Mahabharata war after being coaxed into takings such an oath by Shri Krishna. The story behind this vow is that when Shri Krishna stayed at Vidura’s place, Duryodhan was infuriated, because he considered it an insult to himself. He kept on insulting Vidura, despite the requests of elders present in the court.
Why he didn’t participate in the war?
When things went beyond control Shri Krishna casually remarked that the misdemeanour of Duryodhan would make Vidura pledge not to fight the war on the side of the Kauravas. Taking heed of Shri Krishna’s words, Vidura broke his bow and vowed not to participate in the war on the side of the Kauravas. His morals did not allow him to fight the war from the Pandava side either and hence he did not participate in the war.
The story of Vidura’s bow is equally interesting. He was a bhakt of Shri Hari Vishnu. His bow, named Govardhan, was presented to him by Bhagwan Vishnu. The one who wielded this bow was said to be invincible and not even Arjun’s Gandiva could stop him. Shri Krishna knew the might of Vidura’s bow and hence, goaded the latter into taking the aforementioned vow. If it hadn’t been for Duryodhan’s arrogance Vidura certainly would have fought the war on behalf of Kauravas and defeating him would have been impossible for the Pandava army.
Vidura Niti – a precursor to Chanakya Niti
I admire him not only for his honesty and straightforwardness but also for his foresight and ability to call a spade a spade. His policies with regard to politics and administration were written down by him and came to be known as Vidura Niti, which is possibly a precursor to Chanakya Niti.
Vidura was a political genius and a master in the art of outwitting enemies. He knew the importance of having a loyal spy network that would help him stay one step ahead of his enemies and conspirators. Vidura was a genius in more ways than one and a humble person who never feared to speak the truth. He was an ideal example of how a minister should behave and conduct himself. There is a lot to learn from this noble soul who was overshadowed by other greats of that era.
(Featured Image Source: Amar Ujala)