Vidura is very famous in the story of Mahabharata, as a brother of Dhrtarastra, and as a man of colossal intelligence who had been closely watching the goings and comings of the Kauravas and the Pandavas. He was the adviser of Dhrtarastra, and a man of immense learning and wisdom.
2) Incarnation of Dharmadeva.
There is a story in Maha-bharata, Adi Parva, Chapter 107, which describes Vidura as born from a portion of Dharmadeva. The story is given below.
Long ago there was a hermit called Mandavya in India. As he was standing in deep meditation near his hermitage, the men of the King chased some thieves and came to the place where the hermit stood. The robbers placed the stolen property near the hermit and ran away. The king’s men caught the hermit, and the thieves. The King ordered them to be placed on a trident.
The thieves died on the trident. But Mandavya was not dead. The King sawed the trident and got Mandavya down. The hermit went to Dharmadeva and asked him what his blame was for suffering the punishment of the trident on him. Dharmadeva replied that the punishment was inflicted for a cruel deed he had done in his childhood. He had caught some flies and made a bunch of them by piercing them with the rib of a coconut-palm leaf. But Mandavya argued that Dharmadeva was not right in punishing him because the Sastras and rules of righteousness said that mistakes committed by boys below the age of twelve could not be considered to be sins. Further he cursed Dharmadeva that he would take birth on the earth from the womb of a sudra. Accordingly Dharmadeva took birth from the womb of the servant of Ambika and Ambalika.
Vidura was born as the brother of Dhrtarastra and Pandu.
(For detailed story see under Dhrtarastra I, para 2).
4) Up to marriage.
Dhrtarastra, Pandu and Vidura spent their younger days in Hastinapura as inseparable brothers. Their teacher was Bhisma. Vidura learned the Vedas, Sastras, Puranas, Itihasas etc. also, along with the education given to a prince such as archery, club-fight, sword-fight, wrestling, controlling elephants etc. He understood that to be righteous was far better than fighting. It is stated in Mahabharata, Adi Parva, Chapter 108, that Vidura got the sense of righteousness, and education in fighting, at the same time.
As #Vidura was born to a Brahmin by a Sudra woman he had no right to become King. When he grew up, the duty to find a wife for him fell on Bhisma. At that time a damsel born to a Brahmin by a Sudra woman was being brought up in the palace of King Devaka. With the permission of Devaka, Bhisma brought the girl and gave her in marriage to Vidura. It is stated in Mahabharata, Adi Parva, Chapter 114, that sons and daughters were born to the couple.
5 )Partiality towards the Pandavas.
Vidura was the most intelligent and wisest man of his time, and he always favoured righteousness. Though he viewed the Kauravas and the Pandavas with equal favour, in his heart he felt, some partiality towards the Pandavas, because they were virtuous, whereas the Kauravas were becoming more and more wicked. As this partiality arose from his sense of righteousness, nobody could blame Vidura for this. His aim was the prosperity of the Lunar dynasty of Kings.
Many ill omens were seen at the time of the birth of Duryodhana. Vidura understood that if that infant grew up he would be a comet to the Lunar dynasty. It is mentioned in Mahabharata, Adi Parva, Chapter 115, that Vidura advised Dhrtarastra that it would be better for him to throw away that infant.
The death of Pandu drew Vidura closer to the Pandavas. Vidura took the lead in performing the funeral rites and other ceremonies which followed. The Pandavas. were very sad and miserable at the death of their father. It was at this time that Duryodhana poisoned Bhimasena, tied him with a rope and threw him into the river Ganges. Bhimasena was carried to the world of nagas. Kunti felt grieved at the loss of her son Bhima, but Vidura consoled her.
It was due to the wisdom of Vidura that the Pandavas escaped from the disaster in the lac-house. As soon as Duryodhana had completed the lac-house,. Vidura understood the deception lying hidden under it and he informed the Pandavas of everything about it. Moreover he sent a man named Khanaka and made an underground passage from the Jac-house. When the lac-house was burnt down, the Pandavas escaped by the underground passage and reached the banks of the Ganges. Vidura had sent a ferryman secretly to take them to the other side of the Ganges. When Bhisma got the news that the Pandavas had been burnt to death in the lac-house he became very sad. It is mentioned in Mahabharata, Adi Parva, Chapter 149, that Vidura informed Bhisma secretly that the Paridavas were not dead.
After this event the Pandavas come into the scene only at the Svayamvara of Pancali. Bhisma and Drona proposed that the Pandavas should be brought back and be given half of the kingdom. Vidura, by his arguments convinced Dhrtarastra that the proposal of Bhisma and Drona was correct. Dhrtarastra asked Vidura to bring the Pandavas back. Vidura went to the city of Drupada and brought the Pandavas back and consoled their mother Kunti.
After this Yudhisthira performed Rajasuya (sacrifice of royal consecration). Vidura took part in it and took the charge of financial part of the sacrifice. It was after this that Duryodhana challenged Yudhisthira for a game of dice. Vidura saw beforehand that this move on the part of Duryodhana was dangerous. So he talked forcibly against this, and gave warning to all concerned. As Duryodhana did not agree with Vidura, he was scolded. But Duryodhana was firm and the game was conducted. Pancali was harassed by means of stripping and the Pandavas went to the forest. It is stated in Mahabharata, Vana Parva, Chapter 3, that Vidura had been witnessing all these scenes with wet eyes.
6) Separated from the Pandavas.
When the Pandavas were driven to the forest, Dhrtarastra felt sorry. He became more afraid of the people than he was sorry for the Pandavas. He understood that his subjects would unite and rise against his sons. He called Vidura and asked him for a remedy. Vidura who was full of impatience, made a speech against the wickedness of the sons of Dhrtarastra and advised him to forsake his own sons and to bring the Pandavas back and give them the kingdom. Dhrtarastra did not like this approach. He said that Vidura was partial to the Pandavas and asked him to ge away from the palace. Vidura became grieved at this. He followed the Pandavas, and walking a long distance, reached the forest Kamyaka and met the Pandavas.
When Vidura had gone Dhrtarastra felt miserable. He sent for Vidura and when he returned Dhrtarastra begged for pardon. Vidura again became the adviser of Dhrtarastra.
(Maha-bharata Vana Parva, Chapter 6) .
7) Adviser of Dhrtarastra.
The advice of Vidura is famous in Mahabharata. The main duty of Vidura was to console Dhrtarastra by speaking about righteousness when he became troubled in mind because of the constant quarrels between his sons and the Pandavas. Vidura fulfilled his duty well. Duryodhana was firm on the point that not a dot of land would be given to the Pandavas.
Sri Krsna came to Hastinapura as mediator. Duryodhana showed disrespect to him. Vidura said in strong words that it was wrong on the part of Duryodhana to have done so and compelled Dhrtarastra to show due respect and hospitality to Sri Krsna. Accordingly Dhrtarastra welcomed Sri Krsna and showed respect and hospitality. Knowing this, Duryodhana and his brothers tried to make Sri Krsna a captive. Vidura harshly scolded them for this attempt. Seeing all these impudent actions on the part of his sons, Dhrtarastra became distressed. Vidura consoled him by good exhortations. He told Dhrtarastra about the transience of life and the importance of the soul. When the battle was fiercely going on in the battleground of Kuruksetra, Vidura remained with Dhrtarastra consoling him and giving him good advice. The death of Bhisma was an unbearable grief to Vidura. He took part in the funeral of Bhisma. He himself placed the body on the funeral pyre.
(Maha-bharata Anusasana Parva, Chapter 168, Stanza 11).
When Vidura failed in his attempt to ward off a pitched battle between the Kauravas and the Pandavas he felt extremely miserable. Without taking part in the battle, he started on a pilgrimage. Getting the news at #Prabhasa Ksetra about the end of the battle, he went to the basin of river Yamuna. On the way he heard the news of the passing away of Sri Krsna from Uddhava.
Before death Sri Krsna had revealed that Vidura had heard #Uddhava Gita from Maitreya. This book which is in the form of a conversation between Vidura and Maitreya contains the talk between Kapila and Devahuti. Description of the line of Manus, sacrifice of Daksa, story of Dhruva, story of Prthu, story of Puranjana etc. were the subjects of the talk.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 3–4) .
The Bharata battle came to an end. The Kauravas were exterminated. Efforts were begun to establish law and order. In all these efforts Vidura was a help to the Pandavas. Still he spent most of his time with the old Dhrtarastra. Yudhisthira came to Dhrtarastra and both embraced each other. Seeing this Vidura cried aloud. Vidura advised Yudhisthira how to carry on the administration of the new government. After this he decided to go to the forest to spend his last days.
Dhrtarastra, Gandhari,Kunti, Vidura and Sakuni went to the forest. The Pandavas tried in vain to prevent them from going. When Dhrtarastra, Gandhari, Kunti, Vidura, Sanjaya and others started for the forest, even Bhimasena cried aloud. Pandavas and the people of the city went along with them up to the river Ganges. On the bank of the Ganges near the hermitage of Satayupa, a hermitage was erected and Vidura and the others lived there.
They lived there for nearly six years. The Pandavas became unable to bear the separation from their elders. Once Dharmaputra dreamt about his mother. Next day the Pandavas went to the banks of the Ganges. Pancali, Subhadra, Uttara and many people of the city followed them. They went to the Satayupa hermitage and saw Dhrtarastra and the others. But the great Vidura was not there. When asked about it he got the reply that having become detached and having no more desires he was wandering about. Yudhisthira was greatly troubled.
Next day at dawn when Yudhisthira went to bathe in the Ganges, on the way he saw Vidura sitting in contemplation with a stone in his mouth. Yudhisthira stood with joined palms before the lean and weak form of that sage and said
“Look, Dharmaputra bows before you.”
He repeated this several times. But there was no change in Vidura. Yudhisthira’s disappointment did not last long. For, in a short while Dharmaputra saw that a divine radiance emanated from the body of Vidura and passed on to his body and that the body of Vidura fell lifeless on the ground. This union took place because both Vidura and Yudhisthira were portions of Dharmadeva.
After this Dharmaputra made preparations to burn the body of Vidura. Then an ethereal voice said “Vidura is pure. His body should not be burned.” Dharmaputra went to the hermitage and informed all about the death of Vidura.
(Maha-bharata Asramavasika Parva, Chapters 26 to 28).
Mention is made in Mahabharata, Svargarohana Parva, Chapter 5, Stanza 22, that Vidura entered’ Svarga (heaven) and stays there in the form of Dharmadeva.
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