Thursday, October 3, 2013

5. Three Disciples

There was a Rishi (sage) by name Ayoda Dhaumya. He had three students in his Gurukila - Upamanyu, Aruni and Veda. In the Gurukula system, the students staying in the Guru's house were expected to do domestic chores at the bidding of the Guru and his wife. Since they were residing in the Guru's house, they would be spending some time attending the classes, some time doing sundry jobs connected with the Guru's household and sometime studying alone or spending time with the other students.

Aruni was one day asked by the Guru to go to the fields and repair the breach in the water canal feeding the fields. Aruni tried to pluck the breach with mud and stones but the breach didn't get fixed. Then he decided to lay his body against the breach. Since the flow of water was stopped by the weight of his body, he just lay there without moving.

Finding that Aruni had not returned by late evening, Dhaumya went to the fields along with his other students in search of him. He called out Aruni's name repeatedly. Hearing the Guru's voice, Aruni got up from where he was lying down and came to him.

Aruni said, "Revered Master, as per your command I tried to repair the breach and since I couldn't repair it, I was laying my body against the breach to prevent the water from coming out. I got up and came here on hearing you call my name. Please tell me what I should do now."

Dhaumya was pleased by Aruni's dedication, blessed him and told him that he had successfully completed his stay in the Gurukula and he was now qualified to go into the world on his own.

Dhaumya asked another of his disciples Upamanyu to take the cattle out for grazing every day. Upamanyu would leave for the grazing fields with the cattle before sunrise and would return only after sunsight. Dhaumya observed that in spite of spending a whole day out, Upamanyu was physically strong and energetic. When he asked him about it, Upamanyu said, "After leading the cattle to the grazing fields, I would go to the houses nearby and seek alms."

The Guru said that Upmanyu should not eat anything obtained by him as alms without offering it to the Guru. The next day, Upamanyu offered the grains he received as alms to Dhaumya but Dhaumya sent him away without giving him anything.

After sometime, Dhaumya observed that Upamanyu continued to remain robust. When asked about this, Upamanyu said that after offering the grains he obtained as alms to the Guru, he would seek alms again. The Guru forbode him from doing this for the reason that Upamanyu's seeking alms twice would deprive other alms seekers of their share.

But Upamanyu continued to remain physically strong. When queried, he said that he was drinking the milk of the cows. The Guru pointed out that drinking cow's milk without offering it to the Guru was wrong. He also said that milking the cows would result in the calves not getting adequate milk. Thus, even milk was denied to Upmanyu.

But Upamanyu was still hale and strong. Dhaumya again called him and tried to find out what he was eating. Upamanyu said that he was eating the froth coming out of the calves' mouths after they fed themselves off their mothers. Dhaumya said that the calves were releasing a large quantity of milk drunk by them by way of froth out of compassion for him. Upmanyu was asked not to drink the froth also.

The next day, Upamnayu, having nothing to eat, ate the leaves of a tree. The leaves happened to be of a poisonous plant and he was blinded by the effect of the poison. Stumbling his way, he fell into a dry well.

When Upamanyu didn't return home till late in the evening, Dhaumya went in search of him. He called out his name. Upamanyu said, "Master I became blind on eating the leaves of a poisonous tree and fell into a well." Dhaumya advised him to pray to Aswini Devatas, the twin gods of Health and Medicine, to get his eyesight restored.

Invoked by Upamanyu's sincere prayer, the Aswini Devatas appeared before him. They offered him a medicine in the form of a cake. But Upamanyu refused to eat the cake without first offering it to his Guru. The Aswini Devatas revealed to him that Dhaumya himself, on an earlier occasion, had eaten the cake offered by them without offering it to his own Guru. But Upamanyu stuck to his stand. Pleased by his devotion to his Guru and strict adherence to the Guru's words, the Aswini Devatas restored him his eyesight.

Upamanyu returned to the Guru's house. Pleased by his discipline and honesty, Dhaumya blessed him and allowed him to leave the Gurukula and pursue his interests in the world.

The third disciple Veda was asked to work in Dhaumya's house. He performed his tasks with sincerity and dedication enduring all kinds of hardships including hunger, thirst, heat and cold. He was also eventually discharged.

Veda chose the domestic way of life. He got married and lived with his wife in a house. His house became the Gurukula for three pupils. But Veda didn't ask them to perform any arduous tasks in his house. He didn't like his pupils to suffer the way he, Aruni and Upamanuyu had suffered under Dhaumya. He treated his disciples with kindness and dignity.

Next Post:  Utanka

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  1. HI Vijaya, I liked your style of writing..simple and yet efficient. I saw that you have written only few post and that too after a long interval of time. It would be nice if you can continue to write more frequently.

    There are many characters in Mahabharata like Bhisma Pitamaha, Karna, Arjuna, Draupadi, etc. on whom whole book can be written. There are many hidden stories which many people don't know.I would request you to go deep into this ocean and bring some interesting one's for people like me.

    Thanks for writing...!

  2. Thank you Nitin, I will do my best. I have started another blog on the main story of Mahabharata. You can check this out here.

  3. Hi Vijaya, I liked your simple yet precise writing of stories. Many would be aware of the main story; but the small stories that connect the plot with the characters not many would be aware of. I always used to narrate mythological stories to my daughter at bwdtime. I use your blog to read it to her. And I am happy that she knows Mahabharata and other stories well. Please keep continuing to write....