Mahabharata Stories: 19 – A Morsel for a Large Appetite

Faith is blind, they say. Yet, man without faith would have no support to fall back on and, hence, have no meaning to life. We all yearn for faith and we cherish in our faith no matter how apparently simple or absurd it may appear from a different point. Relating miracles are an outcome of this faith, and helps man express his wishes that would, but for God’s grace, scarce be fulfilled. Nonetheless, there are subtler points we may search for in these incidents.

Yudhishtira had earned the blessings of the Sun and had received from him the Akshayapatra or the All Fulfilling Vessel. This bowl, for twelve years, was the source of food for the Pandavas and Draupadi as it had the power to yield as much food as needed for their guests and them. However, it yielded food only once a day and not more.

Duryodhana was once the careful host to sage Durvasa and his vast train of disciples. The sage, pleased, blessed Duryodhana. The latter, not one to let go of the opportunity to put the Pandavas at risk of incurring the wrath of the sage famed for his fury, said: Oh revered one! I have one request to make. Please visit our dear cousins who are in the forest. They need your holy blessings too.

Duryodhana then stipulated a time by when, he knew, the meal for the day would have already been taken by the Pandavas. The sage, clearly understanding Duryodhana’s intention, yet wanting to test the Pandavas, agreed.

It was well past midday and the Pandavas, having entertained their guests and themselves having eaten for the day, were reposing. Durvasa now arrived with his disciples at their dwelling and asked them to provide him and his disciples a meal. The retinue then went to a nearby pool to bathe.

Draupadi, perplexed, prayed fervently to Lord Krishna. The Lord came at once and asked Draupadi the reason for her agitation and when told of her predicament, said: Is that all? It can wait. First of all, I am hungry and I want to eat. Please give me anything that you have to eat.

Draupadi was dumbstruck. Collecting herself, with tears in her eyes, she asked: Oh, Lord! How unfortunate I am! Not only am I unable to feed my guests, but also am unable to satisfy your wish! Where can I go for food now?

Sri Krishna simply said: Bring the Akshayapatra and let me see what we can do about your problem.

Draupadi brought the vessel and Sri Krishna, finding a bit of morsel under its rim, said: Here it is what I want!

Draupadi, ashamed of her carelessness in cleaning the vessel, looked on with curiosity at the Lord. Scraping off the morsel and putting it into His mouth, He said: May every being’s hunger be satisfied!

Sri Krishna then turned to Bhima and said: Now you go and bring here Durvasa and his disciples.

Morsel

Bhima reached the pool where the sage and his men were cleansing themselves and heard one of them say: Respected Master, I am surprised for I feel as if I have just had my fill!

All the disciples echoed this feeling. Durvasa, learned as he was, well understood what must have transpired at the Pandavas’ dwelling. He turned to Bhima and said: Dear son, we are satiated. We now take our leave.

Bhima returned and related all that happened. Draupadi and the Pandavas bowed down to Sri Krishna in all humility.

 

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