Legacy YM

Chapter 41 - Sri Krishna's Hunger


WHILE the Pandavas were dwelling in the forest, Duryodhana celebrated a great sacrifice with much pomp and splendor.

He wanted to perform the Rajasuya sacrifice, but the brahmanas told him that he could not do that while Yudhishthira and Dhritarashtra were alive and advised him to perform the sacrifice known as the Vaishnava instead.

He accepted this advice and celebrated the Vaishnava with great splendor. But when the ceremony was over, the citizens began to talk among themselves that Duryodhana's sacrifice had not come up to even a sixteenth part of Yudhishthira's Rajasuya in magnificence.

The friends of Duryodhana, on the other hand, praised him and the sacrifice he had celebrated and likened it to those performed by Yayati, Mandhata, Bharata and others.

Court flatterers were not sparing with their praise. Karna told Duryodhana that his Rajasuya had been only postponed till the Pandavas should be defeated and slain in battle and repeated that his part would be the slaying of Arjuna.

"Till I have slain Arjuna," said he, "I shall not take meat or wine, nor will I refuse the prayer of anyone who asks me for anything." Such was the solemn vow taken by Karna in the assembly.

The sons of Dhritarashtra were delighted to hear this vow of the great hero Karna and shouted in joy. They felt as if the Pandavas had been slain already.

Spies conveyed to the Pandavas in the forest the news of the oath taken by Karna. Yudhishthira was greatly concerned, for he had a great opinion of Karna's prowess.

Karna had been born with divine armor and was undoubtedly a mighty hero. One morning, just before the hour of awakening, Yudhishthira had a dream.

Many of our dreams come either in the beginning or at the end of our sleep. He dreamt that the wild beasts of the forest came and appealed to him piteously not to destroy them altogether, but to move on to some other forest.

Duryodhana felt sure that the Pandavas, who themselves lived from hand to mouth in the forest, would be unable to feed or entertain the sage and his following, and would incur some dreadful curse from that too hasty visitor for their want of hospitality. This would give him greater joy than any benefit he could have asked for himself when the sage offered a boon. Durvasa went with his disciples to the Pandavas as was desired by Duryodhana, as the latter were resting after their midday meal.


The brothers welcomed the sage, saluted and honored him. Then the sage said: "We shall be back soon. Our meals must be ready then, for we are hungry," and hurried off with his disciples to the river.

As a result of the austerities of Yudhishthira at the beginning of their stay in the forest, the Sun god had given him the Akshayapatra, a wonderful vessel that held a never-failing supply of food.

In making the gift, the god had said, "Through this I shall place at your disposal for twelve years as much food as is required for your daily consumption.

Not till everyone has been served and Draupadi herself has taken her share will the vessel become empty for the day."

Accordingly, the brahmanas and other guests would be served first. Afterwards the Pandava brothers would take their meals. Finally, Draupadi would have her share.

When Durvasa reached the place, all of them, including Draupadi, had eaten their meals and so the vessel was empty and denuded of its power for the day.

Draupadi was greatly troubled and perfectly at a loss to find food when the sage and his disciples should return after their ablutions. In the kitchen, she prayed earnestly to Sri Krishna to come to her aid in this hopeless predicament and deliver her from the wrath of the sage.

At once Sri Krishna appeared before her. "I am very hungry," he said, "bring without delay something to eat and we shall speak of other things afterwards."

Here was a pretty pass. It looked as though the ally from whom she hoped for relief had gone over to the foe! She cried out in great confusion: "Alas! Why do you try me thus, O Krishna? The power of the vessel given by the Sun is exhausted for the day. And the sage Durvasa has come. What shall I do? The sage and his disciples will soon be here and as though this were not enough, you have also come at this juncture saying that you are hungry."

Sri Krishna said: "I am terribly hungry and want food, not excuses. Fetch the vessel and let me see for myself." Draupadi brought it to him. A tiny bit of cooked vegetable and a grain of rice were sticking to the rim of the vessel.

Sri Krishna ate them with satisfaction, accepting them as Sri Hari, the Soul of the Universe. Draupadi was filled with shame at her slovenliness in not having cleaned the vessel free of all remnants. A bit had been left which had been partaken by Vasudeva!


Sri Krishna seemed replete with satisfaction after eating his solitary grain and calling Bhima, told him to go to the river and intimate to the revered sage that food was ready and waiting for them.

Bhimasena, greatly puzzled, but full of faith in Sri Krishna, hastened to the river where Durvasa and his followers were bathing.

They were in great surprise to find that their ravenous hunger had given place to a pleased satiety. They had all the comfortable cheerfulness of people who had feasted well.

The disciples told the sage: "We have come here after asking Yudhishthira to prepare food for us, but we feel well-fed and full and cannot eat anything more."

Durvasa knew what it was and he told Bhima: "We have taken our meals. Tell Yudhishthira to forgive us." Then the party went away.

The explanation is that as the whole universe is contained in Sri Krishna, his satisfaction with a single grain of rice satisfied for the time the hunger of all beings including the sage.

Chapter1 - Ganapati
Chapter2 - Devavrata
Chapter3 - Bhishma's Vow
Chapter4 - Amba And Bhishma
Chapter5 - Devayani And Kacha
Chapter6 - The Marriage Of Devayani
Chapter7 - Yayati
Chapter8 - Vidura
Chapter9 - Kunti Devi
Chapter10 - Death Of Pandu
Chapter11 - Bhima
Chapter12 - Karna
Chapter13 - Drona
Chapter14 - The Wax Palace
Chapter15 - The Escape Of The Pandavas
Chapter16 - The Slaying Of Bakasura
Chapter17 - Draupadi's Swayamvaram
Chapter18 - Indraprastha
Chapter19 - The Saranga Birds
Chapter20 - Jarasandha
Chapter21 - The Slaying Of Jarasandha
Chapter22 - The First Honor
Chapter23 - Sakuni Comes In
Chapter24 - The Invitation
Chapter25 - The Wager
Chapter26 - Draupadi's Grief
Chapter27 - Dhritarashtra's Anxiety
Chapter28 - Krishna's Vow
Chapter29 - Pasupata
Chapter30 - Affliction Is Nothing New
Chapter31 - Agastya
Chapter32 - Rishyasringa
Chapter33 - Fruitless Penance
Chapter34 - Yavakrida's End
Chapter35 - Mere Learning Is Not Enough
Chapter36 - Ashtavakra
Chapter37 - Bhima And Hanuman
Chapter38 - I am No Crane
Chapter39 - Wicked Are Never Satisfied
Chapter40 - Duryodhana Disgraced
Chapter41 - Sri Krishna's Hunger
Chapter42 - The Enchanted Pool
Chapter43 - Domestic Service
Chapter44 - Virtue Vindicated
Chapter45 - Matsya Defended
Chapter46 - Prince Uttara
Chapter47 - Promise Fulfilled
Chapter48 - Virata's Delusion
Chapter49 - Taking Counsel
Chapter50 - Arjuna's Charioteer
Chapter51 - Salya Against His Nephews
Chapter52 - Vritra
Chapter53 - Nahusha
Chapter54 - Sanjaya's Mission
Chapter55 - Not a Needle-Point Of Territory
Chapter56 - Krishna's Mission
Chapter57 - Attachment and Duty
Chapter58 - The Pandava Generalissimo
Chapter59 - Balarama
Chapter60 - Rukmini
Chapter61 - Non-Cooperation
Chapter62 - Krishna Teaches
Chapter63 - Yudhishthira Seeks Benediction
Chapter64 - The First Day's Battle
Chapter65 - The Second Day
Chapter66 - The Third Day's Battle
Chapter67 - The Fourth Day
Chapter68 - The Fifth Day
Chapter69 - The Sixth Day
Chapter70 - The Seventh Day
Chapter71 - The Eighth Day
Chapter72 - The Ninth Day
Chapter73 - The Passing Of Bhishma
Chapter74 - Karna and the Grandsire
Chapter75 - Drona in Command
Chapter76 - To Seize Yudhishthira Alive
Chapter77 - The Twelfth Day
Chapter78 - Brave Bhagadatta
Chapter79 - Abhimanyu
Chapter80 - The Death Of Abhimanyu
Chapter81 - A Father's Grief
Chapter82 - The Sindhu King
Chapter83 - Borrowed Armor
Chapter84 - Yudhishthira's Misgivings
Chapter85 - Yudhishthira's Fond Hope
Chapter86 - Karna And Bhima
Chapter87 - Pledge Respected
Chapter88 - Somadatta's End
Chapter89 - Jayadratha Slain
Chapter90 - Drona Passes Away
Chapter91 - The Death Of Karna
Chapter92 - Duryodhana
Chapter93 - The Pandavas Reproached
Chapter94 - Aswatthama
Chapter95 - Avenged
Chapter96 - Who Can Give Solace?
Chapter97 - Yudhishthira's Anguish
Chapter98 - Yudhishthira Comforted
Chapter99 - Envy
Chapter100 - Utanga
Chapter101 - A Pound Of Flour
Chapter102 - Yudhishthira Rules
Chapter103 - Dhritarashtra
Chapter104 - The Passing Away Of The Three
Chapter105 - Krishna Passes Away
Chapter106 - Yudhishthira's Final Trial

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