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"After praying to Naaraayana, Nara,Vyaasa and Sarasvathi, then one should recite the Jayam."

The word 'mahaa-prasthaanam' means 'the final renunciation walk(journey)'. This parva describes how the paandavas aafter learning Krishna's departure, left their empire and went to the final abode. The fall of Droupadi and the four paandavas is described clearly. Yama's testing of Yudhishthira's virtue-boundedness, Yudhishthira's reaching the heaven, Indra's offer to him, Yudhishthira's wish to see is brothers all are beautifully but briefly described.

As Karna parva and Mousala parva, This parva too has no sub-parvas.

Janamejaya asked Vyshampaayana. " Sir! After hearing about the destruction of the Yaadavas, what did the Paandavas do, berieved with their mentor Krishna's departure ? "

Vyshampaayana told. " Young king! Listen what happened then. Yudhishthira heard from Arjuna about the internal disturbance among the Yaadavas and their annihilation therefrom. He decided to renounce the world and told Arjuna, " Brother! Time is great. It starts and closes the story of every being in the universe. I am getting ready to meet the Time's destination for me. You better think of that."

Arjuna was utterly dejected.He exclaimed, " Time! Great Time! What a Time! How unimaginable is its course!" and he expressed his readiness to do as his elder brother told.Bheema and the twins too chose to follow Yudhishthira.

Yudhishthira called for Yuyuthsu,Subhadra and Pareekshith. He entrusted the entire empire to Yuyuthsu to look after and help the young king. Pareekshith was procedurally coronated as the king of the Kuru empire.yudhishthira told Subhadra," Subhadra! Your son's son Pareekshith is made ruler of our Kuru empire. The surviving Vajra from the Yaadavas is installed as ruler of Indraprastham region. You should take care of both Pareekshith at Hasthipuram and Vajra at Indraprastham. Stick to the path of righteousness and do not entertain the thoughts of renouncing."

After entrusting the empire to the successors, Yudhishthira and his brothers performed all the formal rituals for their close relatives Vasudeva, Balaraama, Krishna and others. They invited and satisfied such great sages as .html"Vyaasa,Naarada,Maarkandeya,Bharadvaaja and Yaajnavalkya by offering feasts with all delicious courses of dinner in memory and honour of of Krishna. In his name, they donated thousands of gems, dresses,horses,chariots,villages and maids in favour of learned scholars.

Then, Yudhishthira went to Kripa. He bowed to his teacher and entrusted his newly coronated disciple Pareekshith to him praying the old preceptor to guide and protect the young king. Yudhishthira called for all the prominent citizens of the city and told them about his decision of renouncing the wordly attachments. They all unanimously prevailed upon their dear king not to do so but Yudhishthira was firm in hs decision. He convinced them for their approval and started preparations for the last journey alongwith his brothers.

Yudhishthira discarded his royal attire and ornaments on his body and wore a hermit's dress made of barks. All his brothers and Droupadi too did the same way. They all performed the necessary ritual sacrifices for the last journey. They observed the procedure of abandoning their vedic Agni in waters as a symbol of detaching from the wordly rituals and set out all together.

All the women folk in the palace and the city cried aloud seeing them leave, as then residents wept long ago at the time of their leaving after the defeat in the dice game. But the brothers did not get affected by that. They left the palace , walked through the city and reached the outskirts. All the people followed Yudhishthira for a long distance but none could dare to ask him to return . Finally, the people remained back. Yuyuthsu and Kripa too sadly returned with the people.

Uloopi threw herself into the river Ganga. Chithraangada went to her native town Manipuram. Othr elderly women remained with Pareekshith.

Yudhishthira continued his walk without looking back at the people behind him. His four brothers and Droupadi followed him. Mysteriously, a dog too from the city kept following them even after all the people went back. They all observed yoga and fasting. Their walk proceeded through many lands, rivers and hills. They reached the eastern sea. Ydhishthira was in the lead. Bheema, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva and Droupadi in that order followed him. Lastly, the dog was walking behind all without leaving them anywhere.

Arjuna was still carrying his beloved Gaandeevam with him. Suddenly, a gigantic shining figure appeared before them, standing right in their way.

The appearance spoke to the wondering Paandavas. " Paandavas! I am Agni. You all listen my words carefully. Earlier, I could consume the Khaandavaprastham forest with the great help of Krishna and Arjuna. This divine bow Gaandeevam was given to Arjuna on that occasion. He did his prescribed duty with that instrument all these years. Now, he has nothing to do with that great tool. He shall part with it and go for his last journey. Krishna's disc too left him. It will return to him in future at the time meant for that context. This Gaandeevam was obtained by me from Varuna for Arjuna's use. Now, return it to Varuna himself."

All his brothers advised Arjuna to do as Agni told. Arjuna too, threw his Gaandeevam and the two quivers into the sea. Agni vanished and they continued their walk towards south. And they took the northern course. Next, they proceeded towards south-west. Again, they turned to the west and continued. They reached where Dvaaraka was submerged by the sea. Finally, they walked towards north. Thus, they circumambulated the earth and struck to the northern-side path continuously.

They reached the Himaalayas and crossed those mountains. Next, they reached the sand sea ( a large sand-bed). Beyond that, they caught sight of the great divine mountain Meru. They walked still further.

At that time, Droupadi lost her yogic power and fell down dead. Yudhishthira did not look back. But Bheema saw her fall and asked his elder brother," We know that she never overstepped the path of dharma. Then, what is the reason for her falling dead in the middle?"

Yudhishthira answered even as he walked. " Though she is righteous and sincere, she was greatly biased in favour of Arjuna. She now received the result of her partiality." Saying thus, he continued further, least minding the incident, followed by the rest and the dog behind all.

After some more time, Sahadeva failed to maintain his yogic strength and fell dead in the way. Yudhishthira, that time too, did not look back. again, Bheema asked Yudhishthira, " Sahadeva is all obedient and sincere to you and us. He was never proud. Why did he fall off?"

Yudhishthira answered. " Bheema! Sahadeva often felt that nobody was as learned and wise as he was.He fell due to that fault of his character." And he continued as usual followed by others and the dog.

Seeing his dear wife Droupadi and his twin brother fall dead right before him, Nakula could not hold his grief. After some time, he too lost his strength and fell dead on the ground. Seeing the handsome Nakula fall, Bheema again asked Yudhishthira. " Brother! Now fell the most handsome and righteous Nakula. What made him lose his power?"

The learned Yudhishthira replied." He was proud of his handsomeness. He would think that none was equal to him in physical beauty. That is the reason for his failure in keeping the yogic track. You carry on your task. No one can escape what is destined for him." And he kept on going not looking back at all.

Their walk went on and on.The dog kept on following them. After some more time, Arjuna too lost his power and fell down. Bheema saw the invincible Arjuna fallen dead and asked Yudhishthira, " Arjuna never spoke a lie, even jestingly. How did this happen to him?"

Yudhishthira calmly answered. " Arjuna vowed that he would destroy the whole of the enemies in a single day. But he could not keep his word. He derided other heroes of archery claiming that he was supreme in expertise in archery.That boasting made him meet this fate." Saying this, Yudhishthira continued his course. Bheema and the dog followed him.

Still after some time, Bheema himself could not maintain the track. He lost his power and fell. While falling, he asked his brother." O learned Yudhishthira! Look at me, your dear brother, falling off! What is the reason for my failure? Tell me if you know that." Yudhishthira answered." Bheema! You are a gluttonous gourmet. You boast of your physical strength. You never reckon others or their strength. That brought you this end." Saying that,he went on without looking behind. The dog still followed him." Vyshampaayana added. " Janamejaya, remember. I mentioned the dog many a time."

Vyshampaayana continued.

"Then there occured a great sound of divine musical instruments, reverberating the earth and the sky. Indra appeared before Yudhishthira, sitting in his celestial chariot. He invited Yudhishthira to mount that chariot. Berieved with the death of his wife and brothers, he said to Indra. " Sir, I am greatful to you for your grace upon me. But my dear brothers and my gentle lady fell off dead .They too should be allowed to come with me. I cannot enjoy even the heaven without them."

Indra replied. " You will see all your brothers and Droupadi at the heaven. They are already there for you. Do not lament for them. They left their mortal bodies here and reached the heaven. But you are exceptionally allowed to attain the heaven verily with this mortal body. Do not hesitate. Please come on."

Then Yudhishthira said, "In such a case, allow this poor dog with me to come to the heaven alongwith me. It has been faithfully following me for a long time. I cannot be cruel to this innocent creature."

Indra answered." King! You have attained immortality, heavenly wealth and equality with me! At this time of reaching the ultimate highest destination, you should disown this dog. No cruelty in that."

But Yudhishthira pleaded with Indra." Sir! Lord of the three worlds! How can a pious man wish to meet persons alike him through an immoral means? If I am to enjoy the heavenly pleasures with my beloved at the cost of my faithful followers, then I am prepared to forego such pleasures themselves, rather than my sincere followers."

Indra tried to convince him." People with dogs are not allowed into the heaven. The Krodhavasha group of gods will destroy the accumulated piety of such people. Hence, analyse the situation and decide. No cruelty in leaving this dog, as this is an untouchable being and is going to cost your heaven for you."

Yudhishthira still persisted, but politely and respectfully. " Sir! Disowning the faithful is said to be as henious a crime as the killing of a braahmana. As such, I cannot leave this dog for my own benefits, come what may, go what may. It is my adopted practice to protect those that look at me for protection, even if my life is in danger. Please pardon me for speaking against your orders. "

Indra too was stubborn. " I already explained to you. I repeat, dear king ! All your piety will be lost if you are seen with this dog. The amounted favourable results of all your alms, sacrifices and noble deeds will be annulled off. You will, in turn, be deprived of the very heaven itself. You were not disturbed with the deaths of your dear wife and beloved brothers. How can't you leave this unworthy dog? Why do you stick to your meaningless stand and lose all that is at hand?"

Yudhishthira submisively answered." Sir! I am helpless as far as my brothers and wife are concerned. I cannot do anything for the dead. No truce or feud with the dead is possible. They met their destined fates. But I cannot ignore this living dog that has been faithfully following me this long. Moralists say that there are four worst crimes. Troubling the refugee, murder of a woman,stealing of a braahmana's property and betraying a true friend. But I opine that disowning a faithful follower is also a crime of that worst class. Kindly pardon me for arguing with you this way. Do not consider me disobedient to you and allow me to come alongwith this dog. "

Then the divine drums and trumpets sounded with echos all around. The persistently following dog vanished and there appeared lord Yama himself. All the invisible beings praised Yudhishthira for his stubborn following of the dharma.

Yama said to Yudhishthira. " King! You maintained the prestige and pride of your lineage. Your kindness to all living beings is commendable. I tested you once in the past in the Dvytha forest, in the form of a Yaksha, while your brothers fell dead trying for my water unmindful of my warnings not to venture. When I offered revival of only one of your four brothers, you chose your half-brother Nakula, leaving your own mighty brothers Bheema and Arjuna, with a view to maintaining equal benefit to your two mothers. And again now, I tested you in the form of a dog. To take care of a petty dog, you are ready to forego even the divine abode. No one in this heaven is equal to you. You became absolutely eligible to ascend to the heaven with your mortal body."

Vyshampaayana continued. " Then all the noble and powerful gods like Indra, Yama, Maruths and Ashvis got Yudhishthira mounted onto the divine carrier and took him to the heaven. Yudhishthira proceeded with them, brightening the surroundings with his resplendence. The great divine sage Naarada then spoke out aloud. " Here comes Yudhishthira, the paandava king, lessening the status and resplendence of other occupants of the heaven. We never heard of any human having attained the heaven with the mortal body, except this righteous man. O Yudhishthira ! See around here. Many such places as you have seen on the earth! And all occupied by divine beings."

Yudhishthira heard Naarada's words. He thought of his brothers and all hia associate kings. And said to the gods, " O divine Lords! May it be good or bad. I wish to go where all my brothers are. I like only their place for me, not any other, even though it is of more higher status."

Indra answered him." King, You will stay here. This place is a reward of your noble deeds. Why are you still attracted by mortal bonds that are not valid here ? You have attained such a place that was never before won by any mortal. Your brothers could not attain this level to live with you here. This is heaven. See all the divine sages and gods around . You are still in the frame of mortal thoughts. Shed all those human feelings."

Yudhishthira insisted. " O Indra! I am not desirous of staying where my brothers can't stay. In stead, I wish to go there where they stay! May you kindly send me there where my fond brothers and my dear wife Droupadi are. Please do not deny my request."

Then Indra and the other gods and the sages took him to the heaven. Yudhishthira went with them thinkng that he was going to see his brothers and friends as was requested by him.



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"After praying to Naaraayana, Nara,Vyaasa and Sarasvathi, then one should recite the Jayam."


11:02 PM 1/1/2013