Mahabharata: VIDURA, Vidura was the third brother of Dhritarashtra. It is said that God Dharma himself took birth in the form of Vidura. In the whole of Mahabharata, Vidura is the voice of reason and wisdom.

Vidura was the third brother of Dhritarashtra. It is said that God Dharma himself took birth in the form of Vidura. In the whole of Mahabharata, Vidura is the voice of reason and wisdom. He loved the Kauravas and the Pandavas equally and always worked for their good. He was a minister to his brother Dhritarashtra, yet he lived the life of a poor man; for he never cared for riches. He married a poor woman.

Once while playing, the young Kauravas poisoned Bhima, bound him, threw him into the Ganga and went home, thinking he would die. Not seeing Bhima return, Kunti, his mother, was alarmed and reported this to Vidura. Vidura calmed her saying: "Please do not worry. Your children are divine. No harm will befall Bhima. He will return safe." And Kunti returned greatly relieved by his words. And Bhima returned home safely, all the more strong. On another occasion, the Kauravas built a palace of lac at Varanavat and sent the Pandavas to live in it. It was their plan to set fire to that palace when the Pandavas occupied it, so that all the Pandavas and Kunti would perish in the flames.

Vidura, coming to know of it, told Yudhishthira about the conspiracy and advised him to dig a tunnel under the palace, through which they escaped to safety. When the Kauravas invited the Pandavas to a game of dice, Vidura warned his brother Dhritarashtra of the evil results that would follow. But Duryodhana ignored the warning.

Soon after the Pandavas had been exiled, Dhritarashtra felt uneasy that the Pandavas had been wronged. He therefore called Vidura and said : "How can we bring about reconciliation between the Pandavas and my sons?"

Vidura said: "Dear brother, your sons have cheated the Pandavas. It is against dharma. The only way to reconciliation is to ask them to return to the Pandavas all that the Pandavas lost in the game. It is your duty to do so as King and an elder."

Dhritarashtra, on hearing it, flared up : "You, are always partial to the Pandavas. How can I betray my sons? If you do not like us, you better go away from here!"Vidura collected his things and calmly went to the Pandava camp. On hearing that Vidura had joined the Pandavas, Dhritarashtra sent Sanjaya to call Vidura back. One night, prior to the Bharata war, Dhritarashtra was greatly agitated and did not get sleep. He asked Vidura how he could get peace of mind.

Vidura spoke to him in detail of Dharma and Neeti in such fine terms that even now his advice is greatly prized for its wisdom. It is called "Vidura Neeti", and this passage occurs in the Udyoga Parva of the Mahabharata.

At the end of his advice Vidura said with humility: "I am unable to teach you further. I request you to seek the aid of Rishi Sanat Kumara for further knowledge." Sanat Kumara came and taught Dhritarashtra the higher truth about God and His realisation. Vidura was a great devotee of Lord Krishna. Later, when the Kauravas were killed in the war and Dhritarashtra was plunged in sorrow, Vidura consoled his brother: “No one can stop death. Those who die in war go to heaven. So do not grieve over them." After the crowning of Yudhisthira, Dhritarashtra stayed with the Pandavas. Vidura too stayed with them and he always spoke to them of Dharma. When Dhritarashtra, Gandhari and Kunti retired to the forest, Vidura too accompanied them. There he performed severe tapas, staying in the lonely forest and going without food.

In the end, it is said, he gave up his life in tapas and his soul entered the body of Yudhisthira. Thus Vidura is an embodiment of dharma and is a beacon-light unto all. His teachings "Vidura Neeti" are a treasure-house of wisdom.

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