Yama as Vidura

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Yama as Vidura

Vidura, half brother of Pandu and Dhritarashtra and also the uncle of Pandavas and Kauravas,is one of the cardinal characters in the epic Mahabharata. He was the son of Sage Vyasa and the lady in waiting to the queens Ambika and Ambalika, the mothers of Dhritharashtra and Pandu respectively.

Ambika and Ambalika were the wives of Vichitravirya, the gerunt of Hastinapura. He died without bestowing them with an offspring which rendered Hastinapura king-less and also sans a natural heir. A distraught Satyavati who was the mother of Vichitravirya called the ascetic Vyasa who was another son of hers born through Sage Parasara, to mate with Ambika and Ambalika and beget a natural heir to the throne. Vyasa, an ascetic with many years of penance was repelling in nature and frightening to look at, so much so that Ambika shut her eyes tight when she saw him, and Ambalika went pale with fear. Following these actions, the sons of Ambika and Ambalika were born blind(Dhritharashtra) and as an albino(Pandu) respectively.

Satyavati then pleaded Vyasa to grant another son to Ambalika as she wanted atleast one child to be born worthy of ruling Hastinapura. However Ambalika apprehensive to see Vyasa again, sent her lady-in-waiting to him. This lady who was not frightened by Vyasa’s appearance had a normal healthy son born to her. This was Vidura.

In Mahabharata, Vidura was the only neutral person in the Kaurava court and was one of the few who disapproved of Draupadi’s humiliation in Duryodhana’s court. He was synonymous for just qualities and was revered by both Pandavas and Kauravas  equally. He once came to the rescue of Pandavas against an evil plan hatched by Duryodhana to burn them alive.

Past life of Vidura

In his previous birth, Vidura was Yama who was the god of death and justice. It was the curse of sage Mandavya which made Yama to take birth as Vidura.  A  band of thieves were hiding in his Ashram for sometime but were nabbed soon by the guards. Mandavya who was in a deep penance then, didn’t perceive their presence. But the soldiers declined to believe this and impaled him for no fault of his. On reaching Yamaloka, Mandavya enquired to Yama why he had suffered such a fate.Yama replied that it was the fruition of his cruel acts which he carried out in his childhood where upon he had passed the ribs of coconut leaves through flies for his amusement. An enraged Mandavya then told Yama that actions during childhood are done out of innocence and should never be taken into account by Yama to decide one’s fate. He further punished Yama by cursing him to be born to a low caste woman on the earth. He further added that though he will have all the qualities of a king, he will never become a king owing to his low birth. Thus Yama was born as Vidura to the servant of queens and sage Vyasa. As both his parents were not from a royal lineage, he was never allowed to wear the crown, though he had all the qualities of a king.

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