Chapter V - 19 Home | Index | Previous | Next

Meanwhile, news came to Hastinapura that Vidura, Dharmaraja's uncle, moving about on the environs of the city in the guise of a monk; it travelled from mouth to mouth and at last reached the ears of Dharmaraja, the king. The news was received with surprise and joy. He sent a few scouts to discover whether the news was authentic, and soon, they brought the welcome information that Vidura had actually come and was present. Dharmaraja could not contain himself with excitement.

"Ah! How happy you have made me!" he exclaimed. "This holy moment has made the dried trunk of the tree of hope put forth leaves again. Oh, I can now see and serve Vidura who fostered us and guarded us and guided us, though I feared I might not get the chance at all."

The heartening news was spread by courtiers among the queens and princesses and women of the royal household. Dharmaraja did not rest; he spoke about the great event to everyone around him; he sought out others to share with them the joy. He issued orders to the army that appropriate arrangements should be made to welcome into the capital the brother of his late father, sage Vidura, foremost among the votaries of the Lord. The citizens too were alerted and asked to prepare a grand reception.

They decorated the streets and mansions on each side of them; they erected arches and hung festoons and hoisted flags. They allotted galleries and seats on every road for children, women, and the aged, so that they might have a fine and clear view of the procession and of the great sage. It was an inspiring sight to see many old men and women hobbling on with their sticks, eager to get a glimpse of Vidura, whom they extolled as the very embodiment of Dharma, as the very Godfather of the Pandavas. Some thought at first that the sighting of Vidura on the outskirts of the city must have been in someone's dream, and not in actual fact. They had lived long enough to swallow the rumour without personal verification. For, they never could believe that Vidura would ever come back to Hastinapura. They grouped themselves on vantage points and got ready for the great moment when they could rest their eyes on the saint. All along the route, every building was overflowing with humanity; the trees carried strings of adventurous youth, full of excitement and expectation, shouting in acclamation the impending arrival of Vidura.

The King, decked in ceremonial robes, ascended the royal chariot and started out of the palace with his brothers to bring home the famous votary of the Lord.

Vidura appeared before them walking barefoot, slow and dignified, with matted hair and wearing the robes of a monk. The king and his brothers stepped down from their vehicles, bowed reverentially to the feet of Vidura and walked behind him, at a respectful distance. The citizens ran forward and fell at Vidura's feet, in spite of the earnest entreaties of the guards that they should desist. The Pandavas could not express welcome in words; their joy was immeasurable. So, their eyes spoke it, with tears of gratitude. They clasped Vidura in their arms and prayed to him that he should get into the chariot so that the thick ranks of onlookers on all the roads might get Darsan to their hearts' content. Vidura was persuaded to agree. Seated in the royal chariot of the king, Vidura gave Darsan to the people who had gathered en route. At last, the procession reached the palace. It was a sweet flood of song and joy that flowed along the roads of the city that day.