Why did Krishna and others not try to reform Duryodhana as reformation is the ultimate goal?
Transcription by– VandanaGoel and Keshav Gopal Das
Question– Did anyone or even Lord Krishna try to reform Duryodhana and isn’t reformation the ultimate goal if a person is to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death?
Answer– Yes, but almost every one tried to counsel and reform Duryodhana. There is whole parvain theMahabharat called UdyogParva. This is the parva before the battle starts. In Udyogparva basically there are two activities. One is both the parties are forming alliances. Mahabharata embodies the slogan, ‘try for the best and prepare for the worst.’ Try for the best means that the Pandavas were trying for peace by every possible means. The best option is the peaceful solution works out but what if a peaceful solution doesn’t work out? Prepare for the worst, means that they were forming alliances if a battle would take place they would be ready for it. Actually even before the gambling match took place at that time Vidura, Bhishma all of them advised Duryodhana and Dhritrashtra that gambling is the cause of all evil, do not gamble. But he was adamant. Even during the course of gambling match Vidura, even Duryodhana’s own brother Vikarna tried to stop him but he didn’t listen. Afterwards when the Pandavas were exiled at that time Duryodhana was still somewhat worried because the Pandavas had taken vows that we will destroy you afterwards. And he also felt that the victory was not complete, so at that time at the instigation of Karana he galvanized army and he decided to march within the forest to crush Pandavas completely. At that time as he had just come out of the city of Hastinapur, Vyasdeva appeared before him and Vyasdeva actually through out the Mahabhartahe keeps appearing but this is the only time he is angry and he said, ‘the way you have dealt with your cousins is extremely unfair and I am very displeased with you. Go back forth with it. If you go forward and try to harm the Pandavas in any way, I will curse you and you will be destroyed by it. And then again he gives him good counsel. First he chastises him, then he tells him stop give the Pandavas back their kingdom and stay, but he didn’t listen.
Afterwards when the Pandavas were in the forest, Maitreya Rishi comes. He was very powerful sage and he tells about the prowess of Bhima in killing many demons and the prowess of Arjuna in having gone to heaven after satisfying the gods and acquired many more weapons and finally he says, ‘if you do not make peace with the Pandavas, you will be destroyed’. And that time Duryodhana was so insolvent that he doesn’t even pay much attention to the prophecy like sometimes if you are not interested in something if someone is speaking, and you are just looking here and there. So he was like that. When Maitreya rishi was speaking, he just clapped his thighs to indicate his power. And that time Maitreya Rishi got so angry he said, ‘Owretched one; the same thigh that you are so proud of will become the cause of your death; unless you reform yourself.’ And that is how died by hitting of Bhima on the thighs. Eventually when the exile got over ( as I mentioned in the earlier class) even then a incidence comes that Shakuni also advises him, give half the kingdom to Pandavas, you will appear generous,he did not listen to that. Eventually when the Pandavas were discovered or rather the Agyatvaas got over and Arjuna emerged at the end, in the Viraat battle at that time Bhishma told him, ‘now that Pandavas have finished their exile, you should give the their kingdom back’. He said, ‘no.’ Eventually after Arujana single handedly defeated all theKauravasatVirat then Drupada and Virat and all of the Pandavas make allies together and Drupada send his Brahmana messenger saying that if you don’t agree for peace then you will be destroyed and he gave a good advise but he didn’t listen. Then finally Krishna himself came along with Narada Muni, Parshuraama, Agastya Muni and whole host of sages and all of them spoke but he was never ready to listen.
On the fourth day of the battle it was severe reversal for the Kaurava forces. Bhima was single handedly wrecking the Kaurava’s force and he was also fighting with bows and arrows but when he would get especially excited he would throw bows and arrows and pick up a mace and charge into the enemy camp. He would whirl his mace and that day he single handedly destroyed the whole elephant division. Duryodhana was so outraged that he attacked him but he was no match, Duryodhana was severly wounded he fell unconscious and only because Drona came and saved him that time; he survived. After that he was severly humiliated. That night he asked Bhishma who was commander for the first ten days, he asked, ‘how is it? When I have warriors like you, like the preceptor, the invincible Kripa, still how is it that my army is being defeated?’
That time Bhishma told, ‘when I was in the heavens with mother Ganga at that time the devata spoke that the immortal and indestructible Vishnu is going to descend to this world. That Vishnu has come as Krishna and nobody can win against Krishna. That day he heard because he had been so severely defeated and wounded he was a little submissive and he heard but still he did not relent. On the fourteenth day after Arjuna had killed Jaidrata that time also, he was thinking how is it possible that one warrior can overcome our entire army? Surely this must be divinely empowered. He thought like that but then no. I will keep fighting and at that time Drona came strong advise repeatedly he did not listen.
On the seventeenth day when the war between Karna and Arjuna was going on, the final battle at that time slowly Arjuna was getting upper hand over Karna, that time Ashwathama came to him (Ashwathama is still alive) he told him, there is no use fighting against the Pandavas. We will not be able to win. Why send the remaining warriors to the death ? If I talk to Yudhistara; Yudhistara will immediately resist from fight and I will stop Karna also. End the fight. Even then he did not listen.
Actually speaking the Pandavas and Krishna gave full chances to them, Krishna used Saama, Daama,Bheda and Danda; everything He used inHis peace mission but still he did not listen. Defining characteristic of Duryodhana is not just envy, he is envious but his obstinacy that aggravates the envy. Obstinacy that he would not to listen to any one! Regarding reforming people, the door for reformation is a one way door. And the key lies inside with the person. So it is that person who has to choose to reform. What can others do?
Even in our own lives we may have our own dependencywe may have acquaintances we feel we want to help them in brief what can we do? We can basically do three things we can give knowledge, we can share an example ourselves be exemplary and we can provide facilities.
To give knowledge of what is right why it is right then some people may say O you just speak big-big things and don’t practice. We try to practice in our lives also and then we provide facilities. Now if you see Krishna gave this knowledge He told him philosophically what is Dharma, what is Adharma, what will be the consequences and the what was the inspiration of Yudhistara himself? Actually Yudhistara had the right to the full kingdom but Yudhistara was ready to share half of the kingdom. Not only that Krishna the Lord Himself offered the facility to him, he offered him peace in the most accommodating terms. Just give five villages. So reforming is ultimately every individual has oneself to choose and if that person doesn’t choose in this life time then they will haveto choose in future life.
The Mahabharata thus illustrate this point, if you see that contrast, they are Dhrithrashtra and Duryodhana. Duryodhana is not reformed till death but Dhrithrashtra does become reformed. The difference between Dhrithrastra and Duryodhana is that Dhrishrashtra himself is the personification of weakness whereas Duryodhana is the personification of wickedness. Weakness and wickedness!Duryodhana knew exactly which buttons to press to make Dhrithrashtra dance to his tunes. Eventually when Duryodhana had died and all the hopes of possessing the kingdom of Dhrithrashtrafell overthenon Vidura’s instructions; he did become reformed. Dhrithrashtra had to lose everything before he lost his blindness. His blindness was not just physical but also spiritual. He had blind attachment, he had lose everything but he did become reformed. How did it happen; because he had a committed well-wisher in Vidura. Because of Vidura’s tireless helping eventually Dhrithrashtra was transformed.
We can do our best to help others transform but ultimately its for them to make the choice. We can be friends and well wishers who offer help in a way that is acceptable for them that is they will accept. We can facilitate.