Vidura:The Unyielding Counselor of Mahabharata

Vidura:The Unyielding Counselor of Mahabharata

Vidura, also called Kshatri, is an important character in the ancient Hindu story, the Mahabharata. He serves as the chief advisor to the Kuru kingdom and is the uncle of both the Pandavas and the Kauravas.


Sage Mandavya’s Curs

Once, a sage named Mandavya cursed Yama, the god of death. He cursed Yama to be reborn as a maid’s son because Yama had unjustly impaled him. This curse came to pass, and Yama was born as Vidura in the mortal world.

Birth and Early Life

In ancient Indian mythology, Vidura’s origin is intricately tied to the sage Vyasa and the queens Ambika and Ambalika. Through the practice of Niyoga, Vyasa fathered three sons with these women. Ambika, fearful of Vyasa’s appearance, bore Dhritarashtra, who was born blind. Ambalika, though less afraid, gave birth to Pandu, who was albino due to her fear during the union. Finally, Parishrami, a handmaiden, bore Vidura, who was exceptional but faced lower status due to his mother’s lower social standing.

These events occurred during the reign of King Vichitravirya, who adopted Dhritarashtra and Pandu. The descendants of these brothers, the Kauravas and the Pandavas, ultimately engaged in the epic Battle of Kurukshetra, where the Bhagavad Gita was imparted by Lord Krishna to Arjuna. Despite his lower birth status, Vidura gained immense respect as an adviser to the Pandavas, often warning them of Duryodhana’s treacherous schemes, such as the infamous plan to burn them alive in the house of wax. Thus, Vidura’s wisdom and counsel played a crucial role in the unfolding of the Mahabharata epic.

The Game of Dice

Vidura, renowned for his wisdom and moral compass, finds himself at odds with the unfolding events of the Mahabharata. Despite his earnest efforts to dissuade Yudhishthira from participating in the perilous game of dice orchestrated by the Kauravas, his counsel goes unheeded, leading to dire consequences for the Pandavas. In the face of Draupadi’s harrowing humiliation in the Kaurava court, Vidura stands alongside Prince Vikarna as a lone voice of dissent, only to be met with harsh rebuke from Duryodhana. Although Dhritarashtra is tempted to defend Vidura, he refrains from doing so, mindful of Vidura’s earlier caution about a blind ruler’s limitations. This betrayal of familial ties deeply wounds Vidura, prompting him to sever connections with the Kauravas and throw his support behind the Pandavas when the Kurukshetra war looms on the horizon. Unlike his counterparts bound by duty to Hastinapura and Duryodhana, Vidura’s allegiance is firmly rooted in his principles and kinship, driving him to embrace righteousness and stand by the Pandavas in their pursuit of justice.

Krishna’s Visit

In the epic Mahabharata, the relationship between Lord Krishna and Vidura holds significant importance, reflecting themes of virtue, discernment, and genuine affection. When Krishna visited the city of Hastinapura during a critical juncture of the epic, he chose to stay with Vidura, known for his unwavering commitment to righteousness and impartiality.

Krishna’s decision to stay with Vidura rather than accept the ostentatious hospitality of Duryodhana, the ambitious and often deceitful eldest Kaurava, underscores his preference for sincerity and authenticity over superficial displays of wealth and power. While Duryodhana sought to sway Krishna to his side with grand gestures and lavish offerings, Krishna recognized the purity of Vidura’s intentions and the sincerity behind his hospitality.

By opting for Vidura’s humble abode, Krishna not only demonstrated his respect for Vidura’s wisdom and integrity but also conveyed a broader message about the importance of inner purity and genuine compassion. Through this narrative, the Mahabharata teaches the timeless lesson that true greatness lies not in wealth or status, but in the purity of one’s heart and the sincerity of one’s actions.

Kurukshetra War

In the Mahabharata’s Sanatsujatiya section, before the Kurukshetra War, Vidura sought guidance from the sage Sanatsujata to help Dhritarashtra understand the concept of death. When Krishna visited, Vidura urged everyone in the Court to listen to the messenger’s advice. Duryodhana, however, grew increasingly agitated, insulting Vidura’s lineage and blaming his low-born mother for his allegiance to the Kauravas. In response to this verbal attack, Vidura resigned as Prime Minister and broke his bow, swearing not to join the Kurukshetra War. Some lesser-known versions of the Mahabharata highlight Vidura’s exceptional archery skills, suggesting that had he fought alongside the Kauravas, the Pandavas would have faced overwhelming odds. It’s said that Vidura’s bow, crafted by Vishnu himself, was destroyed at Vishnu’s command during his visit.


After the Kurukshetra War, Yudhishthira, the eldest Pandava, became the emperor. He asked Vidura, his wise advisor, to resume his role as Prime Minister. Years passed, and eventually, Vidura, along with Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, and Kunti, chose to retire to the simplicity of forest life. Sanjaya, another trusted aide, joined them. When Yudhishthira visited them after two years, he found Vidura’s lifeless body. As he approached, Vidura’s spirit entered Yudhishthira’s body, revealing they shared the essence of Yama, the god of death. Following a heavenly voice’s instruction, Yudhishthira left Vidura’s body in the woods without cremation.

This event marked a poignant realization for Yudhishthira, connecting him deeply with Vidura’s wisdom and the cosmic order. It underscored the transient nature of life and the interconnectedness of souls beyond mortal boundaries. The decision to honor the heavenly directive reflected a profound respect for divine guidance, even in matters of death and farewell.

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