October 22, 1999
Friday Meeting

During the Mahabharat, Yamaraja (the god of death) incarnated as Vidura, the half-brother and minister to the king of Hastinapur. The story of his birth started with a group of thieves that were escaping from the king's men. They ran into the aashrama (hermitage) of Manduka Muni, who was in meditation at the time. When the king's men came for them, everyone was captured, including Manduka Muni. The judge hastily ordered that everyone be given the sentence of death by shulee, in which a person is killed by a large sharp lance. When it was finally Manduka Muni's turn, the lance would not drive through his body. The judge realized the mistake they had made, and thus let him go. But Manduka Muni went straight to Yamaraja, and asked what karma (past deed) he had done to deserve the punishment. Chitragupta, Yamaraja's attendant and the celestial bookkeeper, researched his records and found that when Manduka Muni was very young, he caught an ant and poked it with a needle. Manduka Muni however, referencing Yamaraja's "rule book," countered that because that act was done in ignornace as a child, the reaction should not have been as such. Manduka Muni then cursed Yamaraja to repent his mistake by being born on earth and bear insults as a child of the shudra (servant) class. Yamaraja was thus born as Vidura through a daasee (servant lady).



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