Rishi Dhaumya and Pandavas

By Ms. Usha Shinde
When did Rishi Dhaumya come into contact with Pandavas?
King Drupad had announced the wedding (Swayamvar)of his beautiful and brave daughter called Draupadi. Hearing about her, Arjuna decided to participate in the swayamvar and win her heart by showing his skill in archery. That time elders told that while going for such a endeavour, one should have a family priest with them. On the way they met Dhaumya Rishi and requested him to be their family priest and go along with them. Dhaumya agreed and the association started which lasted throughout the life of Pandavas.  

Virat Parva is Mahabharata’s  one of chapter when Pandavas went into incognito.
Dhaumya and Pandava’s  association became more meaningful at the end of exile of twelve years. One year was to be passed in Adnyatavasa. Dhaumya was residing on the banks of river Krishna near Viratanagar, presently known as Wai in Satara district of Maharashtra. His ashram was busy in daily activities with his two shishyas called Aruni and Upamanyu. Before starting the adnyatavasa, Pandavas visited the ashram. It is described in Mahabharata that Rishi Dhaumya welcomed padavas and showed them great warmth and love. Pandavas were tired and equally concerned about the remaining one more year to spend without getting to know their real identity, otherwise they would have to repeat the vanavasa for twelve more years. Dhaumya comforted them and gave great insight to pandavas by giving advice and guidance which is relevant even in today’s times.

Dhaumya said,” You all know how to protect the dignity of your royal family. But first and foremost duty will be to protect Draupadi.”

“Secondly, it is very difficult to hide your real identities as the royal looks are prominent, hence you have to be extremely careful. Duryodhana’s spies are moving everywhere to reveal your identities so that your exile can be repeated for next 12 years again. Kauravas are bent upon this plan.”

“Since you all have decided to get employment at King Virata’s place, you cannot be seen together at any cost. It is very tricky to work with King in his court and stay with royal family. Never attend him unless he calls one of you for particular service. Never consider yourselves close to him which will make the spies doubtful. While in service its better to keep the distance from others as jealousy prevails everywhere.”

“Never use King’s horse, vehicle, seat or a bed. Serve him quietly without catching unnecessary attention of anybody.

Never try to get close to royal ladies or the people who are not liked by the King. Even small things also should be reported to king only as it may be significant for him. Crossing one’s own limits invite King’s wrath..Handle King as if you are handling a fire.”

Rishi Dhaumya goes in to minute details of the behaviour, manners and etiquettes  and protocols in top government  which are very much relevant today. Dhaumya said-

“While sitting, choose either right or left side of the King. Never choose backside as it is for the bodyguards. If King says something in a lighter vein, it should not be publicised among public. While conversing with the king, your body language should be composed, firm without making faces or playing with hands and legs. Even if something funny happens in the court, one should not laugh loudly nor make a serious face. Responses should be appropriate. Never show any kind of displeasure or bad mood in front of the king or in his court. Always be available for the call of duty and be present immediately with enthusiasm. Follow him like a shadow ad be present immediately and politely as soon as he calls. Important matters should be kept confidential and if you are appointed for a particular task please do not touch the king’s money. The temptation of money can lead to wrath of the king and may lead to jail. Any kind of corruption may even lead to death .”

“You all should be in your limitations as employees of the king and should only use the clothes, jewellery and vehicles which are allotted to you.”

“Family problems and other stresses should not be exhibited.”

“Whole year is ahead of you and it is difficult to behave like an ordinary  personal staff of king Virata as you will have to constantly remind that this is a passing phase. If all of you maintain the control of your mind and its senses, you will be successful and will be free to lead the normal life with your own identity.”

Afterwards Dhaumya did a small “yadnya” for Pandavas and wished them the best of health, wealth and prosperity.

The advice and guidance is remarkably applicable even in today’s times. It teaches us to keep low profile in the bad times and wait for the good times. These life skills are essential in day today life and while working in modern environment too. Today same principles are taught as “Soft skills, “Life skills” and “Management  Techniques”.  Such is the ancient wisdom on which the human race has developed and progressed. Lot of psychology is involved here with counselling tips.

As it is said  “Vyasochishtam Jagat Sarvam” means no topic or subject related to human life is left untouched by Maharshi Vyasa in Mahabharata.

The counselling sessions took place at this Ashram are applicable to us in our hard times. The protocols are same in working or dealing or with leaders of the various nations. In day to day life it helps us in dealing with our superiors at work place too!

Dhaumya’s ashram is still in Wai on the banks of Krishna River.  On the other side the dam which is built by only mud is named after this Rishi to keep his memory alive. It is called as “Dhom Dam.”  The Ashram is obviously ancient with Shiva Parvati temple, where Pandavas worshipped before leaving for adnyatvasa to work with King Virata.It is mentioned in Mahabharata that Pandavas worshipped Godess Duga and obtained blessings, before changing their names and identities. It is a serene place and one can feel the divine vibrations.  Dhaumya’s Samadhi is below the temple. Old priest shows the place where Pandavas took bath along with Draupadi. The forest around the ashram gives idea of how thick it must be in those days. Entire location of Ashram is very strategic as we know that in ancient times these Rishis and ashram were information centres.

Many ancient idols are seen around which requires care and protection.

Vairat is now remains as only Wai and historical evidence is in the name itself.  Nearby are the two tall forts which are called as “Vairat Gadh” and “Pandav Gadh”. Not only that but hardly few kilometres away are the ancient caves where Pandavas had taken shelter before meeting Dhaumya. The caves are called as “Lohare Caves” and there are three very interesting caves. There are five beds carved on ground floor for all Pandavas and one bed is carved above them for Draupadi, so that she can be in front of their eyes. This idea is amazing.  Second cave is a kitchen of Draupadi where a stone pot is carved which is always filled with water even today..Third cave is a bathroom for Draupadi. If we think of those days, the place cannot be easily accessible. At Wai the place is shown where Kichaka’s body was thrown by Bhima.

One goes into the trance and can feel the vibrations of Dhaumya’s tapasya, mantra and the divinity. Dhaumya, a fatherly figure and a visionary might have foreseen all things and already established his Ashram here, to be close with Pandavas.
How assuring it must be for Pandavas!