Sajjanas instead of worrying that they have difficulties, instead utilize the situation and do good to themselves and society. Paandavas did many apoorva kaarys during their Aranyavaasam. One of them was learning different things from many great rushis, munis, other Mahapurushas.
Once Paandavas had the bhaagyam of the darshanam of Shri Maarkandeya maharshi. After Dharmaraaja did Yathaa-vidhi atithi-seva, Maarkandeya maharshi expressed his sorrow because Sajjanas like Paandavas had to face such difficulties. He then told then stories of Shri Raama Chandra and Nala-Damayant, who experienced still greater difficulties for the sake of following Dharmam.
One day Dharmaraaja asked Maarkandeya maharshi “Maharshi! I have a small Prashna” with little hesitation. Maarkandeya maharshi replied “one must ask and know things what he doesnt know. Please go ahead and ask your Prashna”. Dharmaraaja asked “as far as I know you are the only Chiranjeeva. Are there anybody else?” With chiru-mandahaasamMaarkandeya maharshi told the story of the great Indradyumna:
(The story of how Shrimannaaraayana saved the Gajendra and gave him Moksham is well known. Gajendra in his previous birth was a great King by name Indradyumna.)
In ancient times there used to be a king by name Indradyumna. It was well known that there was no one to match his Dharma-svabhaavam. As a consequence of his good deeds and daya, daana gunams, he ascended to swargam upon leaving the physical body. He enjoyed the sukhaas of swarga for a very long time. Once Indra called him in his sabha:
Indra said, “O King, you have done immense number of punyaas in your life and as a result you were here for a very long time. However unless one totally surrenders to Parameshwara and comes out of the cycle of Punya & Paapa, one needs to be binded to his own Karma. The time on earth past so much that now no one remembers any of your good deeds and hence it is time for you to leave swarga lookam”. Indradyumna was very surprised to hear that his huge punya-raashis have melted. Indra however said, “if you show me somebody who remembers your good deeds or is still enjoying the benefits of the good done by you, you can continue enjoying the swarga lookam. After all, no man may be cast away from here as long as traces of his good deeds are remaining”.
Indradyumna recalled that the Maarkandeya maharshi is a chiranjeevi. So he went to him and asked him, “O great maharshi, do you remember my good deeds?”. Maarkandeya, who was doing Teertha-yaatras, Punya-karmas, and Upavaasa-deeksha since a very long time and was having very little physical power, replied, “I am sorry but I don’t remember who you are. In the great Himaalaya parvataas there lives an Uluukam (owl) called Praavaarakarna. He is older than me and hence might know you. If you put little more effort you can reach him”. Both Maarkandeya maharshi and Indradyumna went to Praavaarakarna.
Indradyumna asked him, “I am told that you are the longest lived creature in the world. Do you remember any of my good deeds”? Praavaarakarna replied, “O great king, I do not remember you, you must have been before my time. There is a sarovaram at a distance of 2 Yojanas from here. Coincidentally it is named Indradyumna, where my friend Naadiijangha, a mahaa-bakam (big crane), lives and he is older than me”.
All three went to the sarovaram and sadly Naadiijangha also did not know Indradyumna. However he said “it is possible that my friend Aakuupaara, who has lived here since before my parent’s time, might know something of Indradyumna”. Naadiijangha called for Aakuupaara, a very very old kuurmam (tortoise).
On knowing that Indradyumna arrived, Aakuupaara’s eyes were filled with aananda-bhaashpaas, his heart was much moved and he trembled with deep emotion. He did many namaskaars to the King and said, “O Indradyumna, I know you very well. You did thousand Yagnyaas, built 1000 Yuupa-stambhaas and gave away hundreds of thousands of cows as daanam. This very Sarovaram was excavated just by the movements of the hooves of those cows (he gave away some many!) and that is why it bears your name. I am blessed to have obtained sight of you after so many years”.
Immediately a divya-vimaanam came for Indradyumna and took him to urdhva-lookaas. God never leaves good people. Shrimannaaraayana made Indradyumna realize that there is Kaivalyam which is beyond swargas, all urdhva-lookas etc, through his next janma as Gajendra. He blessed him with Moksham when Gajendra left all his pride, doubt and totally surrendered himself to God.
Morals in the story:
- The importance, greatness of good qualities like daya, daanam etc. are well portrayed in the story.
- It is not rich people or powerful people that the world will remember. It is the people who help others that the world will remember. It is the only wealth that can be carried beyond life.
- If one never leaves the path of Dharma, at some or the other time, God will save him, remove any small buddhi-doshaas that are remaining, and give moksham. This is what that happens to Indradyumna in his next janma as Gajendra.
Search Terms: Nadi Jangha, Naadii Jangha, Markandeya, Yudhishthira, Dharmaraja, Akupara, Indra, Pravarakarna