Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Old tales - Yudi feeding 8000 people everyday

DISCLAIMER: I am not taking lessons in moral science or decrying any religion or faith or beliefs, so please just ensure that you drink a a good quantity of sense of humor before starting to read

Long long ago, very long ago, so long ago, nobody knows how long ago, after the war at Kurukshetra Yudi is crowned king of sampurna Bharatavarsha (sum total India then) and he would pursue a habit he picked up during the time he and his brothers (pandavs) spent in exile. The habit was to feed 8000 (why 8000 people I am not sure) everyday. Imagine 8K hungry people would turn up at lunch time( I am assuming Lunch only) and Yudi as host would first wait for them to finish before gobbling his lunch. This fact of Yudi spread far and wide and inflated his ego so much so that his ego grew bigger than Godzilla and king kong stacked. Krishna in far of Dwaraka comes to know of this and he ponders "me thinks I will pay a visit to Yudi, his 8000 fame and his inflated ego. Just as Krishna was thinking this, Garuda comes along and says "Let's get moving, why the wait". So Krishna smiling hops on Garuda and off they flew towards Hastinapura. As would always happen, whenever Krishna came visiting people would throng for his darshan.  After a couple of hours Bhimasena(Of the shaanth Gadadhari Bhim fame) would lose his patience and would take his mace and swing it a couple of times and create a path from Krishna to the guest palace. Krishna had a separate palace in Hastinapura (even though he dissuaded and disapproved of it) which was bigger and grander than Yudi the emperor's palace. 
          The next day as usual Yudi would place host to 8K folks waiting for lunch. As they stood watching Yudi asked Krishna, have you seen a grander sight than a king gain satisfaction watching his praja being fed. The pride was not to missed when he said it. Krishna smilingly asked permission of Yudi (since Yudi is emperor and Krishna was very particular about such protocols) to go visit his best friend who was waiting to have lunch with him. I will be staying here for sometime anyway. Yudi pestered him with "go tomorrow, but lunch with us today. Why do you insist on going today?" When suddenly he goes "whoa!!! Who is this best friend we have not heard of? I used to think that us Pandavas are your best friends". Krishna could have boasted, "I am Krishna, the Lord of the Cosmos", but no, he simply said "Oh! he is a simpleton whom I meet once every year down south. Would you like to come and meet him?" Now Yudi who was tickled by doubt, jealousy and even more by curiosity said yes. They hop on Garuda who by the way gave Yudi a cold steely look. They flew down south (now remember this is a lore) and in a few minutes landed in the place called Kerala today. When Mahabali saw Krishna, he came running overjoyed like a small child being offered candy. He prostrated before Krishna. Krishna picked him up and gave him a fraternal hug. Mahabali went into raptures and started singing paeans about Krishna, the lord of the Cosmos. By now Yudi got bored and was itching to know who this minstrel was and what made him Krishna's best friend.
        After about three or four songs (as per south Indian mythology movie standards) Mahabali again prostrates in front of Krishna. Krishna picks him up and bids him "Mahabali, my friend, my best friend a very Happy ONAM to you". On hearing this Mahabali became ecstatic and prostrated again. After some more prostrating, hugs and songs, Mahabali notices Yudi and became very apolegetic. "Ayya forgive me, this is a lapse on my part for not noticing you earlier. A guest is the Lord in disguise and I have not noticed you. Please forgive me." He was very earnest when he said this while Yudi was both curious and bored to notice the breach of protocol. All the time Yudi was thinking; "OK he is a big fanatic of Krishna and his bhakti is apaar, So how does that make him Krishna's best friend."
               All this time, Krishna was aware of the turmoil in Yudi's mind, but naughty as he was he let it play for some more time till Mahabali noticed Yudi. Yudi, you know about the grandson of Prahalada who donated me three steps of territory. Well this is Mahabali, who comes to visit Kerala every year on ONAM. Mahabali interrupted, and again started a song about Krishna. Yudi now got very irritated and turned towards Krishna and waited for him to complete the introductions. Krishna turned towards Mahabali and said "Yudi is the grand emperor of sampurna Bharatavarsha. His greatness has spread far and wide. So much so that many people are mirroring his habit of feeding people everyday. He alone feeds 8000 people every day. People sing songs of his greatness everywhere. Krishna went on and on about how this practice ensured that people would not stay hungry and that they would get at least one sumptuous meal everyday." By now, they were seated under a banyan tree surrounded by the bounty of nature partaking a ONAM sadhya together.
               Yudi bore a proud mien during this discourse which extolled his greatness in feeding 8000 people everyday while Mahabali lost all his child like happiness and became sombre and thoughtful. Mahabali very agitated and embarassed because of the thoughts running through him broke another protocol of not seeking permission before breaking from a group meal. He just got up and walked away to sooth this ruffled pili and emotions. He returned soon and prostrated in front of Krishna and Yudi and sought their forgiveness for his yet another breach of protocol. He folded his hands and sought their attention and said 
        "Ayya I seek your forgiveness for what I am going to ask and say now. Lord! Parandhama! Mokshkunda! How is feeding 8000 people greatness when it means that 8000 people have no other way of feeding themselves. Lord! You know how for my yagna's and homams I would find it difficult to find even one person in all the three worlds who would accept my grants and bhiksha. The lord also knows that in my final yagna, people were aghast when you came and asked for three steps of territory since it was considered a shame to ASK for anything. Ayya! forgive me but feeding 8000 people means that either there is not sufficient means of earning or people in Bharatavarsha no longer value the the greatness of working and of being empowered. Ayya! Forgive me, tis not greatness but a real shame when the king has to provide food instead of empowering the praja to get their own food. Ah! People of Bharatavarsha how low have you fallen?". BY now Mahabali was running tears so much that they rivalled the Gautami and Godavari rivers in their flow.

     The lord smiled, Yudi was speechless. He regained his composure and prostrated in front of Mahabali and said "Mahabali! Krishnamsara! You have opened my eyes. Devakisuta, my friend! I thank you for opening my eyes. I will rectify the situation immediately. As if on cue, Garuda presented himself for the journey back home.

EPILOGUE: Last time it was checked, Yudi failed in rectifying the situation. People still wait for the ruler to dole out stuff.