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api smaratha no yusmat-
mocita yat samatrkah
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Maharaja Yudhisthira said: My uncle, do you remember how you always protected us, along with our mother, from all sorts of calamities? Your partiality, like the wings of a bird, saved us from poisoning and arson.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Due to Pandu’s death at an early age, his minor children and widow were the object of special care by all the elderly members of the family, especially Bhismadeva and Mahatma Vidura. Vidura was more or less partial to the Pandavas due to their political position. Although Dhrtarastra was equally careful for the minor children of Maharaja Pandu, he was one of the intriguing parties who wanted to wash away the descendants of Pandu and replace them by raising his own sons to become the rulers of the kingdom. Mahatma Vidura could follow this intrigue of Dhrtarastra and company, and therefore, even though he was a faithful servitor of his eldest brother, Dhrtarastra, he did not like his political ambition for the sake of his own sons. He was therefore very careful about the protection of the Pandavas and their widow mother. Thus he was, so to speak, partial to the Pandavas, preferring them to the sons of Dhrtarastra, although both of them were equally affectionate in his ordinary eyes. He was equally affectionate to both the camps of nephews in the sense that he always chastised Duryodhana for his intriguing policy against his cousins. He always criticized his elder brother for his policy of encouragement to his sons, and at the same time he was always alert in giving special protection to the Pandavas. All these different activities of Vidura within the palace politics made him well known as partial to the Pandavas. Maharaja Yudhisthira has referred to the past history of Vidura before his going away from home for a prolonged pilgrim’s journey. Maharaja Yudhisthira reminded him that he was equally kind and partial to his grown-up nephews, even after the Battle of Kuruksetra, a great family disaster.
Before the Battle of Kuruksetra, Dhrtarastra’s policy was peaceful annihilation of his nephews, and therefore he ordered Purocana to build a house of lac at Varanavata, and when the building was finished Dhrtarastra desired that his brother’s family live there for some time. When the Pandavas were going there in the presence of all the members of the royal family, Vidura tactfully gave instructions to the Pandavas about the future plan of Dhrtarastra. This is specifically described in the Mahabharata (Adi-parva 144). He indirectly hinted, “Even a weapon not made of steel or any other material element can be more than sharp enough to kill an enemy, and he who knows this is never killed.” That is to say, he hinted that the party of the Pandavas was being sent to Varanavata to be killed, and thus he warned Yudhisthira to be very careful in their new residential palace. He also gave indications of fire and said that fire cannot extinguish the soul but can annihilate the material body. But one who protects the soul can live. Kunti could not follow such indirect conversations between Maharaja Yudhisthira and Vidura, and thus when she inquired from her son about the purport of the conversation, Yudhisthira replied that from the talks of Vidura it was understood that there was a hint of fire in the house where they were proceeding. Later on, Vidura came in disguise to the Pandavas and informed them that the housekeeper was going to set fire to the house on the fourteenth night of the waning moon. It was an intrigue of Dhrtarastra that the Pandavas might die all together with their mother. And by his warning the Pandavas escaped through a tunnel underneath the earth so that their escape was also unknown to Dhrtarastra, so much so that after setting the fire, the Kauravas were so certain of the death of the Pandavas that Dhrtarastra performed the last rites of death with great cheerfulness. And during the mourning period all the members of the palace became overwhelmed with lamentation, but Vidura did not become so, because of his knowledge that the Pandavas were alive somewhere. There are many such instances of calamities, and in each of them Vidura gave protection to the Pandavas on one hand, and on the other he tried to restrain his brother Dhrtarastra from such intriguing policies. Therefore, he was always partial to the Pandavas, just as a bird protects its eggs by its wing.