धर्मो र्विदुररूपेण शापात् तस्य महात्मनः । माण्डव्यस्यार्थतत्त्वज्ञः कामक्रोधविवर्जितः ।
महात्मा माण्डव्यके शापसे साक्षात् धर्मराज ही विदुररूपमें उत्पन्न हुए थे। वे अर्थतत्त्वके ज्ञाता और काम-क्रोधसे रहित थे।
It was Dharmaraj who was born as Vidura, as a result of the curse of Sage Mandavya. Vidura was the knower of all virtues and ethics and also devoid of vices like attachment and anger.
One day, a great sage Mandavya was immersed in meditation under the shade of a tree outside his ashram. Suddenly a band of dacoits entered his ashram to hide the loot from the king’s policemen who were pursuing them. When the policemen reached the ashram they saw sage Mandavya meditating under a tree in front of the ashram. The head of the policemen asked Mandavya, “Did you see the dacoits passing by?” The sage, who was absorbed in meditation, remained silent. The officer repeated the question but the sage neither heard nor replied anything. In the meantime, some of the policemen entered the ashram and discovered the stolen loot and the dacoits hiding there.
This gave the police officer the false impression that the sage was in fact the head of the dacoits in the guise of a sadhu. Thus, he captured sage Mandavya along with the dacoits and presented all of them in front of the king’s court. The king was very angry that the dacoit had put on the garb of a sage to deceive the world. Without cross-checking or giving a chance to present his case the king passed the judgment and ordered the wicked criminal, as he thought him, to be impaled. The king’s men impaled Mandavya on a spear.
But such was the powers of the sage that he remained alive by the power of meditation. Other great sages came to him in the form of birds and flew around him. They then asked sage Mandavy how he came to be in such a terrible situation. Mandavya replied, “Whom shall I blame, I find no one to blame for my misfortune.”
When the king heard that the impaled sage was still alive and also surrounded by other sages, he came running to the sage, surprised and frightened. After ordering his men to take the sage down of the impale the king prostrated at his feet and prayed for forgiveness. Mandavya was not angry with the king, he went straight to Yamraj who is also known as Dharmaraj since he is the divine dispenser of justice, and asked, “What crime have I committed to deserve this torture?” Dharmraj replied in all humility, “O sage, you have tortured birds and bees. Are you not aware that all deeds, good or bad, however small, inevitably produce their results, good or evil?”
स्वल्पमेव यथा दत्तं दानं बहुगुणं भवेत् । अधर्म एवं विप्रर्षे बहुदुःखफलप्रदः
जैसे थोड़ा-सा भी किया हुआ दान कई गुना फल देनेवाला होता है, वैसे ही अधर्म भी बहुत दुःखरूपी फल देनेवाला होता है।
As even a little bit of charity yields great benefit, the smallest act of a wrongful deed also can cause great misery.
Mandavya was surprised at this reply and asked, “When did I commit this offense?” Dharmaraj replied, “When you were a little boy.” Upon hearing this sage Mandavya cursed Dharmaraj, “This punishment you have decreed is far in excess of the mistake committed by a child in ignorance. Be born, therefore as a mortal in the world.” Thus, as cursed by sage Mandavya, Dharmaraj took birth as Vidura- a son of the servant-maid of Ambalika, the wife of Vichitravirya. The world regards Vidura as a mahatma who was unparalleled in his knowledge of dharma, sastras, and statesmanship and was devoid of attachment and anger. Bhishma appointed him, while he was still in his teens, as the chief counselor of king Dhritarashtra of Hastinapur. Ved Vyasa, who also happens to be the father of Vidura says that no one in the three worlds could equal Vidura in virtue and knowledge.