One Grain of Rice

Trust the wicked Duryodhana to create trouble for the Pandavas even when they were struggling during their years of exile in the forest. Once Duryodhana invited a sage infamous for his lack of anger management and his tendency to curse left right and centre to his abode. The venerable sage whose very name sent shivers down the spine of many was none other than Durvassavu.

So, Durvassavu along with his ten thousand disciples was invited to the palace in Hastinapur and a very sumptuous meal just to suit the taste and need of the sage and his disciples was arranged by Duryodhana and his brothers. The sage, of course, was mighty pleased with host. He was even more thrilled when Duryodhana suggested that the Pandavas now in exile should not be deprived of playing host to the learned sage and that he should visit them too. The cunning Duryodhana did not forget to mention a particular time of the day by when he knew that the frugal kitchen of Draupadi would be empty of food as the ideal time for the sage to visit them. Not one to let go of an opportunity to test anyone the sage agreed enthusiastically and promptly landed at the doorstep of the hapless Draupadi when she had just had food and even cleaned the vessels after feeding all at home.

At the beginning of the exile,Yudhistira was blessed with a vessel called Akshayapatra, by the Sun god, which could feed as many people as his family wanted and only after the last person, in this case, Draupadi finished having her food would it go empty. When the sage Durvassa came for lunch with his ten thousand disciples, the akshaya patra was empty as even Draupadi had had her food. The sage, however, informed the Pandavas that he and his disciples would come for lunch soon after the customary bath at the river.

A vexed Draupadi looked around in concern as she was very well aware of nature of her short-tempered guest. Just then,Krishna appeared before her saying , “I am very hungry, give me some thing to eat immediately”. Draupadi looked at Krishna helplessly and said, “Why do you do this to me? I have nothing to give you now. Even the akshaya patra cannot help me.”

Krishna went to pick up the said vessel and looked at it closely. Around its rim was a single grain of rice and some bits of vegetables. He picked each bit and ate them with relish as if he was having the food of his life. While Draupadi stood ashamed at not having cleaned the vessels properly, Krishna asked Bheema to go and inform the Sage that food was ready for them.

Accordingly, Bheema went to the river to inform the sage to come home for food when his disciples said that they already felt satiated and full and cannot have any more food. Sage Durvassa who could divine what had transpired confirmed to Bheema that they were going to proceed on their journey without further delay.

Some times even what is left over or little in quantity can fill the heart and soul of someone if served with love. Could it be that what Krishna wanted Draupadi to remember?


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