DHARMA RAJA, THE ELDEST OF PANDAVA PRINCES RECEIVING “AKSHAYA PAATRA” FROM ‘SURYA BHAGAWAN’
THE STORY OF AKSHAYA PAATRA:
The word ‘Akshaya Paatra’ in Sanskrit language means an inexhaustible vessel. This pot could supply delicious meals in an endless manner. This story is found in the Indian Epic poem of Mahabharata. Akshaya Paatra was a divine gift given to Dharmaraj by the Sun god, Surya. The pot was given to help the princely family of Pandavas to tide over their difficulties while they spent twelve years in the forest. They had to spend time in exile after losing their kingdom in a game of dice. Akshaya Paatra would provide meals so that the Pandava family could keep up with the Indian traditions of hospitality.Also keeping in line with the tradition, each day Akshaya Paatra would serve the final and last meal to the hostess. The hostess, Draupadi was very mindful of her traditional role and each day she would feed all the guests, all the dependents, all the family members and would then take the last meal.
THE DISCOVERY OF BLISS FROM AN EMPTY POT:
As per the story from Mahabharata, one evening, Draupadi found herself in a troubled situation. A Hindu sage by the name of Durvasa with a large entourage of his disciples had arrived at the forest abode of Pandavas after Draupadi had taken the last meal from Akshaya Paatra. She prayed to Lord Krishna seeking help to feed her guests. Lord Krishna appeared before her and had asked her to feed Him from Akshaya Paatra. Draupadi regretfully answered that the pot was empty. He had directed her to take a closer look. Draupadi carefully reexamined the pot and discovered a single grain of rice that was stuck in the pot. As instructed, she fed the last grain from the pot to Lord Krishna and now the pot became truly empty. Lord Krishna had derived His satisfaction when the last grain from the pot was removed and simultaneously, the entire party of guests experienced full satiation and Draupadi escaped from the burden of actually feeding them that evening.
I am speaking of this story about Akshaya Paatra to understand the concept about emptying the mind to discover pure consciousness. In Indian literature and idiom, the mind is often compared to a vessel or a pot. When all thoughts( or desires) are taken out of the mind, what would remain in the mind is like that single grain of rice that Draupadi had discovered in the otherwise empty Akshaya Paatra. This last grain would represent the pure consciousness which easily united with the Divine consciousness to provide pure Bliss and Joy. Lord Krishna could have easily provided a hearty meal to the entire party of guests. He did not choose to provide happiness through gratification of the physical needs of the body. Akshaya Paatra if seen as the representation of the mind, the mind was truly emptied when the last grain was removed from it and Lord Krishna had demonstrated that there is no need to fill-up the pot to feed our desires. He had delivered Joy, Bliss, and a total sense of perfect satisfaction while the pot remained empty. Just like the empty Akshaya Paatra that provided Bliss, when the last grain of desire is removed from the mind and given in offering to the Lord, the Lord would provide all that you may need without physical gratification of the senses. Man at any given age, under all given circumstances, in good health, or ill-health exists in this physical world because of ‘God-Connection’, the Connection between man, the energy seeker, and God, the energy provider. When the God-Connection is recognized, man experiences a sense of satisfaction, mental satiation, and he would have no desires to be gratified.