Yudhishtira the potter…

Read the previous part here…

The fool who forgoes his greed and selfishness and instead attempts to speak the truth, does not get what he wants, much like Yudhishtira the potter.

KarālaMukha said “How did that happen?”

RaktaMukha replied…


The story of Yudhishtira the potter

In a village not so far away from here, lived a potter named Yudhishtira. One night, when drunk, he tripped over a sharp stone and fell to the ground, hitting his forehead in the process. Blood poured out of his wound, as he regained his composure and stumbled back home. Since he didn’t treat the wound in time, it got infected and took a long time to heal. But the scar remained, and made him look terrifying.

In a few months, the village was struck by famine. Like the others, Yudhishtira too faced severe difficulties, and so had to leave the village in search of work. He joined some footsoldiers who were traveling through the countryside, and soon secured employment as a soldier in the king’s palace.

One day, the king noticed him, and seeing the huge scar on his forehead, thought to himself “This is surely a very brave warrior, who has fought many battles and carries his wounds with pride.”

From that day, the king made it a point to show Yudhishtira a lot of respect, and he also showered him with gifts every month. So much so that the other soldiers, most of who were more senior than Yudhishtira, started to feel jealous of the constant attention that the king gave the new recruit. But no one complained, since they were afraid of the king.

One day, it so happened that a state of war was declared in the kingdom, since the enemy had attacked the border towns. All the soldiers were summoned, the elephants and horses were readied for intense battle and the armory was opened and weapons checked. The soldiers lined up outside the main gate of the palace, and the king inspected their ranks. As he approached the potter, the king stopped and in full view of all the soldiers, addressed him and said “O brave warrior! What is your name? What brave clan do you belong to? Tell me the stories of your valor, and how you got injured on your forehead in the battlefield.”

Yudhishtira replied “My king, this wound was not caused by a weapon, and surely not in the battlefield. I am a potter and my name is Yudhishtira. One night, when I was drunk, I stumbled upon a sharp stone, fell to the ground and wounded my forehead. This mark is from that day.”

The king was embarrassed, that too in front of his whole army. “This potter has been cheating all of us!”, he thundered. “He pretended to be a brave warrior, but he is a mere potter…grab him by the scruff of his neck and throw him out immediately!”

As the king’s guards began to drag him away, Yudhishtira cried out in a pleading voice. “My king, please spare me…at least give me a chance to prove my prowess in the battlefield!”

The king replied sarcastically “Yes, I know you have all the greatest qualities, but I still want you thrown out. It has been said…”

शूद्रश् च कृत-विघ्नश् च दर्शनीयो ऽसि पुत्रक ।
यस्मिन् कुले त्वम् उत्पन्नो गजस् तत्र न हन्यते ॥ ३९ ॥

śūdraś ca kṛta-vighnaś ca darśanīyo ‘si putraka |
yasmin kule tvam utpanno gajas tatra na hanyate || 39 ||

My son! You are brave, learned and handsome. But in the family you were born into, no elephants are slain.

The potter said “How did that happen?”

The king replied…

to be continued…