The Story of Saindhava from the Epic Mahabharata

Sri Sathya Sai Speaks

In the country of Sindhu [i], the King was taking care of the people, looking after their comforts and making them happy. He had a son. Since the name of the kingdom was Sindhu, he named his son ‘Saindhava’. Those students who have gone through the Mahabharata will know who Saindhava[ii] was. Dushala, the daughter of Dhritarashtra, was married to Saindhava. All the children of Dhritarashtra had the letter ‘Du’ as the first letter in their name. ‘Du’ denotes misery (Dukkha). All his children faced misery. Dhritarashtra supported all the misdeeds of his sons and he started praising them. 

Being a prince, Saindhava was given all the freedom and he could act the way he wanted. If the plant is straight, the tree (as it grows subsequently) also would be equally straight. If the plant bends, the tree (as it grows subsequently) also shows the bending equally. The King took care of his only son Saindhava with lot of love and affection. However, Saindhava started troubling others of his own age. He used to throw the young kids from the top. They used to fall and cry, and sometimes even die also. Since he was the prince, the people could not do anything in retaliation. They were helpless and started praying to God, “He is the prince, the son of the King, and we have no authority to punish him.” 

Prayer doesn’t mean begging. Prayer is awakening the Self, like the Suprabhatam sung in the morning. Prayer is not extolling the Divinity. Prayer means sincere yearning for the realisation of the Self. Such a prayer will melt the heart of God and will make Him act. 

There are three types of people. The first are the Pushti Praja, the second Maryada Praja and the third are Pravaaha Praja. 

Who are the Pushti Praja? They could have the Divine Love because of the merits of their previous lives. They don’t make any efforts. They don’t undertake any Tapas (penance). They don’t do any prayer. But because of the good luck, and the merits of past, they have all the Divine Grace of the Lord. They are called Pushti Praja. The Divine Love, which is not easy to attain despite long periods of prayer and penance, is achieved by such people effortlessly. They attain this Love due to their good luck.. 

The second category of people – the Maryada Praja are those who go through the sacred texts – Itihasas, Puranas, Darshanas, Upanishads; they approach the preceptors; they serve them and gain knowledge. This category of people earn the Grace of the Lord through their hard work. They are called Mumukshus. They have the desire for liberation. 

Who belong to the third category? They are the Pravaaha Praja. Without any thought of the Lord, they crave only for worldly pleasures, they aspire only for enjoying sensual pleasure, they follow only the mind; and therefore take birth over and over again. It is because of the foolish life of this category, the Pravaaha Jeevas get carried away by the cycle of birth and death. 

Saindhava wasted his life despite having got the kingdom, capacity and strength. His parents also did not correct him. Waiting for the grace of the Lord; the people of Sindhu were bearing all the suffering. They were praying to God for His Grace so that their children would be safe and secure against the cruel actions of Saindhava. Then one day, they heard an ethereal voice, “Oh People! Please don’t feel sad. This boy is bound to face severe punishment. The moment, he is careless, he is sure to be beheaded. One has to take care that his head should not fall down. But when it falls, it will lead to danger. That was the ethereal voice.” This ethereal voice was heard even by the King of Sindhu. Having heard this declaration, the King felt sad. He knew that his son was immoral, but because of the love for his son, he cursed that the one who attempts to kill his son Saindhava shall in turn be killed. 
When Arjuna beheaded Jayadhratha during the Mahabharata war.

Ultimately, what happened to the King? He had to face the consequences of his own curse and it returned to him. This was because he tried to save his son instead of controlling his son’s wickedness.

The Four Great Sins

The one who helps the wicked is also wicked. Those in the company of wicked are also considered as wicked people. That was the main principle explained by Vidura in the Mahabharata. Wicked and cruel people like Duryodhana and Dushasana were going along wrong path. Though Bhishma had all the capacity to correct them, he didn’t do so. Their father also could not control them. Even their Guru Dronacharya didn’t correct them. They all committed the same sin. What is the sin? The doer, the one who supports the act, the one who sees and the one who encourages, all of them are wicked people. We should not keep quite when any one commits some mistake. We should either punish the person for the mistake committed, or teach him the proper path. Otherwise we have to face the same consequences that are faced by the one who committed the mistake. The one who encourages or the one who has developed friendship with such a person also commits mistake.


[i] Present day Sind in Pakistan
[ii] He is also known as Jayadratha in the Mahabharata epic 


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