When death was born again – Part 2


<< PART 1 >>

The guards arrived at the spot on the next day and surprised to find the holy man alive immediately informed the king about it. The king realized that this was no ordinary mortal to have survived impalement and came there with his advisers.

O rishi, forgive me for my transgression. I have offended you in my ignorance. I beseech you to please forgive me and not be angry with me the king said.

Pleased with the king’s genuine repentance for his deed, Mandavya was pacified.

The king then proceeded to try and remove the stake from the holy man. But despite his best efforts, he could not extract it out. He therefore proceeded to cut it off at the point just outside the body. From that day onwards, Mandavya began to be known as Ani-Mandavya (Mandavya with the nail).

After very many years, when Mandavya passed on from the mortal world and went to the abode of Yama, the god of justice, he questioned him on why he was subject to this punishment and why he had to live a life with a stake half buried in his mid-riff.

O Mandavya, you were forced to undergo this punishment because you pierced a little insect with a blade of grass Yama answered.

When Mandavya questioned as to when her performed this act of violence against an insect Yama replied stating that he had committed it when he was a child.

Mandavya immediately flew into a rage O Yama, know this. Any act done by a child until the twelfth year of his birth is not considered a sin. The scriptures do not recognize such acts as sins. The punishment that you had meted out to me is extremely disproportionate of the severity of the act committed by me.

O Yama, know this, the act of killing a brahmana is unpardonable. It is a sin greater than any other sin committed by a living being.

You will therefore have to atone for you sin by being born as a human being; a human being who despite having all the virtues, foresight, the tranquility of mind and intellect of a king will never get an opportunity to be a king.


Thus, Yama was born in the world of mortal beings as Vidura, the step-brother of the Kuru princes Pandu and Dhritarashtra of a maid servant of Ambika. Although he was the most accomplished of the three brothers in terms of knowledge, virtues, wisdom, character, he could never become the king as he was born of a maid servant, and was not of royal blood.


Read my other posts on Vidura below

Vidura – A Dharma Putra

Vidura meets Maitreyi

8 thoughts on “When death was born again – Part 2

  1. wow.. what a story!
    he was the best of the lot and yet, because of his birth he wasn’t King.. tells one a lot doesn’t it?

  2. Hmm! I heard/read a slightly different version – a. that Mandavya did not blame the King but sought Yama to know the reason why, since he must have suffered only due to Prarabda Karma. (Meaning that he was NEVER angry with the King and he did not wait till he died to seek an explanation of Yama πŸ™‚ ).

    Jairam! I have a suggestion for you – why don’t you carry the story of Udang rishi and Krishna? That and the story about the crane and the ascetic are the 2 stories in the Mahabharat that argue about the equality of all castes in the eyes of God.

  3. “Any act done by a child until the twelfth year of his birth is not considered a sin. The scriptures do not recognize such acts as sins.” These words reminded me of the debate, recently re-ignited by Maneka Gandhi, on Juvenile Justice.

    • @Proactive Indian, so true, and what is worse is that her statements were based on some statements made by the cops which she didn’t even take the minimum efforts to independently verify

  4. Very very interesting. It is interesting how despite the inability to become a King, Vidura still remains as virtuous and good hearted as before.

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