The story of Vidura

There is one character in Mahabharata, who could have made the ideal king. But as fate would have it, he was born to a maid. This wise person was none other than Vidura, whose foresight have saved Pandavas from dying prematurely.

Vidura was half-brother to the kings Dhritarashtra and Pandu. He was a son of a maid-servant who served the queens of Hastinapura, Ambika and Ambalika. In some accounts, he was an incarnation of Yama or Dharma Raja, who was cursed by the sage, Mandavya, for imposing punishment on him that exceed the sin.

Birth of Vidura

Both queens were married to King Vichitravirya of Hastinapur, who died childless. Vichitravirya’s mother Satyavati was anxious to ensure that the royal line was carried on. She called upon her other son Vyasa to invoke his mystical powers to grant motherhood to the two queens. Vyasa was a sage and ascetic hermit, and came to the palace, unkempt as he was. He went to Ambika who closed her eyes when she saw him, and to Ambalika who became pale. Hence the children they bore were blind and an albino.

When Satyavati asked Vyasa to go to Ambika’s bed again, to ensure that there would be children, she placed her maid-servant instead in her bed. The dutiful maid-servant was not frightened. Hence her son was not born flawed like his half-brothers. Thus, Vidura was born who was raised as brother of Dhritarashtra and Pandu.
With his half-brothers he was raised and educated by Bhishma, whom they called father. As neither of his parents were of royal blood (sage Vyasa was of divine but not royal lineage), Vidura was never considered for, or had any chance of obtaining the throne of the kingdom. He served his brothers as a chancellor.

A well wisher of Pandavas

After Krishna, he was the most trusted advisor to the Pandavas and had warned them repeatedly about Duryodhana’s plots. In particular, he warned the Pandavas from Duryodhana’s plan to burn them alive in a house of wax he had made for them. He was known for speaking the truth and for his intelligence.

Devotee of Shri Krishna

Vidura is famous also for being a true devotee of Lord Krishna. When the latter visited Hastinapura as a peace emissary of the Pandavas, he shunned Duryodhana’s offer to stay in his stately guesthouse, instead choosing the humble dwellings of Vidura. Vidura served as counselor to his half-brother King Dhritarashtra. In the Sanatsujatiya section of the Mahabharata, shortly before the Kurukshetra War began, Vidura invoked the sage Sanatsujata to answer Dhritarashtra’s questions about death.

Vidura Neeti

In protest against the Kurukshetra War, Vidura resigned from the post of minister. After the great battle, he helped Yudhishtira when he became ruler. Later, he accompanied Dhritarashtra, and his sisters-in-law Gandhari, and Kunti, when they left on their last journey to the forest. He died before his companions, on the banks of the Ganga. Vidura is considered as the Mahachohan in the Theosophical world. Mahachohan is said to be the chief of a Social Hierarchy of the trans-Himalayan mystics. “Vidur Neeti” or Vidur’s opinion on the science of politics, narrated in the form of a conversation between Vidur and King Dritrashtra, is often tipped as the pre-cursor of the Chanakya Neeti and has standing as that of Vibhishana Neeti and Bhisma Neeti.