The Mango of Truth 

Nine years after the princely Pandava brothers were exiled to the forest, Duryodhana, the leader of their cousins, usurpers and arch enemies the Kauravas, sent young Gouramukha on a mission to locate them disguised as a sage. As he did not know them, Gouramukha would identify the Pandavas by the ability to produce a ripe mango out of season, for only those in the good graces of Lord Krishna, as were the Pandavas, could possibly perform such a feat.

 

Yudhishthira, the eldest Pandava, came upon the false sage in the forest, he asked, what he would accept as an offering. Gouramukha said that he would accept only a ripe mango. As expected, Yudhishthira turned to Krishna who called for a dried mango seed and proceeded to inform the Pandavas that an out of season mango, could only be produced if each of the brothers and their shared wife, Draupadi disclosed their deepest truths.

 

One by one the Pandavas spoke  - Yudhisthira said that he was a man of integrity who was willing to fight to regain his kingdom … a shoot emerged from the seed; Bhima said that he was a man of greed and he that would kill anyone who insulted his mace … the shoot grew into a tree; Arjuna said that he was brave and pure and that he was unbeatable in battle as long as he held his divine bow … tree blossomed gloriously; Nakula said he was a man of conscience and that he was loyal to Yudhisthira  … small unripe fruits appeared;  Sahadeva said that he had the knowledge of the past, the present and the future but that he would not volunteer unsolicited advice to anyone … the mangoes grew to full size. Finally, all that was left was for the fruit to ripen and it was it was Draupadi’s turn. She said, to the consternation of the brothers, that although the five Pandavas were equal in her regard as her husbands, she had the  greatest affection for Arjuna. The mangoes ripened fully by her truth.

 

As Gauramukha departed with his mango as proof that the Pandavas were indeed alive, Krishna intervened in disguise. He pretended to be surprised at the sight of Gouramukha 's ripe mango and suggested that it was not real, as a mango ripening out of season was anathema to nature. When Gouramukha protested, Krishna said that he would like to test the reality of the mango. He proceed to say that he had seen a stone floating on water and a lotus blooming on a mountaintop. He said that the moon rose in the day and the sun at night. As he continued speaking in this manner the mango was turned to ashes.

 

Krishna’s ‘lies’ had destroyed the false mango that had been conjured, paradoxically, by the telling of truths. Krishna seems to have revealed the illusory or artificial (kalai) nature of reality (maya) and the impossibility of truth (Unmai) in this relativistic realm. All things that one takes to be true are in fact illusions - they are, as it were, false mangoes of truth.

Thusly, it is told in ​the Mahabaratha as rendered by Oriya poet Sarala.

http://saralamahabharat.blogspot.ca/2008/06/story-of-mango-of-truth.html

© 2017 by Niranjan Rajah

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