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Akshayapatra (Sanskrit: अक्षयपात्र) meaning inexhaustible vessel, is an object from Hindu mythology. It was a wonderful vessel given to Yudishtira by the Lord Surya which held a never-failing supply of food to the Pandava's every day.
When the Pandavas were in exile in the forest, they received visits from many dignitaries, sages, kings and ministers who were horrified at the turn of events. They came to discuss matters with the Pandavas and show their support. Draupadi found it very difficult to extend the customary hospitality to these numerous guests because the Pandavas were destitute in exile and living in the forest where nothing was available.
One day, Krishna suddenly came to visit the Pandavas. Along with him was his usual retinue of numerous men. The Pandavas received Krishna with traditional ceremony, and they all sat down and began talking happily. However, Draupadi did not come out of the house to greet Krishna. Instead, she was sitting and weeping in the kitchen. After some time, Krishna sensed that something was wrong. He made an excuse of wanting to drink water and entered the kitchen and had a word with her. With tears in her eyes, Draupadi bowed her head before Krishna and showed him (offered him with both hands) an empty pot in which she had cooked rice that morning, and said "This is all I have in my kitchen, Krishna." The pot was empty and she did not have any more rice in the house. But Krishna said to her: "Thank you sister, this is all I need. Look carefully. Is your rice-pot really empty? Can my sister's kitchen ever be empty of food? Look carefully." Draupadi looked, and she found a single grain of rice stuck inside the pot. Krishna said "A single grain of rice, if offered to God with love and humility, becomes the beeja (primordial seed) which feeds and satiates the whole universe." He then ate that single grain of rice, and at that time, for that day, the whole universe was stomach-full and satiated. There was no hunger in the entire world that day, and of course Krishna's retinue and all of Draupadi's other guests were satiated. This miraculous divine episode happened on the day which is commemorated as "Akshaya Tritiya" every year, and it occurs around the time of the spring harvest in April-May every year.
Krishna was very sorrowful to see the condition of his sister Draupadi and his cousins, the Pandavas, who were the children of Krishna's father's sister. will hymn 108 chants of lord Surya. Blessed by this surya will give him akshaya patra the inexhaustable vessel. Other version mentions different story, draupadi started to pray to Lord Krishna. Pleased with draupadi's prayers, Lord Krishna blessed her with the Akshaya Patra, a vessel that would give unlimited food every day till Draupadi finished eating.
Akshaya Patra, Durvasa and Shri Krishna
During the Pandavas' exile, Durvasa and several disciples arrived at Hastinapura. Duryodhana with his maternal uncle Shakuni managed to gratify the sage. Durvasa was pleased enough to grant him a boon. Duryodhana, secretly wanting Durvasa to curse the Pandavas in anger, asked the sage to visit his cousins in the forest after Draupadi had eaten her meal, knowing that the Pandavas would then have nothing to feed him.
So Durvasa and his disciples visited the Pandavas in their hermitage in the forest, as per Duryodhana's request. During this period of exile, the Pandavas would obtain their food by means of the Akshaya Patra, which would become exhausted each day once Draupadi finished her meal. Because Draupadi had already eaten by the time Durvasa arrived that day, there was no food left to serve him, and the Pandavas were very anxious as to their fate should they fail to feed such a venerable sage. While Durvasa and his disciples were away bathing at the river, Draupadi prayed to Krishna for help. Krishna immediately appeared before Draupadi saying he was extremely hungry, and asked her for food. Draupadi grew exasperated and said she had prayed to Krishna precisely because she had no food left to give. Krishna then told her to bring the Akshaya Patra to him. When she did, he partook of the lone grain of rice and piece of vegetable that he found stuck to the vessel and announced that he was satisfied by the "meal". This satiated the hunger of Durvasa and his disciples, as the satisfaction of Krishna (portrayed here as the Supreme Being who pervades the entire universe) meant the satiation of the hunger of all living things. The sage Durvasa and his disciples then quietly left after their bath, without returning to the Pandavas' hermitage, for they were afraid of facing what they thought would be the Pandavas' wrathful reaction at their impolite behaviour of refusing the food that would be served to them.
- Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 65.
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