Dhaumya (धौम्यः)

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Dhaumya (Samskrit : धौम्यः) was one of the great seers of Bharatiya rshi parampara. Dhaumya was the purohita of the Pandavas. Another rshi with the same name was the son of Vyaghrapada.

पाण्डवानां पौरोहित्यम् ॥ Purohit of Pandavas

Dhaumya was the younger brother of Devala according to Mahabharata Adi parva. Pandavas after escaping death in Laksha grha, reach the banks of Ganga where in the tirtha of Utkocha, Devala along with Dhaumya had their ashrama and where doing tapas. Arjuna after defeating Chitraratha, a gandharva, was advised by him to approach Dhaumya for being their priest. Starting from that time Dhaumya remained as the purohita for Pandavas.

तत उत्कोचकं तीर्थं गत्वा धौम्याश्रमं तु ते। तं वव्रुः पाण्डवा धौम्यं पौरोहित्याय भारत॥ (Maha. Adi. Parv. 182.6)

He conducted the marriage ceremonies of Draupadi with each of the Pandavas after the svayamvara. All the Upanayana samskaras of the Upapandavas were performed by him. Most importantly he was the chief priest who directed the yajna karmas of Rajasuya yajna of Yudhisthira and conducted the ceremony of anointing him as the Raja.

अभ्यषिञ्चत्ततो धौम्यो व्यासश्च सुमहातपाः। नारदं च पुरस्कृत्य देवलं चासितं मुनिम्॥ (Maha. Sabh. Parv. 53.10)

When Pandavas went for the 12 year vanavasa (forest life), Dhaumya led them with the vedic chants (Sabh. Parv. 80.8). He advised them in prayers to propitiate deities (Vana. Parv.3), in various dharmas and righteous activities of a Raja (Anush. Parv. 127.15), in visiting tirthas and taking bath there (Vana. Parv. 87 to 90). Dhaumya advised the Pandavas to preserve their anonymity in the thirteenth year of their vanavasa in Viratarajyam (Virat. Parva. 4). After the Kurukshetra battle, Dhaumya performed the shraddha karmas (rites for deceased) of the relatives of the Pandavas (Stri. Parv. 24).

व्याघ्रपादस्य पुत्रः ॥ Vyaghrapada's Son

In the Puranas we see a reference of another rshi with the name Dhaumya. In Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva

व्याघ्रपाद इति ख्यातो वेदवेदाङ्गपारगः। तस्याहमभवं पुत्रो धौम्यश्चापि ममानुजः॥ (Maha. Anush. Parva. 14.112)

Upamanyu mentions that his father was Vyaghrapada (व्याघ्रपादः), who was a great seer well versed in vedas and vedangas during the Krtayuga, and that Dhaumya was his younger brother.[1]

In the Krtayuga, there lived a hermit named Vyaghrapada who had two sons. They were called Upamanyu and Dhaumya (different from Ayodhadhaumya). Some learned men are of opinion that Upamanyu the son of Vyaghrapada and Upamanyu the disciple of Ayodhadhaumya, were one and the same. (Page 808 of[2]).

Once Upamanyu visited another hermitage along with his father. He happened to drink the milk of the cow there. After that they returned to their own hermitage, Upamanyu went to his mother and asked her to make rice pudding with milk for him.

क्षीरोदनसमायुक्तं भोजनं हि प्रयच्छ मे॥ 13-14-114 (Maha. Anush. Parva. 14.114)

But the mother felt very sorry because there was no milk. At last she mixed flour in water and made pudding and gave it to him. Upamanyu did not accept it. His mother told him that there was no way to get milk and that men could get wealth, crops etc. only by the grace of Siva. Upamanyu who was of a wilful nature performed severe tapas, first 100 divya years he lived on eating fruits, the next by eating dry leaves that have fallen on the ground, the third hundred just by drinking water. The next seven hundred years he performed tapas by living on air. Finally Siva appeared before him in the shape of Indra and told him to ask for his boon.

शक्ररूपं स कृत्वा तु सर्वैर्देवगणैर्वृतः। सहस्राक्षस्तदा भूत्वा वज्रपाणिर्महायशाः॥ (Maha. Anush. Parva. 14.171)

Upamanyu boldly replied that he wanted no boon from anybody else except Siva. Siva made his appearance in his own form and bestowed all his blessing on him. Upamanyu thus told his story to Sri Krsna. (M.B. Anusasana Parva, Chapter 14).[1]

अयोदर्धौम्यस्यशिष्याः ॥ Disciples of Ayodhadhaumya

Dhaumya is also referred by other names such as Ayodhadhaumya, or Apodhadhaumya. (Page 84 of Reference[2]). Dhaumya and his shishyas are famous examples of Gurubhakti (गुरुभक्तिः) how a guru's word was followed to the dot by the shishyas in earlier days.

Mahabharata, in the Adiparva, also refers to Upamanyu as one of the three disciples of Ayodhadhaumya, the other two being Aruni and Veda. Aruni was also called Uddalaka, who is the father of Svetaketu and they both were given the knowledge of Panchagnividya by Pravahana Jaivali.

एतस्मिन्नन्तरे कश्चिदृषिर्धौम्यो नामायोदस्तस्य शिष्यास्त्रयो बभूवुरुपमन्युरारुणिर्वेदश्चेति॥ (Maha. Adi. Parv. 3.21)

अरुणिः ॥ Aruni or Uddalaka

Aruni belonged to Pancala desha, and once his guru Dhaumya deputed him to construct embankments in the field.

स एकं शिष्यमारुणिं पाञ्चालं[ल्यं] प्रेषयामास गच्छ केदारखण्डं बधानेति॥ (Maha. Adi. Parv. 3.22)

त तत्र संविवेश केदारखण्डे शयाने च तथा तस्मिंस्तदुदकं तस्थौ॥ (Maha. Adi. Parv. 3.24)

But, his attempts to construct embankments did not succeed. Finally unable to control the flow of water, he lay himself in the field where the embankment was required, and then the flow of water stopped. When he did not return to the ashrama, Dhaumya enquired about the whereabouts of Aruni, who was thus lying in the field. Dhaumya then goes in search of him to the fields and called out for him. On hearing his Guru's voice, Aruni comes out of the embankment by bursting it open and because of that Aruni got the name Uddalaka. He was blessed by his Guru that to be enlightened with the knowledge of all the vedas and dharmashastras.

स एवमुक्त उपाध्यायः प्रत्युवाच यस्माद्भवान्केदारखण्डं विदार्योत्थितस्तस्मातुद्दालक एव नाम्ना भवान्भविष्यतीत्युपाध्यायेनानुगृहीतः॥ (Maha. Adi. Parv. 3.31)

Uddalaka had his son Shvetaketu, figure prominently in the Chandogya Upanishad as the seekers of Brahmavidya.

उपमन्युः ॥ Upamanyu

Once Ayodhadhaumya (the guru) asked Upamanyu to tend the cows. He used to take care of the animals grazing in the woods during daytime and return home at dusk and prostrate before the guru. Looking at the healthy body of Upamanyu the guru asked him how he was feeding himself. His reply was that he was earning his food by Bhiksha and feeding himself with what he got thus.[3]

स उपाध्यायं प्रत्युवाच भो भैक्ष्येण वृत्तिं कल्पयामीति॥ (Maha. Adi. Parv. 3.37)

Then the guru tells Upamanyu that without offering the food to his Guru he should not partake food so earned by Bhiksha,. Hearing that Upamanyu used to offer the food he got to Dhaumya.[2]

तमुपाध्यायः प्रत्युवाच मय्यनिवेद्य भैक्ष्यं नोपयोक्तव्यमिति॥ स तथेत्युक्त्वा भैक्ष्यं चरित्वोपाध्यायाय न्यवेदयत्॥ (Maha. Adi. Parv. 3.38)

And, he continued returning to the Gurukula at dusk and prostrating before the guru. Finding Upamanyu even then as plump and healthy as he was formerly, the guru said : My son Upamanyu, you hand over to me all the food you get, and yet your body looks healthy. How are you maintaining yourself so?" Upamanyu replied : "After giving the alms I get first to you, my guru, I do again beg for alms and feed myself". To this the guru reacted thus: My boy, what you do is not the proper thing. By the second course of alms-taking you stand in the way of other people getting their food. It is a greedy attitude"

तमुपाध्यायः प्रत्युवाच नैषा न्याय्या गुरुवृत्तिरन्येषामपि भैक्ष्योपजीविनां वृत्त्युपरोधं करोषि इत्येवं वर्तमानो लुब्धोऽसीति ॥ (Maha. Adi. Parv. 3.42)

Upamanyu, from that day onwards strictly followed his guru's instruction, and continued returning at dusk to the guru and doing obeisance to him.

Even then finding Upamanyu to be healthy the guru told him : "Well, now you hand over all the food you get by Bhiksha and you do not seek a second time the same day. Yet you are quite hale and healthy. How is it so ?" To this Upamanyu's reply was that he was feeding himself on the milk of the cows he tended. The guru told him that this too was not just and proper on his part. The guru had not permitted him to drink milk thus. Upamanyu agreed to obey his orders. And, as usual he continued tending the cows and returning at dusk. Even then he maintained the same plump and healthy physique.[3]

And the Guru told him as follows : "You do not eat the food you get at the first alms-taking, you do not go in for alms a second time the same day, nor do you drink milk. Yet, how is it that you maintain the same fat and healthy physique as in former days ?"

Upamanyu's reply was that he was feeding now-a-days on the foam of milk bristling at the mouth of the calves when they had fed on their mother's milk. And, the guru said : "if that is so the calves will be, out of kindness and sympathy for you, releasing much foam of milk out of their mouths. That will affect them. So, do not repeat the process. Since the guru forbade him to have food in any manner as detailed above, Upamanyu, while tending the herd of cows in the forest, ate the bitter and poisonous leaves of Arka to satisfy his burning hunger. Arka being injurious to health in its properties, Upamanyu became blind. Moving about in this condition he fell into a neglected well in the woods.

स तैरर्कपत्रैर्भक्षितैः क्षारतिक्तकटुरूक्षैस्तीक्ष्णविपाकैश्चक्षुष्युपहतोऽन्धो बभूव॥ ततः सोऽन्धोऽपि चङ्क्रम्यमाणः कूपे पपात॥ (Maha. Adi. Parv. 3.51)

When, even after the sun had set, Upamanyu did not, as usual, return, the guru enquired about him from other disciples. Naturally, they told the guru that Upamanyu was out in the forest with the cows. As the guru felt that Upamanyu was staying away late in the forest since he had been prevented from doing everything he (guru) went to the forest accompanied by other disciples and called out for Upamanyu, and Upamanyu responded from deep down the well. He also told the guru how he happened to fall into the well. After telling him that Dhaumya asked him to pray to the Asvinidevas to cure his blindness. Upamanyu, accordingly offered praises and prayed to the Asvinidevas, who were so pleased with him that they appeared before him and gave him a Apupas (a food item). Upamanyu refused to eat the bread without giving it to the guru. Then the Asvinidevas told him thus: "In the past when we gave your guru a bread like this he ate the same without giving it to his guru. You may just imitate him and eat the apupas yourself". Even then Upamanyu did not eat the them.

तमश्विनावाहतुः प्रीतौ स्वस्तवानया गुरुभक्त्या उपाध्यायस्य ते कार्ष्णायसा दन्ता भवतोऽपि हिरण्मया भविष्यन्ति चक्षुष्मांश्च भविष्यसीति श्रेयश्चावाप्स्यसीति॥ (Maha. Adi. Parv. 3.73)[3]

The Asvinidevas were so much pleased at this that they blessed Upamanyu thus : "The teeth of your guru will turn into hard iron and yours into pure gold. Your blindness will be cured and all happiness and prosperity will be yours." The blessings of the Asvinidevas took full effect, and Upamanyu hurried to his guru and prostrated at his feet. Dhaumya blessed Upamanyu that he get the complete knowledge of the vedas and dharmas.

वेदः ॥ Veda

Veda was the third disciple of Ayodhadhaumya. Continuing the stories about Gurubhakti, Mahabharata describes the story of the third disciple of Ayodhadhaumya. One day said to Veda: "You stay with me for sometime serving me. That will bring you all prosperity in life." Veda agreed, and stayed for a long time in the Asrama in the service of the guru.

Without even the slightest murmur he put up with every discomfort and hardship, be it acute hunger and thirst or extreme cold or heat, and gladly performed all the work and duties the master imposed on him. The guru was absolutely pleased and his blessings resulted in all prosperity and omnipotence for the disciple. (M.B., Adi Parva, Chapter 3, Verses 78-80).[3] (Page 84-85, Puranic Encyclopedia - Vettam Maṇi)[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Shastri. Pt Ramnarayan. (1955). Mahabharata : Anushasana Parva Vol.6. Gorakhpur:Gita Press.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Vettam. Mani, (1975). Puranic encyclopaedia : A comprehensive dictionary with special reference to the epic and Puranic literature. Delhi:Motilal Banasidass.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Shastri. Pt Ramnarayan. (1955). Mahabharata : Adi and Sabha Parva Vol.1. Gorakhpur:Gita Press.