Beacon for all ages:
King Darshratha had no children for a long time. He performed Putrakameshti Yaga with the sole purpose of gettingchildren. Sage Markandeya served as a ritwika at the Yaga. He shone with great lustre at the court of Sri Rama.he was one among the greats in the court. of Ayodhya. He occupied a pride of place in the court of Yadhishtira.He gave darshan to the Pandavas at Dwaithavana and Kamyakavana when hey were in the forest undergoing greatmisery. The story of Ramayana took place in Trethayuga. The story of the Mahabharatha happened at the end of DwaparaYuga. These two great happening took place at two points with a vast time gap. Did he really take part in boththese events? or is it the brainchiled of somebody's pigment of imagination? People might doubt the veracity of thisfact. Markandeya earned long life with the blessings of Lord Shiva. Further he controlled his breathing with the help Yogavidya. He could go into yoga samadhi in an exquisitely beautiful way to counter the ageing effects of the passage of time. why should he be frightened of time? Even if someone says, he existed in the Krithayuga, it is no wonder and there is every reason to believe it.
A friend in need:
I would like to quote an incident which took place while the Pandavas were living in the forest of Kamyaka. SriKrishna was present there on that occasion. As destined by the Lord, Sage Markandeya happened to go there. Ashe was beyond the shackles of old age and death, he appeared there as a twenty five old. He appeared very brightwith all divine grace on his face. The Pandavas felt that they were blessed by his presence. After accordingthe sage a grand traditional welcome Yudhistira said,"O great sage, you know everything about Gods, asuras, rishisand rajarshis. There is nothing beyond your understanding. You are the only one who can give us the true secretsof creation. How did people live long ago? How did they get into karmapaha (actions both good and bad and theireffects) How can the results of one's actions follow one even after death?"
Sage Markandeya had seen the secrets of creation, its beginning, course and end and therefore he could narrateto Yudhishtira all the details of creation in answer to his questions. He said, "To begin with, the human bodywas very pure. Human beings had certain codes of conduct to follow and those pure ways of living helped themmaintained the purity and cleanliness. They followed those rules and led a life of peace and plenty. As a resultof leading such clean and pure lives, their resolves were always fulfilled. They were righteous and truthful. Theyhas attained Brahmajnana. They had contacts with gods. Their communication line with the divine beings was alwaysintact. They had the power to choose the hour of their death. They had no problems while they lived, there wereno hurdles on their path, no difficulties. They got all they desired for and they could live for thousands of years."This way the sage described the life of peace and plenty of the people of Krithayuga to Yudhishtira. Then he also narrated the story of humanity in which they got into the Karmapasha.
Incourse of time men got into desires and anger, followed by greed and attachment and they came to be steeped inmisery. Life after life man faithfully followed this path of karma the effects of his deed came to follow himas shadow follows man" Thus the sage told him the secrets of karma.
Yudhishtira asked him about cleaniness and the sage said that one should speak clean language and do one's work in a clean way. One should keep water which is the source of life, clean. He gave an elaborate account of how oneshould be clean in these three things. These three namely clean words, clean work and clean water can raise manfrom being mundane to divinity. He also gave a detailed account of man's journey to the abode of Yama and whileliving one should feed the needy and that would smoothen one's journey after death. He described the importanceof giving food to others, playing host controlling one's senses and keeping one's mind pure and these are the waysin which the good people in the world live. He also made clear to Yudhishtira that only one force in this earthis true and real and that is Sri Krishna.
As bad luck would have it, Yushtira was in trouble. On such an occasion sage Maekandeya successfully tried toinfuse confidence into his mind saying that great people never deviate from the path of righteousness in theface of the worst possible danger. He cited a number of stories to prove his points. He narrated the story ofSri Ramachandra who was considered righteousness incarnate. Sri Rama was to be coronated king but instead onthe same morning he was made to go to the forest. It was a pitiable sight. Later Ravana took away Sita from their hut in Panchavati. Even under such terrible circumstances Sri Rama kept his cool and never deviated fromthe path of dharma. He advised Yudhishtira to follow the path taken by Sri Rama. He narrated the story ofSavithri who was a highly devoted wife and she never swered from the path of dharma. He advised Draupadi to havecourage even in the face of great danger and never abandon the path of righteousness.