The Mahabharat not only tells us the story of the Pandavas and the Kauravas, but it is a classic epic which mentions many pious sages, kings, celestials, animals and birds as a part of its story through which many moral values and principles of Dharma are known to the world. One such story was told to the Pandavas by the great Rishi Marakandey that good deeds are forever remembered.
During their exile, the Pandavas met many great Sages and seers who taught them many principles of Dharma and helped them stay strong. Once, the Pandavas meet the immortal Sage Markandey who looked very young like a sixteen year old boy, yet had the knowledge and wisdom of many years. Yudhishtir is surprised at the radiance of the sage and asks him the secret behind it. Rishi Markandey answers that it was a boon of Bhagwan Shiv and also because of his simple life and good deeds which he performed in life. Draupadi and the other Pandavas are surprised at this answer. The reason was that they were very unhappy for the misfortune befallen upon them and were in a confused state of mind that whether good deeds really mattered or not. To clear their apprehensions, Rishi Markandey tells them a story.
One day Rishi Markandey saw a chariot descend down from the heavens and leave an old man on earth. Rishi Markandey goes to him and asks him his identity. The old man answers that he was a King named Indradyumn who once ruled the earth in a righteous way and had ascended to heaven. But the Devas bought him back to the earth saying that people had forgotten his pious deeds and he no more has a place in heaven. The King had hence come back to earth in search of somebody who did not forget him so that he could go back to heaven. The King asks Markandey that as he was an immortal, whether he recognised him, But Rishi Markandey does not know who he is. But he decides to help the king and he takes him to an owl named Pravarkarna who resided in the Himalayas and was older than Markandey. But the owl fails to recognise him too. Then the owl takes both of them to a crane named Nandijhanga and who was older than him and asked the crane whether it recognised Indradyumn. But the crane does not. When Indradyumn was disheartened that nobody remembers him, Nandijhanga says that in the same lake lived a tortoise Akupara who was older than them all and seek his help.
All go the old tortoise and ask him whether he knew Indradyumn. Akupara immediately bows to the king and says that the lake in which he resided was formed by the hoofs of the cattle given in charity and as gifts to many people by none other than King Indradyumn. He mentions that as a great number of cattle walked in the area, a huge pit was formed in which the rains filled and thus the lake was formed. As soon as the tortoise mentioned this story, the divine chariot came and took Indradyumn back to heaven. Rishi Markandey thus imparted to the Pandavas that good deeds are never forgotten and the people who do good deeds reside in the hearts of all and their stories are passed down from one generation to the next with great reverence and respect.
Good deeds are remembered forever