Yaksha questions to Yudhishthira

Yaksha questions to Yudhishthira

In the dense forest of the Kamyaka, the Pandavas, exiled princes of the Kuru dynasty, found themselves grappling with the challenges of their arduous twelve-year exile. The brothers, Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva, along with their devoted wife Draupadi, had faced numerous trials and tribulations, yet their resolve remained unbroken. This particular day, however, was destined to test Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandavas, in ways he had never imagined.

The sun hung low in the sky, casting long shadows through the thick canopy of trees. The Pandavas had been wandering for hours, their water supplies dwindling under the relentless heat. Bhima, ever the protector, suggested that they search for water before continuing their journey. Yudhishthira, always the voice of reason and wisdom, agreed and sent Sahadeva, the youngest and most agile, to find a source of water.

After a short while, Sahadeva returned with good news. "I found a beautiful lake not far from here," he reported, his face glowing with relief. "The water is crystal clear, and there are lush trees providing shade all around."

Eager to quench their thirst, Nakula, the handsome and skilled archer, volunteered to fetch water first. With a quick stride, he made his way to the lake. The sight that greeted him was indeed enchanting—an expanse of clear blue water surrounded by verdant foliage. As he bent down to fill his quiver with water, a deep, resonant voice echoed through the trees.

"Stop! This lake belongs to me. Answer my questions before you drink, or you will face dire consequences."

Nakula looked around, trying to locate the source of the voice, but saw no one. His parched throat and the cool water in front of him clouded his judgment. Ignoring the warning, he dipped his hands into the water and brought it to his lips. Instantly, he collapsed, lifeless, beside the lake.

Concerned by Nakula's delay, Sahadeva decided to investigate. He followed the same path and arrived at the lake, only to find his brother lying unconscious. Shocked and grieving, he too ignored the disembodied voice that warned him as he attempted to revive Nakula with water. The same fate befell him; he too collapsed beside his brother.

When Sahadeva did not return, Arjuna, the mighty warrior with unrivaled archery skills, decided to seek out his brothers. Upon arriving at the lake, the sight of Nakula and Sahadeva lying motionless filled him with rage and sorrow. Determined to avenge them, he drew his bow and scanned the area for any signs of an enemy. The voice spoke again, issuing the same warning. Arjuna, confident in his prowess, ignored the voice and attempted to drink the water. He too was struck down in an instant.

Bhima, the mightiest of the Pandavas, then went to investigate. The sight of his fallen brothers filled him with a furious rage. He roared into the forest, challenging the unseen presence. The voice repeated its warning, but Bhima, too consumed by grief and anger, did not heed it. He tried to drink the water and met the same fate as his brothers.

Yudhishthira, the eldest and the wisest, grew anxious waiting for his brothers. His heart heavy with foreboding, he decided to go to the lake himself. The sight that met his eyes was devastating—his four brothers lay lifeless on the ground. Suppressing his grief, Yudhishthira approached the lake cautiously. The voice spoke again, but this time Yudhishthira listened attentively.

"Who are you, and why have you brought this calamity upon us?" Yudhishthira asked, his voice steady despite his sorrow.

"I am a Yaksha, a guardian spirit of this lake," the voice replied. "Your brothers ignored my warning and attempted to drink without answering my questions. If you wish to save them, you must answer my questions first."

Yudhishthira, known for his wisdom and adherence to dharma, agreed. "Ask your questions, Yaksha. I will answer them to the best of my ability."

The Yaksha began his questioning, and thus commenced one of the most profound dialogues in Indian mythology, a test not just of knowledge but of wisdom and virtue.

The first question was simple, yet profound. "What makes the sun rise?"

"Through the power of Brahman, the sun rises," Yudhishthira answered without hesitation, his knowledge of the Vedas guiding him.

"What befriends a traveller?"

"Learning," Yudhishthira replied, understanding that knowledge and wisdom are the greatest companions in life's journey.

"What is happiness?"

"Happiness is the result of good conduct," came Yudhishthira's response, reflecting his belief in righteousness and dharma.

The questions continued, each probing deeper into the nature of existence, duty, and morality.

"What is that, abandoning which, man becomes loved by all?"

"Abandoning pride, man becomes loved by all," Yudhishthira answered, recognizing the virtue of humility.

"What is the greatest wonder in the world?"

"Day after day, countless people die. Yet the living wish to live forever. This is the greatest wonder."

Yudhishthira's answers were a testament to his profound understanding of life and the human condition. The Yaksha, impressed by Yudhishthira's wisdom, posed the final question, the most crucial of all.

"Of all the Pandavas, whom do you wish to revive?"

Yudhishthira paused, his heart heavy with the burden of his choice. "Revive Nakula," he said at last.

The Yaksha, surprised by the answer, asked, "Why Nakula, when Bhima and Arjuna, stronger and more powerful, would be of greater assistance to you?"

Yudhishthira's voice was filled with the quiet strength of his conviction. "O Yaksha, I am Kunti's son, and I am alive. It is only fair that one of Madri's sons should also live. Justice demands that I show no partiality between my stepmother and my own mother."

The Yaksha, revealing himself as Yudhishthira's father, Yama, the god of death and dharma, was profoundly moved by his son's adherence to righteousness. "Because you have exhibited unparalleled wisdom and fairness, I will revive all your brothers."

With a wave of his hand, Yama brought the four Pandavas back to life. They awoke as if from a deep sleep, confused but unharmed. Yudhishthira's heart swelled with joy and relief as he embraced his brothers.

Yama spoke to them, his voice filled with pride and affection. "Yudhishthira, you have proven your wisdom and righteousness. Your steadfast adherence to dharma will guide you through the challenges ahead. Continue to uphold these virtues, and you will prevail in your struggles."

With these words, Yama vanished, leaving the Pandavas in awe of the divine encounter they had just experienced. They returned to their camp, their spirits renewed and their bond stronger than ever.

This episode, known as the Yaksha Prashna, remains one of the most celebrated stories in the Mahabharata, highlighting the importance of wisdom, justice, and adherence to dharma. Yudhishthira's unwavering commitment to these principles not only saved his brothers but also exemplified the virtues that would ultimately lead to their victory in the great battle of Kurukshetra.

As they continued their journey through exile, the lessons of the Yaksha's questions stayed with the Pandavas, guiding their actions and decisions. Yudhishthira's wisdom and sense of justice became the foundation upon which they built their future, ensuring that they remained true to the principles of righteousness and dharma.

In the years to come, the story of the Yaksha and Yudhishthira's answers would be recounted countless times, serving as a beacon of wisdom and virtue for generations. It is a timeless reminder that in the face of adversity, it is not just strength and valor that prevail, but also wisdom, justice, and an unwavering commitment to doing what is right.

The forest of Kamyaka, witness to this divine encounter, became a sacred place for the Pandavas. It was there that they learned one of the greatest lessons of their lives—that true greatness lies not in power or might, but in the wisdom of the heart and the righteousness of the soul.