Chapter 42 Yaksha Prashn for Yudhishthira
The twelve-year period that had been set aside was coming to an end.
One day, a deer was brushing against a poor brahmana’s fire-kindling mortar when the mortar became caught in the animal’s horns as it turned to flee. The alarmed animal raced madly with the mortar into the forest.
Back then, there were no matches, thus wood fragments were used in mechanical friction to start a fire.
“Alas! My fire starter is being chased away by a deer. Where do I go to make the fire sacrifice? “The brahmana yelled and ran to the Pandavas, pleading for assistance.
The Pandavas chased the animal, but it turned out to be a magic deer that ran away from them far into the forest before vanishng. The Pandavas were very dejected as they rested under a banyan tree, exhausted from their fruitless pursuit.
Nakula groaned “Even this meagre duty to the brahmana is beyond our ability. How far we’ve fallen! ” Sadly, he remarked.
Remarked Bhima: “So it is. We ought to have slain those wretches when Draupadi was carried before the assembly. Have we not had to endure all of these tragedies because we failed to do so?” and he gave Arjuna a dejected expression.
Arjuna concurred. “I did nothing as I endured the son of the charioteer’s rude and offensive boast in silence. Thus, we have earned our right to be in this miserable situation.”
Yudhishthira saw with sadness that everyone had lost their bravery and joy. He reasoned that giving them something to do would make them happier. Brother, climb that tree and check to see if there is a river or pool nearby. He was so very thirsty.
Nakula ascended the tree, took a glance around, and uttered: “I can make out cranes and water plants in the distance. Water must exist there, without a doubt.”
He was asked by Yudhishthira to go get some water.
When Nakula arrived at the location and discovered a pool, he was happy. He considered satisfying his own thirst before putting water in his quiver for his brother since he was so parched. But as soon as he placed his hand in the clear water, he heard a voice saying, “Take caution. I own the pool here. O son of Madri, respond to my inquiries before sipping the liquid.”
Although Nakula was startled, driven by his great desire and disregarding the warning, he drank the water. As soon as he felt uncontrollable tiredness setting in, he collapsed and appeared to be dead.
Yudhishthira was shocked when Nakula did not appear, so she despatched Sahadeva to find out what was wrong. Sahadeva wondered if his brother had suffered any injuries as he arrived to the pool and found him laying on the ground. But before doing more research, he impulsively ran to the river to quench his raging thirst.
The voice reappeared: “Sahadeva, welcome to my pool. Only until you respond to my inquiries will I be able to satisfy your thirst.”
Sahadeva, like Nakula, disregarded the advice. After drinking the water, he immediately collapsed.
Yudhishthira was perplexed and concerned when Sahadeva also failed to return, so he despatched Arjuna to find out whether the brothers had run into any trouble. He said, “And bring water,” since he was quite thirsty. Arjuna moved quickly. He discovered both of his brothers dead and laying by the pool. He was astounded by what he saw and assumed that a hidden enemy must have slain them. He was overcome by a tremendous hunger that overcame all of his emotions, including his burning desire for vengeance and heartbreaking anguish, and that drove him uncontrollably toward the fateful pool.
Once more, a voice was audible: “Before you ingest the water, please respond to my query. I own this pool. You will obey your brothers if you defy me.”
Arjuna was quite angry. He sobbed: “So who are you? If you rebel against me, I’ll kill you “and he fired arrows with razor-sharp points in the direction of the speaker. The unseen entity mockingly laughed: “Your shots just hurt the air. You can quench your hunger when you respond to my inquiries. You will perish if you don’t drink the water.”
Arjuna was very perplexed and resolved to track down and battle this elusive adversary. He needed to slake his awful thirst first, though. Yes, he had to take out his adversary of thirst first. He drank the water as a result, and passed away.
Following a long wait, Yudhishthira turned to Bhima and said: “Arjuna, the legendary hero, is also yet to appear, my brother. Our stars are horrible, thus something dreadful must have occurred to our brothers. Please find them quickly and go looking for them. Bring water, too; I’m going to die of thirst.” Bhima rushed off silently as he was overcome with worry.
When he saw his three brothers laying there dead, one can only imagine the sadness and hatred he felt. He reflected: “The Yakshas are definitely responsible for this. I’ll go looking for them and murder them. But O! I need to drink water first since I am very thirsty in order to combat them.” He stepped into the pool after that.
A voice yelled: “Be careful, Bhimasena. You can only drink after responding to my questions. If you ignore my warnings, you will perish.”
Bhima said, “Who are you to tell me what to do?” as he eagerly drank the water while gazing at everyone in defiance. His immense power appeared to leave him like a garment as he did so. He died alongside his brothers as well.
Yudhishthira sobbed in alone, thirsty and anxious. Have they been victimised by a curse, are they stumbling around in the woods looking for water in vain, or have they passed out or perished from thirst?
He set off in search of his brothers and the pool because he was unable to stand the idea of them and was driven to desperation by an intense thirst.
Yudhishthira moved forth in the same way as his brothers, passing through areas that were overrun with wild boar, spotted dear, and large forest birds. He then came to a stunning green meadow with a crystal-clear body of water, which was like nectar to his eyes.
But unable to contain his anguish, he rose his voice and sobbed as he saw his brothers laying there like holy flagpoles that had been flung aimlessly after a celebration. He caressed Bhima and Arjuna’s faces as they wept there, so quiet and silent: “W “Is this the last of our promises? You have been taken away just when our exile is about to come to an end. Even the gods have abandoned me in my plight!”
He sadly pondered who may have been strong enough to murder them as he observed their once powerful limbs, now so weak. He thought, broken-hearted: “Even after witnessing Nakula and Sahadeva dead, my heart must be built of steel for it not to break. What reason should I keep surviving in this world?”
Then he started to feel mysterious because this couldn’t be an everyday occurrence. There were no warriors in the world who could defeat his brothers.
Furthermore, they had no visible wounds that may have allowed them to breathe, and their faces resembled those of men who were sleeping peacefully rather than those who had been killed in anger.
Additionally, there were no signs of an enemy’s footsteps. There was undoubtedly some magic involved. Or may Duryodhana be pulling a prank on you? Could it be that he tainted the water? Then Yudhishthira followed suit, plunging into the pool after being lured to the water by an intense hunger.
As again, the formless voice immediately forewarned: “Your brothers lost their lives because they disregarded my advice. Don’t adhere to them. Before you satisfy your thirst, please respond to my questions. I own this pool.”
Yudhishthira surmised what had happened to his siblings after realising that these statements could only have come from a Yaksha. He recognised a means to perhaps turn things around.
To the voice without a body, he said, “Please ask your inquiries.” The voice quickly asked questions one after another.
“What makes the sun shine every day?” the yaksha enquired.
The force of Brahman, Yudhishthira retorted.
The yaksha enquired, “What saves a man in peril?”
“Courage is man’s deliverance amid danger,” Yudhishthira retorted.
“By the study of which science does man become wise?” the yaksha questioned.
In response, Yudhishthira “Man does not become intelligent by learning any sastra.
He gains insight by connection with wise people.”
What is more noblely sustaining than the ground, pondered the yaksha?
“The woman who raises the children she has borne is nobler and more sustaining than the land,” Yudhishthira said.
What is higher than the sky, the yaksha enquired?
The father, in response from Yudhishthira.
What is more transient than wind, the yaksha pondered.
“Mind,” Yudhishthira retorted.
What is more blighted than withered straw, questioned the yaksha?
“A heart wracked with sadness,” Yudhishthira retorted.
What makes a traveller a friend, queried the yaksha?
Learning, Yudhishthira retaliated.
“Who is the buddy of one who remains at home?” the Yaksha questioned.
The wife, Yudhishthira responded.
“Who accompanies a man in death?” the yaksha questioned.
In response, Yudhishthira “Dharma. That is the only thing the soul has with it when it travels by itself after death.”
Which of the vessels is the largest, the yaksha enquired.
The earth is the finest vessel since it holds everything, Yudhishthira retorted.
What is happiness, inquired the yaksha?
“Happiness is the outcome of excellent behaviour,” Yudhishthira retorted.
“What is that, abandoning which man gets adored by all?” questioned the yaksha.
“Pride, for leaving that man behind will be cherished by everybody,” Yudhishthira retorted.
“What is the loss that brings delight and not sorrow?” the yaksha questioned.
“Anger, giving it up, we shall no longer be exposed to grief,” Yudhishthira retorted.
The Yaksha questioned, “What is it that a man gives up to become wealthy?”
“Desire, getting rid of it, man becomes affluent,” Yudhishthira retorted.
Yaksha enquired: “What characterises a true brahmana? Is it birth, good behaviour, or education? Respond forcefully.”
In response, Yudhishthira “Being a brahmana is not a result of birth or education.
Only good behaviour works. Even the most intelligent individual cannot become a brahmana if he is a slave to harmful habits. A man with poor behaviour is of a lesser class, regardless of his knowledge of the four Vedas.”
What is the world’s greatest wonder, the yaksha enquired?
In response, Yudhishthira “Men witness animals leaving every day to go to Yama’s home, but those who are left want to live eternally. This is undoubtedly the biggest miracle.”
The Yaksha so asked several questions, and Yudhishthira responded to each one.
Finally, the Yaksha questioned: “O King, now you can bring back one of your deceased brethren. Who do you want to be restored? He will be brought back to life.”
“May the cloudcomplexioned, lotus-eyed, broad-chested, and long-armed Nakula, laying like a fallen ebony tree, arise,” Yudhishthira said after pausing for a time.
As a result of this, the Yaksha addressed Yudhishthira: “When compared to Bhima, who possesses the power of sixteen thousand elephants, why did you chose Nakula? I’ve heard that you hold Bhima in the highest regard. And why not Arjuna, whose military skill serves as your defence? Please explain your decision to choose Nakula over one of these two.”
In response, Yudhishthira “Dharma, not Bhima or Arjuna, is the sole shield that protects a man, O Yaksha. Man will be destroyed if dharma is abandoned. My father had two wives, Madri and Kunti. Since I am Kunti’s living son, she is not entirely in mourning. I pray for the recovery of Madri’s son Nakula so that justice might be served on an equal footing.” The Yaksha approved of Yudhishthira’s objectivity and gave the order for all of his siblings to be brought back to life.
Yama, the Bhagwan of Death, had assumed the guises of the deer and the Yaksha in order to visit his son Yudhishthira and put him to the test. Yudhishthira was fortunate when he was hugged.
Says Yama “Your exile in the forest will soon come to an end because only a few days are left in the allotted time. Also, the thirteenth year will come to an end. All of your adversaries won’t be able to find you. You’ll accomplish what you set out to do.” and after stating this, he vanished.
While the Pandavas undoubtedly experienced a variety of difficulties during their exile, they also reaped some major benefits. Through a time of strict punishment and investigative probation, they became stronger and more honourable men.
After visiting tapas, Arjuna returned with heavenly weapons and was energised by his encounter with Indra. Near the lake where the Saugandhika blossoms were in bloom, Bhima also ran upon his older brother Hanuman, who bestowed tenfold power upon him.
Yudhishthira shined with threefold brilliance after seeing his father Yama, the Bhagwan of Dharma, at the enchanted lake.
“Those who hear the sacred tale of Yudhishthira’s encounter with his father will never harbour bad thoughts. They will never try to instigate disputes among friends or desire other people’s money. They won’t ever give in to desire. They won’t ever become too wedded to fleeting things.” As he told Janamejaya this incident of the Yaksha, Vaisampayana made the following statement. May the readers of this narrative as it has been relayed by us experience the same good.
Keep Mahabharat Book at Home and Read Daily – DO NOT FALL TO FAKE PROPAGANDA and Allow Enemies to Weaken our Dharma and Bharat
This historical epic Mahabharat is known as fifth Veda. It is a common misconception spread by mlecchas; muslims and christian missionaries, and secular Hindus that reading Mahabharat or keeping it at home will likely lead to arguments and fighting. All of this misinformation was spread by illiterate mlecchas and anti-Hindus, and it is completely incorrect. It is done to mentally weaken Hindus so that they avoid reading Mahabharat. Because Mahabharat invokes bravery, pride and sense of confidence in Hindus.
Keep a copy of Mahabharat at home and read it online at the HariBhakt website. Mahabharat is rightly called the fifth Veda for Kaliyuga people because it is a tool and guidance to invoke confidence and bravery in Sanatan Dharmi Hindus.
You can read complete Mahabharat by following Chapter links given below. You can check Glossary of Mahabharat here.