Jai Shri Krishna
King Yudhisthira's Answers to Dharmaraja
In the great epic Mahabharata, Maharaja Yudhisthira, the son of
Dharmaraja is the embodiment of all good qualities. For this reason,
he is often referred to as Ajatasatru, one who has no enemies. In
many conversations Yudhisthira reveals his deep understanding of the
Vedic scriptures and their practical applications. One day while
living in exile in the forest, Yudhisthira finds that while
attempting to drink water from a lake, all his brothers have been
killed by a mysterious Yaksha (a celestial entity). When Yudhisthira
arrives the Yaksha challenges him to answer all his questions or else
face the same consequences as his brothers. These questions-answers
are like Vedic sutras, short, pithy and practical and deal with piety
Yaksha:: Who is really a helpful companion?
Yudhisthira: Steady intelligence is a very good friend and can save
one from all dangers.
Yaksha: How can one acquire something very great?
Yudhisthira: Everything desirable can be attained by the performance
Yaksha: What is amrita (nectar)?
Yudhisthira: Milk is just like nectar.
Yaksha: What is the friend bestowed upon man by the demigods?
Yudhisthira: Wife is such a friend.
Yaksha: What is the best of happiness?
Yudhisthira: True happiness comes as a result of contentment.
Yaksha: Why does one give in charity to brahmanas, artists, servants
Yudhisthira: For religious merit, prestige, maintenance and
Yaksha: Why does one forsake friends?
Yudhisthira: Lust and greed drives one to forsake friends.
Yaksha: What is the only food?
Yudhisthira: The cow is the only food, for the milk that she produces
is used to make ghee (clarified butter), which is used to perform
sacrifices, pleased by which the demigods give rain, which causes the
grains to grow. Therefore it should be understood that the cow is the
root cause of all kinds of food.
Yaksha: What is the king of knowledge?
Yudhisthira: Knowledge pertaining to the Supreme Personality of
Godhead is the king of all kinds of knowledge.
Yaksha: What is ignorance?
Yudhisthira: Not knowing one's constitutional duty.
Yaksha: What is the best bath?
Yudhisthira: That which cleanses the mind of all impurities.
Yaksha: What is real charity?
Yudhisthira: Real charity is protecting one from the onslaughts of
Yaksha: Since dharma (virtue), artha (profit) and kama (desire) are
opposed to each other, how can they co-exist harmoniously?
Yudhisthira: These three become congenial to one another when one has
a virtuous wife.
Yaksha: Who is condemned to everlasting hell?
Yudhisthira: When one promise a brahmana charity but upon his arrival
refuses to give him charity.
Yaksha: What make one a brahmana, birth, learning or behavior?
Yudhisthira: It is behavior alone that make a person a brahmana. Even
if one who is expert in the four Vedas, born of brahmana parents, but
whose behavior is not proper should be considered a sudra.
Yaksha: Who is pleasing?
Yudhisthira: A person who speaks in a pleasing manner.
Finally the Yaksha asked Yudhisthira four questions of great
Yaksha: Who is truly happy?
Yudhisthira: One who cooks his own food (is not dependant on anyone),
is not a debtor (does not spend more than he can afford), does not
have to leave home to make in order to earn his livelihood (does not
over endeavor for material things) is truly happy.
Yaksha: What is the most wonderful thing?
Yudhisthira: The most amazing thing is that even though every day one
sees countless living entities dying, he still acts and thinks as if
he will live forever.
Yaksha: What is the real path to follow in this life?
Yudhisthira: The best path is to follow in the footsteps of the pure
devotees, for they are the actual Mahajanas whose hearts are the
sitting places of the real truths regarding religion.
Yaksha: What is news? (that is What is real situation in the material
Yudhisthira: The material world is like a frying pan. The Sun is the
fire, the day and nights are the fuel. The passing seasons are the
stirring ladle and time is cook. All living entities are being thus
fried in this pan. This is the real news of what is happening in the
material world which is a miserable place full of ignorance.
These questions and answers cover a wide gamut of instructions from
being successful to pious to religious. Pleased by the answers of
Yudhisthira, the Yaksha who was none other than Dharmaraja (the
father of Yudhisthira and the embodiment of religiosity) revives all
the brothers of Yudhisthira and offers him many benedictions.