In the great epic Mahabharata, Maharaja Yudhishthira, the son of Dharmaraja, was the embodiment of all good qualities. Yudhishthira had a deep understanding of the Vedic texts and their practical applications. One day while in exile in the forest, Yudhishthira learned that all his brothers had been killed by a Yaksha king, while attempting to drink water from a lake. When Yudhishthira arrived, the Yaksha asked Yudhishthira to answer all his questions or else he would face the same consequences as his brothers. These question-answers are short, concise and practical like Vedic formulas and are related to piety and righteousness.
Questions and Answers
- Yaksha: What is heavier than the earth? What is higher than the sky?
Yudhishthira: Mother is heavier than the earth. Father is higher than the sky.
- Yaksha: What can move faster than the wind? What is more numerous than straws?
Yudhishthira: The mind is going to move faster than the wind. Worries are more numerous than straws.
- Yaksha: Who is the friend of the patient? Who is the friend of the person near death?
Yudhishthira: The physician is the friend of the patient. Charity is the friend of a person near death.
- Yaksha: What is the main place of fame? What is the main place of happiness?
Yudhishthir: The main place of fame is charity. Modesty is the main place of happiness.
- Yaksha: What is the best quality in blessed men? What is the ultimate refuge of man?
Yudhishthira: The best quality in blessed men is efficiency. Charity is the ultimate refuge of man.
- Yaksha: What is the main benefit among benefits? What is the best of pleasures?
Yudhishthir: A healthy body is the most important benefit. The best happiness is contentment.
- Yaksha: What is the best religion in the world? People don't mourn by keeping whom under their control?
Yudhishthira: Kindness is the best religion in the world. By keeping the mind under control, people do not grieve.
- Yaksha: By renouncing which thing does a man become dear to others? Who does not feel sad after leaving?
Yudhishthir: A man becomes dear to all by renouncing his ego. Letting go of anger does not grieve.
- Yaksha: By renouncing which thing does a man become rich? By sacrificing whom does he become happy?
Yudhishthir: A man becomes rich by giving up his lust. He becomes happy by giving up greed.
- Yaksha: Why does a man leave his friends? Friendship with whom does not get destroyed?
Yudhishthir: Because of greed man abandons friends. Friendship made with true people never dies.
- Yaksha: What is the direction? What is the benefit of one who makes many friends?
Yudhishthira: Good men are directions. One who makes many friends, lives happily.
- Yaksha: Whose name is Uttam Daya? What is simplicity?
Yudhishthira: The best kindness is to wish for everyone's happiness. Simplicity is the sameness of the mind in happiness and sorrow.
- Yaksha: Who is the formidable enemy of humans? What is the biggest disease?
Yudhishthira: Anger is such an enemy, which is difficult to conquer. Greed is the biggest disease.
- Yaksha: Who is considered a sage? Who is called asadhu?
Yudhishthira: The one who does good to all the living beings, he is a sage. The merciless man has been considered as unholy.
- Yaksha: What is called patience? What is called ultimate bath?
Yudhishthira: To control the senses is patience. Cleansing the filth of the mind is the ultimate bath.
- Yaksha: What is called pride? Which thing is supremely divine?
Yudhishthir: The one who raises the flag of religion is called arrogant. The fruit of charity is supremely divine.
- Yaksha: What does one who speaks sweet words get? What does a thoughtful person get?
Yudhishthir: The one who speaks sweet words is loved by everyone? By working thoughtfully, victory is achieved in the work.
- Yaksha: Who is happy?
Yudhishthir: The person who does not have any debt, who is not in another state, the person who stays at home and eats vegetables on the fifth-sixth day, he is happy.
- Yaksha: What is the wonder?
Yudhishthira: Every day the creatures from the world go to Yamaloka. But those who are left, they keep on desiring to live forever. What can be a bigger surprise than this?
- Yaksha: Who is the richest?
Yudhishthir: The person who remains equal in love-unpleasant, happiness-sorrow, past-future, he is the richest.
One of the last questions of the Yaksha was:
Divasēndivasa bhūtāni praviśanti yamālayam.
Śēṣasthāvaramichanti kimaścaryāmata: Param॥
(Meaning: Every day the living beings enter Yama's house, the rest of the living beings wish to stay here eternally. Is there any greater wonder than this?)
To one of which (Kimashcharya) Yudhishthira replied:
Ahan'yāhanī bhūtāni gacchantiha yamālayam.
Śēṣaḥ sthāvaramichanti kimaścaryāmata: Param॥
(Meaning: Every day the creatures enter Yama's house, the rest of the creatures wish to stay here till eternity. What can be a bigger surprise than this!)