Monday, March 17, 2008
Yudhishthira waited for his brothers in anxiety and thirst. “Can they have been subjected to a curse or are they still wandering about in the forest in search of water? “Can they have fainted or died of thirst? ” Unable to bear these thoughts, and driven be an overpowering thirst, he gave up waiting and started out to look for ho brothers and the pool, hoping that he might find them.
Yudhishthira proceeded in the direction his brothers had taken and kept on walking through tracts full of wild bear and spotted deer and big forest birds till he came upon a beautiful green meadow, around a pool of clear water. But when he saw his brothers lying there like a corpse, unable to restrain his grief, he lifted his voice and wept.
He touched the faces of Bhima and Arjuna (his brothers), as they lay so still and silence and mourned: Was this to be the end of all our vows? Just when our exile is about to end, you have taken away. Even the gods have forsaken me in my misfortune.
As he looked at their mighty limbs, nom so helpless, he sadly wondered who could have been powerful enough to kill them. Then he too descended into the pool, drawn to the water by an overpowering thirst. At once the voice without form warned.
“Your brothers died because they didn`t heed my words. They tried to drink water without answering my question. Don`t follow them. Answer my question s first and then you can quench your thirst. This pool belongs to me.”
It didn`t take Yuthishthira a moment to understand that these could be none other than the words of a Yaksha (that formless voice) and guessed what had happened to his brothers. It took him no time to see a possible way of bringing them back to life. He said bodiless voice: Please ask your question.”
The voice put question rapidly one after another.
“What rescues man in danger?”
“By the study of which science does man become wise?
“Not by studying any “shastra” does man become wise. It is by association with the great in wisdom that he gets wisdom.”
The Yaksha asked,
“What is swifter than wind?”
What is more faded than dried straw?
“A sorrow stricken heart.”
“Who is the friend of one who stays at home?”
“Who accompanies a man in death?”
“Dharma. That alone accompanies the soul in its solitary journey after death.
“Which is the biggest vessel?”
“The earth, which contains all within itself, is the greatest vessel”
“What is happiness?”
“Happiness is the result of good conduct.”
“What is that , by giving up being man becomes loved by all?”
“Pride. For, if man gives up being proud, he will be loved by all.”
“What is the loss which yields joy not sorrow?”
“Anger. If we gave up being angry, we will no longer be subject to sorrow.”
“What is that, by giving up which man becomes rich”
“Desire. If man gives up being greedy, he will become wealthy.”
“What makes one a real `Brahmana`? Is it birth, good conduct, or learning? Answer decisively”
“Birth and learning don`t make one a `Brahmana` ; good conduct alone does. However learned a person may be, he will not be a `Brahmana` without giving up bad habits. Even though he may be learned in the four Vedas, a man of bad conduct falls to lower class.”
“What is the greatest wonder in the world?”
“Every man see creatures depart to Yama`s kingdom, and yet those who remain want to live for ever, This truly is greatest wonder.”
Thus, the Yagsha put many questions and Yudhishthira answered them all.
In the end Yaksha asked: O king, one of your dead brothers can now be revived . Who do you want to came back to life?
It took Yudhishthira a moment to think and then he wished that the cloud-complexioned, lotus eyed, broad-chested and long-armed Nakula, lying like fallen eony tree, might arise.
The Yaksha was pleased at this and asked Yudhishthira: “Why did you choose Nakula in preference to Bhima, Who has the strength of sixteen thousand elephants? I have heard that bhima is most dear to you. And Why not Arjuna, Whose strength in arms is your protection? Tell me why you choose Nakula rather than either of these two.”
Yudhishthira replied: “ O Yaksha, ` Dharma is the only shield of man and not bihima or Arjuan. If `Dharma` is given up, man will be ruined. Kunti and Madri were the two wives of father. I am alive, a son of Kunti, and so she not completely bereaved. In order that the scales of justice may be even I ak that Madri`s son , Nakula may revive.”
The Yaksha was most pleased with Yudhishtira`s impartiality and granted that all his brothers would come back to life.
It was Yama, the Lord of death, who had taken the form of the Yaksha so that he might see Yudhishthira and test him. He embraced Yudhishthira and blessed him: tehn he disappeared.
Shastra- treatise, book
Yaksha- semi god, devil
Brahmana- noble one, awakens one
Dharma- the universe eternal law
Four Veda- ancient Indian Metaphysics, Philosophypical and religions sanskrit poems. consisted Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda.