Yudhisthira’s answers to the Yaksha
October 13, 2009 2 Comments
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 and religiosity.
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 of austerity.
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 and kings?
Yudhisthira: For religious merit, prestige, maintenance and protection, respectively.
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 material nature.
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 promises 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 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 significance:
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 world?)
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 the 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.
(This is from here.)