Saturday, 2 July 2011


[ The questions asked by Yaksha to Yudhishthira (Dharma) regarding religious problems, are one of the salient features of Mahabharata. Here is given the short story with full list of the questions and answers, for the benefit of the readers of our Shri Sai Leela Magazine. —Editor ]

After leaving Kamyaka forest, the Pandavas again returned to Dwaita forest. There, in order to catch a deer which had run away with the piece of wood used by a Brahmin in the sacrificial processes, and which was a necessity for him, the Pandavas, on being requested by him, took each his bow and arrow and went into deep forest. While traversing the length and breadth of the forest, they could not come upon the swiftest deer. Tired and thirsty, they searched for some water source. Dharma, resting under a tree with his brothers, sent Nakula to the lake which was seen from the tree-top. Nakula was to bring water for all the brothers. Proceeding to the precincts of the lake, he reached down for having a sip of the waters when from the space, a voice announced " Oh, Nakula ! Do not make haste. This lake is belonging to me. You have first to answer my questions fully and correctly and then only you can drink of these pure waters. " Nakula however neglected the warning and drank the water. No sooner did he take one sip, than he fell lifeless on the bank.

After awaiting his return for some time, Dharma directed Sahadeva, Arjuna and Bheema by turns as the former did not return in time, but unfortunately, all the four brothers did not pay heed to the warning of Yaksha and all were dead.

Dharma, waiting for long minutes, himself ran down to the lake and to his great sorrow, saw the bodies of his dear brothers lying motionless on the bank. He wondered and went nearer the bank. The Yaksha's warning echoed again. " Oh Dharma ! I am a crane ! This is my lake. First answer my questions satisfactorily and take a sip, otherwise, be dead just as your brothers. "

Dharma was knowing the nuances of religion. Before taking benefit of anybody's property, one has to fulfil certain conditions and take his permission. One cannot trespass and usurp anybody of his ownership or possession. Dharma was very polite, He said, " You do not seem to be a bird. You must be an angel of some high order like Rudra, Vasu or Marut (The angles of Fire, Earth or Air). Please let me have your Darshan. I will try to answer your questions according to my ability.

Yaksha was waiting for such a man.   He asked Dharma many questions and Dharma replied all :


Question :   What makes the Sun rise ?

Answer :     Brahman.

Q — Who are His companions ?

A —  Hosts of Devas.

Q  — Who makes the Sun set ?

A  — Dharma- The Universal Law.

Q — In what is the Sun established ?

A — In Truth.

Q — What makes a man Shrotriya ?

A — By Shrutees ( Vedas).

Q  — By what a person attains Mahat abode ?

A —   By Penance.

Q  — What makes a man " accompanied by second ? "

A — By Courage.

Q  — What gives a man intelligence ?

A — Serving the elders.

Q —  In Brahmins, what is divinity and what is   human quality ?   What is saintly practice and what is evil practice for them ? '

A :— To learn Vedas is divinity, to perform penance .is saintliness, to sacrifice is their human quality and to blame others is evil for them.

Q :— What are similar qualities for Kshatriyas ?

A :       For Kshatriyas, Archery is divinity, Yadnya is saintliness,  Fear is their human quality and " Not    to protect the poor " is evil for them.

Q. Who is dead though   living, enjoying sense- perceptions, intelligent and respected by all ?

A :--- One who does not feed the angels and gods, the guests, the servants, the mother and father as also his own soul, is verily dead though breathing.

Q :— What is greater than the Earth ? Higher than the Sky ?

Faster than Wind and numerous than grass-blades ?

A :— Mother is greater than the Earth.   Father is higher than the sky; Mind is faster than wind and worries are more numerous than blades of grass !

Q ;— Who is a friend to travellers in foreign countries ?

Who is a friend to house-dweller ?

Who is a friend to a sufferer and who is a friend to a man on death bed ? A :— Co-travellers are friends in foreign land, wife to the house-dweller,  doctor to  the  sufferer and     surely, ‘charity ' is the friend to the dying man.

Q :— Who is guest to all ?   What is  eternal religion ? What is nectar ?   What is in short all this world ?

A :— Fire is guest to all.    Unchangeable tenements of religion is the eternal religion, the cow's milk is the nectar and this world, in short, is like wind.

Q  — Who travels alone ?

A — The sun.

Q  — Who is born again after once being born ?

A — The moon ?

Q  —  What is medicine for cold ?

A — Warmth of fire.

Q  — Which is the largest place ?

A — The Earth.

Q — What are the main abodes of religion, success, heaven and happiness.

A — Carefulness, charity, thruth and culture (good morals) are the main abodes respectively. Q — What is the soul of man, friend of man, source  of livelihood and his last resort ?

A :— Son is his soul, wife is the ordained friend and compa­nion, the cloud is source of livelihood and Dana ( charity ) is his last resort.

Q :— What is best : (1) quality in auspicious persons, (2) possession, (3) benefit and (4) happiness ?

A :— Awareness is the best quality of auspicious persons, scientific knowledge is best possession; good health is best benefit and contenment is best happiness.

Q :— What is the highest religion in society ? What reli­gion gives lasting benefit ? What thing if controlled, does not bring in sorrow ? Whose agreement remains valid ?

A :— Pity, the religion laid down in Vedas, the mind under control and agreement with gentleman are the answers to these four questions.

Q :— Giving up of what (1) makes a man popular ? (2) makes him self-contained, (3) makes him free from sorrow and (4) makes him happy ?

A  :— Renounce conceit to become popular, desire for being self-contained, anger to be free of sorrow and envy for happiness

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