Mahabharata Stories: 26 – A Critical Test

There always are certain questions to which our intelligence may seem to never be able to find answers and if we do, there always seems to be an element of doubt lurking in our minds. It is in such situations that the scriptures and the wisdom of the realised come to our aid. The answers to the following questions, which were until then not given in such simple, lucid words, have served as eye-openers and are true always.

When Yudhishtira went to the enchanted pool to quench his thirst and found his brothers fallen dead, he was asked by the Yaksha who stood guard over the pool to answer certain questions before drinking the water. Dharmaputra agreed to this and the Yaksha began interrogating him thus:


Yaksha: An intelligent man enjoying all pleasures of the senses is held in high esteem by the world and enjoys popularity. Yet, this man is considered not alive. Why?

Dharmaputra: A man, though he breathes does not live unless he serves the gods, guests, servants, ancestors and the lesser creatures.

Yaksha: How is it possible for a man to always have a companion?

Dharmaputra: Intelligence serves as a helpful companion to man at all times.

Yaksha: How is this intelligence acquired?

Dharmaputra: Serving the old makes one wise.

Then the Yaksha asked: What is weightier than the earth? (Read: in forbearance)

Dharmaputra: The mother is weightier than the earth.

Yaksha: What is higher than the skies? (Read: in esteem)

Dharmaputra: The father is higher than the skies.

Yaksha: What is the soul of man? (Read: his own reflection)

Dharmaputra: His son.

Yaksha: Who is his friend?

Dharmaputra: His wife.

The Yaksha continued posing questions: What is the most valuable of all possessions?

Dharmaputra: Knowledge.

Yaksha: What is mercy?

Dharmaputra: Mercy is wishing happiness for all.

Yaksha: What is grief?

Dharmaputra: Ignorance is grief.

Yaksha: What is ignorance?

Dharmaputra: Not knowing one’s duties.

Yaksha: What is idleness?

Dharmaputra: Not discharging one’s duties.

Yaksha: What is the highest duty in the world?

Dharmaputra: Abstaining from injury (in any form Ahimsa) is the highest duty.

Yaksha: What makes one a Brahmin? (Read: one of high calibre) Is it behaviour or birth or study or learning?

Dharmaputra: Neither birth nor learning not even the study of the Vedas makes one a Brahmin unless his behaviour is faultless. For, a man faultless in behaviour is faultless. Hence it is behaviour which determines if a man is a Brahmin.

Yaksha: What is the most wonderful thing in the world?

Dharmaputra: Each day there are many that die and yet the rest of us watching believe ourselves to be permanent. That is the most wonderful thing in the world.

Yaksha: Who is said to possess all the wealth in the world?

Dharmaputra: The man to whom happiness and sorrow, past and future, agreeability and disagreeability are all the same is said to possess all the wealth in the world.

There were many, many such questions to which Dharmaputra provided precise answers, but the above are most pertinent to today’s life.



2 thoughts on “Mahabharata Stories: 26 – A Critical Test

  1. Just love your clear cut precise style of writing not wasting a single word. Beautiful use of language. Crisp. Not bombarding readers with superfluous, superficial superlatives 😀 just to prove your language prowess 🙂


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