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Yudhisthira and Yaksha – Questions and Answers from the Mahabharata

One day during the exile, the Pandavas became extremely thirsty and asked Nakula, the youngest of Pandavas, to get some water from a nearby pond. When Nakula did not return one by one the Pandavas went looking for the other and finally Yudhisthira, the eldest, discovers the four brothers lying dead nearby a pond. Suddenly, Yudhisthira hears the voice of Yaksha who warns him not to drink the water from the pond before he has answered his questions; otherwise, he would also be dead. Yudhisthira agrees to answer the question of Yaksha.

Here are famous answers given by Yudhistira to the question of Yaksha which revived all the four brothers.

What makes the sun shine daily?
– The power of Brahman (Absolute).

What does a person need to rescue him from danger?
– Courage.

Which science should man study to become wise?
– A man does not acquire wisdom just by studying the Shastras (sciences), but by associating with wise men.

Is there anything that sustains more nobly than the earth?
– The mother who give birth and brings up her children.

What is higher than the sky?
– The father.

What is swifter than the wind?
– Mind.

What is more impaired than a withered straw?
– An anguished heart.

What is a traveler’s friend?
– Learning.

Who is the friend that stays at home?
– The wife.

Who accompanies a man on his last journey after death?
– Dharma accompanies the soul on its lonely journey after death.

What is happiness?
– Happiness is the fruit of good conduct.

What is that, a person discards and thereafter, is loved by all?
– Pride.

The loss of what results in joy not sorrow?
– Anger.

The abandonment of what makes a man rich?
– Desire.

What makes one a real Brahmin, is it birth, good conduct or learning?
– Neither birth nor learning makes one a real Brahmin, only good conduct does.

What is the greatest wonder in the world?
– The greatest wonder is that although people see living beings die everyday they still try to live forever.

(Source: Bhagavad Gita a new perspective by Ila Ahuja and M Raj Ahuja)