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Yudhisthira Answers The Question Of Bird To Save His Brothers Turned To Stone

The story of a bird turning four Pandava brothers to stone and Yudhisthira saving them by answering its question is found in the Kashidashi Mahabharata. The incident happened when Pandavas were on their final journey after giving up their kingdom.

During their journey in the Himalayas, the Pandavas witnessed Danaveshwar form of Shiva. Here they took bath in a lake and offered prayers to Danaveshwar who had crown with a gem that glowed in dark.

They then climbed Meghnad Mountain and reached another lake. From there they started climbing the Kedarnath Mountain.

As the Pandavas were climbing the Kedarnath Mountain they were stopped by a group of Apsaras (celestial maidens). When the Apsaras wanted to know the reason for their journey, Yudhisthira introduced himself and his brothers and Draupadi.

When the celestial damsels learned about His intention to wash of sins etc, they asked him to give up the foolish pursuit and instead live with them here as they were immune to old age and sickness.

Yudhisthira was firm and told them that he and his brothers were no longer interested in the worldly life and they could only see the damsels as mothers and sisters. Hearing this, Apsaras disappeared without bothering the Pandavas.

The Pandavas and Draupadi move ahead and had darshan of Shiva at Kedarnath.

Going further ahead they saw two lakes. Bhima went to collect water when his brothers and wife rested under a tree.

When Bhima reached the lake, a bird told him that the lake belonged to it and he should only take water after answering the question.

When Bhima did not return Arjuna went in search of him. He too ignored the question of the bird and was turned into a stone. Nakula and Sahadeva too met with the same fate.
Finally, Yudhisthira went in search of his brothers and met the bird. He agreed to answer the question of the bird.

The bird asked - What is the most astonishing thing in the world? Who lives in eternal bliss?

Yudhistira answer - The longing to live forever is what is astonishing. Everyone knows they will die yet they wish to live forever. The one who follows Dharma live in eternal bliss.

The bird revealed himself as Dharma. He told Yudhistira that he alone was fit for the journey.

Dharma revived the brothers but told Yudhistira that they will fall on the way.