Tuesday, September 27, 2016

878. When the Father quizzed his Son…..!

While in exile Yudhisthira, the eldest of Pandavas asked his brother Nakula to fetch water from the nearby pond. Time passed but his brother did not return. Yudhisthira asked Sahadeva his other brother to go and enquire; he too did not come back. Then Yudhisthira sent Arjuna and Bhima one after the other and the same thing happened, nobody returned back. Yudhisthira became worried and decided to go and have a look himself. No sooner had he reached the lake inside the forest, he found all his brothers were lying dead. 

Yudhisthira who was known for his patience decided to drink some water  before investigating further on his brothers, as he approached the lake, he heard a voice, “Wait Yudhisthira, this lake is mine, I have some questions to ask if you answer them you can drink the water. I am warning you that without answering my questions if you dared to drink, your fate too will be the same as your brothers. I told the same to your brothers but they ignored me and now they are dead.”

Yudhisthira immediately could grasp the situation and told the voice to go ahead with those questions. Probably this was the first quiz on knowledge.  

The question and answers were thus:

Q: Who makes the Sun rise? Who travel with him? Who leads him to set? In what is he firmly anchored?

A: It is Brahman, the Absolute Consciousness which makes the Sun rise. Devas travel with him. Dharma leads him to set and he is firmly anchored in Truth.

Q: How does one become learned? How does he become great and who helps him? O King! By what means one becomes intelligent?

A: One becomes learned by knowledge of scriptures; one achieves greatness by penance, gets help from his own intelligence and becomes intelligent by serving elders. 

Q: When is a man who is alive considered to be dead?

A: When he does not share his wealth with guests, servants, animals and ancestors. 

Q: What is faster than wind? 

A: Mind.

Q: More numerous than grass? 

A: Thoughts.

Q: What is more valuable than gold? 

A: Knowledge.

Q: More desirable than wealth? 

A: Health.

Q: Most desired form of happiness? 

A: Contentment.

Q: What is the greatest deed? 

A: Non-violence.

Q: What measures a man? 

A: Conduct.

Q: What is forgiveness?

A: Tolerating the worst of enemies. 

Q: What is mercy?

A: Wishing happiness to all. 

Q: What is simplicity?

A: Equanimity (The quality of being composed and steady, especially under stress or pressure).

Q: What is the only thing man can conquer? 

A: His own mind.

Q: What when renounced makes one agreeable?

A: Pride.

Q: What when renounced makes one wealthy? 

A: Desire.

Q: Who is man’s most dreaded enemy?

A: Anger.

Q: What is the worst disease?

A: Greed.

Q: What is charity?

A: Helping the helpless.

Q: What is the most amazing thing about the world? 

A: Everyday creatures die, yet the rest live as if immortal. 

Q: How does one know the true path?

A: Not through arguments-they never reach conclusions, not from teachers,-they only give opinions, to know the true path, one must, in silence and solitude, reflect on one’s own life.

The Yama, the owner of the voice was impressed and asked Yudhisthira, “I shall let one of your brothers alive, and who shall it be?”

Without hesitation Yudhisthira answered, “Nakula.”

“Why him? He is your step brother?” said the voice.

Yudhisthira calmly replied, “My father had two wives, me the son of Kunti, still alive, surely a son of Madri, should be alive.”

Yama was happy with his son Yudhisthira; he restored all the four Pandavas to life.

This episode is found in the Aranya Parva of the epic, the Mahabharata.

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