Tag Archives: Pandavas

Yaksha Prashna – 1

The Pandavas were at the end of their 12 years of exile in the forest and had to spend 1 year in agyatavasa (living incognito). One fine day, as they were moving around in the forest and discussing the strategy of what they should do and how they should go about it, for the one year of incognito, Yudhisthira the eldest among the Pandavas suddenly became tired and thirsty. His brother Nakula went in search of water and found a beautiful lake. The lake was devoid of any living creatures except a crane. It was Lord Yama – God of Death who had come there as a crane to test the Pandavas. As Nakula went down to the lake to drink water, the crane warned him not to do so before answering his questions, else he would die. Nakula in his arrogance did not pay heed, drank water and immediately fell dead.

When Nakula did not come back even after a long time, Sahadeva went in search of Nakula, and without paying heed to the crane, he too drank the water without answering the questions and died. Bhima and Arjuna also met with the same fate. Since none of the brothers came back, Yudhisthira came in search of his brothers. He saw his brothers dead near the lake. Since he was very thirsty, he first thought of drinking water and then investigating into the cause of the death of his brothers. The crane again warned Yudhisthira and said that it was the guardian of the lake and unless the questuons put forth by it are answered, he has no permission to drink the water from the lake. If he does so, he too will die. Being the embodiment of Dharma, Yudhisthira decided to first answer the questions.

The crane then assumed the form of a Yaksha (Demi-God) and asked a number of questions:

1] Yaksha Prashna: (On Surya) – Who makes the Sun rise? Who gives him company? Who causes him to set and in whom is he established?  

Yudhisthira Answers:  Parabrahma is responsible for the Sun to rise. He is ever in the company of Gods (Nobility), Dharma (his duty) causes him to set and he is ever established in Truth.

2] Yaksha Prashna: ( On Jnana – Learning) : How does one become learned? How can something great be acquired and how can one gain wisdom?

Yudhisthira Answers: By reading the Srutis (Scriptures) one becomes learned. Anything great can be achieved only by severe tapas (austerity) and one can gain wisdom by serving the old and the wise.

3] Yaksha Prashna (On Brahmanas): What are the characteristic of Brahmanas? What  is
their supreme Dharma? What signifies their limitation? What is impious practice in them?

Yudhisthira Answers: Self-study of Scriptures is their fundamental characteristic. Asceticism (Tapas) is their supreme Dharma. Identification with finitude signifies their limitation.  Slander is their impiety.

4] Yaksha Prashna (On Kshatriyas):  What are the characteristic of Kshatriyas? What  is
their supreme Dharma? What signifies their weakness? What constitutes their Adharma?

Yudhisthira Answers: Art of warfare is their fundamental characteristic. Sacrifice (on their part) is their supreme dharma. Fear signifies their weakness.  Abandonment of duty to provide protection is their Adharma.

[In today’s post , questions on 4 topics and answers are posted. These questions were asked by none other than Lord Yama – Lord of Dharma – to Yudhisthira]

Men of Wisdom are men of conviction and they always openly declare the Truth alone, loudly, heroically, courageously. They cannot, and will not mince matters or polish truth for the ready acceptance of the people of their era. Not caring whether it would please the taste of the public, they would openly declare their views; this is the nature of all wise men. - Swami Chinmayananda

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Arjuna’s penance for Pashupatastra

After the game of dice, the Pandavas were sent in exile for twelve years to the forest and one year in incognito. Lord Krishna suggested that while they were spending their time in the forest, the Pandavas should prepare for the great war which may arise between them and the Kauravas in future by acquiring supreme powers for themselves, by performing penance. The Lord advised Nakula and Sahadeva to invoke Ashwini kumaras (the celestial doctors) and acquire unique healing methods and techniques. Bhima was to meet Lord Hanuman and learn the art of concentration and fighting. Yudhisthira and Draupadi were to serve the sages in the forest and get their divine blessings. And finally, the Lord asked Arjuna to go to Indrakeeladri hill (near Vijayawada) and meditate on Lord Shiva to acquire the most powerful weapon Pashupatastra.

Following the advice of Lord Krishna, Arjuna took leave of his brothers to perform intense penance to acquire the powerful Pashupatastra from Lord Shiva himself. Arjuna spent days immersed in penance on Lord Shiva. As his penance became more intense, Lord Shiva decided to test Arjuna before giving him the weapon. When Parvathi and Shiva Ganas came to know about this, they also decided to go in disguise and watch the test of Arjuna. Lord Shiva and Parvathi disguised themselves as hunters, and came to where Arjuna was doing tapas, along with the Siva Ganas who came there as the hunter’s tribesmen.

Meanwhile, a rakshasa by name Muka came in the form of a wild boar to attack Arjuna. Hearing the noise made by the wild boar, Arjuna’s penance got disturbed and he immediately shot an arrow at the boar killing it. At the same time, Shiva who was there in the guise of a hunter, also shot an arrow at the boar. Both Lord Shiva and Arjuna came running and saw the boar lying dead with two arrows piercing through its body. There now arose an argument between the hunter and Arjuna as to who had actually shot the arrow first and killed the boar. The argument finally ended up in battle between the two of them. In the great battle between them, Arjuna exhausted all his arrows and his quiver became empty. The hunter had easily defeated Arjuna. Arjuna then picked up a sword to fight, but the hunter sliced the sword into two. Finally they both started wrestling, and the hunter overpowered Arjuna. He lifted Arjuna again and again and threw him down.

Realizing that he was losing, Arjuna decided to pray to Lord Shiva for strength. He called for a break in fight, quickly made a small Shiva linga out of mud, and invoked the Lord in it by offering flowers. To his astonishment, Arjuna saw the flowers offered by him to the Shiva linga at the hunter’s feet. Arjuna now realized that the hunter who had overpowered him so easily was none other than Lord Shiva Himself. Arjuna fell at the Lord’s feet and begged for forgiveness for engaging in a battle with Him. Lord Shiva and Parvathi gave darshan to Arjuna in their true form and blessed him with the divine weapon “Pashupatastra”. The denizens of the heavens, Lord Indra, Varuna, Yama, Kubera and others also blessed Arjuna by giving him their divine weapons.

Lord Shiva showered his grace and blessings upon Arjuna and gave him the title: “Vijaya” – meaning invincible or the ever-victorious. In Srimad Bhagavat Purana, in the dialogue between Sri Krishna and His devotee Uddhava (Uddhava Geeta) the Lord declares, “among those who are experts in archery, I am Arjuna himself!”

[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]

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Story of Arjuna -The Power of Mantra


Dronacharya was the teacher of both the Pandavas & the Kauravas. Arjuna was indeed the best among all & hence very dear to his Guru Drona. During a class, Dronacharya was telling them about the power of mantras. When one invokes Lord Varuna (God of water) and leaves an arrow, it becomes Varun-astra bringing rain. Similarly, when Lord Agni (God of fire) is invoked by the relevant mantra, the arrow becomes Agni-astra.

Since these mantras were taught to all, Arjuna had a doubt whether their concentration was good enough to invoke the powers of the mantra when chanted. To remove the doubt of the student and to test their ability, Dronacharya decides to have a test.
He asks all his students to take pots which are sealed and fill them with water. Each pot only had a small hole – the size of a pepper. The winner would be the one who fills the pot with water first.

All of them took sealed pots and went to a nearby lake to fill it with water. Inspite of keeping the pot immersed for long, water hardly entered the pot. Arjuna’s pot also remained almost empty. He then realized that his Guru had taught him the mantra to invoke Lord Varuna and if Lord Varuna is invoked the pot would get filled automatically. Arjuna chanted the relevant mantra in order to fill the pot and the pot became filled.

All the other Pandavas & Kauravas returned back disappointed. When Dronacharya asked Arjuna about his pot, he brought the pot filled with water and told his Guru that he had invoked Lord Varuna to fill the pot.
Dronacharya being pleased asked all the others to follow the discipline and to put in effort like Arjuna.

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[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]