Yaksha Prashna- An Encounter between Dharma, the father and Yudhishthira, the son

22. Yaksha: 'What has been said  to be the sign of asceticism? And what is true restraint? What constitutes forgiveness?  And what is shame?' Yudhishthira:'Staying in one's own religion is asceticism:  the restraint of the mind is of all restraints the true one: forgiveness  consists in not enduring enmity; and shame, in not withdrawing from all  unworthy acts.'

23. Yaksha 'What, O king is said  to be knowledge? What, tranquility? What constitutes mercy? And what has been called  simplicity?' Yudhishthira: 'True knowledge is that of Divinity. True tranquility  is that of the heart. Mercy consists in wishing happiness to all. And  simplicity is equanimity of heart.'  

24. The Yaksha: 'What enemy is  invincible? What constitutes an incurable disease for man? What sort of a man  is called honest and what dishonest?' Yudhishthira:  'Anger is an invincible enemy. Covetousness  constitutes an incurable disease. He is honest that desires the welfare of all  creatures, and he is dishonest who is unmerciful.'

25. Yaksha: 'What, O king, is  ignorance? And what is pride? What also is to be understood by idleness? And  what has been spoken of as grief?' Yudhishthira: 'True ignorance consists in  not knowing one's duties. Pride is a consciousness of one's own being as an enjoyer  or sufferer in life. Idleness consists in not discharging one's duties, and ignorance  is grief.'

26. Yaksha: 'What has steadiness  been said by the Rishis to be? And what, patience? What also is a real  ablution? And what is charity?' Yudhishthira:  'Steadiness consists in one's staying in one's  own religion, and true patience consists in the subjugation of the senses. A  true bath consists in washing the mind clean of all impurities, and charity  consists in protecting all creatures.'

27. Yaksha: 'What man should be  regarded as learned, and who should be called an atheist? Who also is to be  called ignorant? What is called desire and what are the sources of desire? And  what is envy?' Yudhishthira:  'He is to  be called learned who knows his duties. An atheist is he who is ignorant and so  also he who is unaware that he is an atheist. Desire is due to objects of  possession, and envy is nothing else than grief of heart.'

28.Yaksha: 'What is pride, and  what is hypocrisy? What is the grace of the gods, and what is wickedness?'  Yudhishthira: 'Insensitive ignorance is pride. The setting up of a religious  standard is hypocrisy. The grace of the gods is the fruit of our charity, and wickedness  consists in speaking ill of others.'

29.Yaksha: 'Virtue, profit, and  desire are opposed to one another. How could things thus antagonistic to one  another exist together?' Yudhishthira:  'When  a wife and virtue agree with each other, then all the three you have mentioned  may exist together.'

30. Yaksha: 'O bull of the  Bharata race, who is he that is condemned to everlasting hell? It is incumbent  upon you to soon answer the question that I ask!' Yudhishthira: 'He that summons  a poor Brahmana promising to make him a gift and then tells him that he has nothing  to give, goes to everlasting hell. He also must go to everlasting hell, who  imputes falsehood to the Vedas, the scriptures, the Brahmanas, the gods, and  the ceremonies in honor of the ancestors, He also goes to everlasting hell who though  in possession of wealth, never gives away nor enjoys himself from avarice,  saying, he has none.'

31. Yaksha: 'By what, O king,  birth, behavior, study, or learning does a person become a Brahmana? Tell us  with conviction!' Yudhishthira: 'Listen, O Yaksha! It is neither birth, nor  study, nor learning that is the cause of Brahmanahood. Without any doubt, it is  behavior that constitutes it. One's behavior should always be well-guarded, especially  by a Brahmana. He who maintains his conduct unimpaired, is never impaired himself.  Professors and pupils, in fact, all who study the scriptures, if addicted to  wicked habits, are to be regarded as illiterate wretches. He only is learned  who performs his religious duties. He even that has studied the four Vedas is  to be regarded as a wicked wretch scarcely distinguishable from a Sudra (if his  conduct be not correct). He only who performs the Agnihotra and has his senses  under control, is called a Brahmana!'

32. Yaksha: 'What does one gain who  speaks agreeable words? What does he gain that always acts with judgment? What does  he gain that has many friends? And what he, that is devoted to virtue?' Yudhishthira:  'He who speaks agreeable words becomes agreeable to all. He who acts with  judgment obtains whatever he seeks. He who has many friends lives happily. And  he who is devoted to virtue obtains a happy state (in the next world).'

33. Yaksha: 'Who is truly happy?  What is most wonderful? What is the path? And what is the news? Answer these  four questions of mine and let thy dead brothers revive.' Yudhishthira: 'O  amphibious creature, a man who cooks in his own house, on the fifth or the  sixth part of the day, with scanty vegetables, but who is not in debt and who does  not go out from home, is truly happy. Day after day countless creatures are going  to the abode of Yama, yet those that remain behind believe themselves to be  immortal. What can be more wonderful than this? Argument leads to no certain  conclusion, the Srutis are different from one another; there is not even one  Rishi whose opinion can be accepted by all; the truth about religion and duty  is hid in caves: therefore, that alone is the path along which the great have travelled.  This world full of ignorance is like a pan.  The sun is fire, the days and nights are fuel. The months and the seasons  constitute the wooden ladle. Time is the cook that is cooking all creatures in  that pan (with such aids); this is the news.'

34.Yaksha: 'You have truly  answered all my questions! Tell us now who is truly a man, and what man truly possesses  every kind of wealth.' Yudhishthira: 'The report of one's good action races to heaven  and spreads over the earth. As long as that report lasts, so long is a person  to whom the agreeable and the disagreeable, welfare and misery, the past and  the future, are the same, is said to possess every kind of wealth.'

Receive Site Updates