Four Levels of Yudhistira’s Wisdom (Rao)

1. Literal Comprehension

In the text Yudhistira’s Wisdom, the five Pandava brothers are running after the deer. Even after chasing the deer for a long time, they can’t catch the deer so in the end they are very tired and they decide to take rest under a tree. Since all of them are very tired and thirsty, the eldest brother, Yudhistira asks Sahadeva, the youngest one, to find some water to drink. Sahadeva doesn’t come back  even after a very long time so Yudhistira sends Nakula. When Nakula also doesn’t come back, he sends Bhima then Arjuna respectively.

When none of his brothers come back, Yudhistira himself goes in search of them by tracing their footsteps. At the place where the footsteps end, he finds a beautiful pond with clean fresh water and lotus flower blooming in it. When he looks at the side of the pond, his blood freezes, he sees all of his brothers lying on the ground; they might be dead or unconscious.

When  Sahadeva finds that pond for the first time he directly jumps to drink the water but as he is about to drink, he hears someone say that the pond is theirs and enchanted so he can’t drink without answering his questions. He looks around for the source of the voice and sees no one so he proceeds to drink the water as soon as the few drops of water flow inside his mouth he gets struck. When Nakula, Bhima, and Arjuna come respectively, they grieve for their brother but drink the water without caring about the warning given by the Yakshya.

Yudhistira also grieves, cries and wails for his brothers but move to drink the water driven by the thirst. As he is about to drink he also hears the same warning but unlike his brothers, he responds that he is going to answer the question as best as he can.

The answers given by the Yudhistira pleases Yakshya so he can retrieve one of his brothers and asks him to choose. He chooses Nakula and when asked why.

Yudhistira says, “Righteousness and truth are man’s only weapon and protection.”

Since his mom Kunti has him, he chooses Nakula so the line of Madri will not end. Yakshya reveals himself as Yama. He revives all the brothers and promises to protect them during their exile.

2. Interpretation

The text ‘Yudhistiras Wisdom’ might be telling us about the importance of righteousness and patience. All the brothers are as knowledgeable as Yudhistira and some are even braver than him but as the text suggests how a person utilizes their knowledge and skills is what matters in the real world. It also suggests that the real test of our knowledge and skills is in the practical field.

In some way, the text also suggests the need for obedience towards the gods. If the four younger brothers had abode to the warnings said by the Yaksha, they would have been able to drink the water without dying.

The text also highlights the importance of using our conscience properly. If we do that we will be able to solve the problems courageously no matter how big it is, like Yudhistira.

3. Critical Thinking

The text is a great philosophical portion extracted from the historical book ‘The Mahabarata’.  This story is really interesting to read.

  • But in the story Yudhistira chooses Nakula over his other three brothers in the name of ‘righteousness’ for Madri but why didn’t he choose Sahadeva?
  • Isn’t Sahadeva Madri’s son, too?
  • Was there any kind of benefit or profit he could gain from Nakula though he named it all about Madri?
  • As the text suggests, is the righteousness always awarded?
  • How wise is it to just believe the strangers?
  • And here comes the key question, do Gods really exist?

4. Assimilation

Though the text ‘Yudhistira’s Wisdom’  is a part of the historical and mythological story. The answer given by Yudhistira was quite an eye-opener for me. Since it  also has highlighted how powerful wisdom and patience are for a person. This text also has increased my curiosity about historical stories. Though they seem to be indifferent time zone and different environments, the hidden message that they hold seems to be even useful for today’s world.