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29-Was Yudhishthir a Fool
In the celebrated question-answer session between Yam in the guise of a Yaksh and his son and the Dharmputra as found in the Aaranyak Parv of Mahaabhaarat, this is a significant discussion for some of his questions and Yudhishthir's answers for them.

Many people consider Yudhishthir a fool. I don't find any single instance of his foolishness in the whole Mahaabhaarat except that he put his brothers and wife put on stake during the First Dice Game. When in the whole Mahaabhaarat there is no other incident of his foolishness, then why only the Dice game incident happened, is questionable. It may be attributed to the saying "Vinaash Kaale Vipareet Buddhi" - that is all. He has several other important incidents on his side where one cannot deny his intelligence. He was always polite with no ego and a follower of Dharm, even in adverse situations.

(1) Python Queries
When Bheem was going in a forest and was caught by a python (Raajaa Nahush). Nahush had a curse of Sage Agastya to become python and only to be released from his curse when he would catch the mightiest man in the world and Yudhishthir will answer his questions. When Bheem does not come for quite some time, Yudhishthir goes in search of his brother and following his footsteps come to that python. Python puts his condition that he will free Bheem only when Yudhishthir will answer his questions. Yudhishthir answers his questions and then only the python releases Bheem. Then the python shows his real form of Raajaa Nahush and goes to Swarg Lok.
Do you think that Yudhishthir was a fool?

(2) Yaksh Prashn
When Paandav were in their 12-year exile period a deer ran away taking a Braahman's worship material, so they all went behind that deer to recover his material. The deer ran away and they left behind. It was hot day, all of them were tired and thirsty, so Yudhishthir first asked Nakul to see if there was any water around. He found a pond and goes to bring some water for his brothers. There he is warned by a yaksh that he could drink water only when he had answered his questions, otherwise he would die, but he ignores his warning and dies as he drinks the water. Then go Sahadev, Arjun and Bheem, but all ignore the warning, drink water and die there. All the younger Paandav ignored the Yaksh's request because of their ego, drank water and died ed to drink water ignoring the Yaksh's request. It was only Yudhishthir who went to the pond, paid respect to Yaksh's request and answered his all the questions to get his brothers back to life.
Had Yudhishthir been a fool, how could he answer Yaksh's Prashn?

The valor of Arjun and Bheem failed them, while only the intelligence of Yudhishithir (acquired by virtue of his Dhaarmik conduct) helped to revive his brothers. Here too, when Yaksh grants him the life of his one brother, Yudhishthir chose Sahadev with the reason that Kuntee had her one son (himself) was alive, in the same way Maadree should also have her one son alive. Yudhishthir never chose Arjun or Bheem though they were more valiant than his stepmother's sons. Even when Yaksh grants him the life of his another brother's life, he again chooses Maadree's son Nakul. Pleased with his answers, Yaksh revives his own brothers too. He got so much pleased with his son that he not only revived his brothers, but also he granted him the boon that they would not be recognized in their A-Gyaat Vaas period.
If Yudhishthir were a fool, how could he please the Yaksh?

(3) Yudhishthir in Viraat's Court
There are two incidents in Viraat nagar when Yudhishthir saved themselves from further calamities.

(1) First time, when Keechak, the brother-in-law of Viraat, misbehaved with Draupadee and Draupadee came running in Viraat's court, Bheem was there for some work. Seeing this he filled with rage and he started cutting a tree. Yudhishthir understood and asked Bheem - "What are you doing here?" Bheem replied - I came here to cut the wood for cooking." Yudhishthir said - "These are green trees, you should look for the woods for your cooking somewhere else." And Bheem went away. If Yudhishthir had not said this, Bheem would have killed Keechak then and there and the whole plan had failed...
Did Yudhishthir take the intelligent action or...?

(2) Second time, when Viraat heard that his son Uttar is coming gaining the victory over Kaurav army in which were the great warriors like Bheeshm, Drone, Kripaa, Duryodhan, Karn, Ashwatthaamaa, he got so happy that he asks his Kank (Yudhishthir) to play Chausar (Dice Game) with him. Yudhishthir warns him several times that this is not the right time to play Chausar but he ignores and both of them sit to play Chausar. During the game Viraat is continuously praising his son and Yudhishthir continuously said that "Wherever Brihannalaa (Arjun) is, there cannot be any defeat." Hearing this continuously, Viraat got angry and he hit a dice on his nose. This cause bleeding from his nose. Yudhishthir immediately took that blood in a bowl, so that it does not fall on the ground. Yudhishthir knew that if Arjun had seen his blood fallen on the ground and knew the cause of it, he would destroy the whole Viraat kingdom, but he did not want that, because he knew the consequences of this action - they would have to go again for 13-year exile. So he managed to keep Arjun away from these moments.
Was this not an intelligent action of Yudhishthir?

(4) Yudhishthir Just Before the War
As all were ready to begin the war, Yudhishthir takes an action, out of his Dhaarmik behavior. He climbs down from his chariot and proceedes towards kaurav army. Everybody including his own brothers are stunned to see this as what action he was going to take? He comes to Bheeshm Pitaamaha, Guru Drone and Kul Guru Kripaa undauntedly and asks their permission to fight with them and ask their blessings for victory. Only because of his humility and good behavior he is able to obtain this boon from all of them.
Was Yudhishthir a fool to act like this?

Our scriptures say " Dharmo rakshati Rakshitaha " and not Buddhi (those who protect Dharm are protected by their Dharm itself and not by intelligence)
Why did scriptures give priority to Dharm over everything else?
Because, if one is Dharmavaan, Intelligence automatically flashes rightly in his mind when needed.
Intelligence is to be used for mundane things in life, like to eat intelligently, to manipulate things intelligently etc.
But if we attempt to use intelligence in spirituality it will be disastrous. For spirituality one's heart (not the physical one) is required, not the intelligence.
If only intelligent people are wise, how does one justify an argument in the case of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, who is illiterate, yet the wisest of all. He never studied Upanishad but could answer any question on Upanishad since he used his heart to seat the holy Mother and not intelligence.
Therefore, Dharm is supreme and those who follow Dharm will be guided by correct intelligence automatically. Yudhishthir was undoubtedly Dharm personified, that is why he was intelligent enough to bring back his brothers to life and get the Lord's help at all times in his life.
Now who is a fool? Yudhishthir or those who call Yudhishthir a fool?

Before the Kuru Kshetra battle, Lord removed the ego of Bheem and Arjun - of Bheem through Hanumaan and the python (Nahush) and of Arjun's by Kiraat and delivering him the Geetopadesh (Geetaa) that all the enemies are already slain by Krishn Himself before even the war occurred. But there was nothing to remove from Yudhishthir.

A fool is not an idiot. A fool is a simpleton one who does not understand the implications of his actions.
Idiot is completely deficient in mental power.
Yudhishthir's answers to Yaksh's questions show that Yudishthir was knowledgeable but did not understand the limits of his knowledge.
Accepting a challenge where it is not obligatory means that he was moved more by pride than sense. Every challenge need not be responded to.
--Yudhishthir knew that Duryodhan was wicked and scheming. There was enough evidence from the past. A sensible man would have been more careful or at least consulted his brothers, mother and Krishn before going to play Dice Game. The fact is that Yudhishthir was keen on gambling. He had never imagined Shakuni's crooked nature, and skill in fraudulent rolling of the dice.
--In fact, Mahaabhaarat should be read for its portrayal of human nature - it is not Raamaayan where every charactyedr has portrayed his own nature. In this respect the claim is true that MBH is a complete compendium of all that is known to mankind about human nature.
--MBH is not supposed be read only worship-fully or even respectfully. It
should be read between the lines.



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Created by Sushma Gupta On 05/27/04
Modified on 04/26/12