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Yudhishthira

1. Yudhishthira (Sanskrit: युधिष्ठिर yudhiṣṭhira m.) literally: "firmly (Sthira) in battle (Yudh)"; eldest of the five Pandava princes, brother Arjunas, embodiment of righteousness. It is said that Yudhishthira had to pass three important tests. Here are the stories to follow.

Yudhisthira me Draupadi on the throne, surrounded by the other Pandavas

2. Yudhishthira , (Sanskrit युधिष्ठिर yudhiṣṭhira m), is also a spiritual name and means Feast in battle, name of the eldest of the Pandavas, son of Kuntis and Dharmarajas. Yudhishthira can be given to aspirants with Krishna mantra.

Sukadev on Yudhishthira

Transcription of a lecture video (2014) by Sukadev about Yudhishthira

Yudhishthira, one of the five Pandavas. Yudhishthira, a particularly righteous person. Yudhishthira literally means: "constant in struggle and effort". "Sthira" means constant, and "Yudhi" means struggle and effort. Yudhishthira stands for constant struggle and striving to do the right thing. It is always difficult to do the right thing. Because what's the right thing? And even if you have recognized what is right, then it is important to actually implement it and to do it consistently. Not doing the right thing once and then again not doing the right thing.

Be like Yudhishthira, make an effort to find the right thing, and then do it too. Yudhishthira was the eldest of the five Pandavas, the sons of Pandu. And with that he was king too. There are long stories about Yudhishthira, and you can find more about them on our website, at www.yoga-vidya.de. Enter "Yudhishthira" there and you will find extensive websites about Yudhishthira, because Yudhishthira is one of the main characters of the Mahabharata and it is fascinating to read about Yudhishthira.

On our website there is also a description of over 100, I think there could even be over 200 people from the Mahabharata, over 200 descriptions of their lives, and Yudhishthira is one of the most extensive, because it is so important to keep trying doing the right thing and being consistent in doing it.

Yudhishthira in the Mahabharata

Yudhishthira was the eldest of the sons of King Pandu and Kunti. He was king of Indraprastha and later of Hastinapura. He was devout and righteous, which led to the nickname Dharmaraja - King of Dharma. Among the Hindus, he is the most popular of the five brothers and is portrayed as a man of calm, dispassionate judgment, absolute sincerity, unwavering righteousness and strict justice. He led the Pandavassi victoriously through the Kurukshetra War.

Birth and youth

Once upon a time, the RishiKindama and his wife made love in the forest. Pandu thought she was a deer and shot her. Before Kindama died, he cursed Pandu to die during the next sexual intercourse. Because of this curse, Pandu was unable to father children. As punishment for his murder, he renounced the throne of Hastinapura and handed over the reign of the kingdom to his blind brother Dhritarashtra. Due to Pandu's inability to procreate, the Pandavas were conceived in unusual ways. His wife, Queen Kunti, was given a favor in her youth. She could invite the gods through the Rishi Durvasa. Each deity she invited granted her a child. Pandu now forced her to use this favor. Kunti gave birth to Yudhishthira by inviting Dharma, the god of righteousness. As the eldest of Pandu's sons, Yudhishthira was the rightful heir to the throne; Dhritarashtra's son Duryodhana contested this right. Yudhishthira was educated with his other Pandava brothers from Kripa and Drona in religion, science, administration and the arts of war. He gained mastery in the use of the spear.

The Swayamvara - Arjuna wins Draupadi

The marriage of the Pandava brothers

When Draupadi was won at Svayamvara, the younger brothers asked Yudhishthira, the eldest of the five, to make her his wife. He wished, however, that she would become Arjuna's wife, whose heroism won her over. Because of the words of the Pandava mother Kunti and the decision of the sage Vyasa, the princess became the common wife of the five brothers. It was agreed that Draupadi would live alternately with the five brothers, spending two days each in each person's house. It was made subject to a twelve-year exile sentence that none of the brothers except the master of the house were allowed to enter when Draupadi was in the house. Draupadi gave birth to Yudhishthira a son, Prativindhya. His second wife was Devika, and she also bore him a son, Yaudheya. Instead, the Vishnu Purana speaks of the son Devaka and the mother Yaudheyi.

Yudhishthira's successful reign

Indraprastha - the city of the Pandavas in the great epic Mahabharata

After the Pandavas returned from exile, they built Indraprastha. The rule of Yudhishthira is described as excellent and successful. The Raja "ruled his country with great justice, protecting his subjects like his own sons and taming all enemies around him so that no one had to fear war or unrest and everyone could devote himself entirely to all religious duties. And so it rained heavily in due time. The king's subjects grew rich. The king's virtues were shown in the great growth of trade and merchandise, in abundant crops and abundant cattle. Everyone was pious; there were no liars, no thieves, and no swindlers; no droughts , no floods, no plagues of locusts, no fires, no foreign invasions and no parrots devouring the grain. The neighboring kings, desperate to defeat King Yudhishthira, wished to secure his friendship. Though he never possessed by dishonest ones Meanwhile, Yudhishthira lived in such extraordinary prosperity that if he acquired his fortunes for a thousand years would have spent a long time wastefully, a diminution of the same would not have been noticed.

After his brother Arjuna returned from exile, Yudhishthira decided to use his supreme power by holding the Rajasuya sacrifice. This led to a war with Jarasandha, the king of Magadha, who refused to participate and was defeated and killed as a result.

Dice game and exile

The dignity that Yudhishthira gained by making the sacrifice rekindled the envy of Duryodhanas and the other Kauravas. So they decided to invite their cousins ​​to gamble and cheat Yudhishthira to deprive him of his kingdom. Yudhishthira felt a great reluctance to accept the invitation, but could not refuse it because it came from his uncle. In addition to being a skilled gambler, Shakuni, Duryodhana's maternal uncle, was also a skilled impostor. He challenged Yudhishthira to throw the dice with him and so, after fair conduct was agreed, Yudhishthira opened the game. He lost everything - his kingdom, his brothers, himself and his wife. They all became slaves. When Draupadi was called in as a slave and refused to come, Duhjshasana dragged her by the hair into the hall and he and Duryodhana grossly insulted her. Bhima was furious, but Yudhishthira's sense of justice recognized Draupadi as a slave and so he forbade Bhima and his brothers to intervene.

When old Maharaja Dhritarashtra found out what had happened, he appeared at the meeting. He declared that his sons had acted illegally, pleaded with Draupadi and their husbands to forget what had happened and sent them away. Duryodhana was very angry, he persuaded the Maharaja to allow another game to prevent war. The losers were to go into exile for thirteen years and remain hidden and undetected for the thirteenth year. The game was played, Shakuni won with marked dice and so the Pandavas went into exile. During this time they rendered a service to Duryodhana by rescuing him and his companions from a band of raiders who had captured them. Jayadratha, the king of Sindhu, wanted to kidnap Draupadi. But his attempt was foiled. Yudhishthira's grace eventually led him to ask his brothers to release the prisoners. As the thirteenth year of exile approached, the five brothers and Draupadi went to the land of Virata to hide and entered the service of the king. Yudhishthira was disguised as a brahmin, took the name Kankubhattu, had the function of the king's personal companion and was his teacher of the game of dice. Here he endured his wife's offense and dissuaded his brothers from intervening so that they would not give themselves away.

Return to Indraprastha and the Kurukshetra War

When the period of exile was up, Yudhishthira sent a messenger to Hastinapura to request a peaceful restoration of the previous position of the Pandavas. Duryodhana and Shakuni were unwilling to return the kingdom to Yudhishthira. So the negotiations failed and so Yudhishthira invited Krishna to go to Hastinapura as his representative. Despite Yudhishthira's efforts for peace, the war began, but even then Yudhishthira wanted to withdraw, but was overruled by Krishna. Wheeler's version of the Mahabharata accuses him of downright cowardice. At the instigation of Krishna, Yudhishthira brought about the death of Drona by conveying the erroneous news of the death of his son Asvatthaman to the warrior, whereby his sincere nature vouched for the truth of the presentation. However, his conscience did not allow him to tell an outright lie. Therefore, an elephant named Asvatthaman was killed in order to be able to inform the bold father of Asvatthaman's death and thus to reconcile lies and truth. In a fight with Karna, Yudhishthira was weakened and then accused Arjuna of not supporting him and Bhima. This angered Arjuna so much that he would have killed him on the spot had Krishna not intervened. After the great battle Krishna welcomed him as king, but Yudhishthira was very averse to this and did not want to accept the honor. His grief for those who had fallen was deep, especially for Karna, and he did what he could to comfort the bereaved Dhritarashtra and Gandhari and all the others who suffered. He was made king and elevated to the throne with great pomp to function as ruler under the nominal suzerainty of the old King Dhritarashtra. After a certain time had passed, he asserted his universal supreme power by holding the Ashvamedha victim.

retreat

Kali Yuga started. The death of Krishna in Dvaraka and the regret for the past saddened the Pandavas so much that they decided to withdraw from the world. So Yudhishthira chose Parikshit, the grandson of Arjuna, as his successor and then the five brothers and Draupadi set out in the Himalayas on the way to Svarga. The story of this journey is told with great feeling in the closing verses of the Mahabharata.

The enchanted lake

The five Pandavas (Yudhishthira, Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula, Sahadeva) had lost their kingdom to their devious cousins ​​and are living in exile with their wife Draupadi. So they had a lot of time and they practiced yoga in the forest of Dwaitavana. In this forest lived a brahmin whose greatest possession was a pair of Shami sticks. With these two wooden sticks he was able to light a fire for his yagnas. Whenever he didn't use the sticks, he hung them on a rope on a tree in front of his hut.

Once when the hermit was gone to collect wood, a deer came to scratch its head on the tree. The rope with the two sticks got caught in the animal's antlers. Just then the hermit came back, saw it, dropped all his wood to run after the deer. But that was a hopeless endeavor. He had lost his precious Shami sticks.

He got the idea to ask the Pandavas to help him. Because they had a reputation for never turning down help when asked for it. He told Yudhishthira that without his sticks he would not be able to perform his religious duties. And he promised him that they would kill the animal and bring the sticks back.

They searched the forest and finally they found the deer. The Pandavas aimed, shot at him, but in vain. The deer disappeared. They wanted to take a rest first and then start looking for the animal again. Nakula went to fetch water in a nearby lake. When he got there, kneeling down to drink, he heard a voice: "Stop! The lake is mine. You can only drink from it after you have answered my questions." Nakula looked around but couldn't see anyone. He thought to himself: "First I'll quench my thirst, then I can always answer questions." He drank, and in the next moment he was dead.

The Pandavas were now concerned about where Nakula was staying for so long. Sahadeva, his twin brother, then went to look for him. He found his dead brother. He figured that he must have died of thirst and wanted to drink quickly. He barely heard the voice that forbade him to drink without answering the questions. By then he had already drunk and fell dead to the ground next to his brother.

Then Arjuna, the third of the Pandavas, went to look. He found his two brothers. When he was about to drink and heard the voice, he drew his bow and shot countless arrows in the direction of the voice. "Your arrows cannot harm me, Arjuna! Why don't you answer my questions?" "Oh, I will, with more effective weapons, but not before I've drank water from this lake!" Arjuna also ignored the warning, drank, and immediately lay on the ground next to his brothers.

Next came Bhima, the strongest of the Pandavas. When he found his three dead brothers, he thought it could only have been a demon. He was sure that a fight would await him and to prepare for it he wanted to quench his thirst first.

Finally Yudhishthira himself came. He was stunned at the sight of his dead brothers. As he started to feast on the water, the voice stopped him: "I am the crane who owns this lake. If you drink without answering my questions, you will die like your careless brothers." "You want to have killed my brothers who cannot even be overcome by the gods and demons? You cannot be an ordinary bird, tell me who you really are."

In the next moment a being from the underworld stood in front of him, a yaksha. Yudhishthira was ready to listen to the questions. The first question was, "How does one become a Brahmin? By birth, behavior, or learning?"

"It is behavior that defines a brahmin."

2. Question: "What is it that causes endless wonder?" "Countless people die every day. Nevertheless, the living wish to live forever. What could be more extraordinary?"

3rd question: "How do you get rich? How do you get happy?" "If you conquer lust, you will be rich. If you conquer lust, you will be happy."

Yaksha was pleased with Yudhishthira's wise answers and said that one of his brothers could come back to life. He should choose one. Without hesitation, Yudhishthira wanted Nakula. The Yaksha was surprised: "Why Nakula? Why not the mighty Bhima or the brave Arjuna? One of them would surely be more helpful to you if you want to rebuild your kingdom. Besides, Bhima and Arjuna are your real brothers, Nakula is just a stepbrother. Why do you choose him? "

Yudhishthira said, "I, a son of Kunti, live. Let a son of Madris live also, Lord. Let Nakula live again."

The yaksha was delighted with the righteousness of Yudhishthira, and so he decided to bring all the pandavas back to life. Yudhishthira bowed, "Sir, you can never be a yaksha, you must be a deva. Please reveal your true form."

The next moment the yaksha disappeared and in its place appeared Yama, the god of the dead, also known as Dharma, righteousness. By the grace of Yama it happened that Yudhishthira could be born of Kunti in the first place. It was also Yama who, as a deer, had stolen the two wooden sticks. He wanted to test the Pandavas.

Yudhishthira bowed, saying, "Lord, may I never succumb to lust, greed and anger. May I always be devoted to virtue and righteousness."

Yama just said, "You will always be what you are, the embodiment of Dharma."

The last companion

When the thirteenth year in exile was over, Yudhishthira tried to reach a peaceful settlement with the Kauravas. But Duryodhana was only after war. Many brave warriors died on both sides before the Pandavas finally won the war. But despite the victory, Yudhishthira was sad. The kingdom was his again, but at what cost?

Yudhishthira ruled very virtuously. The people loved and adored him. One day the sage Narada came with bad news. His mother, Kunti, and his uncle were dead. A short time later the news came that the Yadavas, the people of Krishna, were dead. And finally came the news of Krishna's death.

After all, that was too much for good Yudhishthira. He felt that it was time to leave earth and seek heaven. His brothers were of the same opinion. So Yudhishthira handed over the kingdom to Parikshit, a grandson of Arjuna, and the five brothers left their people together with Draupadi. Only one small stray dog ​​could not be shaken off and followed the small group on their way to heaven.

First they had to cross the mountain Himavat, then through a large desert until they reached the foot of the mountain Meru. They started to climb this mountain. Their goal was to enter heaven in their physical form - a goal that only perfect beings can achieve. Suddenly Draupadi fell to his death. Bhima was shocked: "O King, why did Draupadi, the sinless one, fall?" Yudhishthira replied without turning around: "She was partial to Arjuna."

Yudhishthira with his dog meets the heavenly vehicle.

When Sahadeva fell, he said, "He lacked modesty."

Nakula fell: "He was too proud of his talents."

Yudhishthira continued undeterred, followed only by Arjuna and Bhima. And the little dog was still with her. When they were a little further, Arjuna fell down. Yudhishthira's reaction: "His valor made him vain." Finally a scream and Bhima lost his footing. Yudhishthira called after him: "You were greedy and you did not moderate yourself when eating."

Yudhishthira was only traveling alone with this dog, and then he saw a carriage floating by. The next moment, Indra, the Lord of Heaven, stood before him. Indra offered to take him to heaven in the carriage. But Yudhishthira did not want to get on without his brothers and his wife. Indra smiled: "They have already reached heaven, just not in physical form. So come and get in the carriage."

Yudhishthira said: "But this dog is going with me, it belongs to me."

Indra was shocked: "No way! There's no place in heaven for a dog!"

"No place for this loyal dog, then I have no place there either," Yudhishthira replied.

"Do you want to give up heaven just because of a dog?"

"I can't leave this dog behind. He followed me faithfully."

"But you left your brothers and Draupadi behind too."

"Yes, but they're dead. The dog, however, is alive. It has accompanied me this far. It is dependent on me. I am not disobeying it."

Suddenly the dog transformed and Yama stood in front of him. Yama had checked him a second time. And since he had proven that he felt love for all living beings, he was allowed, and he alone, to enter heaven in the physical form.

The last test

When Yudhishthira entered heaven, he was received by the gods and saints. He was surprised to find Duryodhana there. He was outraged: "Duryodhana here! He who was responsible for this terrible war! I don't want to stay here! If heaven is the reward for the wrong Duryodhana, then I want to know which even higher world is intended for my righteous brothers . "

Yudhishthira looked in vain for his brothers and his wife, and then wanted to be brought to them. Indra said that no one could be forced to be in heaven, so he asked a messenger to take Yudhishthira to his brothers.

Yudhishthira followed the heavenly messenger. And as they walked like this, the glow of the sky changed until they were finally shrouded in darkness. With every step they took, it got more and more terrible. Suddenly the messenger stopped: "I had the order to bring you right here. When you've had enough, you can go back with me."

Disgusted by the stench, Yudhishthira stepped backwards. Suddenly voices could be heard: "Do not leave us! As long as you are here, we will not feel the tortures that have been imposed on us! Your mere presence gives us relief! Please do not go back!"

"Who are you?" asked Yudhishthira. It was his brothers and Draupadi.

Yudhishthira was confused. Then he got angry: "Duryodhana in heaven! And my brothers in hell! Are the gods blind? Has Dharma (righteousness) died?"

He gave the messenger the task of informing Indra that he would stay in Hell, if his presence meant so much relief for his loved ones.

In the next moment, Yudhishthira was surrounded by divine light. Indra and other gods appeared before him: "Yudhishthira," said Indra, "for the one, only lie that you had spoken in your entire life, you had to go to hell for a second. Your brothers had to go to hell for the reasons which you already called you to hell for a short time, you are already in heaven.

Yama then explained to him that this was the third and final test. Yudhishthira was ready to stay in Hell for his brothers. Yudhishthira would be compassionate, righteous, and sinless. Yudhishthira bowed to Yama, then took a bath in the heavenly ganga, was accompanied by Indra and Yama to heaven, where he was reunited with his brothers.

The spiritual name of Yudishthira

Yudhishthira is a spiritual name for aspirants in the Krishna tradition, i.e. for aspirants with a Krishna mantra. Yudhishthira means: He who is firm in battle, also he who is firm in his endeavors. Yudhi means struggle, Yudhi means endeavor, Shthira means firm and constant.

Yudhishthira is the eldest of the five Pandavas, the eldest brother of Arjuna. He was a great devotee of Krishna. When your name is Yudhishthira, it is meant to mean that you want to be firm and steadfast in your endeavors for God-realization, in your endeavors to behave ethically, in your endeavors to serve and help others.

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