Was Yudhishthir a real Dharmaraaj? Whats your opinion?

Posted: 2014-02-11T03:23:45Z

Dear devotee friends of Mythological Masti Forum, let me welcome all of you to an open discussion Smile

There is a similar topic in Mahabharat Forum, but I felt it can be started here in a new way, as this is a scripture-based forum (unlike Mahabharat forum which is based on a particular TV show) & here we can discuss using various other versions of Mahabharat or any other Puranas as references alongwith the original Vyas's Mahabharat, as we know there are different opinions by different authors. Also, we can put here reference from any research paper/book which we have read, thus we can give the topic a new dimension Smile Moreover, we have many wise members here who can enlighten us by their logical analysis Big smile So why not to make our Mythological forum active again?

Regarding the topic, I would request all members to post their point of views. There are two main reasons standing against calling Yudhishthir as Dharmaraaj, & they are:

1)      The game of dice in which he staked his kingdom, brothers & wife.

2)      The only single false (actually half lie) he uttered during Kurukshetra was to clear the way of Drona vadh.

I am posting my own thinkings in next posts Smile  (just copying my posts from Mahabharat forum with a little addition Smile). You definitely may agree or disagree with any of my points with new logic, & please clarify me if I am wrong in any place Embarrassed. Happy posting Smile.

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Posted: 2014-02-11T03:24:24Z

I always obey Yudhishthir as Dharmaraaj or a righteous king.

After reading the whole 18 parvas of Mahabharat, I did not find any reason to dislike him. Even I have always found him as an admirable & lovable person, in each & every parva.

Here are the reasons for which I like him:

1)     His Forgiveness & kindness:  in Indian culture, forgiveness is always marked as a great Dharma. This has made difference between Greek epics & Indian epics. You will see only revenge & enmity within Iliad & Odyssey, but in Ramayan & Mahabharat that is neutralized by forgiving nature of warriors which makes them the greatest epics of world forever! So forgiveness is Dharma, it's a common virtue of Satta Guna. In Srimad Bhagabat Geeta, God Himself says, Adweshta sarvabhutanang maitrang karun eba cha/ Nirmamo nirahankara samadukkhasukha kshami'. In Ramayan too, Shri Ram says a similar thing to Lakshman when the later gets angry. In MB, Narad says Kshama cha paramam balam', kshama is the power. I know that we Kaliyug people use to ignore this kshama shakti of Yudhishthir & do not like this extreme goodness', extreme kindness' etc. But let's think once, if The Almighty Himself was not full of this kindness, then what our condition was!!! If God could not forgive us in regular manner then this universe would not exist!! All incarnations of God, all Prophets & all Messengers of God (in all Religions) have described the glory of this forgiving power. Also, this is a rare virtue which was fortunately in Yudhishthir as a blessing of Lord. Whenever I read MB, I become overwhelmed with his forgiving nature! He is there like a very beautiful living idol of this great virtue! I personally think that, we have many important lessons to learn from MB, within which Yudhishthir's forgiveness is one! I think if any human of this Kaliyug can accept even 1% of this infinite forgiving nature within own heart, he will be nearer to God.

Also, I would like to share some parts of MB to show the beauty of his kindness. He was well known by almost all Dwapar people for this virtue only. In Aadi parva where gandharva Angarparna (whose another name was Chitrarath) was defeated by Arjun, his wife rushed to Yudhishthir for saving her husband's life. By Yudhishthir's order, Arjun left Angarparna. Again in Van parva, where pandavas lived in Dwaitavan, the deers of that place prayed to Yudhishthir only so that they leave Dwaitavan in order to save their lives, that prayer was fulfilled too. He not only ordered to save Jayadrath's life after Draupadi haran but also made him free from daasatwa, because he knew then by his own experience the extreme pain of a king to become a slave! I want to state another well known fact here, in spite of knowing that many readers don't like it. Recall the Chitrasen incident of Van parva. Duryodhan & co. went to see pandav's miserable condition, but by God's wish they themselves were caught by gandharvas. All the ministers of Duryodhan prayed to Yudhishthir & he could not refuse it due to his infinite kindness & forgiveness. Do we think that he should have refuse then? Then, dear friends, what is the difference between Yudhishthir & Duryodhan? I personally think that, for this nature, he was able to get Lord's mercy & blessings too, & Lord Himself joined his side in war.


2)     Control of anger or suppressing anger: at some points it really seems that Yudhishthir had no anger at all! His power of controlling/suppressing anger was surprising & sometimes unbelievable! Definitely, this is related with his forgiving & calm nature. Also, it made him a good leader & good king. Just think once, if Bhim or Arjun were at his place as eldest brother, then they could not be able to be a good ruler due to their excess anger & haste nature. A good ruler always needs control of senses. Yudhishthir won in this point too. And this power is undoubtedly another great Dharma. Also, he knew it well that if he gets angry, then one single angry glance of him could burn the people who made him angry (in Sabha parva, Vidur said that, for saving Duryodhan & Co's lives he covered own face) as anger of Dharma is always very harmful for world. Also from this point of view we can understand why he always suppressed his anger.


3)      Tolerance, patience & calmness: Yudhishthir is a peaceful & peace-lover person. I like this attitude very much. In order to save peaceful atmosphere within the whole family, he tolerated many intolerable incidents silently. This never means that he was not hurt by them, but he could bear with any situation calmly & patiently. We can recall the situation when within a jungle he suddenly found his dearest 4 brothers dead. He cried & mourned very much then but had control on his mind. If he lost his patience then, we could neither get the precious conversation between him & the yaksha, nor were the 4 pandavas alive. Also, a knowledgeable person (Gyani) can never be overwhelmed in grief (like The Lord says in Geeta). Yudhishthir proves this too both here & in Mahaprashthanik parva.    



4)     Truthfulness: also, Yudhishthir always spoke the truth & acted truthfully. When Bhim asked him to take 13 months as 13 years in vanvaas, he strongly replied that, I cannot do this. This will be a false activity'. We know that his chariot never touched the ground for this power of truthfulness.  Here I must say that I never count his lie about Ashwathama's death in Drona parva, as it was necessary to save himself as well as for Dharmasangsthaapan (which was a very very greater cause than his own truth speaking Dharma, personal Dharma<< Universal Dharma), & also, he was ordered by God to do so.


5)     Intelligence: Yudhishthir's intelligence is clear in finding the secret of lakshagriha. Also, he knew English in that era, which came in use during Vidur's advice. In his conversation with yaksha, we can see both his intelligence & knowledge of Dharma.



6)     Devotion to Krishna: Yudhishthir knew who Krishna actually was, & he always surrendered himself to Krishna. He was always dependent on Krishna. This surrendership can be beautifully realized from some parts of Udyoga parva, especially when he sent The Lord as his messenger. He always obeyed Shri Krishna like a true devotee, even sacrificed his akhanda vrata of truthfulness when Shri Krishna ordered him to do so.    


7)     A sign of Dharma:  apart from the points I listed above, he was very much obedient to his elders & was a perfect family member. Unfortunately his family hurt him again & again, but he never wanted to hurt his family back. He never wanted the terrible Kurukshetra war, till the last moment he tried whole heartedly to stop it, even accepting his own lose. When he sent the message to Duryodhan to do sandhi just by giving only 5 small parts of land, then he forgave them once again & wanted to forget all their vices with a happy ending. Despite of being the least responsible for the war, he took all the blames of it on his own shoulder after the war finished!! I always become emotional when he cried to Gandhari after war, I am that heartless one, the slayer of your sons, curse me, mother' or wanted to leave kingdom & go to forest again by giving everything to brothers. How many of us can take all blames on us in a similar situation? Kaliyug people must learn this from Yudhishthir, as blame shifting is a common nature of them.

I would like to state two more dialogues by others. When Karna knew his true identity from Shri Krishna, he told, do not expose this truth, if Yudhishthir comes to know that I am his elder brother then he will no more accept his kingdom & will handover it to me.' So we can see that, in spite of hating pandavas like enemies always, Karna knew what kind of person Yudhishthir was. Lord Krishna also said that, Yudhishthir never want to rule even the heavenly kingdom won by adharma, but want to rule happily a small piece of land won by Dharma.' How many of us can oppose these words uttered by God?

 My personal opinion is, even if MB is an imaginary epic story (though I never believe this), the great author Vyasdev had put Yudhishthir on the head of all other pandavas (as eldest brother whose order can never be violated by youngers, also youngers treated him as their Guru, in many places of epic Bhim helplessly says, I could finish all evil but can do nothing as Dharmaraj is my Guru & he does not allow me to do so') only to establish the truth that, Dharma is always to be placed above everything. Dharma is always over physical strength, energy, and all kind of external heroic activities. To show it he placed Dharmaraj Yudhishthir as the leader of mighty Bhim & greatest archer Arjun. Thus the message became clear to us, physical power & skill can be glorified if & only if they are ruled & controlled by Dharma.' Without this guidance of Dharma, Bhim's extreme anger might cross its limit & did any adharma. We can recall a picture. After braking Duryodhan's knee at the last battle, Bhim was kicking his head. Then Yudhishthir scolded him, you have done whatever you wanted & your oath has been fulfilled. Now don't cross the limit of Dharma. Do not touch this man's head with your feet.' 

Last but not the least, with my very small brain & understanding power, I never dare to judge the ocean like epic MB as well as any of its ocean like great characters. So I try to find Lord Krishna's opinion in every case. As a devotee I have complete faith on His words. From this point of view, I can never dislike the person chosen by my Lord for His Dharmasangsthaapan. The person who was always addressed as Dharmaraaj' by my Lord can never be a performer of any adharma, that's what I strongly believe.  


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Posted: 2014-02-11T03:24:57Z


I would request all members to read the whole Dyutaparvadhyaya from original epic if anyone has not read it yet. If you read it from the starting, you will find that how cunningly Yudhishthir was trapped from all sides. Duryodhan & Co. arranged things such a way that Dhritarashtra was bound to send a message like an order to the Indraprastha king, & that was also by Vidur, not only the eternal well wisher minister of Hastinapur but affectionate uncle of pandavas, who had saved their lives just some years before from lakshagriha. Dhritarashtra & his dear sons thought that Yudhishthir will never disobey the order of Hastinapur king as well as of his jyeshtha taata, but if any chance that target got missed then their second weapon was Vidur as the messenger!! They thought that pandavas would not have any doubt to accept this invitation as they respected & trusted Vidur always. But here, Yudhishthir understood the trap, & asked suggestions from Vidur. As a messenger helpless Vidur could not do as much he should. But we can see that, in spite of loving the dice game personally, Yudhishthir was trying to avoid it again & again. Because there was nothing dearer to him than Dharma. [Also, in that era, a kshatriya could never turn his face from a dice game challenge, & Yudhishthir was a king, so if he refused to play, people might blame him as miser who dared to stake his newly achieved wealth]  Even after reaching to the spot, just before the game was started, he calmly & respectfully told Shakuni again & again, Dyut is not fair, it causes too much blunder. Please do not defeat me by adharma' as he knew Shakuni's character very well. He knew Shakuni would obviously win by adharma or by cheating. Also, the process of Shakuni was unknown to Yudhishthir, & he never understood that process of cheating due to his simple honest nature (that process of cheating can also be understood by careful reading of that part, but there is no need to describe it here). Also, he neither expected nor wanted his own win, I do not want anything coming from cheating' (Nikritya kaamaye naahang sukhanyuta dhanani ba'), only had a fear of losing everything which actually happened. [Many people treat him as a gambler to which I disagree. If he was really a gambler then he definitely became a master of that game but it is clear that he could not play well. He loved the game but not gambling. Loving a game is not an offence especially where we know that he did not play to cheat or harm anyone. Also, why would a gambler request a person like Shakuni not to cheat? Poor fellow tried even to teach Shakuni what Dharma is!]

 Also he protested when Duryodhan said that Shakuni would play on his behalf, but at that very moment Dhritarashtra entered into the spot & Yudhishthir's voice was totally ignored by all. So his destiny did not allow him to stop the game, as Shakuni was desperate enough; also the blind king was totally deaf to Yudhishthir's words to Shakuni. And all the elders of family with two Gurus present there were not reacting at all. In such a circumstance how Yudhishthir could conclude with his own intention I will not play' & leave the place? I think he was trapped within that horrible dyutasabha just like Abhimanyu within chakrabyuha from which he could not exit.


[I gave such detailed narration only to show the background of conspiracy which trapped an honest person. I think it's necessary to understand clearly before blaming only Yudhishthir for dyutakrida.]


Now coming to the game. From the very first part, Shakuni started cheating which is clearly mentioned there; after sometimes only Vidur protested but failed to stop the game. I think Bhishma was silent in fear of insult from Duryodhan, which was faced by Vidur. But nobody could even imagine what a dangerous incident was going to happen! I treat the staking of Indraprastha people with their properties was even bigger blunder than staking own brothers. But he expected to win at least once (in spite of knowing that Shakuni was cheating him) to get back all the things he lost, & also, there was no way to escape. So he continued the game & when there was nothing to stake, he put Nakul first & then all his brothers.


Now it's needed to realize, if it was not a game but a war & all weapons became destroyed by the enemy, then what should a warrior do? Will he leave the battle field? No, it's not possible for a true kshatriya. Then he must apply any other things as weapons, in order to save himself & also to defeat enemy. Here, in this war like dice game, Yudhishthir lost everything & thus his all weapons became destroyed. Then there were only two ways for him. First is obviously leave the game, & second is to continue that by staking brothers. Certainly he thought that there is still chance to get back his kingdom (not from selfishness but from the guilt feeling of staking Indrapastha people, as a kind & loving king he could not put his people on Duryodhan's hand, also, if he won by staking brothers, even after staking Bhim, he could get back brothers too along with the kingdom) but unfortunately it did not occur. As a king's duty he staked his most beloved brothers, gave more importance to professional duty (as a king) than family duty (as eldest brother). Then he staked himself with a false dream to get back his brothers at least. He even sacrificed his own freedom & honor (just think, an emperor who performed Rajasyua was going to be an ordinary slave) only to get back those brothers who were dearer to him than his own life!! But God did not want his success that day (definitely Krishna was waiting for the maximum vice by villains) & he also became the slave.  

The extreme suffering could be finished here. But how can this be possible when Shakuni already knew that Draupadi had insulted Karna & laughed at Duryodhan, and Duryodhan violently wanted to take revenge on Draupadi? So there was more pain waiting for poor pandavas. Yudhishthir could never even think to stake Draupadi. If thought then he could not stake himself. When he staked & lost himself too, then it was clearly declared by his side that I have nothing more', but he never thought to stake their darling wife for a single moment. But Shakuni could not forget this. He created another trap which made Yudhishthir expect that there is a last chance to win as well as to get back everything. As he staked his brothers to regain the kingdom, & staked himself to regain brothers, then he staked Draupadi to regain himself as well as brothers & everything he lost.

And obviously, he was never even prepared for such terrible deeds done by Duryodhan, Karna & Dushshashan just after a few minutes. When Yudhishthir staked Draupadi, he expected his win at that last chance which I mentioned before, definitely he was not sure about his success specially after so many times of failure, but I guess he was thinking that Draupadi was already wife of 5 slaves, now even if he fail again, then Draupadi would be a slave herself, & there is no a big status difference between a slave & a wife of slave. That was Yudhishthir's maximum imagination about how much suffering Draupadi would have to face if he lost her. But he was completely unable even to guess that Duryodhan & Co. would drag their sister in law into the court!! His honest & innocent mind could never imagine that his own cousin brothers would behave with Draupadi like animals, & that's too in front of king Dhritarashtra, all elders of family & two Gurus. Noble persons generally treat the whole world from a pure viewpoint & with such mentality; Yudhishthir was not ready for the upcoming scenes as he thought Duryodhan could not be so mean & cruel. If he could understand this miserable future of Draupadi, I am almost 99% sure that he never staked her.  

With the next intolerable incidents, we feel always shocked while reading that part. But just try to think, what Yudhishthir's mental condition was then!!! Please do not say that he did not love Draupadi, in starting of Virat parva he beautifully said, this is our beloved wife, even dearer than our lives, and she deserves care like our mother & honor like eldest sister' (Iyang hi na priyaa vaaryaa praanebhyohapi gariyasi/ Maateba paripalyaa cha pujyaa jyeshtheba cha swasha'). If we are hurt by Draupadi's miserable sufferings, then just try to imagine the immense agony of this husband who had such an extreme love towards wife. Being mere readers if we cannot tolerate this, then how was its effect on this husband who treated his wife as praanebhyohapi gariyasi'? You know that when wives of kauravas were in danger by gandharva army's attack, he was Yudhishthir who first thought to save the honor of women of his family. This person who had so much kindness to wives of enemies, how was his condition when his own beloved wife was dishonored? With great shock, he could not utter a single word even when Bhishma was shifting the total responsibility on him. Also he was thinking that he was the only guilty & responsible for all sufferings of his brothers & Draupadi, so he became silent, even when Bhim wanted to burn his hands or took his two famous oaths, Yudhishthir did not react at all. Last but not the least, he was a slave then & could not protest against his masters (this is utterly painful that Dharma became a slave of adharma) & also, he could not do so in front of king & all elders. All the pandavas had to tolerate that massive torture like imprisoned ones, as their status was changed from king/prince to slaves, but that does not mean that they did not feel Draupadi's sorrow. I agree to the point that he should protest but then the same complain can be done in case of Bhishma, Drona, Kripa & of course king Dhritarashtra. What I want to say that alone Yudhishthir was not responsible for the whole matter.

Edited by Urmila11 - 2014-02-11T03:25:03Z
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Posted: 2014-02-11T03:25:31Z


As I said before, I never count it as a sin. It was God's order, You have to utter lie in order to save so many lives, by doing this, you will not be a sinner', here I can realize Yudhishthir's mental pain to break his truthfulness. A person who never lied in whole life, how was his dilemma when he was going to break it? But he did this for greater cause (helping Lord Krishna in fulfilling His Mission Dharmasangshthaapan') just like Vasudev did, broke his promise to bring The Lord to this earth. Also I like his attitude to follow Krishna blindly which even Arjun failed to do, Lord Himself had to break His promise & take Sudarshana in hand to slay Bheeshma, but reason was Arjun's failure in following Geeta upadesh. Bheeshma Dev too, could not break his promise & to be loyal to Hastinapur throne, became silent during dice game & joined adharma side. Though I can understand Arjun's heart at that time or Bheeshma's immense agony, I must say that only Yudhishthir sacrificed own truthfulness for Dharma & for God. Gopis of Vrindavan sacrificed even their shame & fame for Krishna, but we cannot mark then as unchaste women as they sacrificed everything & surrendered them to Lord. Similarly who sacrificed his truthfulness, his dearest wealth, & surrendered it to Krishna's Feet is always respectable for us.



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Posted: 2014-02-13T01:07:11Z
There are many who do believe that Yudhishthira crossed all limits when he staked his brothers and wife at the dice game.
Even if that be so, didn't he absolve himself, redeem himself when he brought them back to life after they had been struck dead by the Yaksha of the Lake?

Yes, the junior pandavas were reduced to slavery by their eldest brother, but didn't they also owe their lives to him? 

It was indeed Yudhishthira's self control, deep knowledge, wisdom - and most importantly sense of fairplay- that gave them a new lease of life. 

So if Yudhi gets minus points for  converting them into slaves, he also gets plus points (several) for giving them punar janam

And another thing which occurs to me these days- We find several people complaining that What Yudhishthira did was unpardonable, staking one's brothers and wife is unforgivable, etc etc.

But, even after all that happened in the Dice Hall, even after all that happened in the subsequent years, B,A,N,S  only had the highest respect for their eldest brother. Yes, there were occasional outbursts of temper, but they never failed to give Yudi the respect due to a head of the family.

If, then,  all was forgiven and forgotten b/w them, who are we- several thousand years later, to pass judgments on him? 

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Posted: 2014-02-13T01:16:10Z
And Oh- one more thing- It is true that because of Yudhishthira the Pandavas and Draupadi were exiled out of Indraprastha. 
But Yudhishthira also ensured that they never starved by praying to and appeasing Surya Dev and obtaining the  Akshaya Patra. 
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Posted: 2014-02-13T11:48:20Z
Beautiful posts Sema and Varaali! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your explanations and the direct passages from the epic. Hug I definitely do respect Yudhisthir as Dharmaraja. The mere fact that Lord Krishna always supported them is proof to me that all five Pandavas were Dharma incarnate, or else God would never have been on their side. For me, whatever Lord Krishna says and does is the ultimate truth, so I don't think we as mere human beings have a right to question it.
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Posted: 2014-02-14T10:41:01Z

These posts are very precious for me.I have to save them!Big smile

Will try to comment here soon.
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