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Mahabharata – Yakshaprasna

When all the Pandavas are stranded in the forest, what happens to them? Read this interesting story to find out!!

Once upon a time, a rishi approached the Pandavas who were in exile in the forest. He wanted their help in retrieving the wealth which a deer had carried away into the forest. The Pandavas agreed and said that they would bring back his wealth and with that they went to search for the deer in the forest.

The Pandavas roamed a lot, but they could not catch the deer and soon, they were tired. All of them rested in the shadows of trees and they did not have any water to drink. Sahadeva then asked as to why they were going through so many hardships and to this Yudhistira said that these were life’s tests and one should not complain about them. Instead they should be taken as opportunities to learn. After this Yudhistira told Nakula to climb up a tree and find out where the nearest lake was. Nakula climbed the tallest tree nearby and he found a lake some distance away.Yudhistira then told him to go to the lake and fetch some water. Nakula agreed and went towards the lake.

Nakula reached the lake and was about to drink water, when a voice spoke and told him to answer a few questions before drinking the water. Nakula looked here and there, but could not find the source of the voice. He then drank the water and after a few seconds, he felt his head spinning and he fell dead to the ground.

The Pandavas who were waiting for long now, began to get worried. So, Yudhistira sent Sahadeva to check on Nakula. So, Sahadeva went to the lake and on seeing Nakula lying dead on the ground, he was shocked. But as he could not do anything, he decided to drink some water and tell the other Pandavas about the news. When he went to drink the water, a voice spoke and told him to answer a few questions before drinking the water. Sahadeva looked here and there, but could not find the source of the voice. He proceeded to drink the water and after a few seconds, he felt his head spinning and he too fell dead on the ground.

The Pandavas who were waiting for long now, began to get more worried. So, Yudhistira sent Arjuna to check on both of them. So, Arjuna went to the lake and on seeing Nakula and Sahadeva lying dead on the ground, he was shocked. But as he could not do anything, he decided to drink some water and tell the other Pandavas about the news. When he went to drink the water, a voice spoke and told him to answer a few questions before drinking the water. Arjuna looked here and there, but could not find the source of the voice. He then took his bow and fired some arrows in the direction of the voice, but nothing happened. He proceeded to drink the water and after a few seconds, he felt his head spinning and he too fell dead on the ground.

Yudhistira grew very worried after waiting and so he sent Bheema to check on the other 3 Pandavas. So, Bheema went to the lake and on seeing the 3 Pandavas lying dead on the ground, he was shocked. But as he could not do anything and so he decided to drink some water and tell the other Pandavas about the news. When he went to drink the water, a voice spoke and told him to answer a few questions before drinking the water. Bheema looked here and there, but could not find the source of the voice. Bheema tried to roar and shout and asked the voice to come and stand in front of him, but there was no response. He proceeded to drink the water and after a few seconds, he felt his head spinning and he too fell dead on the ground.

Yudhistira was so worried now that he went to the lake himself and on seeing the other 4 Pandavas lying dead on the ground, he was shocked. But as he could not do anything and so he decided to drink some water and tell the other Pandavas about the news. When he went to drink the water, a voice spoke and told him to answer a few questions before drinking the water. Yudhistira looked here and there, but could not find the source of the voice. He then told the voice to ask the questions, so he could answer them. Instantly, a Yaksha appeared from the lake and started asking him various questions.

This question and answer session between the Yaksha and Yudhistira went on for a long time. It is said that the Yaksha asked him around 125 questions and Yudhistira gave all answers to the best of his knowledge. FInally, the Yaksha declared that all answers given by him were satisfactory and as a reward, he said he would bring one of the Pandavas back to life. Yudhistira then chose Nakula to be brought back to life. The Yaksha then asked him as to why he did not choose Arjuna or Bheema since they were better warriors. For this, Yudhistira said that his father, Pandu had 2 wives – Kunti and Madri. With him (Yudhistira), Arjuna and Bheema being sons of Kunti and Nakula and Sahadeva being sons of Madri. As he was the son of Kunti and he was alive, it was fair that a son of Madri should survive too. The Yaksha was so impressed by this explanation, that he brought back all the 4 Pandavas back to life.

After all the 4 Pandavas were alive once again, Yudhistira questioned the Yaksha on how he was able to give back life. It was then that the Yaksha revealed his true form and he was none other than the father of Yudhistira, the God of Death – Lord Yama. He was pleased once again and he told Yudhistira to ask for a boon. Yudhistira said that as they (Pandavas) had to live through the last year of exile under disguise, it would be helpful if no one could recognise their true identities. Lord Yama then granted this boon happily and vanished. 

The Pandavas then found the deer and retrieved the rishi’s wealth. They then went back to the rishi and gave his wealth back to him, who left after thanking them profusely.

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