Doing right always is a very difficult task. Many a times we do not know what is dharma, what is not. Even though we know, unless it is a very usual habit of following it, at times of great stress it is impossible to follow the path of Dharma. The following story is a small example illustrating Shri DharmaRaaja’s character, who never deviated from the path of dharma.
One day, near the end of 12 strenuous years of vanavaasam of pandavas, a deer rubbing its head against the samidhas of a brahmana, by mistake carries it away and runs into the deep jungle. The brahmana, knowing that the samidhas were carried away by deer, cried for help. Without them he cannot perform yagnyas. On listening to the cries, immediately pandavas set out for them. They all run deep into the jungle but loose track of the maaya deer.
After a very long chase, with great thirst, they sit under a banyan tree with despair and wonder the reason for not being able to render even a trifling service to the brahmana. Yidhishtara to divert their thinking, asks Nakula to bring him some water. Nakula, who was suffering with very strong thirst, hurriedly wanted to drink water from the pond. An Yaksha’s voice from the pond said “Do not be rash. This pool belongs to me. O son of madri, answer my questions and then drink the water”. In his extreme thirst Nakula continues to drink water and falls dead. Rest of the pandavas follow nakula and fall dead, except Dharmaraaja.
Dharmaraaja instead starts answering the questions of the Yaksha. He, with great ease, answers all the questions of the yaksha. Pleased with dharmaraaja, the Yaksha grants him a boon. Dharmaraaja did not ask the lives of any of his brothers, instead he asked the yaksha to return the samidhas of the brahmana! Impressed by the character of dharmaraaja, the yaksha grants him another boon: “One of your dead brothers can now be revived. Whom do you want to revive?”. Yidhishtira asks for the life of Nakula, after thinking for a while. The yaksha asks him: “Bhima has the strength of 16000 elephants and is the most dearest to you. Arjuna, whose prowess in arms is your protection, is the greatest warrior. Why do you choose Nakula instead?” . Dharmaraaja replied: “O Yaksha, dharma is the only shield of man and not Bhima or Arjuna. If dharma is set at naught, man will be ruined. Kunti and Madri were the two wives of my father. I am surviving, a son of Kunti, and so, she is not completely bereaved. In order that the scales of justice may be even, I ask that Madri’s son Nakula may revive.” The Yaksha was pleased with Yudhishthira’s impartiality and granted that all his brothers would come back to life. The yaksha was none other than Lord Yama. He also blesses him saying that the agnyaatavaasam will go on fine.
Morals in the Story:
- Importance of sticking to the path of dharma, even in times of difficulty. Samavartitvam (impartiality) is well shown by Dharmaraaja. Even though his own brothers were lying dead before him, he asked for the Samidhas of the Braahmana instead of asking for his brother’s lives!
- Gaining the knowledge of dharma, without which dharmaraaja could not have answered the questions of the Yaksha.
- Self control and never loosing hope even at times of difficulty. This was very well displayed by dharmaraaja.