By Kamlesh Tripathi
The story relates to Mahabharat.
During vanvas (forced exile into forest). Pandavas, were spending time in the Datya forest. Where, while roaming around, they felt thirsty. Is when Dharmraj Yudhistir climbed a tree. To see if there was any water in the vicinity. At one spot he could see a lot of greenery. That gave an indication as if water was around. He then requested his youngest brother Nakul to get some water from that place. And in obeyance, Nakul left immediately.
Soon, he found a lake brimming with clear blue water. But the moment he went down to drink some. He heard a loud voice warning him, ‘do not dare to have the water from this lake. For I have established my authority on it and it belongs to me. First reply, to my queries before you even touch it.’
Nakul, was extremely thirsty. He, therefore, did not pay attention to the warning. That the Yaksha (nature-spirits, usually benevolent) perched on a tree was passing. But the moment he tasted the water. He fell down and soon expired on the spot.
Back here, in the Pandav’s camp. There was a bit of restlessness now. As Nakul had still not returned. Worried Yudhistir, then sent Sahdev after Nakul. He too heard the warning of Yaksha. But tried to drink the water, ignoring his advice and died on the spot. In the same manner. Yudhistir then sent Arjun and Bhimsen. But they too came one by one and met with the same fate.
Yudhistir soon realised. That all his four brothers had not returned from the lake. From where they had gone to get water. He therefore, readied himself to go there, suspecting something was wrong in spite of his being tired. Soon, he was there. But upon seeing his valiant brothers lying dead. He went into a deep gloom. After mourning and wailing for sometime on the bodies of his brothers. He felt thirsty. When, he too decided to have water from the lake. Yaksha, who was still there. First tried to stop him from having water in the disguise of a crane. But when Yudhistir asked him, ‘who are you?’ He then dawned the form of a Yaksha and appeared on the tree top.
When, peaceful and saint like Yudhistir said—‘Revered Yaksha! I do not want to acquire anything that doesn’t belong to me. You have laid down your authority, on the water of this lake. So let it be yours. If you want to ask any questions, please ask. I will try and reply to the best of my ability.
Thereafter, Yaksha asked many questions. Yudhistir, replied to all of them correctly. Satisfied with the answers. Yaksha said, ‘Rajan! (King) you have correctly answered, to all my questions. Therefore, I grant the life of one of your brothers. So, whom do you want alive, out of the four?’
Yudhistir replied, ‘kindly grant life to my younger brother Nakul.’
Yaksha in a surprised tone asked—‘you are wandering in life without a kingdom in these dense forests. Where, you need to wage a fierce battle against your enemies to protect dharma. In such a situation you are not asking for the life of your most powerful brother Bhimsen or Arjun. Who are the best fighters in the world. On the contrary you are asking for the life of Nakul. Why so?’
Dharmraj Yudhistir said—‘Respected Yaksha! The bliss of ruling a kingdom. Or the torture of vanvas depends on your fate and destiny. But a human being shouldn’t abrogate dharma. One, who protects dharma, is protected by dharma itself. And that is why I won’t deviate from the path of dharma. Kunti and Madri, both are my mothers. I am Kunti’s live son. And, I want the lineage of my second mother Madri also to remain intact. Therefore, I am requesting you to bring back Nakul to life. So that both the mothers have at least one child alive.
Yaksha said–‘Yudhistir you are very knowledgeable and liberal in matters of interpretation, modesty and dharma. Therefore, I am happy with you and may God give life to all your four dead brothers. I happen to be your father ‘Dharma.’ I had come to see how you were doing and to test your love for dharma.’
And, in the manner Yudhistir tried to protect dharma. Dharma too protected Dharmaraj Yudhistir. When all his four brothers got up, as if from deep sleep.