The Mahabharatha is being reinvented and several versions have struck the airwaves. The most fascinating episode in the epic, in my humble opinion, is the Yakshaprashna, which is normally relegated to a fable. The mere recounting of each question and the answer is a reminder of the obvious. I happened to get a larger number of these on the website http://www.dharmasastra.net/yaksha.htm and with due apologies reproduce some of them hereunder ( Forced to remove most as the blog refuses to save all of them):
Q: How does a man become great?
A:Man becomes great by Tapas (austerities).
Q: How does a man become secure?
A:Man becomes secure by courage.
Q: How does a man becomes wise?
A:He becomes wise by living with learned wise men.
Q: What wealth is the best for those who want to live stable lives?
A:Growing cows is the best that gives stable wealth.
Q: Which strong, rich and clever man is considered as not breathing, even if he breaths?
A:The one who does not look after Gods, guests, servants, ancestors and his own self is considered as not breathing, even if he breaths.
Q: Which is heavier than earth?
A:Mother is heavier than earth.
Q: Which is taller than the sky?
A:Father is taller than the sky.
Q: Which is faster than wind?
A:Mind is faster than wind.
Q: Which is more in number than grasses?
A:Worries outnumber grasses.
Q: What does not move even after birth?
A:Eggs do not move even after birth.
Q: What does not have a heart?
A:A stone does not have a heart.
Q: Which is the vessel that can contain everything?
A:Earth is the vessel which can contain everything.
Q: Where does “heaven” normally reside?
A:“Heaven” normally resides in truth.
Q: Where does “pleasure” normally reside?
A:“Pleasure” normally resides in good conduct.
Q: What is the soul for man?
A:Son (athmaja-born out of soul) is the soul for man.
Q: By controlling which man will never be sad?
A:By controlling the mind man will never become sad.
Q: When does a country does not have life?
A:When it does not have good rulers, it does not have life.
Q: Which ritual to please manes does not have any result?
A:When it is done without Vedic pundits, it does not give results.
Q: When does a fire sacrifice not yield results?
A:When adequate compensation is not given, it does not have results.
Q: What is the way?
A:The way of Godly men is the only way.
Q: What is water?
A:Sky is water
Q: What is food?
A:Food is beings
Q: What is poison?
A:Begging from others is poison.
Q: What is the proper time to carry death anniversary?
A:When you see a learned Brahmin, it is the proper time.
Q: What is the grammar for austerity?
A:Standing in one’s own Dharma (prescribed just action) is austerity.
Q: What is “Dhama”?
A:“Dhama” is controlling the mind.
Q: What is the “best patience”?
A:Bearing pleasures, sorrow, becoming great, being downgraded with equanimity is the “best patience”.
Q: What is Jnana?
A:Jnana (wisdom?) is knowing the real truth.
Q: What is “Sama”?
A:Being peaceful within mind is “Sama”.
Q: What is the “best mercy”?
A:Wishing for pleasures for all is the “best mercy”.
Q: What is righteousness?
A:Having the same attitude towards everybody is righteousness.
Q: Who is the enemy who cannot be defeated by man?
A:Anger is the enemy that cannot be defeated by man.
Q: Which is the disease that has no end?
A:Avarice is the disease that has no end.
Q: Who is considered as a holy man?
A:He who loves all and does good for all, is considered as a holy man.
Q: Who is considered as “not holy”?
A:He who does not have mercy is considered as “not holy.”
Q: Which is considered as insensibility?
A:Not understanding Dharma (just action?) is considered as insensibility.
Q: What is honour?
A:The pride in oneself is called honour.
Q: What is laziness?
A:Not doing Dharma (just action?) is laziness.
Q: What is sorrow?
A:Ignorance is sorrow.
Q: What is considered as stability by holy men and sages?
A:Steadfastly following one’s own Dharma is defined as “stability” by them.
Q: What is courage?
A:Controlling the five senses is “courage”.
Q: What is a good bath?
A:Cleaning the mind of the accumulated dirt is the good bath.
Q: What is the best charity one can do?
A:Saving life of others is the greatest charity one can do.
Q: Who is fit to be considered as a scholar?
A:He who knows Dharma (just action)) can be considered as a scholar.
Q: Who can be considered as an atheist?
A:He who does not believe in other worlds is an atheist.
Q: Who is considered as an arrogant fool?
A:An atheist can be considered as an arrogant fool.
Q: What is passion?
A:That which leads to birth and death is called “passion”.
Q: Which is considered as “unhealthy competition.”?
A:Unnecessary turmoil of the mind is “unhealthy competition.”
Q: What is pride?
A:Ignorance is pride.
Q: What is snobbishness?
A:Telling others that “I am the only follower of Dharma” is snobbishness.
Q: What is considered as the special God called luck?
A:The result of charity done by oneself is considered as “the special God called luck.”
Q: What is considered as the bad habit of carrying tales?
A:Enjoying telling news about others is this bad character.
Q: When will the contradictory notions of wealth, passion and Dharma come together?
A:When your wife and dharma agree with each other, then these concepts come together.
Q: Which man will reach the indestructible hell? Please reply me quickly.
A:Indestructible hell is continuously being born and dying in this world again and again. Some of the causes are:
•Tempting a poor Brahmin with charity of wealth and not giving it.
•Telling lies in the practice of Vedic rituals.
•Not enjoying our own wealth and not using to help others also.
Q: By what, O king, birth, behaviour, study, or learning doth a person become a Brahmana? Tell us with certitude!
A:Birth, learning of Vedas and knowledge of science are not necessary aspects of Brahmanism. It is due to one’s own character. One with good character never becomes bad and one with bad character is always considered as bad. He who is interested in rituals and who also has full control over his senses is the real Brahmin.
Q: What does one who tells sweet words get?
A:He becomes friends for everybody.
Q: What does one who does planned actions get?
A:He attains success.
Q: What does one who has many friends get?
A:He lives happily.
Q: What does one who is attached to Dharma get?
A:He attains salvation
Q: Who attains happiness?
A:He, who does not take loan, does not go to a foreign country for living and one who can cook and eat at least green leaves, is the one who attains happiness.
Q: What is surprise?
A:The fact that people thinking themselves as stable and permanent, in spite of seeing several deaths daily is surprising.
Q: What is the path of Dharma?
A:There is contradiction in teaching of Vedas as well as the teaching of several great sages. Apart from this the path of Dharma as explained by the learned is difficult to understand.
Q: What is the event that happens daily?
A:The earth is a very big cooking vessel. Sky is the lid to this vessel. The cook called Time puts all movable and immovable things in to this vessel. He takes the firewood of night and day and lights them up with Sun. He stirs it with ladles called seasons and months and this happens daily.
Q:Who is called “purusha (man)” among those who are living and with all his desires fulfilled?
A:Good deeds done with no interests in the fruits or with interests in its fruits, make one’s name spread in heaven and earth. Till his fame lasts, he is called “Purusha”
Q: Who pervades in everything?
A:He who considers desire and hatred, pleasure and pain, what is coming and what is being lost etc with equanimity is called “Brahma Jnani (knower of Brahman)” and he is the one who pervades in everything.
Even as one is startled by the ton of queries, I began pondering as to whether there could be a perpetual life without rebirth. At this juncture, I also happened to be reading the blog Cyber Diary which spoke of eye donation. This only took me to another website http://www.zcck.in which provided more succour to more persons. I have now done my bit would the others follow suit?