Saturday, May 3, 2014


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     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 which provided more succour to more persons. I have now done my bit would the others follow suit?


It was one of those days I abhorred as we were set to travel. Travelling has never been on my list of favourites and to be travelling on road for over 6 hours had a prejudiced mind as additional baggage. With little choice, I heaved myself on to the rear seat of the Innova while my friend took the navigator's seat on account of his extra long limbs. The middle row was taken by my bosses. Even as the morning sun was rising with benevolence on the travellers, I hmmed and hawed responses as I peered out of the sealed window panes. My friend was not being very helpful as he engaged in a conversation with the person behind the wheel. With a couple of stops for refreshments and taking nature into the stride, we were well on our way to reach the destination. Nature had something else in store as a large tree had yielded to the gravitational pulls and presented a hurdle which to be surmounted. The villagers displayed their belief in treating the crisis as an opportunity. While some went about sawing, a few others were exercising their rugged muscles on the roadblock. The urbane lot chose to pass the wry comments which ranged on the ineptitude of the people in not envisaging the tree fall, to some even helpfully instructing that trees ought not to be planted on highways while the others felt that by leaning on their horns they were adding their mite to the people at work.

As yours truly watched the entire theatre of the absurd, it took little time to realise that I was the leader of this urbane crowd being a mute spectator with little display of any proactive approach. Even as I pondered on this aspect, my friend had unleashed his GPRS enabled gadget and identified that a small pathway on the left a few yards away could act as a by pass. He spoke to the riders and drivers to create a pathway from where we were parked to the entry point of the bypass. Soon with the presence of his mind and the way indicated on the gadget. we were balancing ourselves on a bund like structure amidst areca fields winding our way to the destination of Shivamogga.

The journey had the elements of the thrills of a Himalayan expedition with the man at the wheel negotiating hairpin bends whilst cyclists challenged the right of path by negotiating from the opposite side without as much as even attempting to dismount. Hardpressed for the feast of the eyes which lay on both sides with areca in a straight line which would put a geometry expert to shame and their elegance enhanced by the laden plantain shrubs amidst them vying for attention with streaming canals and the nonchalance of the village folks, I had forgotten my urbane roots as well as my hatred for travelling.

Within minutes we had reached the highway and the nature's unrivalled feast merely lingered on in the mind. In contrast we hit on to one of the best patches of roadways I have ever set foot on. A total contrast within a space of a few kilometres. As we set foot on the land at Shivamogga, I did not fail to place my appreciation for the presence of mind of my friend and gratitude for the feast he placed before us. At the time of our return, he gave us another opportunity to sail through another set of such fields. 

The travel taught me several lessons - the most significant one was the realisation that bereft of travel I was the typical kupa manduka - the frog in the well.  Rejuvenation by nature is better any day compared to artificial methods. Months have rolled by but the experience remains fresh - nature fresh - in my mind.