Who was the real father of Yudhishthir, why Yamraj had to spare Satyavan's life… The answer will be found in this story of Mahabharata. theinsiderinsight

The thing that remains most and permanently feared while living is death. The attachment towards life is such that every living person thinks that he should never die. Apart from this fear, many types of mysteries regarding death also remain present among us. Like, what happens after death? What is it in the body that when it is removed, life ends and then where does that element or energy go? Geeta says that this body of five elements again merges into the five elements. Prakriti: Panch Bhootani… Nature made up of five elements again merges into the five elements. Every element has been humanized in mythology. Similarly, the god of death has been personified in the form of Yama.

Mahabharata has been a story in which the birth of many gods in human form is described. Kunti, wife of the exiled king Pandu of Hastinapur, called Dharmaraja Yama with the help of Devahuti mantra, then Dharmaraja blessed her with the birth of a son from his part. With this boon, Kunti gave birth to Yudhishthir who was called Dharmaraja. Yudhishthir's religion was so pure and true that in Kurukshetra his chariot moved four fingers above the ground.

There is also a story recorded in the Mahabharata about the religion of Dharamraj, which is from his childhood. Yudhishthir along with his four brothers and 100 Kaurava brothers were studying in the school of Acharya Drona. One day Acharya Drona gave him a maxim to memorize. The maxim was, 'Satyam Vad Dharmam Char. That means speak the truth and follow religion. All the students memorized this aphorism in a moment and recited it to Gurudev, but when Yudhishthir's turn came, he remained silent. Despite being asked several times, he did not speak and remained silent.

Then Dronacharya asked, Yudhishthir, don't you really remember this simple sentence of the Veda? On this Yudhishthir said, that today while playing, I and my brothers separated a group of ants from their queue. Now I wonder whether we did this religion? Then he said that if this was unrighteous then where did we speak the truth? Guru Drona was very impressed to hear such a deep secret of this maxim being taught by him. He said, Arjun is my best archer disciple, but you are the only successor who can truly accept my teachings. Yudhishthir never lied in his life. He always respected the Veda sentence 'Satyam Vad Dharmam Char'.

After escaping from Lakshagriha, Pandavas were living in hiding. During this time he reached a village named Ekachakra Nagari. There all the Pandavas were roaming around seeking shelter in some house. While walking, he reached the door of a potter and asked for shelter from him. The potter asked who you are. Yudhishthir said that I am a traveler. The potter said that this is an incomplete answer. An incomplete answer is also equivalent to a complete lie. Yudhishthir said, you have told the truth, so if in future I have to tell the truth, I will not answer, I will remain silent. After this incident, Bhima started being ahead at every place, in such situations he used to answer as per the situation and many times, seeing his huge body, no one even asked him many questions.

Even during the period of exile, the problem arose that all the Pandavas would keep their pseudonyms. In such a situation, Arjun became Brihannala and started teaching dance. Draupadi became Sairendhri which was the name of a Yakshini. Bhima became cook Vallabh and Nakul became Sahadev Granthik and Tantipal and started grazing cows and horses. Now the problem was for Yudhishthir, because if he had kept a pseudonym it would have been a lie. Draupadi found the solution to this. He said that every married woman has the right to call her husband by a loving name during times of solitude. I give you the name of that moment of solitude as Kank. In this way Yudhishthir became the teacher of Chaupad by becoming Kanka. When they reached the court of King Virat with these pseudonyms, Bhima introduced them. Pandavas spent a year in exile in the city of King Virat.

Yudhishthir has been tainted by only one lie throughout his life, that is the lie told for the death of Dronacharya. On the 15th day of the war, Bhima killed an elephant named Ashwatthama. After this, noise was raised in the entire army that Ashwatthama had been killed. This noise also reached Dronacharya's ears. Since Ashwatthama had an immortal stone on his forehead, he could not have died till then. Still, Dronacharya thought that when Bhishma, who had the boon of euthanasia, was killed, anything could happen in this war. So he went to ask Yudhishthir. He asked, Ashwatthama was killed. Yudhishthir said, Ashwatthama Hatah Naro Va Kunjro Va. When Yudhishthir said that Ashwatthama was killed, Dronacharya heard this much, but when he wanted to say the later part 'But man or elephant'… then Shri Krishna blew the conch of Vijayghosh. Guru Drona could not hear the whole story and became grief-stricken considering the incomplete truth as complete. At the same time, Drishtadyumna cut his throat with his sword and Guru Drona was killed. The stigma of this incomplete truth fell on Yudhishthir, due to whose fault he had to suffer a moment's hell. In the form of Dharmaraja Yudhishthir, Yamraj spent his entire life following religion and truth. This fact is a witness to the fact that death only appears scary, but its true nature is of religion and truth. There is no discrimination towards anyone in this, but through religion and truth, even death can be conquered and salvation can be attained, after which neither one has to be born again nor there is death.

Another story of conquering death which is mentioned in Vanparva of Mahabharata itself. During their exile, Yudhishthir and Draupadi were doing satsang with sages. Meanwhile, a sage narrated the story of Savitri-Satyavan to Dharamraj and Draupadi. The story of Savitri and Satyavan is first found in the Vanparva of Mahabharata. When Yudhishthir asks sage Markandeya whether there was ever any other woman who showed as much devotion as Draupadi, then sage Markandeya narrates to him the story of Savitri in detail.

Once upon a time, Rajarshi Ashwapati used to follow the people with religion. His only daughter was Savitri. Savitri chose Satyavan, the son of exiled and forest-dwelling king Dyumatsen, as her groom, but Devarshi Narad told her that only one year of Satyavan's life was left, then Savitri said with great determination – Whatever was to happen, will happen. So it's done. Parents also explained a lot, but Sati did not waver from her religion.

Savitri got married to Satyavan. Satyavan was very virtuous, religious, devoted to his parents and polite. Savitri left the palace and came to a hut in the forest. As soon as she arrived, she left all the clothes and ornaments and wore the same clothes as her mother-in-law and husband and started spending all her time in the service of her blind mother-in-law and father-in-law. Here the day of Satyavan's death approached.

Satyavan used to go to the forest to cut wood for Agnihotra. Today was the day of Satyavan's death, hence Savitri also requested her to accompany him. After a lot of insistence, Satyavan took Savitri with him towards the forest. Satyavan climbed a tree to cut wood and fell down due to dizziness. Savitri knew everything, so she did not get distracted, she controlled herself and keeping her husband's head in her lap, Savitri started fanning him with her lap.

Within a short while he saw a fierce god-man, riding on a buffalo, with beautiful black features, holding a hanging rope in his hand, and having the brightness like the sun. He forcefully pulled the thumb-sized man tied to the hanging rope from Satyavan's body. Savitri became extremely distraught and asked in a pleading voice – O God! Who are you and where are you taking my husband? The man replied – O ascetic! You are devoted to your husband, so I tell you that I am Yama and today your husband Satyavan's life has diminished, so I am taking him away. My messengers could not come before the glory of your chastity, so I have come myself. Saying this, Yamraj started towards the south.

Savitri also started following Yama. Yama refused a lot. Savitri said- I will have to go where my husband is going. This is Sanatan Dharma. Yama kept on refusing again and again, yet Savitri kept following him. Pleased with his steadfast devotion and devout religion, Yama asked him to ask for a boon. In the first boon, Savitri asked for the eyes of her blind in-laws, in the second boon she gave the lost kingdom and then started taking Satyavan away. Savitri started walking behind again. Then Yamraj again said that you can ask for anything except Satyavan, Savitri said – If you are happy then grant me hundred sons from Satyavan. Without even thinking, Yama said Amen. Committed Yamraj moved forward. Savitri said- You are taking my husband and I am being given the boon of a hundred sons. How is this possible? I do not wish happiness, heaven and Lakshmi for anyone without my husband. I don't even want to live without my husband. Committed Yamraj returned Satyavan's life and also granted him a new age of four hundred years.

In North India, Barsait or Vat Savitri Vrat is worshiped on the new moon day of Jyeshtha month. This fast and worship is done keeping in mind the same sacrifice and penance of Savitri. Married women worship the banyan tree and it is believed that it ensures long life of the husband and prosperity of the family.

Markandeya, who was narrating the story of Satyavan to sage Yudhishthir, also has an incident in his life where Yama, the god of death, had to accept defeat from him. Actually Markandeya Rishi was short lived. One day Saptarishi came to his house. Child Markandeya along with his father honored the seven sages very well. While leaving, the happy Saptarishis kept blessing him one by one with Ayushman Bhava. After six sages had given such blessings, sage Agastya was standing last. The child touched his feet. The sage had just caressed his forehead lovingly when his eyes fell on the child's forehead and he was astonished. He said that the Saptarishis have blessed this child to have Ayushman 6 times, this is contrary to nature. The child is short lived. Due to this the child's father became worried.

Then sage Agastya said that the words of the Saptarishis cannot be false, it may be that Mahadev had such a wish. After this, Sage Agastya gave the mantra of Om Namah Shivay to the child and went away. One day after the completion of 12 years of age, when Yamraj came to take the life of Balrishi, Markandeya went and clung to the Shivalinga and kept chanting the Panchakshari mantra. When Yamraj could not save the life of the child despite his best efforts, he used a noose. As soon as this happened, Shiva appeared there in person and asked Yamraj to return his life. Yamraj had to do this due to Shiva's wish. Only after this, sage Markandeya took Mahamrityunjaya Mantra from Mahadev and chanted it and proved it. Death had to return.

In Mahabharata itself, Vidur is also said to be a part of religion. It is said that in the middle of Dwapar Yuga, when Kaliyuga started intruding without coming into its own era, Dharma took birth in the form of Vidur to reduce the effect of unrighteousness. Vidur did not do anything in his personal interest throughout his life. Despite being the minister of a great state like Hastinapur, he did not live a luxurious life. Its hallmark can be seen when Shri Krishna, who had gone to Hastinapur as a peace messenger, stays at Vidur's house and has food at his house. Vidur ji's wife welcomed Shri Krishna by preparing simple vegetables and bread. After the end of the Mahabharata war, before Yudhishthir became the king, he sacrificed his life and the light of his soul merged with Yudhishthir.

Whatever may be the mystery between birth and death, one thing is said in every religion that death is the last truth, but it is not the end, rather it is the beginning of a new journey for the soul. Yama, the god of death, decides on this journey. We definitely consider Yama to be terrible because of our sorrow and grief, but Yama is only a true helper in the eternal journey of the soul. He is the unit of time cycle and also the guru who teaches the method of living life. During Diwali, people light a lamp of Yama outside the house, wish for this knowledge from him and pray to Yamraj to remove the fear of untimely death. During this, the mantra is chanted – Mrityuna Pashahasten Kalen Bharyaya Saha. Trayodashyan Deepdanatsuryaj: Prityamiti.
Hey Yama! You free us from the trap of untimely death and do us good.

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