Jayadratha was a powerful king. He was a devotee of lord Shiva. He was king of Sindhu area and also he was married to the sister of the Kauravas. Dusshala. Once, on his way to meet Salva, he happened to passed through the forest where the Pandavas were staying. At that time all the Pandavas were gone hunting. Only Draupadi and Dhaumya were there in the ashrama.
Jayadratha saw Draupadi alone in the cottage. He went to her cottage. As he was a brother-in-law, being married to a Kuru Princess, he was given all the honour and respect due to him. Draupadi requested him to sit for while as the Pandavas were away on a hunting expedition. He sat down and started telling Draupadi that her husbands were no good and a woman so beautiful and delicate as her did not deserve to live in such pitiable conditions. He would provide all the luxuries of life to her and she would never come to bear such hardships. Draupadi was shocked at his words. She said that it was unbecoming of a king and a relative to utter such wicked words. He should repent and never to think such evil thoughts. But blinded by his passion, Jayadratha forcibly took Draupadi on his chariot. Dhaumya could not do any thing in face of his large army. He abducted Draupadi and sped away.
When the Pandavas returned, Dhaumya told them about the outrage perpetrated by Jayadratha furious at his temerity. Arjuna and Bhima etc. went in a hot chase. They soon overtook Jayadratha, while Bhima tried to destroy his army Arjuna was engaged in battle with him. Bhima was like death itself, the army of Jayadratha ran away. Jayadratha was soon overpowered. Nakula jumped into his chariot and cut the bonds of Draupadi and freed her. Bhima wanted to kill Jayadratha then and there. But Arjuna could restrain him with great difficulty. He bound Jayadratha and brought him before Yudhisthira. Jayadratha was repentent. As he was an in-law, married to a younger sister of the Kauravas, Yudhisthira spared his life but, Bhima throwing him on ground cut off his hair in an awkward fashion.
Being full of anger and shame Jayadratha went on the banks of Ganga and did very severe penance to please his deity lord Shiva. Shiva came to him, being pleased with his tapas. Lord asked him what did he desire. Jayadratha said,"I want to kill all the Pandavas." Lord Shiva said, that is impossible even for me. So long Krishna is with them no one can conquer them." However, when Krishna and Arjuna are not there other Pandavas will not be able to defeat you. Jayadratha was very happy and went to his kingdom.
After the incidence of Jayadratha sage Markandeya, once again, visited the Pandavas. He was a great source of comfort to the Pandavas. He told many ancient tales and left. Now the last year of exile, the Pandavas were to live in disguise, was approaching fast. The Pandavas were in council. Yudhisthira was consulting his brothers. Which place would be best suited for there thirteenth year exile, was the topic of discussion. While they were so busy, a brahmin came running to them. He said that a deer had taken away the 'arani' from his hut. The 'arani' was the first need in the forest life. It was by rubbing, these vigorously fire was produced. The deer got his horns entangle in the hut-wall and the 'arani' got stuck in its horns.
Yudhisthira and the Pandavas went out in search of deer, which was stolen, 'arani' from the brahmin hut. They searched for the deer for a very long time but could not find the deer. Exhausted with hunger and thirst, they sat down under a tree. It was very hot and the sun was at its high. Yudhisthira asked Sahdeva to look around if there was any lake or pond. They wanted water to drink.
THE LAKE OF DEATH
Sahdeva searched for any source of water. He reached a lake, which was glittering, in the noon, like a silver bowl. Sahdeva went to the lake to drink and bath and to take some water for his brothers. Before he could enter the lake, a voice was heard. The voice told that he should not touch the water. First he should answer some question. The voice said, I am a Yaksha and this lake belongs to me." Ignoring the Yaksha voice, Sahdeva went at the lake and drank some water. He dropped dead in no time. It was long since Sahdeva had gone in search of water. Worried, Yudhisthira asked Nakula to go in search of Sahdeva and water. Nakula, too reached the lake and found Sahdeva lying dead. He wanted to take some water but the Yaksha repeated his condition. Like Sahdeva, Nakula also ignored the Yaksha and drank from the lake. He too dropped dead. Similar fate awaited Arjuna and Bhima.
Now Yudhisthira himself came to the lake and was shocked to see his brothers lying dead. He asked that who killed his brother. He went towards the lake to fetch some water. The Yaksha said,"Answer my questions first only then drink the water, otherwise you too will die like your brothers." Yudhisthira inquired who he was. The voice said, I am a Yaksha and I own this lake. Your brothers drank its water without my permission. They had to die for this." Yudhisthira said,"kindly show yourself, no Yaksha can kill my brothers." The Yaksha came there. Yudhisthira with folded hand said,"you cannot be a Yaksha. Any Yaksha cannot kill my brother. You may be one of the Rudras or some other great god. May be Lord Shiva himself. I am also very thirsty and permit me to drink the water of your lake." The Yaksha said,"answer my questions first, only then can I allow you to drink its water." Yudhisthira said, "Please ask your questions."
Yaksha asked: Who helps the sun to ascend (rise)? Who moves around it? Who sets the sun? Where is the sun established?
Yudhisthira replied: Brahma 'ascends' the sun. The deities moves around it. 'Dharm' (righteousness, virtuosity) 'sets' it and it is established in the 'truth' (Satya).
Yaksha asked: How does a man become 'Shrotriya' (One who studied the vedas)? How does he attain greatness? Who is man's second companion? How does a man become intelligent?
Yudhisthira replied: The study of the Vedas makes a man 'Shrotriya'. He attains greatness be penance. 'Patience' is his second companion. Servitude towards old-people makes him intelligent.
Yaksha asked: What is 'divinity' in the brahmins? What is the quality like a virtuous person in him? What is his human-like quality? What is the conduct like a non-virtuous person in him?
Yudhisthira replied: The self-study of the Vedas is the divinity in the brahmin. Penance is the quality like a virtuous person in him. Death is human like. Condeming others is his conduct like a non-virtuous person.
Yaksha asked: What is the divinity in a Kshatriya? What is the quality like a virtuous person in him? What is his human like quality? What is the conduct like a non-virtuous person in him?
Yudhisthira replied: The art of archery is the divinity is a Kshatriya. Oblation is his quality like a virtuous person in him, Fear is his human like quality. Abandoning people who have sought his refuge is his conduct like a non-virtuous person in him.
Yaksha asked: What is that object which is like a song in the performance of oblations (Yagya)? Who is the performer of religious rites during oblations? What is that object which accepts oblation? What is that which even (Yagya) can not transgress?
Yudhisthira replied: 'Breath' (Life) is like a song in the performance of oblation (Yagya). 'Mind' is the performer of religious rites during oblations. Only aphorism of the Veda (richa) accepts oblation. It is richa which even oblation can not transgress.
Yaksha asked: What is the most important thing for a person engaged in agriculture? What is the best thing for a person wanting to 'Sow'? What is best for an honourable prosperous man? What is best for a person having desire of an off spring?
Yudhisthira replied:'Rain' is the most important thing for a person engaged in agriculture 'Seed' is the best thing for 'Sowing' collection of cows and their nurture is best for an honourable prosperous man. 'Son' is best for a person having desire of an off spring.
Yaksha asked: Who is not alive inspite of being intelligent, honourable among the people, respected by men, who even enjoys the sensual pleasures and breaths?
Yudhisthira replied: A person who does not turture the deities, guests, relatives who are dependent on him, dead ancestors and his soul is not alive inspite of breathing.
Yaksha asked: What is heavier than the earth? What is higher even than the Sky? What is faster even than the wind? What are innumerable than the straws?
Yudhisthira replied: The honour of the matter is heavier than the earth. 'Father' is higher than he sky. The mind is faster than the wind. Worries are innumerable than the straws.
Yaksha asked: Who helps his eyes open even during his sleep? Who does not make an effort even after taking birth? Who is devoid of a heart? Who increases by force?
Yudhisthir replied: The fish keeps its eyes open even while sleeping. An egg does not make an effort even after taking birth. The 'stone' is devoid of a heart and the river increases by force.
Yaksha asked: Who is the friend of a Sojourner? Who is the friend of a house holder? Who is the friend of a sick man? Who is the friend of a man approaching death?
Yudhisthira replied: A co-traveller is the friend of a Sojourner. Wife is the friend of a householder. Physician is the friend of a sick man. Charity is the friend of a man approaching death.
Yaksha asked: Who is the guest of all the living beings? What is eternal religion (Sanatan dharm)? What is ambrosia? What is this whole world?
Yudhisthira replied: Fire is the guest of all the living beings. The indestructible religion is the Sanatan dharm. The Cow's milk is ambrosia. The whole world is ether.
Yaksha asked: Who moves around alone? Who has a rebirth after his first birth? What is the medicine for cold? What has the greatest area?
Yudhisthira replied: The Sun moves around alone. The moon has a rebirth after its birth. 'Fire' is the medicine for cold. 'Earth' has the greatest area.
Yaksha asked: What is the chief place of religion? What is the chief place of fame? What is the chief place heaven? What is the chief place of joy?
Yudhisthira replied: Efficiency is the chief place of religion. Charity is the place of fame. Truth is the chief place of heaven. The chief place of joy is character.
Yaksha asked: What is a man's soul? What is his divine companion? What is his means of subsistence? What is his supreme refuge?
Yudhisthira replied: The son is a man's soul. His divine companion is his wife. Clouds are his means of subsistence. Charity is his supreme refuge.
Yaksha asked: What is the supreme quality in a man worthy if Thankfulness? What is the supreme wealth among all the wealth? What is the chief gain among all the gains? What is the supreme joy among all the joys?
Yudhisthira replied: Efficiency is the supreme quality in a man worthy of thankfulness. The knowledge of the scripture is the supreme wealth among all the wealth. Good health is the chief gain among all the gains. Contentment is the supreme joy among all the joys.
Yaksha asked: what is the best religion in this world? Which is the religon that gives eternal fruits? What is the thing, which is controlled, keeps away a man from sorrow? Friendship with whom is indestructible?
Yudhisthira replied: Compassion is the best religion in this world. Vedic religion gives eternal fruits. Control of mind keeps away a man from sorrow. Friendship with a virtuous man is indestructible.
Yaksha asked: What is the thing which after abandoning a man becomes dear? What is the thing, which after abandoning a man does not become sorrowful? What is the thing after abandoning which a man becomes wealthy? What is the thing after abandoning which a man becomes joyous?
Yudhisthira replied: A man becomes dear after abandoning arrogance. After abandoning anger a man does not become sorrowful, After abandoning lust he becomes wealthy. After abandoning greed a man becomes joyous.
Yaksha asked: Why is charity made to the brahmin? Why are donations made to the dancers and acrobats? What is the reason behind donation being given to the servants? Why are presentation made to the kings?
Yudhisthira replied: Charity is made to a brahmin for the sake of religion. Donations are made to the acrobats and dancers to achieve fame. Donations are made to the servants for their nurturement Presentations are made to the kings out of fear.
Yaksha asked: What is this world covered by? What makes it invisible? For whom does a man abandons his friend? What prohibits a man from going to the heaven?
Yudhisthira replied: This world is covered by ignorance. It is invisible because of the dark qualities. A man abandons his friend because of greed. Attachment prohibits a man from going to the heaven.
Yaksha asked: When is a man called like a dead man? How does a nation die? How does a 'Shraddh' become dead? How does 'Yagya' (oblation) destroy?
Yudhisthira replied: A man stricken by poverty is like a dead man. A nation becomes dead without a king. A 'Shraddh' is dead without a 'Shrotriya brahmin'. A 'Yagya' gets destroyed if alms are not given.
Yaksha asked: What is directon? What is water? What is foodgrain? What is poison? What is the time for performing Shraddh? Tell me the answers and only after that you can drink the water.
Yudhisthira replied: The virtuous man is the direction. Sky is the water. Earth is the food grains. Lust is the poison. Brahmin is the 'time' for the performance of Shraddh.
Yaksha asked: What are the signs of penance? What is 'dama' (restraint)? What is supreme forgiveness? What is prudency?
Yudhisthira replied: Remaining alert in one's own religion is penance. Subjugation of mind is called 'dama'. Bearing heat and cold is forgiveness. Keeping oneself away from works, which are not worth doing, is prudency.
Yaksha asked: What is knowledge? What is evenness? What is supreme compassion? What is simplicity?
Yudhisthira replied: The realization of the element of supreme self is knowledge. The pacification of the mind is eveness welfare is supreme compassion. Having evenness of mind is simplicity.
Yaksha asked: Who is the most invincible enemy of a man? What is an eternal malady? Who can be considered as a saint? Who is immoral and unrighteous?
Yudhisthira replied: Anger is the most invincible enemy of a man. One who has a sense of benefaction and does welfare to all the living creatures could be considered as a saint. A cruel man is unrighteous.
Yaksha asked: What is attachment? What is arrogance? What is Laziness? What is sorrow?
Yudhisthira replied: Ignorance of righteousness is attachment. Self proudiness is arrogance. Inability to follow the religion is laziness. Ignorance is sorrow.
Yaksha asked: What is 'stability' according to the sages? What is patience? What is the 'supreme-bath'? What is charity?
Yudhisthira replied: Remaining steady in one's own religion is stability. Control of sense organs is Patience. Relinquishing mental filth is supreme bath. Protection of the living beings is charity.
Yaksha asked: Who should be called a scholar? Who is an atheist? Who is a fool? What is desire (Kaam)? What is jealousy?
Yudhisthira replied: One who has the knowledge of religion should be called a scholar. Fools are atheists and atheists only are fools. The causes behind birth death and the word are desires. The envy of heart is jealousy.
Yaksha asked: What is egotism? What is proud? What is eternal destiny? What is backbiting?
Yudhisthira replied: The 'great-ignorance' egotism. Trying to prove onceself a virtuous person deceitfully is proud. The fruits of charities are eternal destiny. Putting blame on others is backbiting.
Yaksha asked: Religion, wealth and desire are mutually contradictory. How are these eternal-contradictory labours united at one place?
Yudhisthira replied: When religion and wife are not in opposition to each other and also are under the control of a man. Then religion, wealth and desire " these three contradictory labours are naturally united at one place.
Yaksha asked: Who attains to undiminishing hell?
Yudhisthira replied: A man who calls a poor brahmin for giving alms then changes his mind and does not give alms, goes to undiminishing hell.
A man who keeps a 'false-intelligence' (disbelief) in the vedas, sacred scriptures, brahmins deities and the religion of his forefathers, goes to undiminishing hell.
A man attains to undiminishing hell who inspite of having wealth does not make charity or himself does not enjoy it.
Yaksha asked: Among the four things " descent (clan) conduct, Self-study and listening to the scriptures, what proves brahmin?
Yudhisthira replied: Descent is not the cause for being a brahmin, neither self study nor listening to the scriptures proves brahminism. Undoubtedly only conduct proves brahminism.
Yaksha asked: What does a man who talks sweetly, gets? What does a manw ho does his work after great deliberation gets? What does a man with numerous friends get? What does a religious man gets?
Yudhisthira replied: A man who talks sweetly is dear to everybody. A man who does his work after great deliberation normally achieves success. A man who has numerous friends lives comfortably. A religious man attains to heavenly abode.
Yaksha asked: Who enjoys happiness contentment and tranquillity? What is wonder? What is 'path'? What is conversation?
Yudhisthira replied: Happiness: A man who is not burdened by debts enjoys happiness contentment and tranquillity. Even if he eats cheap foods after five or six days he remains happy contented and tranquill.
WONDER: Everyday people are going to the abode of 'Yama' (dying), but the remaining people still have desire to live. This is the greatest wonder.
PATH: Following the way shown by great people is path, because one does not reach anywhere by logic and debate. Also because there are many 'Shrutis', numerous opinions of sages and the element of religion being engulfed.
CONVERSATON: The lord of death by stirring with a big spoon (months & seasons) in the stew pan which is like the great attachment and churning it by the fire (Sun), in the fuel (day & night), is conversation.
Yaksha asked: Who is a 'Man'? Who is the wealthiest man?
Yudhisthira replied: A person is worthy of being called a 'Man'. Whose fame of virtuous deeds remains intact till it's echo touches the heaven and earth.
A man who remains 'even' in every situations i.e. fortune " misfortune, joys-sorrows, past, future, is the wealthiest man.
A man who does not worry about his past, present and future " always remains happy and in union with the almighty, is the lord of all the wealthy men.
The Yaksha asked eighteen questions on ethics, truth and dharma. Yudhisthira gave appropriate answers to all the questions. Now he was very pleased with Yudhisthira. On the request of Yudhisthira, the Yaksha said, I am Dharma your father, I wanted to see you. I stole the 'arani' of the brahmin. Saying this he turned into his resplendent form. Yudhisthira prostrated himself at the feet of his father. Dharma restored all the Pandavas to life. He also gave a boon to Yudhisthira that, the Pandavas would not be found during their thirteenth year of exile, as he was shielded by dharma.
All the Pandavas received the blessings of Dharma. Then Dharma departed.