Yudhisthira, the son of Dharma

Contributed by : Pallavi Hota   
Yudhisthira, the son of Dharma

This is a story of Yudhishthira.

Mahabharata is an ancient Indian epic about the brothers, Pandavas and kauravas. It describes the battle between them in the Kurukshetra war for the throne of Hastinapura. It is an epic tale that combines war, religion, philosophy and Hindu history. Following is a story from “The Mahabharata.”

Pandu married Kunti. Pandu was cursed for accidentally shooting at a Brahmin named Kindama and his wife, mistaking them as deers while they were making love. Because of his mistake, Kindama cursed Pandu and said he would die if he were to engage in intercourse with any woman. Pandu also relinquished his throne to his brother Dhritarashtra as further penance for his crime. Yudhisthira’s mother, Queen Kunti, had the power to invoke the Devas, or the gods. Because of this power, Kunti was able to give birth to Yudhisthira by invoking the Lord of judgement, Dharma Yudhisthira was Pandu’s eldest son and by right should have been the heir to the throne. But because Pandu gave up his seat to his brother Dhritarashtra, it caused problems because Dhritarashtra’s son, Duryodhana, challenged Yudhisthira for the throne.

The Hastinapura kingdom was split into two parts. Yudhisthira agreed to rule the arid and fallow region of the two. He, with his four Pandava brothers, then married Draupadi, the princess of Panchali. She gave birth to a son, Prativindya. Yudhisthira lived a normal life before his dedication to duty became his undoing. My son was then challenged by Shakuni, Duryodhana's uncle, in a game of dice. He lost everything in this game including his kingdom, wife, and brothers and was forced into exile. While in exile, Yudhistira tried to return to his kingdom multiple times but was refused by Duryodhana and Shakuni. An ally of Yudhisthira and his Pandava brothers, Krishna convinced Yudhisthira to go to war and win back his kingdom. After winning the war, Yudhisthira returned and crowned himself as the Emperor of Hastinapura.

He believed in fulfilling his moral duty. To Yudhisthira, his Dharma was more important than anything in his life, his family, throne, and any material objects. Yudhisthira married Draupadi because of a comment his mother made in jest and abided by his Dharma of respecting his mother. He also denounced the strict distinctions between castes when he made Bhima, who was a kshatriya, marry Rakshasi, a Rakshasa demon. He believed that kshatriyas needed to fulfill their Dharma and be held accountable by their actions, rather than their birth. His dedication to fulfilling the moral duties of his caste was tested when Duryodhana’s uncle, Shakuni, challenged him to a game of dice. He was unable to refuse Shakuni who was a master gambler and eventually gambled away his kingdom, wealth, brothers, and even his wife. Even though Yudhisthira could have refused, his dedication to his Dharma prevented him from doing so. He said that he could not refuse any sort of challenge because he was of the Kshatriya, or warrior, class and had to stand by the warrior code of honor. This way, he was the son of Dharma, and was also called Dharmaraja.

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