Yakshaprashna: Quenching the Thirst - 2

This article is part 2 of 4 in the series Yakshaprashna

This is the second part of the translation of the Yakshaprashna, a conversation between Yudhishtira and Yama on the banks of the enchanted lake.

Chapter 297
Verses 32-62:
Yaksha
किं क्षत्रियाणां देवत्वं
कश्च धर्मः सतामिव ।
कश्चैषां मानुषो भावः
किमेषामसतामिव ॥ ३२
How does a kshatriya attain divinity?
What is his true dharma?
What is the human trait of kshatriyas?
What is the wrong path for a kshatriya?

Yudhishtira
इष्वस्त्रमेषां देवत्वं
यज्ञ एषां सतामिव ।
भयं वै मानुषो भावः
परित्यागोऽसतामिव ॥ ३३
A kshatriya attains divinity by mastering his weapons
Yajna is the right action for him
Fear is the humanly trait of a kshatriya
The wrong path is giving up

Yaksha
किमेकं यज्ञियं साम
किमेकं यज्ञियं यजुः ।
का चैका वृश्चते यज्ञं
कां यज्ञो नातिवर्तते ॥ ३४
What is the saman (song) of the yajna?
What is the yajus (prose) of the yajna?
What is the support of the yajna?
What is that, which the yajna does not violate?

Yudhishtira
प्राणो वै यज्ञियं साम
मनो वै यज्ञियं यजुः ।
वागेका वृश्चते यज्ञं
तां यज्ञो नातिवर्तते ॥ ३५
The prana (breath, vital force) is the saman of the yajna
The mind is the yajus of the yajna
Speech (i.e. the rik) is the support of the yajna
and that doesn’t violate the yajna

Yaksha
किं स्विदापततां श्रेष्ठं
किं स्विन्निपततां वरम् ।
किं स्वित्प्रतिष्ठमानानां
किं स्वित्प्रवदतां वरम् ॥ ३६
What has the greatest value for one who seeks to cultivate?
What is a gift to the one who wishes to sow?
What is important for one who seeks stability?
What is a gift to those who wish to have a child?

Yudhishtira
वर्षमापततां श्रेष्ठं
बीजं निपततां वरम् ।
गावः प्रतिष्ठमानानां
पुत्रः प्रवदतां वरः ॥ ३७
Rain has the greatest value for the cultivator
Seeds are a gift to the one who wishes to sow
Cows are important for one who seeks stability
A son is a gift to those who wish to have a child

Yaksha
इन्द्रियार्थाननुभवन्
बुद्धिमांल्लोकपूजितः ।
संमतः सर्वभूतानाम्
उच्छ्वसन्को न जीवति ॥ ३८
Which person, though enjoying sensual pleasures,
having intelligence, respected by the world,
and loved by all beings
is not alive though he breathes?

Image courtesy:- Google image search

Yudhishtira
देवतातिथिभृत्यानां
पितॄणाम् आत्मनश्च यः ।
न निर्वपति पञ्चानाम्
उच्छ्वसन्न स जीवति ॥ ३९
One who respects not these five:
deities, guests, servants,
ancestors, and himself,
isn’t alive though he breathes

Yaksha
किं स्विद्गुरुतरं भूमेः
किं स्विदुच्चतरं च खात् ।
किं स्विच्छीघ्रतरं वायोः
किं स्विद्बहुतरं तृणात् ॥ ४०
What is heavier than the earth?
What is taller than the skies?
What is faster than wind?
What is more numerous than grass?

Yudhishtira
माता गुरुतरा भूमेः
पिता उच्चरतश्च खात् ।
मनः शीघ्रतरं वायोश्-
चिन्ता बहुतरी तृणात् ॥ ४१
Mother is heavier than the earth
Father is taller than the skies
Mind is faster than the wind
Worries are more numerous than grass

Yaksha
किं स्वित्सुप्तं न निमिषति
किं स्विज्जातं न चोपति ।
कस्य स्विद्धृदयं नास्ति
किं स्विद्वेगेन वर्घते ॥ ४२
What doesn’t close its eyes while sleeping?
What doesn’t move even after birth?
What doesn’t have a heart?
What attains force with its own speed?

Yudhishtira
मत्स्यः सुप्तो न निमिष-
त्यण्डं जातं न चोपति ।
अश्मनो हृदयं नास्ति
नदी वेगेन वर्धते ॥ ४३
A fish doesn’t close its eyes while it sleeps
An egg doesn’t move even after birth
A stone doesn’t have a heart
A river attains force with its own speed

Yaksha
किं स्वित्प्रवसतो मित्रं
किं स्विन्मित्रं गृहे सतः ।
आतुरस्य च किं मित्रं
किं स्विन्मित्रं मरिष्यतः ॥ ४४
Who is the friend of the traveller?
Who is the companion of the householder?
Who is the friend of the ailing?
Who is the companion of a man on his deathbed?

Yudhishtira
सार्थः प्रवसतो मित्रं
भार्या मित्रं गृहे सतः ।
आतुरस्य भिषङ्मित्रं
दानं मित्रं मरिष्यतः ॥ ४५
The caravan is the friend of the traveller
The companion of the householder is his wife
The doctor is the friend of the ailing
The companion of a man on his deathbed is dana

Yaksha
किं स्विदेको विचरति
जातः को जायते पुनः ।
किं स्विद्धिमस्य भैषज्यं
किं स्विदावपनं महत् ॥ ४६
What moves alone?
What is reborn after its death?
What is the medicine for cold?
What is the great vessel?

Image courtesy:- Google image searchYudhishtira
सूर्य एको विचरति
चन्द्रमा जायते पुनः ।
अग्निर्हिमस्य भैषज्यं
भूमिरापवनं महत् ॥ ४९
The sun moves alone
The moon is reborn after its death
Fire is the medicine for cold
The earth is the great vessel

Yaksha
किं स्विदेकपदं धर्म्यं
किं स्विदेकपदं यशः ।
किं स्विदेकपदं स्वर्ग्यं
किं स्विदेकपदं सुखम् ॥ ४८
Where does dharma primarily reside?
What is the chief place for fame?
Where does heaven primarily reside?
What is the chief place for sukha?

Yudhishtira
दाक्ष्यमेकपदं धर्म्यं
दानमेकपदं यशः ।
सत्यमेकपदं स्वर्ग्यं
शीलमेकपदं सुखम् ॥ ४९
Dharma primarily resides in diligence
The chief place for fame is dana.
Heaven primarily resides in satya.
The chief place for sukha is good conduct.

Yaksha
किं स्विदात्मा मनुष्यस्य
किं स्विद्दैवकृतः सखा ।
उपजीवनं किं स्विदस्य
किं स्विदस्य परायणम् ॥ ५०
What is the atma of man?
Who is the divinely created friend?
What is the main support for one’s life?
What is the chief refuge for a person?

Yudhishtira
पुत्र आत्मा मनुष्यस्य
भार्या दैवकृतः सखा ।
उपजीवनं च पर्जन्यो
दानम् अस्य परायणम् ॥ ५१
The son is the atma of man
The divinely created friend is the wife
Rain is the main support for one’s life
The chief refuge for a person is dana.

Image courtesy:- Google image search

Yaksha
धन्यानामुत्तमं किं स्वित्
धनानां किं स्विदुत्तमम् ।
लाभानामुत्तमं किं स्वित्
किं सुखानां तथोत्तमम् ॥ ५२
What is the best of all valuable things?
What is the greatest wealth?
What is the greatest profit?
What is the best of all sukhas?

Yudhishtira
धन्यानामुत्तमं दाक्ष्यं
धनानामुत्तमं श्रुतम् ।
लाभानां श्रेष्ठम् आरोग्यं
सुखानां तुष्टिरुत्तमा ॥ ५३
Skill is the best of all valuable things
The greatest wealth is wisdom
Good health is the greatest profit
The best of all sukhas is contentment

Yaksha
कश्च धर्मः परो लोके
कश्च धर्मः सदाफलः ।
किं नियम्य न शोचन्ति
कैश्च संधिर्न जीर्यते ॥ ५४
What is the highest dharma in the world?
What dharma always yields fruit?
What, when controlled, leads to a state of no sorrow?
Friendship with whom never gets old?

Yudhishtira
आनृशंस्यं परो धर्मः
त्रयीधर्मः सदाफलः ।
मनो यम्य न शोचन्ति
सद्भिः संधिर्न जीर्यते ॥ ५५
Magnanimity is the highest dharma
The three dharmas (i.e. the Vedas) always bear fruit
The control of the mind removes sorrow
Friendship with good people never gets old

Yaksha
किं नु हित्वा प्रियो भवति
किं नु हित्वा न शोचति ।
किं नु हित्वार्थवान्भवति
किं नु हित्वा सुखी भवेत् ॥ ५६
What when renounced makes one lovable?
What when renounced makes one free from sorrow?
What when renounced makes one wealthy?
What when renounced brings sukha?

Yudhishtira
मानं हित्वा प्रियो भवति
क्रोधं हित्वा न शोचति ।
कामं हित्वार्थवान्भवति
लोभं हित्वा सुखी भवेत् ॥ ५७
Arrogance renounced makes one lovable
Anger renounced makes one free from sorrow
Desire renounced makes one wealthy
Greed renounced brings sukha

Yaksha
मृतं कथं स्यात्पुरुषः
कथं राष्ट्रं मृतं भवेत् ।
श्राद्धं मृतं कथं च स्यात्
कथं यज्ञो मृतो भवेत् ॥ ५८
What is death for a man?
What is death for a kingdom?
What is death for a funeral rite?
What is death for a yajna?

Yudhishtira
मृतो दरिद्रः पुरुषो
मृतं राष्ट्रमराजकम् ।
मृतमश्रोत्रियं श्राद्धं
मृतो यज्ञस्त्वदक्षिणः ॥ ५९
Poverty is death for a man
Absence of a king is death for an empire
A funeral rite without an officiator is dead
A yajna without dakshina is dead

Yaksha
का दिक्किमुदकं प्रोक्तं
किमन्नं पार्थ किं विषम् ।
श्राद्धस्य कालमाख्याहि
ततः पिब हरस्व च ॥ ६०
What is direction? What is spoken of as water?
What is food, O son of Pritha? What is poison?
Tell me, what is the right time to perform the funeral rite,
and then you may drink as much water as you like.

Yudhishtira
सन्तो दिग्जलमाकाशं
गौरन्नं प्रार्थना विषम् ।
श्राद्धस्य ब्राह्मणः कालः
कथं वा यक्ष मन्यसे ॥ ६१
A wise person is truly direction (for he shows the path to tread)
Sky is the source of water
Cow is the source of food
Begging for a favour is poison
The proper time to perform the funeral rite
is when a good brahmana can be found.
I don’t know what you think of all this, O Yaksha!

Yaksha
व्याख्याता मे त्वया प्रश्ना
याथातथ्यं परन्तप ।
पुरुषं त्विदानीमाख्याहि
यश्च सर्वधनी नरः ॥ ६२
You have answered all my questions
correctly, O scorcher of enemies!
Now, tell me, who is truly a man?
Who possesses every kind the wealth?

To be continued...

Author(s)

About:

Hari is a writer, translator, violinist, and designer with a deep interest in Vedanta, Carnatic music, education pedagogy design, and literature. He has worked on books like The New Bhagavad-Gita, Your Dharma and Mine, Srishti, and Foggy Fool's Farrago.