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In the Hindu
Hindu
epic Mahabharata, Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
(Sanskrit: युधिष्ठिर, yudhiṣṭhira) was the eldest son of King Pandu
Pandu
and Queen Kunti
Kunti
and the king of Indraprastha
Indraprastha
and later of Hastinapura
Hastinapura
(Kuru). He was the leader of the successful Pandava
Pandava
side in the Kurukshetra War. At the end of the epic, he ascended to heaven.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Birth and upbringing 3 Marriage and children 4 Indraprastha

4.1 Performing the Rajasuya

5 Losing Kingdom and exile 6 Return to Indraprastha
Indraprastha
and the Kurukshetra War 7 Retirement and Ascent to Heaven

7.1 Test of patience in Hell 7.2 Yudhishthira's curse

8 Skills 9 In the media 10 Citations 11 External links

Etymology[edit] The word Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
means "the one who is steady in the war", from the words, yuddha (युद्ध) meaning 'war', and sthira (स्थिर) meaning 'steady'.[citation needed] His other names are-

Bharata vanshi (भारत वंशी) - descendant of Bharata (emperor)[1] Ajatashatru (अजातशत्रु) - one without enemies[2] Dharmanandan (धर्म नंदन) - The son of Dharma (Righteousness) Paarth (पार्थ) - The Son of Pritha (Kunti)

Birth and upbringing[edit]

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v t e

Pandu
Pandu
Shoots the Ascetic Kindama

Once a Brahmin
Brahmin
rishi, Kindama
Kindama
and his wife were making love in the forest when Yudhishthira's father Pandu
Pandu
accidentally shot at them, mistaking them for deer. Before dying, Kindama
Kindama
cursed the king to die when he engages in intercourse with any woman. Due to this curse, Pandu
Pandu
was unable to father children. As an additional penance for the murder, Pandu
Pandu
abdicated the throne of Hastinapura, and his blind brother Dhritarashtra
Dhritarashtra
took over the reins of the kingdom.[3] After knowing the curse of Pandu, Kunti
Kunti
said him that he could be the father of child and told her boon of sage Durvasa. Then Pandu requested Kunti
Kunti
to apply her boon and suggested to call Dharm to get a truthful, knowledgeable and justice knowing son who can ruled the Hastinapur
Hastinapur
like kingdom. On the full moon of May (Sanskrit: Jyeshth mah) first and eldest Pandavas
Pandavas
Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
born. Yudhishthira's four younger brothers were Bhima, (born by invoking Vayu); Arjuna, (born by invoking Indra); and the twins Nakula
Nakula
and Sahadeva, (born to Pandu's second wife Madri
Madri
by invoking the Ashwini Gods). If Karna, the son of Kunti
Kunti
born before her marriage by invoking Surya
Surya
is counted, Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
would be the second-eldest of Kunti's children.[citation needed][4] Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
was trained in religion, science, administration and military arts by the Kuru preceptors, Kripa
Kripa
and Drona. Specifically, he became a master in using the spear and war chariot. It is said that his spear was so strong that it could penetrate a stone wall as though it were a piece of paper. His chariot always flew at a 4 finger distance above the ground due to his piety.[5] Marriage and children[edit] Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
had two wives, Devika and Draupadi. Devika was his first wife. Devika married Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
in her swayamwara. When Yudhishthira was the crown prince of Hastinapur
Hastinapur
then Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
attained Devika's Swayamvara and then Devika chose him. Devika was the daughter of King Shivi. It also said in some tales that Devika used to love Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
and Devika was his first love. After the Lakshyagriha episode, the Pandavas
Pandavas
disguised as Brahmins went to the kingdom of Panchala. Here, they attended the Swayamwara of Draupadi, who was the princess of Panchala
Panchala
and the daughter of King Drupada. Arjuna, the younger brother of Yudhishthira, participated in her swayamwara and succeeded in winning her hand in marriage. After the swayamvara, Arjuna
Arjuna
along with his brothers, treaded towards the hut where their mother Kunti
Kunti
was waiting for them. As soon as they reached the hut, Arjuna
Arjuna
called his mother in delight and said, “Look what we have got as alms”. Kunti
Kunti
who was praying at that moment, without looking what exactly it was, commanded “Whatever Arjuna
Arjuna
has received as alms should be equally distributed amongst the five brothers.” Hence Draupadi
Draupadi
was married off to all the five brothers, making her the common wife of the Pandavas. But, Mahabharata
Mahabharata
indirectly shows the love and attraction between five Pandavas
Pandavas
and Draupadi. Yudhishthira's first love and wife, his empress was Draupadi.

MayaSabha

Indraprastha[edit] Performing the Rajasuya[edit]

King Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
Performs the Rajasuya
Rajasuya
Sacrifice

After the coronation at Indraprastha, Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
set out to perform the Rajasuya
Rajasuya
yagna. Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula, and Sahadeva
Sahadeva
led armies across the four corners of the world to obtain tributes from all kingdoms for Yudhishthira's sacrifice. The non-compliant Magadha
Magadha
king, Jarasandha
Jarasandha
was defeated by Bhima
Bhima
and Krishna. At his sacrifice, Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
chose Krishna
Krishna
as his honoured guest. Losing Kingdom and exile[edit] Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
succumbed to Shakuni's challenge in the Pachisi
Pachisi
(game of dice). He lost his kingdom, his brothers and Draupadi. While playing for second time, he lost all his kingdom in the game and was forced into exile for 13 years, which included one year in anonymity. Main article: Yaksha
Yaksha
Prashna During their exile, the four other Pandavas
Pandavas
happened upon a lake, which was haunted by a Yaksha. The Yaksha
Yaksha
challenged the brothers to answer his moral questions before drinking the water; the four Pandavas
Pandavas
laughed and drank the water anyway. As a result, they choked on the water and died. Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
went in last, answered many questions put forth to him by the Yaksha
Yaksha
and revived his brothers. This story is often cited as an example of Yudhishthira's upright principles.[6] The Yaksha
Yaksha
later identified himself as Yudhishthira's father, Dharma
Dharma
and pointed them to the kingdom of Matsya
Matsya
to spend their last year in exile anonymously. Along with his brothers, Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
spent his last year of exile in the kingdom of Matsya. He disguised himself as a Brahmin
Brahmin
named Kank (among themselves Pandavas
Pandavas
called him Jaya) and taught the game of dice to the king.[7] Return to Indraprastha
Indraprastha
and the Kurukshetra War[edit] When the period of exile was completed, Duryodhana
Duryodhana
refused to return Yudhishthira's kingdom. Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
made numerous diplomatic efforts to retrieve his kingdom peacefully but in vain. He was convinced by Krishna
Krishna
to wage war. The flag of Yudhishthira's chariot bore the image of a golden moon with planets around it. Two large and beautiful kettle-drums, called Nanda and Upananda, were tied to it.[8][9][10]

Bhima
Bhima
kill elephant ashwasthama and yudhisthira tell drona about death of aswashtama.

Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
had to bend numerous rules of Dharma
Dharma
during the course of the war. Krishna
Krishna
made him trick Drona
Drona
about the news of the death of Ashwathama. Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
also had to slay a number of warriors, including his own uncle, Shalya
Shalya
in a spear fight and his another uncle, Shalya's younger brother he killed them both on the 18th day of the war when Shalya
Shalya
was the commander-in-chief. Retirement and Ascent to Heaven[edit]

Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
and His Dog, Ascending

Upon the onset of the Kali
Kali
yuga and the departure of Krishna, Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
and his brothers retired, leaving the throne to their only descendant to survive the war of Kurukshetra, Arjuna's grandson, Parikshit. Giving up all their belongings and ties, the Pandavas, accompanied by a dog, made their final journey of pilgrimage to the Himalayas. On reaching the top, Indra
Indra
asked him to abandon the dog before entering the Heaven. But Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
refused to do so, citing the dog's unflinching loyalty as a reason. It turned out that the dog was his god-father Dharma
Dharma
in disguise.[11] Test of patience in Hell[edit]

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Dark and difficult was the Road

On reaching heaven, Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
did not find either his virtuous brothers or his wife Draupadi. Instead, he only saw Duryodhana
Duryodhana
and his allies. The Gods told him that his brothers were in Naraka (hell), atoning for their sins. Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
loyally went to Naraka to meet his brothers, but the sight of gore and blood horrified him. After hearing the voices of his beloved brothers and Draupadi
Draupadi
calling out to him, asking him to stay with them in their misery, he remained. Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
ordered the divine charioteer to return. He preferred to live in hell with good people than in a heaven with his enemies. Eventually this turned out to be another illusion to test him and also to enable him to atone for his sin of deceiving his guru during the war where he half-lied to Drona
Drona
about Ashwatthama's death. Thereafter, Indra
Indra
and Krishna appeared before him and told him that his brothers (including Karna) were already in heaven but so were his enemies. Yudhishthira's curse[edit] After he was made aware that Karna
Karna
was his elder brother, Yudhishthira cursed all women with not being able to hide any secrets. Had Yudhishthira's mother Kunti
Kunti
not kept that fact a secret, the war might have been averted, with millions spared. This is written by Author Pampa in his Pampa Bharata and is not mentioned in Mahabharata
Mahabharata
of Vyasa[12] Skills[edit] He was said to be very good at spear-fighting and at chariot racing. Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
was a polyglot, knowing unusual languages. He was known for his honesty, justice, sagacity, tolerance, good behaviour, and discernment.[13] Dhritarashtra
Dhritarashtra
said to Sanjaya
Sanjaya
"The son of Kunti
Kunti
and Pandu, Yudhishthira, is virtuous and brave and eschews deeds that bring on shame. Endued with great energy, he hath been wronged by Duryodhana. If he were not high-minded, the would in wrath burn the Dhritarashtras. I do not so much dread Arjuna
Arjuna
or Bhima
Bhima
or Krishna
Krishna
or the twin brothers as I dread the wrath of the king, O Suta, when his wrath is excited. His austerities are great; he is devoted to Brahmacharya
Brahmacharya
practices. His heart's wishes will certainly be fulfilled. When I think of his wrath, O Sanjaya, and consider how just it is, I am filled with alarm.[14]" Yudhishthira
Yudhishthira
acquired deep spiritual knowledge from Lord Shiva
Shiva
and many prominent sages including Vyasa, Parashurama, Bhrigu, Savarni Manu, Narada, Markandeya, Asita Devala and Dhaumya. ( Mahabharata
Mahabharata
Sabha Parva Section 77). In the media[edit] Being a character in Indian epic and an important person in Mahabharata, this role has been enacted by various actors over the years. Two most famous actors to have played this role are Gajendra Chauhan, Mahabharat (1988 TV series), and Rohit Bharadwaj, Mahabharat (2013 TV series) ( Interestingly, both actors were offered the role of lord Krishna
Krishna
first and then Yudhishthira). Famous Indian actor, Manoj Bajpayee, has also voiced the character in an animated Mahabharat (2013 film). Also in 2015 series Suryaputra Karn, Kanan Malhotra played the role. There is a red dragon in the Iron Realms Entertainment game Aetolia, The Midnight Age named Yudhishthira. Citations[edit]

^ Ashram, Vidur Sewa (1979). Age of Bhārata War. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. p. 167.  ^ Godbole, Justin E. Abbott a. Pandit Narhar R. (1988). Stories of indian saints (4th ed.). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 402. ISBN 9788120804692.  ^ Lochtefeld, James G. (2002). The illustrated encyclopedia of Hinduism
Hinduism
(1st. ed.). New York: Rosen. pp. 194–196. ISBN 9780823931798.  ^ The Mahābhārata. Book 1 The Book of the Beginning. Buitenen, J. A. B. van (Johannes Adrianus Bernardus), 1928-1979,, Fitzgerald, James L. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1973-. pp. 470–471. ISBN 0226846636. OCLC 831317.  Check date values in: date= (help)CS1 maint: Date and year (link) ^ Mittal, J.P. (2006). History of ancient India : a new version. New Delhi: Atlantic. p. 477. ISBN 9788126906161.  ^ Sehgal, Sunil (1999). Encyclopaedia of Hinduism
Hinduism
(1st ed.). New Delhi: Sarup & Sons. ISBN 9788176250641.  ^ Kishore, B. R. (2001). Hinduism. New Delhi: Diamond Publ. ISBN 9788171820733.  ^ " Mahabharata
Mahabharata
Text".  ^ " Mahabharata
Mahabharata
Text".  ^ Kapoor, edited by Subodh (2002). The Indian encyclopaedia : biographical, historical, religious, administrative, ethnological, commercial and scientific (1st ed.). New Delhi: Cosmo Publications. p. 4462. ISBN 9788177552713. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ Agarwal, Satya
Satya
P. (2002). Selections from the Mahabharata : re-affirming Gita's call for the god of all (1. Aufl. ed.). Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 9788120818743.  ^ transl. (2004). Buitenen, J.A.B. van, ed. Book 11. The book of the women. Chicago [u.a.]: Univ. of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226252506.  ^ " Mahabharata
Mahabharata
Text".  ^ " Mahabharata
Mahabharata
SECTION XXII". 

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Kuru Kingdom

Shantanu Ganga Bhishma Satyavati Chitrāngada Vichitravirya Ambika Ambalika Vidura Dhritarashtra Gandhari Pandu Kunti Madri Pandavas

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Hidimbi Ghatotkacha Ahilawati Subhadra Uttarā Ulupi Chitrāngadā Abhimanyu Iravan Babruvahana Barbarika Upapandavas Parikshit Janamejaya

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