Under the incredibly high recommendation of my guru Thom Knoles, I have just read and completed the Mahabharata as interpreted by Ramesh Menon. It’s a Vedic epic and the Bhagavad Gita is a central chapter within it. It’s also epically long, and took me 9 months to read, on my Kindle reader it was 27,000 pages in length, but worth every page! I can’t begin to tell you how much I adored this book.
There is a particular section that goes on for many pages whereby a yaksha holds one of the central characters Yudhishtira and his brothers captive and demands that Yudhishtira answer his every question, and if he deems the answers suitable and true, he will release them.
These are some of his questions to Yudhishtira and the answers…the conversation in its entirety is too long for here!
How does a man achieve greatness?
Does a man always have a friend?
Yes. His intelligence.
What is swifter than the wind?
More numerous than blades of grass?
The thoughts in the mind.
What is the most praiseworthy thing of all?
The most valuable possession?
The greatest treasure?
The greatest happiness?
What is the highest dharma?
To injure none of the living.
What must be controlled?
What renounced makes a man agreeable?
And what can be renounced with no regret?
And what may be relinquished to gain happiness?
What makes the way?
The good make the way, indeed, they are the way.
Who is the ascetic?
He who remains faithful.
What is true restraint?
That of the mind.
And what, true forgiveness?
He who endures enmity, truly forgives.
What is real knowledge?
Knowledge of God.
What is tranquility?
When the heart is still.
When one desires the happiness of all creatures.
When the heart is tranquil.
Who is the invincible enemy?
What disease has to cure?
Who is the honest man?
He who desires the happiness of all the living.
And the dishonest one?
The one who has no mercy.
What is ignorance?
Not knowing ones dharma.
What is grief?
How does a man become patient?
By subduing his senses.
What is true ablution?
What the heart is washed clean.
What is charity?
Protecting all creatures.
Speaking ill of others.
Who is he Yudhishtira, who has every kind of wealth?
Only he to whom joy, sorrow, fortune and misfortune, past and future are all the same.