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YUDHI-SnTHIRA The eldest of the five Panrfu princes, mythologically the son of Dharma, the god of justice. With the Hindus he is the favourite one of the five brothers, and is represented as a man of calm, passionless judgment, strict veracity, unswerving rectitude, and rigid justice. He was renowned as a ruler and director, but not as a warrior. Educated at the court of his uncle, Dhrita-rashfra, he received from the family preceptor, Drona, a military training, and was taught the use of the spear. When the time came for naming the Yuva-raja or heir-apparent to the realm of Hastina-pura, the Maha-raja Dhnta-riishfra selected Yudhi-sh/hira in preference to his own eldest son, Dur-yodhana. A long-standing jealousy between the Panrfava and Kaurava princes then broke forth openly. Dur-yodhana expostulated with his father, and the end was that the Panrfavas went in honourable banishment to the city of Varanavata. The jealousy of Dur-yodhana pursued them, and his emissaries laid a plot for burning the brothers in their dwellinghouse. Yudhi-sh/hira's sagacity discovered the plot and Ehima frustrated it . The bodies of a Bhil woman and her five sons were found in the ruins of the burnt house, and it was believed for a time that the Panrfavas and their mother had perished. When Draupadi had been won at the swayam-vara, Yudhish/hira, the eldest of the five brothers, was requested by his juniors to make her his wife, but he desired that she should become the wife of Arjuna, by whose prowess she had been won. Through the words of their mother, KuntI, and the decision of the sage Vyasa, the princess became the common wife of the five brothers. An arrangement was made that Draupadi should dwell in turn with the five brothers, passing two days in the separate house of each, and that under pain of exile for twelve years no one of the brothers but the master of the house should enter while Draupadi was staying in it. The arms of the family were kept in the house of Yudhi-sh/hira, and an alarm of robbery being raised, Arjuna rushed there to procure his weapons while Draupadi was present. He thus incurred the pain of exile, and departed, though Yudhi-sh/hira endeavoured to dissuade him by arguing that the elder brother of a fatherless family stood towards his juniors in the position of a father. After the return of the PaWavas from exile and their establishment at Indra-prastha, the rule of Yudhi-sh/hira is described as YUDHI-SHTHIRA. 379
having been most excellent and prosperous. The Raja "ruled his country with great justice, protecting his subjects as his own sons, and subduing all his enemies round about, so that every man was without fear of war or disturbance, and gave his whole mind to the performance of every religious duty. And the Raja had plenty of rain at the proper season, and all his subjects became rich; and the virtues of the Raja were to be seen in the great . increase of trade and merchandise, in the abundant harvests and the prolific cattle. Every subject of the Raja was pious; there were no liars, no thieves, and no swindlers; and there were no droughts, no floods, no locusts, no conflagrations, no foreign invasions, and no parrots to eat the grain. The neighbouring Rajas, despairing of conquering Raja Yudhi-sWhira, were very desirous of securing his friendship. Meanwhile Yudhi-sh/hira, though he would never acquire wealth by unfair means, yet prospered so exceedingly that had he lavished his riches for a thousand years no diminution would ever have been perceived." After the return of his brother Arjuna from exile, Yudhi-shfliira determined to assert his supremacy by performing the Raja-suya sacrifice, and this led to a war with Jarasandha, Raja of Magadha, who declined to take part in it, and was in consequence defeated and killed. The dignity which Yudhi-sh/hira had gained by the performance of the sacrifice rekindled the jealousy of Dur-yodhana and the other Kauravas. They resolved to invite their cousins to a gambling match, and to cheat Yudhishftiira of his kingdom. Yudhi-sh/hira was very unwilling to go, but could not refuse his uncle's invitation. Sakuni, maternal uncle of Dur-yodhana, was not only a skilful player but also a dexterous cheat. He challenged Yudhi-sh/hira to throw dice with him, and Yudhi-sh/hira, after stipulating for fair-play, began the game. He lost his all, his kingdom, his brothers, himself, and his wife, all of whom became slaves. When Draupadi was sent for as a slave and refused to come, Duhsiisana dragged her into the hall by the hair, and both he and Dur-yodhana grossly insulted her. Bhima was half mad with rage, but Yudhi-shfliira's sense of right acknowledged that Draupadi was a slave, and he forbade Rhima and his brothers to interfere. When the old Maha-raja Dhrita-rashfra was informed of what had passed, he came into the assembly, and declaring that his sons had acted wrongfully, he sent Draupadi and her hus
bands away, imploring them to forget what had passed. Duryodhana was very wroth, and induced the Maha-raja to allow another game to avoid war, the condition being that the losers should go into exile for thirteen years, and should remain concealed and undiscovered during the whole of the thirteenth year. The game was played, and loaded dice gave Sakuni the victory, so the Panrfavas went again into exile. During that time they rendered a service to Dur-yodhana by rescuing him and his companions from a band of marauders who had made them prisoners. When Jayad-ratha, king of Sindhu, was foiled in his attempt to carry off DraupadI, the clemency of Yudhi-sh/hira led him to implore his brothers to spare their captive's life. As the thirteenth year of exile approached, in order to keep themselves concealed, the five brothers and Draupadi went to the country of Vira/a and entered into the service of the Raja . Yudhish/hira's office was that of private companion and teacher of dice-playing to the king. Here Yudhi-sh/hira suffered his wife Draupadi to be insulted, and dissuaded his brothers from interfering, lest by so doing they should discover themselves. When the term of exile was concluded, Yudhi-sh/hira sent an envoy to Hastina-pura asking for a peaceful restoration to the Panrfavas of their former position. The negotiations failed, and Yudhish/hira invited Krishna to go as his representative to Hastinapura. Notwithstanding Yudhi-sh/hira's longing for peace the war began, but even then Yudhi-sh/hira desired to withdraw, but was overruled by Krishna.
Yudhi sh/hira fought in the great battle, but did not distinguish himself as a soldier. The version of the Maha-bharata given in Mr. Wheeler's work makes him guilty of downright cowardice. At the instigation of Krishna he compassed the death of Drona by conveying to that warrior false intelligence of the death of his son Aswatthaman, and his character for veracity was used to warrant the truth of the representation. His conscience would not allow him to tell a downright lie, but it was reconciled to telling a lying truth in killing an elephant named Aswatthaman, and informing the fond father that Aswatthaman was dead. He retreated from a fight with Karna, and afterwards reproached Arjuna for not having supported him and Bhima. This so irritated Arjuna that he would have killed him on the spot had not Krishna interposed. After the great battle
was over Krishna saluted him king, but he showed great disinclination to accept the dignity. His sorrow for those who had fallen was deep, especially for Karna, and he did what he could to console the bereaved Dhrita-rash/ra and GandharI, as well as the many other sufferers. He was made king, and was raised to the throne with great pomp, he acting as ruler under the nominal supremacy of the old King Dhrtta-rashfra. There, after an interval, he asserted his universal supremacy by performing the great Aswa-inedha sacrifice. The death of Krishna at Dwaraka and regrets for the past embittered the lives of the PaWavas, and they resolved to withdraw from the world. Yudhi-sh/hira appointed Parlkshit, grandson of Arjuna, to be his successor, and the five brothers departed with Draupadi to the Himalayas on their way to Swarga. The story of this journey is told with great feeling in the closing verses of the Mahabharata. See Maha-bharata.
Yudhi-sWhira had a son named Yaudheya by his wife Devika; but the Vishnu Purana makes the son's name Devaka and the mother's YaudheyL
YUGA An age of tho world. Each of these ages is preceded by a period called its Sandhya or twilight, and is followed by another period of equal length called Sandhyansa, 'portion of twilight,' each being equal to one-tenth of the Yuga. The Yugas are four in number, and their duration is first computed by years of the gods: —
1. Kn'ta Yuga 4°°°
Sandhyansa, . . . . 4°°
2. Trcta Yuga, ..... 3°°° Sandhya, . . . .300 Sandhyansa, ..... 3°°
3. DwSpara Yuga, .... 2000
4. Kali Yuga 1000
Sandhyansa, ..... 100
But a year of the gods is equal to 360 years of men, so
years, forming the period called a Maha-yuga or Manwantara. Two thousand Maha-yugas or 8,640,000,000 years make a Kalpa or night and a day of Brahma.
This elaborate and practically boundless system of chronology was invented between the age of the i?ig-veda and that of the Maha-bharata. No traces of it are to be found in the hymns of the Rig, but it was fully established in the days of the great epic. In this work the four ages are described at length by Hanumat, the learned monkey chief, and from that description the following account has been abridged:—
The Krita is the age in which righteousness is eternal, when duties did not languish nor people decline. No efforts were made by men, the fruit of the earth was obtained by their mere wish. There was no malice, weeping, pride, or deceit; no contention, no hatred, cruelty, fear, affliction, jealousy, or envy. The castes alike in their functions fulfilled their duties, were unceasingly devoted to one deity, and used one formula, one rule, and one rite. Though they had separate duties, they had but one Veda and practised one duty.
In the Treta Yuga sacrifice commenced, righteousness decreased by one-fourth; men adhered to truth, and were devoted to a righteousness dependent on ceremonies. Sacrifices prevailed with holy acts and a variety of rites. Men acted with an object in view, seeking after reward for their rites and their gifts, and were no longer disposed to austerities and to liberality from a simple feeling of duty.
In the Dwapara Yuga righteousness was diminished by a half. The Veda became fourfold Some men studied four Vedas, others three, others two, others one, and some none at all . Ceremonies were celebrated in a great variety of ways. From the decline of goodness only few men adhered to truth . When men had fallen away from goodness, many diseases, desires, and calamities, caused by destiny, assailed them, by which they were