Monday Musings 40

Image for Yaksha Prashna Monday Musings 38, 39, 40, 41

Continuing with the story of Yaksha Prashnam….

We left Yudishtra and the Yaksha on the banks of the lake with the Yakshan ready to start the rapid-fire questions to Yudishtra. I would think the rapid-fire round in our quiz competitions has been invented from the Yaksha Prashnam.

Yes. The Yaksha asked him 123 interesting questions covering myriad of topics including gods, metaphysics, dharma, philosophy, and similar topics. Yudhistra answered all of them to the satisfaction of the Yaksha. Some of them are great life lessons as well. We shall take up the questions and answers later. While the conversation between the Yaksha and Yudhistra has some very enlightening information, I would like to focus on what the story itself imparts us to modern day work life.

We first related the ‘beginning’ of the Yaksha Prashna story to Risk management. Now let us see how the ‘end’ of Yakshaprasna relates to value management.

Yudishtra patiently answered all the 123 questions to the satisfaction of the yaksha. Satisfied with the answers, Yaksha offered Yudishtra that he will revive one of his brothers and asked Yudishtra to make his choice. Yudishtra chose Nakula without any hesitation. The Yaksha was surprised with the choice as he was expecting Bheema or Arjuna could be the choice. Everyone knew that a war with Kauravas was imminent and Bheema and Arjuna were the ‘match – sorry – war winners. If Yudishtra had to have only one sibling alive, it made better sense to have Bheema or Arjuna alive and win wars for him. Nakula and Sahadeva were his co-brothers anyway.

Always choose RIGHT over EASY

But Yudishtra thought differently. Leaders think differently. He stuck to his stand and reasoned out his choice to the Yaksha. His father had 2 wives, Kunti and Madri. He treated both the same. If among his mother Kunti’s offsprings, he was one person alive, among Madri’s offsprings also, one should be alive. Hence he chose Nakula. It was a dilemma of enormous implications. He had a choice between easy and right. He opted for the right choice than the easy one. Many of us face such situations ie a choice between easy one and the right one. Always choose RIGHT over EASY.

The story goes further that impressed by his unwavering commitment to Dharma ie the ‘right path’, the Yaksha revived all his brothers, all the Pandavas got resurrected, well, the rest is mythology.

Some interesting questions and the answers from Yaksha Prashnam


  1. What is the best of all goodness?

Munificence is the best of all goodness was the answer from Yudhistrar.

Caring and Sharing enhances contentment and happiness. That is why we say ‘Joy of Giving’. Caring and Sharing might reduce our wealth but increases happiness multifold


  1. What is the best of all wealth?

Learning is the best of all wealth was the answer from Yudhistrar.. 

But why is Learning the best of all wealth? Thiruvalluvar gives the answer. All other wealth is impermanent. Learning is the only permanent wealth. Thiruvalluvar in his Thirukkural says ‘Learning is permanent not only in this birth but also in seven other births’. Don’t ask me why and how. Bhagavad Gita proclaims that nothing is permanent, and we don’t take anything with us after the death.  But Thiruvalluvar says that learning helps us for seven succeeding births.  This could be a figurative statement but worth knowing.

ஒருமைக்கண் தான்கற்ற கல்வி ஒருவற்கு
எழுமையும் ஏமாப் புடைத்து.
–Thirukkural 398

Thiruvalluvar included one chapter with 10 kurals on Learning

கேடில் விழுச்செல்வம் கல்வி யொருவற்கு
மாடல்ல மற்றை யவை.
–Thirukkural 400

Learning is the true imperishable wealth; all other things are not riches.

  1. What is the best of all gains? 

Health is the best of all gains.

Wealth cannot be enjoyed without health.


  1. What is the best of all happiness?

Contentment is the best of all happiness. 

‘This answer from Yudhistra seem to be either wrong or not in sync with the teachings from Monday Musings’. Monday Musings always talks about ambition and continual growth.  How could then contentment be the best of all happiness. Am I contradicting my own statement?


Ambition is what drives people to reach their potential and achieve the success they want. But at what point should you be content with what you have? Is there a direct conflict between being ambitious and being content? Or can you strike a balance between Ambition and Contentment?

Ambition can be described as a person’s willpower and desire to attain success, while contentment is defined as being satisfied and happy.

Can you have both at the same time? It all comes down to balance. If you’re simply wanting to climb higher (for an example, more and more promotions in your job) for the sake of climbing, then you may sacrifice your own happiness along the way. But if you can balance the striving with your current happiness, you’ll be able to reach your potential without making yourself miserable in the process.

You can be content with your present situation while still moving forward towards what you want. Contentment is for your past and present state and ambition is for your future.  We get into misery and suffering when we fail to understand this difference. Being content with the past is the basis for developing GRATITUDE, Self Confidence and happiness. Not being content with the past gives rise to sulkiness, self-pity and misery. 


Contentment does not mean that you should not be ambitious in life.
You look back with contentment, look ahead with ambition. –   Mahatria Ra

Disclaimer: The views/opinions expressed in this article belong to the author. is neither responsible nor liable for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in the article.



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