Yudhishthira, the elder son of Kunti and Pandu through Yama, the lord of Dharma (Judgement) in Mahabharat is known for his righteous nature and truthfulness. It is claimed that Yudhisthira never lied in his life. However, over the years people have questioned Yudhisthir’s truthfulness during his time of Agyatvas – incognito, where he had to hide his real identity for a period of 1 year.
While, most of the people believe he did lie but excuse him thinking it was his dharma to hide his identity, let me tell you, he never lied. Yudhisthir only said facts but in its own twisted form. Here is an illustration of his honesty towards his vow.
Allegation No. 1 – Yudhisthira Introduced himself as Kank which is a lie because his name was not Kank but Yudhisthir
Kanka or Kank is another name for Yama or Dharma. Being the son of Yama and following Dharma, he was also known as Dharmaraj. So, if he introduced himself as Kank how did he lie when both means the same? Logically, if A=B and B=C, then A=C, isn’t?
Allegation No. 2 – Yudhisthira Called himself a Brahmana, but he was a Kshatriya
Yudhisthir was a follower of dharma and believed in Karma. His Karma was equal to that of any Brahmana and so when he calls himself a Brahmin, he doesn’t lie but introduces his other side. Needless to say, though Yudhisthira was a Kshatriya, he was a Brahmin in cognito. Again, the same logic as explained above applies here.
Allegation No. 3 – Yudhisthir addressed his Four brothers with pseudo names which again accounts as his lie
Yudhishthir called Bheem as Ballava, which means the son of Vayu (Now, Bheem was a son of Vayu, wasn’t he?), Arjun is addressed as Brihannala which means Brihat Nara. Brihat is Mighty while Nara is Nar(man) so indirectly Brihannala means a mighty man, which no wonder Arjun was. Nakul was Granthika and Yudhisthir praises him for his knowledge of horses. It is no doubt, that Nakula had all the knowledge and skill related to horses and its well-being. Sehdev was Tantripala, meaning a person carrying tanti, which is cow’s rein.
As far as Draupadi is considered, she was called as Sarindhri, an expert maid of a Sudra caste, which was same as that of her husband Bheem. Confused? Well, Bheem’s foster mother, the one who fed him with milk was Sudra and so since her milk ran in his blood or vein (whatever it is!), he too in a way becomes of that caste and so does his wife Draupadi.
The above three examples clearly states how Yudhisthir managed the entire 1 year of Agyatvas. By his wits, intelligence and a determination to maintain his image, I’m sure he used all the facts to his advantage and completed his 1 year of incognito without telling a single lie.
Besides Agyatvas, there is yet another allegation on Yudhisthira that he lied in the Kurukshetra War
Well, on the 15 day of War, Drona after using the Brahmananda, a divine weapon of Sapta Rishis (which he had not taught Arjun or Ashwattama), became invincible and unconquerable. There was nothing that could beat him. Krishna knew what exactly could stop him and so he ordered Bheem to kill Ashwattama, an elephant.
Soon, Bheem started boasting that he had killed Ashwattama in the battlefield and the news spread like wildfire. Drona after hearing the news couldn’t believe his ears and so he went straight to Yudhisthira to confirm the news. After all, Yudhisthir was known for his adherence to dharma, wasn’t he?
And so when Dronacharya asks Yudhisthir whether his son really died, the elder Pandava replied “अश्वत्थामा हतः इति, नरोवा कुंजरोवा…” which meant Ashwattama is dead but whether he is a human or an elephant, I am not sure.
Now, was that a lie? Of course not!
By: Deepti Verma