Yaksha Prasna is an episode taken from Mahabharata. It is a dialogue between Yudhishthira and Yama, the lord of Death who disguises as a Yaksha. In this Yudhishthira gives amazing and enlightening answers to very difficult questions asked by Yama.
During the time when the Pandavas were living in the forest, a deer took away the stick used to make fire from the sage’s home in the forest in its antlers. The saint tried to recover it but could not. He then requested the Pandavas (sons of Pandu) to trace the deer by its hoof marks and recover it. The Pandavas followed the hoof marks of the deer throughout the day and reached deep in the forest. Dharma Puthra the eldest of the Pandavas became very tired and wanted to drink some water before carrying on the chase any further. Sahadeva the youngest brother volunteered to bring the water. He spotted a lake near by. The lake was bare of any living beings except a crane. When Sahadeva tried to drink water from the lake, the crane spoke to him, Oh Sahadeva, the water of this lake is poisonous, if you drink it without answering my questions. Sahadeva did not bother and drank the water from the lake and died. After some time Nakula came in search. And was surprised at seeing the dead Sahadeva. He too decided to drink water and was warned by the crane and he too died on drinking the water. The same thing happened to Arjuna and Bheema. Seeing that all his four brothers are missing, Dharma Puthra came in search. Since he was very thirsty, he too tried to drink the water from the lake. But when the crane warned him, he decided to answer the questions of the crane. Before asking questions, the crane revealed himself as a Yaksha. All the questions asked by the Yaksha were answered by Dharma Puthra to the Yaksha’s satisfaction. Then the Yaksha gave a boon to Dharma Puthra to bring back alive one of his dead brothers. Dharma wanted, Nakula to be made alive. The surprised Yaksha asked him, Oh king, why did you choose Nakula, when you could have chosen Bheema and Arjuna? Dharma Puthra replied, I am alive and so my mother Kunthi has one son. I wanted my other mother Madhri also to have a son alive, The Yaksha was very much pleased and gave life back to all the Pandavas. Given below are the pointed questions asked by the Yaksha and the pithy and very direct replies given by Dharma Puthra. These are a store house of knowledge and termed as Yaksha Prasna (Questions of Yaksha).