‘‘Yaksha Prashna’ is a very crucial part of the Mahabharata. It occurs during the ‘Vana Parva’, the period of 12 years exile of the Pandavas. The story runs like this.
During an expedition in the forest, the Pandavas became exhausted and thirsty. Nakula, Sahadeva, Bheem and Arjun respectively come across a magical pond in order to fetch water. There they find a talking crane who warns them not to touch the water before answering his questions. But since, the crane does not even remotely look like Modi, neither does it speak in a melodramatic fashion, they refuse to believe his tall tales, try to drink from the pool and die instantly. Finally Yudhisthir comes to the pond and finds all his brothers dead. The crane warns him in the same way, but he agrees to answer his questions. The crane then transforms into a yaksha and puts the questions to him. Thus ensues the famous dialog of the ‘Yaksha Prashna’.
However, recently some rumors have surfaced which claim that the original questions and answers were a bit different from what has been put down in the epic. This revelation comes from none other than Lord Ganesha himself, who actually wrote the text as per Maharshi Ved Vyasa’s dictations. As to why the narrative was changed, there are some theories. As per reliable sources, a certain person, whose face would remind one of a ‘mule with an attitude problem’, (who incidentally goes by the name of Arnab Goswami) was seen approaching the sacred place where the writing was taking place; just as Lord Ganesha was about to put down the verses corresponding to the above mentioned section. What followed can be best described as the commotion created by a donkey that tries to imitate the roar of a lion; which finally compelled both Ved Vyasa and Lord Ganesha to make the alterations. It has been the rare privilege of this mere mortal to receive the original version of the Q&A from Lord Ganesha himself (don’t ask me how, its’ classified).
I am thus obliged to present below the original ‘Yaksha Prashna’ section verbatim (translated from Sanskrit to English):
Yaksha: “Who makes the sun rise and ascend in the skies? Who moves the Sun around? Who makes the sun set in the horizons”?
Yudhisthir: “Modiji makes the sun rise at his command and Amit Shah makes it move around. The Nehru family and Congress have tried since long to set the sun according to their will, but have failed miserably. It is only when Modiji grants permission, does the sun dare to sink below the horizon”.
Yaksha: “What instills ‘divinity’ in Brahmins? What is the quality of virtuosity in a Brahmin”?
Yudhisthir: “A divine Brahmin is a role model like Baba Ramdev, who becomes a millionaire by backstabbing his mentors and selling substandard products by a clever use of nationalist propaganda. The quality of virtuosity in such a Brahmin is that he has the courage to declare only his products to be pure and all other brands to be impure and poisonous”.
Yaksha: “What instills divinity in Kshatriyas? What is the quality of virtuosity in a Kshatriya”?
Yudhisthir: “A divine kshatriya will be part of groups like RSS, Bajrang Dal,and the like who would boast about themselves as being an army. These ‘sena’s would not fight any actual war for the country, but will serve humanity by trolling free thinkers on the internet and lynching innocent people over their religion, caste and choice of food etc. Their virtuosity lies in instigating riots as a means of strengthening the solidarity of the nation, by skillfully aggravating certain extremist factions of the Muslim community”.
Yaksha: “What is truth and what is falsity”?
Yudhisthir: Truth is when an honest journalist exposes the corrupt dealings of Robert Vadra. Falsity or lie is when that same journalist reveals uncomfortable truths (fake obviously) about the annual turnover of Jay Amit Shah’s startup”.
Yaksha: “What is heavier than Earth, higher than heavens, faster than the wind and more numerous than straws”?
Yudhisthir: “BJP’s party fund is heavier than Earth. Modiji’s knowledge of Economics is higher than heaven. BJP’s IT cell is faster than the wind in spreading fake news, doctored images and videos in social media. Modi-bhakts are more numerous than straws”.
Yaksha: “What is the greatest wonder in the world”?
Yudhisthir: “There are a lot of educated women who are well aware of the views of religious extremists on women empowerment. They express horror over the puritan culture of Saudi Arabia and its misogyny, but prudently believe that their country is not moving towards the same fate and that the Hindutva brigade will be champions of feminism. (They probably get this clarity of vision by regularly consuming Patanjali’s Amla juice, though it has been declared unfit for consumption by the defense canteen. Such faith has its own rewards!) They have glaring examples of the words of wisdom by Sri Manohar Lal Khattar and MahaYogi Adityanath on the subject of women’s freedom and also of the moral policing in Uttar Pradesh for them to see and yet they are unwavering in their faith and continue to vote for BJP as well as sing praises of RSS. They are also adept at finding absurd logic (nothing to do with Camus however) for defending the criminal activities of miscreants belonging to BJP and Allied parties. This is the greatest wonder in the world”.
Yaksha: “Bravo. I am pleased with your answers. I will bring all your brothers back to life”. Saying this he revels himself as Dharmaraj (The deity of Justice). Yudisthir is taken aback and comments, “Father it is you. (Yudhisthir was son Dharmaraj; however I will not go into the details of how he was actually begotten, because that may be against Indian culture!) First Crane, then Yaksha and now Dharmaraj; father, you are changing colors like BJP”.
Dharmaraj: “How so”?
Yudhisthir: “Well, like in normal times BJP is all for development and New India. However, before any election, they turn into Hindutva and Ram-mandir zealots”.
Dharmaraj: “Oh dear! You are too outspoken for your own good. You will get into trouble any day. I am having second thoughts about reanimating your brothers.”
Yudhisthir: But father, you promised!
Dharmaraj: “If someone as great as Modiji after coming to power, can exhibit signs of amnesia relating to the tall tales he made before the election, is it really so unjust for me to do the same? Or I could say that bringing someone back to life is a very complicated task and it will take me at least 5 years. And when those 5 years are about to end, I could showcase the mammoth effort I took to restore life to your brothers, via my pet media and ask for 5 more years to complete my task. I could go on decades like this without actually accomplishing the task. (After a pause) Just kidding son! But for your own sake, do promise me a few things and I will grant life to your brothers.”
“Firstly, you will look the other way when innocents are being lynched or raped on the basis of their choice of food, religion or caste. You will always try to give everyone the impression that nothing is wrong with the country.
Secondly you will not argue when the Hindutva brigade says that a grown up man and woman being in a relation without marriage and open discussions on sexuality are against Indian culture. You will have to conveniently forget about our rich tradition of ‘Gandharva-Vivah’ since the Puranic times, the carvings in Konark and Khajuraho temples, the content of Vatsyayana’s ‘Kamasutra’ as well as the celebration of eroticism in Kalidasa’s ‘Abhigyanashakuntalam’ and Jaydev’s ‘Geetgovind’.
Thirdly you will never question the authenticity of the fabricated history being spread on social media by BJP’s IT cell through a clever mention of an eminent historian (without his knowledge) whose research is in fact totally contrary to what is being put forward. You will keep your intelligence to yourself and never try to look up the original work of that historian, nor try to contact him.
Fourthly, you will never bat an eyelid when you see that the same policies and methods that BJP were dead against while in the opposition, are now being implemented on a far greater scale by the same BJP as the ruling party, but will try to find justifications for them by hook or by crook.
Fifthly, you will hail demonetization as a masterstroke, even if that stroke happens to land on your head and splits it into two.
Sixthly, you will never laugh when Modi says dumb things like ‘The mounting of elephant’s head on Lord Ganesha is the first ever example of plastic surgery’ or ‘Konark temple is 2000 years old’; but will try to listen to them with respect.
Seventhly you will never point a finger at anyone belonging to BJP and allied parties for whatever heinous crimes they commit; instead will try to apply your intelligence in order to find justifications for their actions and defend them, especially on social media.
And lastly, you will never criticize Modi or his party (I mean both BJP, RSS and other offshoots), even if they threaten to destroy the very secular fabric of the nation, take the country 50 years back and on a path of self destruction.”
Yudhisthir was lost in thought.
Dharmaraj: “Make haste son. I have to go, otherwise that Arnab fellow will catch hold of me and then you know what will happen. In the best case I will turn deaf from his ass-braying and in the worst case I will be marked as an anti-national and Pakistan lover. So hurry up!”
Yudhisthir: “It will be as you say, father!”
Dharmaraj, visually relieved says “Tathastu” and disappears and that’s how his 4 brothers come back to life.
N.B: The opinions expressed in this post are not the translator’s. If anyone has any issues with the above content, they may directly get in touch with Maharshi Ved Vyasa. There is nothing to be afraid! He will hear you out and discuss the matter with you in a civilized manner, but will never try to incriminate you in any way for opposing his views!