After learning from Arjuna about the destruction of Yadavas, Yudhishthira resolved to step down from the throne to retire from the world. He was followed by his four brothers and Panchali in his resolution. Abhimanyu’s son Parikshit was handed over the throne and made the Kuru king and Dhritarashtra’s son Yuyutsu was appointed regent.
As the Pandavas and Draupadi began their journey, a dog followed them. In the spirit of renunciation, they transversed the country and reached the foot of Meru hill in the Himalayas. They were steeped in yogic exercised and walked in silence.
Each one falls one by one
After travelling certain distance, Draupadi fell down. The remaining walked their course, leaving lifeless Draupadi behind. Bhima asked the sin behind Panchali falling down to Yudhishthira, who said, “This is the result of her partiality for Arjuna.”
A little distance further, Sahadeva fell, which was explained by Yudhishthira as it was because of his pride that he was the wisest among Pandavas. Nakula was the next one to fall. Yudhishthira explained this as for the reason of Nakula being mindful of his good looks. When Arjuna fell down a little later, Yudhishthira explained to Bhima that, “Arjuna declared that he would single-handedly kill all his foes in one day. He could not fulfill his boast.”
Before Bhima falls to part with his life, he asked Yudhishthira about his sin. Yudhishthira replied, “In the matter of eating, you were selfish. You never cared if others needed food. You also boasted about your own strength.”
Yudhishthira continues to walk with dog
Yudhishthira continued his walk and the dog followed him. As he kept walking, suddenly Indra descended amid sound and radiance, landing in front of the only living Pandava. He asked the eldest of Pandava to step into the chariot that will drive into the heaven. Refusing this, Yudhishthira said that he would not go to the heaven without his brothers and panchali. Indra explained that they had already gone to heaven parting off from their bodies. Yudhishthira was privileged to enter heaven with his earthy form.
Then an argument aroused about the dog, which followed the Pandava faithfully till the end. It was insisted by Yudhishthira that the dog should also get into the chariot. Finally the god Dharma, who was in the disguise of the dog to test Yudhishthira, showed his original form and expressed pleasure for Yudhishthira’s practice of drama till the end.
Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha!
Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha is the popular Hindu dictum. Dharmo rakshati means Dharma offers protection. The dictum explains that if one leads a life on the principles of Dharma, they will be protected. And Yudhishthira is a perfect example of the one who followed dharma is Hindu puaranas.