Yak\u1e63apra\u015bna is a section of the \u0100ra\u1e47aya-parva of the Mah\u0101bh\u0101rata, specifically designed to explicate the subtle nuances of dharma. Once, while living in exile from the kingdom, the P\u0101\u1e47\u1e0davas were importuned by a particular br\u0101hma\u1e47a to retrieve his fire-stoking sticks that were imperative for his daily fire sacrifice. The sticks had gotten entangled in the horns of a stag, and the frightened beast had galloped like the wind, the sticks glued to his horns! The P\u0101\u1e47\u1e0davas saw it as their duty as K\u1e63atriyas to restore the br\u0101hma\u1e47a\u2019s sticks so that his sacrificial rites may continue unimpeded. They set out after the stag and gave chase, but as fate would have it, lost the stag. They dropped to the floor under the cool shade of a mighty tree, exhausted and thirsty beyond expression. Yudhi\u1e63\u1e6dhira bade Nakula, the youngest of the brothers, to find a water source in the vicinity. He proceeds forth and chances upon a pristine lake filled with crystal clear water. Overjoyed he descends into the cool waters but is interrupted by a voice, \u201cTouch not the water before you answer my questions, O\u2019 child.\u2019 Disregarding the voice, Nakula drinks from the lake and falls dead. Alarmed by Nakula\u2019s delay in returning, Yudhi\u1e63\u1e6dhira orders Sahadeva in pursuit of Nakula. Sahadeva reaches the lake in due course to find his brother lying lifeless. Dismayed, he hastens towards Nakula. Tormented by insufferable thirst, Sahadeva decides to take a sip of water before proceeding and is met with the same ominous voice. Sahadeva too disregards the voice and ends up a heap in the waters, lifeless. Arjuna and Bhima too meet with the same plight and Yudhi\u1e63\u1e6dhira is drawn to the lake seeking his siblings. Pained by the sight of the lifeless frames of his siblings, he contemplates who could have effected such an end to the mighty heroes. Yudhi\u1e63\u1e6dhira recognizes a celestial hand behind the mystery. He proceeds towards the waters to perform the last rites of the siblings when he is accosted by the same voice. Upon cajoling, the voice reveals himself to be a Yak\u1e63a and states peremptorily that he would afford access to the lake only upon being answered. Thus begins a dialogue between the two, comprised of thirty-three sets of thought-provoking questions that encapsulate the dharmic sensibilities of Bh\u0101rat\u012bya culture. Here are three sets of questions and answers exchanged between the Yak\u1e63a and Yudhi\u1e63\u1e6dhira \u2013 \u0915\u093f\u0902\u0938\u094d\u0935\u093f\u0926\u094d\u0917\u0941\u0930\u0941\u0924\u0930\u0902 \u092d\u0942\u092e\u0947\u0903 \u0915\u093f\u0902\u0938\u094d\u0935\u093f\u0926\u0941\u091a\u094d\u091a\u0924\u0930\u0902 \u091a \u0916\u093e\u0924\u094d\u0964 \u0915\u093f\u0902\u0938\u094d\u0935\u093f\u091a\u094d\u091b\u0940\u0918\u094d\u0930\u0924\u0930\u0902 \u0935\u093e\u092f\u094b\u0903 \u0915\u093f\u0902\u0938\u094d\u0935\u093f\u0926\u094d\u092c\u0939\u0941\u0924\u0930\u0902 \u0924\u0943\u0923\u093e\u0924\u094d\u0965 ki\u1e41svidgurutara\u1e41 bh\u016bme\u1e25 ki\u1e41sviduccatara\u1e41 ca kh\u0101t| ki\u1e41svicch\u012bghratara\u1e41 v\u0101yo\u1e25 ki\u1e41svidbahutara\u1e41 t\u1e5b\u1e47\u0101t|| What is greater than the earth, and what sits higher than the sky? What is swifter than the wind, and what outnumbers grass? \u092e\u093e\u0924\u093e \u0917\u0941\u0930\u0941\u0924\u0930\u093e \u092d\u0942\u092e\u0947\u0903 \u0916\u093e\u0924\u094d \u092a\u093f\u0924\u094b\u091a\u094d\u091a\u0924\u0930\u0938\u094d\u0924\u0925\u093e\u0964 \u092e\u0928\u0903 \u0936\u0940\u0918\u094d\u0930\u0924\u0930\u0902 \u0935\u093e\u0924\u093e\u091a\u094d\u091a\u093f\u0928\u094d\u0924\u093e \u092c\u0939\u0941\u0924\u0930\u0940 \u0924\u0943\u0923\u093e\u0924\u094d\u0965 m\u0101t\u0101 gurutar\u0101 bh\u016bme\u1e25 kh\u0101t pitoccatarastath\u0101| mana\u1e25 \u015b\u012bghratara\u1e41 v\u0101t\u0101ccint\u0101 bahutar\u012b t\u1e5b\u1e47\u0101t|| Mother is greater than the earth; father, higher than the sky. The mind is swifter than the wind, and thoughts outnumber grass. \u0915\u0936\u094d\u091a \u0927\u0930\u094d\u092e\u0903 \u092a\u0930\u094b \u0932\u094b\u0915\u0947 \u0915\u0936\u094d\u091a \u0927\u0930\u094d\u092e\u0903 \u0938\u0926\u093e\u092b\u0932\u0903\u0964 \u0915\u093f\u0902 \u0928\u093f\u092f\u092e\u094d\u092f \u0928 \u0936\u094b\u091a\u0928\u094d\u0924\u093f \u0915\u0948\u0936\u094d\u091a \u0938\u0928\u094d\u0927\u093f\u0930\u094d\u0928 \u091c\u093e\u092f\u0924\u0947\u0965 ka\u015bca dharma\u1e25 paro loke ka\u015bca dharma\u1e25 sad\u0101phala\u1e25| ki\u1e43 niyamya na \u015bocanti kai\u015bca sandhirna j\u0101yate|| Which of the dharmas is paramount, and which dharma leads to fruition inevitably? Restraint of what leads to cessation of misery and where does animosity not raise its head? \u0906\u0928\u0943\u0936\u0902\u0938\u094d\u092f\u0902 \u092a\u0930\u094b \u0927\u0930\u094d\u092e\u0938\u094d\u0924\u094d\u0930\u092f\u0940 \u0927\u0930\u094d\u092e\u0903 \u0938\u0926\u093e\u092b\u0932\u0903\u0964 \u092e\u0928\u094b \u092f\u092e\u094d\u092f \u0928\u0947 \u0936\u094b\u091a\u0928\u094d\u0924\u093f \u0938\u0928\u094d\u0927\u093f\u0903 \u0938\u0926\u094d\u092d\u093f\u0930\u094d\u0928 \u091c\u093e\u092f\u0924\u0947\u0965 \u0101n\u1e5b\u015ba\u1e43sya\u1e43 paro dharmastray\u012b dharma\u1e25 sad\u0101phala\u1e25| mano yamya ne \u015bocanti sandhi\u1e25 sadbhirna j\u0101yate|| Being unsullied by cruelty is dharma-paramount. Adherence to Vedic injunctions is supremely fruitful dharma. Restraint of the mind leads to cessation of misery, and animosity does not raise its head amongst the noble. \u0915\u093f\u0902 \u0928\u0941 \u0939\u093f\u0924\u094d\u0935\u093e \u092a\u094d\u0930\u093f\u092f\u094b \u092d\u0935\u0924\u093f \u0915\u093f\u0902 \u0928\u0941 \u0939\u093f\u0924\u094d\u0935\u093e \u0928 \u0936\u094b\u091a\u0924\u093f\u0964 \u0915\u093f\u0902 \u0928\u0941 \u0939\u093f\u0924\u094d\u0935\u093e\u0930\u094d\u0925\u0935\u093e\u0928\u094d\u092d\u0935\u0924\u093f \u0915\u093f\u0902 \u0928\u0941 \u0939\u093f\u0924\u094d\u0935\u093e \u0938\u0941\u0916\u0940 \u092d\u0935\u0947\u0924\u094d\u0965 ki\u1e41 nu hitv\u0101 priyo bhavati ki\u1e41 nu hitv\u0101 na \u015bocati| ki\u1e41 nu hitv\u0101rthav\u0101nbhavati ki\u1e41 nu hitv\u0101 sukh\u012b bhavet|| Relinquishing what does man become endearing? Relinquishing what makes man free of regret? Relinquishing what does man become wealthy? Relinquishing what makes man happy? \u092e\u093e\u0928\u0902 \u0939\u093f\u0924\u094d\u0935\u093e \u092a\u094d\u0930\u093f\u092f\u094b \u092d\u0935\u0924\u093f \u0915\u094d\u0930\u093f\u0927\u0902 \u0939\u093f\u0924\u094d\u0935\u093e \u0928 \u0936\u094b\u091a\u0924\u093f\u0964 \u0915\u093e\u092e\u0902 \u0939\u093f\u0924\u094d\u0935\u093e\u0930\u094d\u0925\u0935\u093e\u0928\u094d\u092d\u0935\u0924\u093f \u0932\u094b\u092d\u0902 \u0939\u093f\u0924\u094d\u0935\u093e \u0938\u0941\u0916\u0940 \u092d\u0935\u0947\u0924\u094d\u0965 m\u0101na\u1e41 hitv\u0101 priyo bhavati kridha\u1e41 hitv\u0101 na \u015bocati| k\u0101ma\u1e41 hitv\u0101rthav\u0101nbhavati lobha\u1e41 hitv\u0101 sukh\u012b bhavet|| Relinquishing pride makes man endearing, while relinquishing temper leaves him free of regret. Relinquishing desires makes man wealthy, and relinquishing greed leaves him happy.