There is nothing amazing in attaining the heaven, leaving behind the material body, made of five elements. However, Yudhishthar attained that glorious state alongwith his physical form. Devraj Indra himself came to fetch him in his chariot. This was truly astonishing.
As they arrived at the heaven, the surroundings were replete with chants hailing him..
“I wish to go where Draupadi and my brothers have gone. Good or bad, I would like to go to the same place”,said Yudhishthar.
“O king”, smiled Indra. “Why don’t you rid yourself of the affection, characteristic of human beings. You can enjoy the fruit of the punya karma (pious action) performed by you. Why worry about your brothers.”
“I would prefer to forego all the pleasures, rather than relishing them without my brothers and Draupdi”, Yudhishthar was adamant.
As they were moving through the finest areas of the heaven, Yudhishthar was surprised to see Duryodhana, sitting on a beautiful throne.
“How has the wicked one gained entry to the heaven”, Yudhishthar asked pointing towards Duryodhana.”
Maharishi Narad, who was also present there, came forward to reply. “He lost his life while fulfilling his duty, in the battle ground. Thus he qualifies to get a privileged place in the heavens”, he explained. “ Further, all repulsive emotions get extinguished in the heavens. So you need not nurture any adverse feelings against Duryodhan”, he advised.
“All right”, replied Yudhishthar. “But I can’t see my kin here. I want to meet them.”
Hearing this, Indra ordered the dev-doots (messengers of heavens), to take Yudhishthar to where Arjun and others were. Yudhishthar found himself led through a path passing through horrible surroundings. There was stink all around the dark alley. Stinking decaying meat, excreta etc. were strewn around amongst the thorny bushes. Yudhishthar was distressed and nearly fainted while walking through. “How far do we have to go?” he enquired.
“The journey ends here sir. We have been instructed to take you to the point you can walk up to”, replied the devdoots.
As Yudhishthar turned around to walk back, he heard many strange voices.
“O king, please stay here for some time. ”, requested the voices. “ Your presence soothes us. It relieves us of our agony.”
“Who are you”, asked Yudhishthar.
“I am Bhima”, “I am Arjun”………etc. replied the apparently tormented voices.
Yudhishthar was startled. “My righteous brothers! How can they be put into hell?”
“I will also stay here”, he said in a determined voice.
“O king, All earthly relationships are meaningless here”, explained the Devdoots. “ every one faces the result of his actions here. So it will be appropriate, if you return with us to the heavens to enjoy the fruits of your actions. Devraj Indra himself awaits you there.”
But Yudhishthar was determined. “No”, he replied.” It is not at all acceptable to me , to enjoy the heavenly pleasures without my brothers and my wife.
“O king, Earthly relationships are meaningless here, we reiterate”, the devdoots tried to reason out with him. “One’s actions decide the place one can occupy here. This is the law of heavens.”
Yudhishthar, however, did not relent. “I would rather bear the anguish of hell, than leaving alone my brothers and my wife here.” With these words, he sat down there itself.
Immediately he saw a miraculous transformation in the surroundings. Devraj Indra, Dharamraj, Rudra, Marutgan etc. and many other devatas appeared. The fragrance replaced the stench, and the surrounding were replete with chants of hailing Yudhishthar again.
Yudhishthar was taken aback.
“This was your third and the last test O King”, clarified Dharamraj “and you have succeed in this one too. Most adverse circumstances have not been able to make you dither from the path of propriety, piety and righteousness. You have secured a lofty position in the heaven. You need not worry about Draupdi and your brothers. They await you in the heavens. As for the horrific sites that you saw, they were nothing but fallacious creations of Maya. Go ahead Yudhishthar. See the sanctifying divine river- Ganga. Take a dip in the cleansing water of this holy Devnadi(divine river). This will free you from your ‘Humanness’, and you will don divinity even while in this physical body.”
Thus successfully going through the tests posed to him, Yudhishthar came to occupy the most exalted place in the heavens along with Satyavadi Harishchandra, Bhagirath and Bharat.
The essence of these three tests is , No religion, no norms of propriety equals parhit –good unto others. Troubled by one’s own sorrows and worries, one is generally unconcerned about the welfare of others. One ever keeps getting entangled in the mesh of Moha which leads one to be biased and often deter from one’s avowed path. Blinded by selfishness and ego one looks down upon others and bails oneself out of the sufferings of others on the pretext that their suffering are caused by their own evil deeds for which they themselves are responsible.
There are some people who would ostensibly sympathise with others, even provide flowery advices, but only till their own interests are safe, and their ego pandered. In case of such people, all sympathies vanish and all talk about well being of others comes to a naught as soon as their own interests are affected or their ego hurt even slightly. Things do not stop just at that. Such people do not hesitate even in causing harm to others if they perceive any harm to their own interests.
However Yudhishthar practically illustrated, all his life, a picture of his values, righteousness, piety, his dharma.
THE FIRST TEST :- Yudhishthar chose to have Sahdev, the youngest one revived, though he loved all his brothers equally. Besides choosing to keep alive the memory of Madri, he also took care of Sahdev, as he was youngest and the weakest of the Pandavas brothers.
THE SECOND TEST :- On the arduous path of Swargarohan, he did not dither even while departing for ever from his brothers and Draupadi. However, he put his foot down, when Indra refused to take the dog alongwith him to the heaven. What a paradox – Yudhishthar whom the loss of his dearest ones could not deter, declined Indra’s invitation to enter the heaven for the sake of a dog. This shows total impartiality, complete conquest over Moha, and sincere dedication towards his dependants, those who reposed their trust in him.
THE THIRD TEST :- Denouncing the pleasures of heaven, and choosing to bear the miseries of hell for the happiness of his dear ones, shows
his emotion of ultimate benevolence and kindness.
That was why Yudhishthar attained divinity, while still in human form, and also established lofty ideals of Dharma- propriety, piety and righteousness.