and The Dog
After some time, Dhritharashtra and Vidura, Gandhari and Kunthi all retired to the forest
for prayer and meditation.
Yudhishtira grew tired of ruling the kingdom and lost interest in worldly affairs. By this
time, Krishna, Dhritharashtra and Vidura had all passed away. Yudhishtira gave
Duryodhana's share of the kingdom to Yuyuthsu, son of Vidura, and his own share to
Parikshith, son of Abhimanyu, and installed them on their thrones. Afterwards, he
proceeded on the Great Journey, or 'Mahaprasthana' ' along with his brothers, to obtain
spiritual peace. The Pandavas gave up all the worldly possessions, dressed themselves in
bade farewell to the citizens. Though all the citizens returned, a dog followed them
throughout their journey.
The Pandavas finally reached Mount Meru. As they climbed it, the dog faithfully
followed them. On the way, all except Yudhishtira fell down and gave up their mortal
Though sorrowful and - alone, Yudhishtira went on with determination. The dog still
Devendra came in a heavenly chariot. He invited Yudhishtira to enter the chariot and go
with him to Paradise.
Yudhishtira: My brothers lie dead here. I do not want Paradise without them.
Indira: Dharmaputhra, your brothers and Draupadi are not dead. They have given up their
mortal bodies here. They have assumed divine bodies and are already there in Heaven. All
the Kauravas and other heroes have reached Heaven. Do not be unhappy. Because you have
earned very much more merit than all others, you have the privilege of entering Heaven
just as you are, in your human body. Come now get into the chariot.
Yudhishtira: I cannot come. This dog you see has been following me
from Hasthinavathi. And he has been so faithful to me. I do not want to leave him behind
and come alone.
Indra: What are you saying? A dog's place in Hell, not Heaven.
Yudhishtira: Lord Devendra, I can never desert those who have trusted me and those who
follow me. I do not want that Heaven which has no place for the dog that has trusted and
The dog was not other than Yamadharma himself, Yudhishtira's father. He appeared
before Yudhishtira and said, "You are indeed a great man, a righteous man; your
compassion for all living beings is exemplary. A dog has been as dear to you as your own
brothers. Your conduct will remain a shining example to all men for all times. Now, you
can mount the chariot without any hesitation."
Yudhishtira was now satisfied; he bowed down to Yamadharma and Indra, and mounted the
chariot. He reached Heaven with Indra. He was glad to find his kith and kin in Heaven. He
felt happy to join them in divine life.