Here is my forty fourth entry for BettyLouise’s, IdahoBlueBird50 Mysteries Blog, Animal of the Day (AOTD) challenge. Here is the link to BettyLouise’s blog https://idahobluebird50.com/2019/10/29/aotd-horse-october-292019/
The Pandavas ruled Hastinapur for 36 years and established a righteous kingdom. Shortly after the death of Lord Krishna, they all decided that the time had come for them to renounce the world, as the age of Kali Yuga had started.
Lord Yama accompanies the Pandavas all the way to the paradise in the guise of a dog to test the wisdom of Dharmaraj, his god-like son and the eldest brother of the Pandavas.
So the five Pandavas and Draupadi left to the path of liberation. For this purpose they all climbed Mount Kailash, which leads to the Swarga Loka. On their way, all except Yudhisthira slipped and died one by one. Yudhisthira was accompanied by a dog who was none other than Lord Yama himself.
The first to die was Draupadi; she was imperfect because she preferred Arjuna over her other husbands. Then it was Sahadeva, imperfect because he was smug about his knowledge. He was followed by Nakula, imperfect because he was arrogant about his good looks. Then fell Arjuna, imperfect because he was always jealous of other archers. Next was Bhima, imperfect because he was a glutton. Only the eldest Pandava, Yudhisthira, reached the door of Swarga Loka, carried on Lord Indra’s chariot.
Yudhishthira and the dog continue their journey. The dog and Yudhishthira continue their walk up Mount Meru, Lord Indra appears with his chariot, suggesting he doesn’t need to walk all the way, he can jump in and together they can go to heaven. Yudhishthira refuses, says he could not go to heaven with Indra without his brothers and Draupadi. Indra tells Yudhishthira, all of them after their death, entered heaven. Yudhishthira asks if his friend, the dog, can jump into the chariot first. Indra replies that dogs cannot enter his chariot, only Yudhishthira can. Yudhishthira refuses to leave the dog. He claims the dog is his friend, and for him to betray his friend during his life’s journey would be a great sin. Indra urges him to consider his own happiness, abandon the dog and hop into the chariot. Yudhishthira refuses to go into the chariot, explaining he cannot abandon the dog who is his companion, for his own happiness, while he is alive. The dog, watching Yudhishthira’s commitment for his friend, transforms and reappears as deity Dharma. The deity Dharma then praises Yudhishthira for his virtues. Dharmaraj Yudhishthira enters heaven on Indra’s chariot.
On reaching Heaven he did not find either his virtuous brothers or his wife Draupadi. Instead he saw the Kauravas, Bhishma, Dronacharya etc. and the sons of the Kauravas.
He wanted an explanation from Lord Yama, the lord of death. Lord Yama explained that the Kauravas had been allowed into heaven because they died as warriors on the battlefield. This earned them so much merit and credit that it wiped out all their debts. Yudhisthira demanded to know where his brothers and his wife were. He was then taken to hell. Lord Yama explained that they were experiencing the reactions of their actions but it was temporary. Once the debt had been repaid, they would join them in Swarga. Yudhisthira loyally met his five brothers, but the sight and sound of gore and blood horrified him. Though initially he was tempted to flee, he mastered himself and remained after hearing the voices of his beloved brothers and Draupadi calling out to him, asking him to stay with them in their misery. Yudhisthira decided to remain, ordering the divine charioteer to return. He preferred to live in hell with good people than in a heaven of his enemies. Interestingly, this turned out to be another illusion to test him.