Santha rasa – Yudhisthira and his attempts for peace

Image courtesy: wikipedia
Image courtesy: wikipedia

Read this post about an introduction to the Rasas.

Read this post for the shringara rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Ganga and her love

Read this post for the hasya rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Draupadi and her laughter

Read this post for the raudra rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Amba and her anger

Read this post for the karunya  rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Chitrasena and Duryodhana

Read this post for the bibhatsa rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – The effect of Vyasa on Ambika and Ambalika

Read this post for the bhayanaka rasa referred to in the Mahabharata – Hidimba and his hideous Asura form


After the Pandava brothers completed their exile of 12 yrs and the 13th year in disguise evading all attempts by the Kauravas in trying to find out where they were during this year, they came out of exile and temporarily settled down in Upalavya. From there Yudhisthira send out emissaries to summon all his friends, relatives and brethren, to which almost all responded and arrived.

Addressing the gathering, Krishna spoke and reminded the people present as to how Duryodhana and Shakuni had cheated Yudhisthira at the game of dice and sent the Pandava brothers to exile for the past 13 yrs. He went on to state that Yudhisthira did not want to spill the blood of his cousins and wanted only what was rightfully his share of the kingdom. Despite the fact that the Kauravas had treated them wrongly and had cheated them out of their rights, the Pandavas were magnanimous to treat their cousins with ‘dharma’ and did not hold any grudges against them. He then went on to state that it was the intention of Yudhisthira to send an envoy of peace to the Kauravas to ask for their rightful share of the kingdom.

However, despite multiple attempts by the Pandavas to find a peaceful solution to the issue, Duryodhana refused to budge from his position. He steadfastly refused to recognize the right of the Pandavas to the kingdom and even went to the extent of declaring in open court that the Pandavas will not receive a needle-point of territory from him. Even after this declaration, Yudhisthira maintained his calm despite protests from his own brothers, kinsmen and other friends, and sent Krishna as an envoy of peace to convince Duryodhana of the mistake of his actions.

Thus, despite being cheated by the Kauravas out of his share of the kingdom, despite the fact that Duryodhana and his brothers had humiliated him and his brothers, despite the fact that they had tried to disrobe his wife in open court, Yudhisthira maintained his efforts to find a peaceful solution to this issue. This is a classic example of the santha rasa being referred to in the Mahabharata.

39 thoughts on “Santha rasa – Yudhisthira and his attempts for peace

    • @Kajal, well, true, but in this case he tried to avoid war and bloodshed and in my opinion any option that avoids killing so many people unnecessarily should necessarily be explored before violent measures.

      • That’s just a point I made. I agree there were things he did good at, but sometimes good sense just does’nt suffice…if not backed by courage….for example the whole Draupadi chirharan was entirely his fault (or so I’d like to believe)

      • @Kajal, I will write a post in greater detail as to a few versions of the Draupadi Vastraharan to give you some perspective on that particular incident. Thanks for sharing your thoughts though, as that is one of the points of writing and publishing posts like these 🙂 Really appreciate it 🙂

      • Would wait for that episode too, Jairam. I have a few versions in my head too about so many stories linked with Mahabharata. Nice to know so many perspectives 🙂

  1. An apt example of santha rasa. Yudhisthir being righteous kept his cool to find the right solution. But he ultimately did have to fight. Unlike our present situation,, where in come what may we keep mum, whether soldiers are killed at the border or the inflation sky rockets.
    BTW isn’t it someones b’day today?? A happy birthday to her. ( I Hope I am not wrong)

    • @Bhagyashree, yes, Yudhisthira did try all peaceful options to get what was rightfully his and agreed to the war only when no other option was left.

      And yes, it is someone’s birthday today but she is out of town, but I will wish her on your behalf 😀

  2. I agree with Kajal on this one. Not something you would expect from any Purush forget from a Dharampurush. Dignity is so much more important. But like I said before, I find it difficult to accept many of the situations in Mahabharata. 😦

    • @Jyothi, wouldn’t you say that exploring a peaceful option is much better than going to war even though injustice has been meted out to you. Just imagine the number of innocent soldiers killed in every war when they have no personal stakes in the war itself apart from the pride of serving their country (or in this case, their king).

      • But 5 men sitting and watching their wife or any other person being derobed cannot be justified under any dharam. If retaliating to that can lead to a war, then it must!

      • @Jyothi, I guess you are viewing only the game of dice and the disrobing of Draupadi in isolation. These are only two incidents in the large and voluminous epic that the Mahabharata is. Read in its entirety, there are many more layers and many more interpretations of this epic.

      • It is true that I haven’t read all the interpretations of this epic. It is said that it was a war of good against evil. The pandavas could have easily lost the war if it weren’t for Krishna’s tactics. All these are anyways exaggerated versions of the truth in my opinion. No point in trying to figure out the justice in any of it. I hope I didn’t offend you in any way. I was just stating my opinion. 🙂

      • @Jyothi, not at all, in fact at some levels the points of these posts was to encourage readers to be aware of the various versions of these epics. These are after all derivations of a famous story that might or might not have happened in the past. So all comments are welcome and no offence taken, at least not by me 🙂 And that is a good point that you make regarding Krishna’s tactics in the war. But there is a point to that as well, wait for a post on that someday 🙂

      • @Jyothi, and in my opinion, nothing, absolutely nothing deserves a retaliation with violence, but this is just my personal opinion.

  3. I am amazed with as many times this man was provoked that he would still try to find a peaceful solution. Considering all the things that happened, most people would be outraged and past the point of being peaceful. While some may consider this to be a virtue, I agree with Kajal, after a certain point a line has been crossed and things need to be dealt with or bad things will continue. I think he needs to nip it in the bud and be less tolerant.

    • @Kathy, oh yes, despite multiple provocations, multiple attempts on his and his family’s lives, despite being dishonorably treated, he still chose to attempt for a peaceful solution, and that says something about his character, doesn’t it!!!

    • @Abhra, Yudhisthira was human, just like the rest of us and therefore he suffered from all human frailties just like the rest of us 🙂 Thanks for reading the post and am glad you liked it

  4. Nice story, but this is one character, I cannot agree with. Too much of anything is also harmful, even if it means ‘shanthatha’ (calmness).

    During our courtship days when our parents weren’t agreeing and I used to tell hubby, “Sabr karo, sabr ka phal meetha hota hai.’, he responded, “Jyada sabr karne se phal sadd jaata hai.” I didn’t agree to it then, but it actually makes sense…doesn’t it? 🙂

    • @Rekha, would have you have rather that Yudhisthira actually began the war even before attempting a peaceful solution? In my personal opinion, when it comes to whether a war can be avoided, I would prefer that all options be explored for a peaceful solution first.

      • @Rekha, in hindsight given that we have read and re-read the stories so many times, we know now that Duryodhana was a bad man, but given that Yudhisthira was experiencing it for the first time, he probably still had some faith in his cousin

      • This does make some sense. But I wouldn’t give anyone, a second chance to hurt or disrespect my loved ones. Everything else can be forgiven. Even if means I am not abiding by the rules of Dharma. What about you?

      • @Rekha, I don’t know, I guess I will never know until I am actually faced with that situation. It is easy to sit here and let my fingers do the dancing on the keyboard, but when that situation actually happens, I really don’t know how I will react.

  5. I have read this one before also the fact that he was tricked but was he mad enough to bet his own wife? That one aspect is still left for you to write remember? 😀


    • @Richa, yes, I will put up a post about that in a while, but he had his reasons, justifiable or not is something that is a personal opinion of the readers 🙂

  6. Well this is a very late response ….. But I like u r post.. And agree with u r point retaliation with violence is not correct under any situation…but don’t u think for a normal human being violence is part of his nature for a long long time…..and for 1000s of years……I feel only persons who is living with mental detachment from daily life can practice non violence…… Like Mahatma Gandhi…. But even Mahatma’s close family members have not understand him fully……and forcing one’s thoughts on somebody is also kind of violence according to me…. The best way would be each person have to think and get convinced that non violence is the righteous way…. But I wonder is that possible……

    • @Loves K, I don’t know if detachment from daily life is an absolute necessity for non violence. My opinion is that a person needs to have the ability to control and redirect one’s anger and indignation in order to be non violent. Although it is quite normal for the adrenaline as a chemical to cause anger, one needs to realize its onset and also realize how to channelize the anger fruitfully in order to pursue the course of non violence, that’s all.

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