Q #1: In the end of the story, it mentions that Duryodhana is in
heaven and greets Yudhistera. Why does Duryodhana end up in heaven
after all of the awful things he did to the Pandavas?
A: According to what i have learned from my childhood, i have learnt
that the Kauravas went to hell including Duryodhana. However your
question made me think of another possiblity. They say that Yudhistera
was tested before he was admitted tthrough the gates of heaven, so It
was a test that Duryodhana was there to greet him and Once in heaven
Yudhishthira faced one final test of his virtue: He saw only the
Dhartarashtras in heaven, and he was told that his brothers were in
hell. He insisted on joining his brothers in hell, if that be the case!
It was then revealed that they were really in heaven, that this
illusion had been one final test for him.
Q #2: Why do good people visit hell before they enter heaven, and why
do bad people go to heaven before being sent to hell?
A: I didnt know that the mythology had a concept of good people
visiting hell before they enter heaven, and bad people going to heaven
before being sent to hell. Maybe it is to make the bad people see what
they would really be missing so that in their next birth they would do
better deeds, and the good people are shown hell to remind them how
lucky they are to be rewarded by being sent to heaven as compared to
Q #3: How do the Pandavas end up dying? That part of the story really
A: There is a story about the pandavas death. When pandavas learn of
Lord Krishna's death, the Pandavas believed it time for them to leave
this world too and they embarked upon the 'Great Journey,' which
involved walking north toward the polar mountain, that is toward the
heavenly worlds, until one's body dropped dead. One by one Draupadi and
the younger Pandavas died along the way until Yudhishthira was left
alone with a dog that had followed him all the way. Yudhishthira made
it to the gate of heaven and there refused the order to drive the dog
back, at which point the dog was revealed to be an incarnate form of
the God Dharma (the God who was Yudhishthira's actual, physical
father), who was there to test Yudhishthira's virtue. (Quoted from
Q #4: What is your opinion of Radheya? He fights against the Pandavas
even after he finds out that they are his brothers.
A: I feel that Raheya is one of the most valliant characters in the
Mahabharata, he is one of the most loyal friend of Duryodhana. He
fights for Duryodhana despite the fact that he discovers that the
pandavas are his step brothers, becasue he had given his word to
duryodhana that he would be by his side. He is forever grateful to
Duryodhana for having given him the title of a prince of one of his
kingdom. SInce he was fatherless, it meant a lot to him.
Q #5: Who is your favorite character in the Mahabharata? Also, who is
the popular favorite Mahabharata character in Bhutan/India.
A: My favorite character is Krishna, not because I have the same name
as him. I feel that he epitomizes the principles of right versus wrong
and our duty as a human being to be able to fight against injustice and
also not to forget his diplomacy skills. He is also the most popular
character in my country too.
Q #6: What are your feelings about Duryodhana? What are the popular
feelings about him/. Do people sympathize slightly with him? Or does
everyone completely hate his character?
A: He is potrayed as a really arogant and egoistical character, I feel
that he was influenced by other people to make many of the bad
decisions that he made. but yes he is not a very popular character.
Q #7: The Pandavas are praised and respected in this story basically
just because of their immense skill in fighting. Is this a common
theme in the literature of Bhutan/India? Is the ability to fight well
emphasized a lot?
A: The pandavas are not respected simply for their fighting skills,
but because of their to be honest and true to their word.