The eldest of the Pendawa, the son of Pandu Dewanata and Kunti Talibrata. The king of Amarta and Hastinapura, considered as the most honest people in the wayang world. (see. Mahabarata, Baratayuda, The Kingdoms of Hastinapura and Amarta).
He never lied, except once perhaps. When he replied to Durna in Baratayuda, telling him that Aswatama, the elephant, was dead. He had pronounced the elephant in a very low voice. Durna was in state of panic, did not hear the world "elephant", he taught that Aswatama, his only beloved son was dead. Durna could not concentrate in the battle and he was killed immediately by Drustajumena. With his refined character, he did not like to quarrel or to fight. He was respected and obeyed by all his brothers and honored by many other people.
But Yudistira was not a perfect man either, he liked gambling at dice. It was a bad habit which should be avoided. An ancient traditional teachings said that a man of good character had to avoid Mo Limo (Main-gambling; Maling-stealing; Madon-flirting; Madat-using/smoking opium; Mabuk-excessive alcoholic drinking). Whatever the reason Yudistira as a Ksatria should reject the gambling proposed by Korawa and Sengkuni. But he was seduced by forbidden Mo Limo. The result was miserable life for Pendawa’s family. It was an education of life, a very heavy ascetic life (Tapabrata). If a man could survive the Tapabrata period, the holy lord should give him a light to walk in the right path. He should be entitled to do Pujabrata (solemn pray, semadi) to reach the ultimate happiness.
When he had to fight, he did it in a special way. In the epoch of Babat Wanamarta (cleansing the jungle of Wanamarta) he had to face a spirit-giant in a duel. The giant had a heirloom in the form of a set of earrings.
He challenged Yudistira to wear his earrings. If he was strong enough to wear the earrings. The spirit-giant would surrender. Yudistira proved to be strong to wear them and the giant accepted his defeat. He wished to serve Yudistira forever, Yudistira agreed. In Baratayuda, he did nothing when he had to fight against King Salya. King Salya’s heirloom-Canda Birawa, did not work against a pacifist. Salya was defeated by Yudistira, spelling his mantra-Kalimasada (Kalima-five, Usada-to handle, cure) The Javanese traditional teachings (Kejawen) had a conclusion that only a honest and low-profile Ksatria like Yudistira entitled to posses a holy mantra Kalimasada, the five principles to guide people (and society) to live in honesty.
Suryo S. Negoro
Suryo S. Negoro