I am reproducing here an exchange I had with a lady, Riturmi Mukherjee, and two others, on Facebook. She is quite upset with Yudhistir's conduct and she is compulsively denouncing what she thinks was wrong with him. She grew up like many Indians of her age hearing from their parents the Mahabharata. Now business men are reproducing it on screen in the Bollywood style and it is attracting a very large audience, from young people to old ones. For a Westerner like me, who think that the Mahabharata is an extraordinary masterpiece, I am quite surprise to see the negative reactions of so many Indians. They are insulting publicly the main characters, heroes like the five Pandavas, their wives Draupadi and their mother Kunti. They are doing it with so much acrimony and ignorance that I am completely stunned. They are destroying their own wonderful culture for the sake of rationality, modernism and libertarianism.
The picture is not her. I went on her page and this is more or less how she looks like. Ladies of her style dream to be models for magazines. (Don't try to go one her page, it does not exist anymore.) So, here how it goes:
Riturmi Mukherjee wrote: Admin*, please explain how Yudhistir got to go to 'swarg' (paradise) alive when he was a gambling addict and bet everything away from his kingdom down to his wife to slavery. Also, i did not like how he twisted everyone's hand into agreeing to the marriage of all 5 brothers to Draupadi. It seems Yudhistir had the hots for Draupadi and just found a way to marry her from Kunti's words.
Response from the administration: The main idea behind Hinduism is the concept of redemption. We are imperfect vessels of human emotions and failings. The aim is to strive for bettering ourselves albeit in small measures but constantly improve oneself. Eventually you achieve moksha (liberation). Yudhistir for all his good qualities was also an imperfect human vessel. His vice was gambling and he would lose himself completely in a game of chance as was demonstrated. His failing had a horrible fallout but it also had the kernel of redemption. The thirteen years he spends in forest atoning for his deeds and wins back even Draupadi's love. Realizing his failing he works with Vrihadaswa in Markendeya's hermitage to overcome his addiction. He then deliberately puts himself in position to play dice for a year with no chance to win by working for a king like Virata. He overcame his shortcoming and the vessel was perfect , 50 to 76 years after dyuta he enters the heaven in his earthly vessel.
My answer to Riturmi: You mean he twisted Krishna's hand? Was it on earth a king more pious and humble than Yudhistir? An emperor? You seem not to care about Bhisma's high regards for him and very much impressed by nowadays moral codes. But what are they? Which authority inspires you such judgement? Saving the life of only one child, risking his own, can open us the celestial doors, in my book, even if you had bad habits. So what to speak of Yudhistir... Anyway, Krishna loved very much Yudhistir. Not only Krishna, but also Drona, Kripa, Ashvattam, even Dhritarastra, Gandhari or Karna. Only people with Duryodhana's mentality did not like him. So that is normal, you don't have to worry; the world needs these people, otherwise it will not function. Without that evil aspect there will be no necessity for it. Concerning the events described in the Mahabharata, it is said that Krishna, before coming down as an avatar, sent them especially on earth to play his lila. Demons like Duryodhan are only demons in our eyes, not for Krishna or Indra.
Riturmi Mukherjee: LOL... your like... SOOO funny. Just a tiny thing may I point out - this question was meant for the Admin of this page and not for any Tom, Dick or Harry who might take it upon themselves to give their unwanted opinions.
This is what happens when you throw pearls to swine. Here, on the picture, is another answer to her question, easier. Let me add a last thing: Yudhistir was not a human, but a demigod. Nonetheless, it seems that it makes no difference either for many Indians. Most of them know perfectly well the story. They just don’t identify anymore, like their parents, to its significance.
* Star Plus' Factually Incorrect Mahabharat
To read more about this exchange: Don't listen to God ! Listen to Buddha...