In The Mahabharata, what is the Theme of the Hundred Questions? 

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that one of the strongest themes to come out of the "Hundred Questions" moment from the epic is the idea that our function and surmise must be geared towards the preservation of the social order.  This maintenance is one that must channel our energies of thought and action in order to find happiness and success.  For the Pandava brothers, they approach the Raksha with a lack of humility and a sense of action taking over surmise.  This is why they die.  Yudhishthira is the only one who approaches the demon with a sense of humility.  He does not demonstrate arrogance or excessive pride.  Rather, he bows his head and proceeds to answer the flurry of the hundred questions. It is significant that Yudhishthira is the one who answers the question, after having understood his own mistakes with the dice game and the results that emerge from this.  The idea of answering these questions without arrogance and desire, but rather out of a deep understanding that he, Yudhishthira, did not have a right to the water and that the demon was in the position of power over him because of it helps to reinforce the theme of maintaining the social order.  Yudhishthira recognizes his own role in needing to preserve this order.  It is with this that he focuses his energies of thought and action, demonstrating the theme that when we channel what we do and what we believe towards the maintenance of the social order, we are embracing our own purpose in being and bring ourselves closer to the divine.   Through his own example, Yudhishthira does this and his brothers are spared because of it.

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