Yudhishthira

Last Updated: July 27, 2017

Definition - What does Yudhishthira mean?

Yudhishthira is the name of the king of Indraprastha and later Hastinapura in the ancient Indian epic, the "Mahabharata," a text which has close connections with both Hinduism and yoga. Yudhishthira was King Pandu and Queen Kunti’s eldest son.

Vyasa and Krishna described Yudhishthira as fair, with lotus-eyes and a long nose. He is also portrayed as tall, strong and humble yet also a strong leader who successfully led the Pandeva side in the Kurukshetra War.

Yudhishthira's name is derived from the Sanskrit root words, yuddha, meaning “war,” and sthira, meaning “steady” or “stable”; thus, his name may be translated as “one who is steady in war.”

Yogapedia explains Yudhishthira

Yudhishthira is described as a determined follower of his dharma, whose heart and mind were untainted by worldly temptations. Yudhishthira ascends to heaven at the end of his role in the "Mahabharata," after carrying out many trials and tests of his piety and goodness.

Despite his steadiness in war, Yudhishthira has poor fighting skills. Possessing a more peaceful nature, he is described as passive-hearted and softly-spoken. However, he is skilled in chariot racing and spear fighting. He is renowned for his honesty, tolerance, justice and good behavior, as well as his understanding of politics.

Yudhishthira also goes by the names of:

  • Bharata vanshi, or the descendant of Bharata, the emperor
  • Ajatashatru, meaning "the one without enemies"
  • Dharmaraja, meaning "the king of righteousness" or "the king of dharma"

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