We are under classic assumption that a soul with lot of good karma do spend long time in heaven. It will take long time for it to be reincarnated back on earth.

We also know that pandava heroes are generally had lot of good karmas in their credit.Especially Yudhistira is personification of truth and goodness.Logically speaking he is supposed to spend in heaven for long time.

In Svargarohana parva of mahabharata , indra invites yudhistira as to enjoy pleasentaries in svarga as http://sacred-texts.com/hin/m18/m18003.htm

"O mighty-armed one, enjoy now those regions (svarga) which have become thine through the Rajasuya sacrifice performed by thee and whose felicities have been enhanced by the sacrificial scimitar employed by thee. Let the high fruits of thy penances be enjoyed by thee. "

But as everyone know , Mahabharata was narrated to janamejaya after death of parikshita. It is also quoted that Parikshita ruled for 60 years before his death.So it was around 60 years, before pandavas died.

Now at the end of svargarohana parva , janamejaya asks sauti , what happened to pandava heroes after their time in svarga is over as below.


"tell me for what period they remained in Heaven. O foremost of regenerate persons, was theirs an eternal place in Heaven? What was the end attained to by those foremost of men when their acts came to an end? "

Then Sauti explains in detail the final destination , after time in svarga came to end.

"Every one, O king of men, is not capable of returning to his own nature at the end of his deeds. It was explained (to us) by Vyasa of mighty energy,celestial vision and great prowess."

Then he goes on explain , yudhistira entered into yama,Drona entered into Brihaspati , Kritavarma entered the Maruts.

So now comes to question ,how exactly yudhistira a personification of rightousness , spent just 60 human years in heaven?

I consider 60 years is very less because, 360 human years = 1 year in svarga. So nearly he spent just Two divine months in svarga.


Based on this logic , most of us common people , should spend much less time in svarga . Does it happen like that?

I have seen multiple modern day books which details on past life experiences (for ex: Cases of the Reincarnation Type, Vol. I: Ten Cases in India. University of Virginia Press.. By Ian Stevenson) clearly quotes , people are coming back to new life after 100s of years.

I am wondering what I am missing in overall Story.??

  • I love questions that ask about something specific in Hindu scripture! That's what we should have more of on the site. Dec 10, 2014 at 5:44
  • By the way, rather than citing Wikipedia for units of time, it's better to cite this chapter of the Vishnu Purana: sacred-texts.com/hin/vp/vp037.htm Dec 10, 2014 at 5:46

2 Answers 2


Let's look at the some verses from Mahabharata (as available on link provided by you http://sacred-texts.com/hin/m18/m18005.htm)

Vaishampayana said,

"Every one, O king of men, is not capable of returning to his own nature at the end of his deeds. Whether this is so or not, is, indeed a good question asked by thee. Hear, O king, this which is a mystery of the gods, O chief of Bharata’s race. It was explained (to us) by Vyasa of mighty energy, celestial vision and great prowess, that ancient ascetic, O Kauravya, who is the son of Parasara and who always observes high vows, who is of immeasurable understanding, who is omniscient, and who, therefore knows the end attached to all acts.

Please mark the words Vyasa of "immesurable understanding, who is omniscient, and who, therefore knows the end attached to all acts.

So we can construe that Vyasa has the power to fore see. After the stay in Heaven or hell, Vyasa knew in advance what would happen to Yudhistra and others.

In case of Krishna and Balarama, there is no Karma attached as they are the avataras of Supreme Lord Narayana.

The holy and illustrious Ananta (who had taken birth as Balarama) proceeded to the region below the Earth. Through the command of the Grandsire, he, aided by his Yoga power, supported the Earth. Vasudeva was a portion of that eternal god of gods called Narayana. Accordingly, he entered into Narayana.

So, how long the Lord stayed in Heaven etc doesn't make sense. It wouldn't apply for the Lord and Ananta.

For the rest Vyasa has foreseen the end, when Vaisampayana says Vyasa "therefore knows the end attached to all acts."

Further it is said in the mahabharata Sauti says:

I have now told everything that Vaishampayana narrated, at the command of Vyasa, unto the king at his snake sacrifice. Called a history, it is sacred, sanctifying and excellent. It has been composed by the ascetic Krishna (Vyasa), O Brahmana, of truthful speech. He is omniscient, conversant with all ordinances, possessed of a knowledge of all duties, endued with piety, capable of perceiving what is beyond the ken of the senses, pure, having a soul cleansed by penances, possessed of the six high attributes, and devoted to Sankhya Yoga. He has composed this, beholding everything with a celestial eye that has been cleansed (strengthened) by varied lore.

Please mark the words in bold. Vyasa could foresee everything with his celestial eye.

Keeping in mind all the above statements from Mahabharata, answer to your question is,

When sauti says :

"Yudhistira entered into yama,Drona entered into Brihaspati , Kritavarma entered the Maruts etc,

"it need not necessarily mean that they have spent only 60 human years in heaven. Vyasa has foreseen this part and drafted it into Mahabharata."

  • 1
    Thanks for the answer. But if you could carefully looked at the link , all the statements are in past tense. Janamejaya clearly asks "What was the end attained to by those foremost of men when their acts came to an end? " Also what explained by sauti was in past tense. "Bhishma of mighty energy and great effulgence attained to the status of the Vasus. " It didnt say he is going to attain status of Vasu. He just said , he has attained the status of Vasu.
    – tekkk
    Dec 10, 2014 at 22:10
  • 1
    It need not be in future tense, because, it is very well known, bhisma was Vasu, Yudhistra was Yama etc in the previous chapters and even in this chapter it is said they were all devas who came to earth for a purpose..So, one need not be so critical about future tense and past tenses..
    – user808
    Dec 11, 2014 at 7:00

I will answer this one aspect:

I am wondering what I am missing in overall Story.??

Time in heavens is not meant to be a punishment. It is a reward for those who are interested in that kind of rewards. But all five pandavas were vaisnavas, and vaisnavas often consider the heavenly pleasures a disturbance and try to avoid them.

In Bhagavad-gītā 2.42-45 Krishna unequivocally derides (avipašcitah) those who try to go to heaven and explicitly tells Arjuna to abandon this idea: "nistraigunyo bhavārjuna". Heavenly planets are part of the material world, meant for misery, to reform the sinners (BG 8.15-16). These are places for the non-liberated conditioned beings who are bound to matter (three gunas). Above the platform of material bondage is the platform of liberation and above liberation is personal association with the Lord (liberation alone, in the passive impersonal state is inferior). As an eternal associate of the Lord (BG 4.3) Arjuna and the other pāndavas are already above the state of liberation, they don't have to waste time in the heavenly planets.

Arjuna was already able to defeat Indra, the king of the heavenly planets (when burning the Khandava forest, near the end of the Ādi parva, Mahābhārata). He had already traveled outside the coverings of the material universe and met with Vishnu, when recovering the lost sons of a brāhmana. He had already seen the universal form, which includes the entire universe (Bhagavad-gītā, chapter 11), and preferred the personal form (BG 11.45). Facilities equal to the heavenly were already available to pāndavas in Indraprastha, so it is not too surprising that they themselves were not interested in spending time on the heavenly planets.

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