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In Mahabharata, Yudhisthira was true of character in all his life, except when he obeyed krishna's word.

Why Yudhisthira went to hell? Will a true/good person be tested until he follows untruth? Will a good person be punished until his death? If yes, why one has to follow truth- to fall in hell? even duriyodhana was in heaven at the time Yudhisthira was in hell.

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    It was a temporary punishment for a few minutes because of his deception of Drona. Specifically, Yudhisthira told Drona that his son Ashwatthama was dead (after Bhima had killed an elephant by the name of Ashwatthama). Yudhisthira mentioned that it was Ashwatthama the elephant, and not Drona's son, but the other warriors raised such a tumultous sound that Drona did not hear it. Overcome by grief, Drona laid down his weapon and was slain by Dhristadyumna.
    – AdityaS
    Jul 17 '15 at 19:15
  • @AdityaS He was not punished due to a lie. It was not a lie. He was doing his duty as Kshatriya. He only visited hell by his own will. Not rewarded. May 13 '17 at 13:28
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    @SreeCharan It was a punishment; the Swargarohanika Parva of the Mahabharata specifically says "Thou hadst, by a pretence, deceived Drona in the matter of his son. Thou hast, in consequence thereof, been shown Hell by an act of deception." May 13 '17 at 16:21
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Yudhishthir was taken to hell and had heard all his brothers, wife and sons screaming out of pain there but that was just an illusion created by the Gods only for a small amount of time so that he suffers a bit mentally and due to that his only sin of being untruthful at the time of Drona's killing, can be redeemed. According to Chapter 5 of Mahabharata's Swargarohanika Parva, following is what is told to Yudhishthir after he sees his brothers, wife, etc suffering in hell:

O son of Pritha, thy brothers, O king, were not such as to deserve Hell. All this has been an illusion created by the chief of the gods.

O king, that desirous of doing thee good, I caused thee to be sent for having a view of Hell. Thou hadst, by a pretence, deceived Drona in the matter of his son. Thou hast, in consequence thereof, been shown Hell by an act of deception. After the manner of thyself, Bhima and Arjuna, and Draupadi, have all been shown the place of sinners by an act of deception. Come, O chief of men, all of them have been cleansed of their sins. All those kings who had aided thee and who have been slain in battle, have all attained to Heaven.

Regarding Duryodhana, he has in heaven not because he has been untruthful, but because it is said that if a Kshatriya dies while fighting in a battle, he attains heaven because this is Kshatriya dharma. He died during battle performing his duties therefore he was ought to get heaven.

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Indra tells why Yudhisthira had to see hell first before heaven

"Then Shakra, the lord of the deities, endued with blazing prosperity, addressed Yudhishthira and comforting him, said, ‘O Yudhishthira of mighty arms, come, come, O chief of men. These illusions have ended, O puissant one. Success has been attained by thee, O mighty-armed one, and eternal regions (of felicity) have become thine. Thou shouldst not yield to wrath. Listen to these words of mine. Hell, O son, should without doubt be beheld by every king. Of both good and bad there is abundance, O chief of men. **He who enjoys first the fruits of his good acts must afterwards endure Hell. He, on the other hand, who first endures Hell, must afterwards enjoy Heaven. He whose sinful acts are many enjoys Heaven first. It is for this, O king, that desirous of doing thee good, I caused thee to be sent for having a view of Hell. Thou hadst, by a pretence, deceived Drona in the matter of his son.

Yudhisthira's only sin was to deceive Drona in matter of his son. Every king also must beheld hell and since Yudhisthira was a king, he had to see hell but he only committed one sin so he had to view hell before going to heaven.

https://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m18/m18003.htm

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There's a rule for kings in Hinduism. That is that all kings will go to hell once in their "lifetime." Yudhistir went to hell because of this rule as he was the King of Hastinapur after the Mahabharata and not because of what he did. If that rule wasn't there, he wouldn't have gone to hell. That is what I was taught.

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  • I don't think it is true.
    – Arasu
    Jul 31 '15 at 3:45
  • Arasu - I have read that in the Mahabharata. The claim that Yudhistir went to hell because of his half lie to Dronacharya seems off to me as he lied at the behest of Krishna, the Swayam Bhagvanam. I am only conveying what I have learned and read in the Mahabharata. I believe the Ramayan also tells us the law that all kings must go to hell once. Thanks, User3427
    – user3427
    Aug 2 '15 at 4:21
  • Yes as @Aby said it should be like that, but i don't see all kings should go to hell. If you could "quote" some books or "texts" that would be great.
    – Arasu
    Aug 3 '15 at 9:04

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