Yaksha asked, "what is asceticism and what is true restraint?
What constitutes forgiveness and what is shame? "
Yudhisthira said "staying within the boundaries of one s own svadharma is true asceticism;
the restraints of the mind is real control,
forgiveness consists of enduring enmity and
shame in withdrawing from all unworthy acts. "
Yudhisthira's answer is brilliant, especially with regards to svadharma. In essence what is svadharma? Svadharma is the force of our psycho- physical nature.
Sri krishna says in the Gita it is better to perform one's own duty imperfectly rather than perform another's duty perfectly. It is tempting to do something which gives money rather than doing that which makes one happy and responsible.
Modern civilisation has geared us to be successful and avoid failure. In reality life is to be qualified by a man of character. In the Mahabharata this was the battle between Duryodhana and Yudhsthira. Duryodhana wanted to be successful and Yudhsthira wanted to be qualified.
Success requires position, power and prosperity of matter. But qualification looks for responsibility, character and values. Therefore the other three restrain. forgiveness and shame are unknown, non experienced concepts for someone who is looking for successful. But for those who are looking for qualification their life is governed by shame, forgiveness and restrain. Since Yudhsthira was practicing these it was not difficult for him to answer the questions raised by his father who had disguised as the un-embodied Yaksha.
We can only answer questions if we have experienced the answer. If we have not then we need coaching classes. To experience the answer or to write the answer without understanding , the choice is ours.
To be a student like Duryodhana without experiencing the answer or to be a student like Yudhisthira living the answer , it's our choice.