AFTER the war of Mahabharata, Lord Krishna returned to Dwarka to rule for 36 years. One day he was sitting under a tree when he fell asleep. A hunter passing by mistook Lord Krishna'sshining feet for eyes of a deer from afar and aimed his arrow at them. The arrow killed Lord Krishna on the spot.
The news of his death reached Hastinapur. Yudhishthira was so shocked at the news that he decided to renounce the world and go on pilgrimage. Leaving the kingdom in charge of Abhimanyu'sson, Yudhishthira accompanied by his brothers and Draupadi set out for the Himalayas. A dog also accompanied Yudhishthira on the journey.
On the way, after covering a long distance, Draupadi fell dead. The brothers turned to Yudhishthira to ask whey she had died so soon. Yudhishthira replied that she died because she had to pay the price for harbouring a special preference for Arjuna when she should have held the same feelings for all her five husbands.
Next Nakula and Sahadeva died and Yudhishthira cited the reason for their death as their pride in their good looks and knowledge. Next followed Bhima who died because ?Bhima was a glutton and too fond of eating?, said Yudhisthira.
The dog continued to trudge behind Yudhishthira. On reaching the doors of heaven, Indra, Lord of the heaven, appeared before Yudhishthira and said, ?Welcome to the kingdom of heaven?. You?re the most righteous person and hence your are allowed to enter inside. But you have a dog with you. Only one of you can go inside, not both.?
To this Yudhishthira replied, ?Lord of the heaven, I cannot leave this dog behind who has accompanied me right till here, withstanding all trials and tribulations of the tedious journey. I cannot go in without him?either both of us will enter heaven or none of us.?
On hearing this, the dog transformed himself in the form of Dharma and said, ?Yudhishthira, I am very happy to hear your words. Come inside the gates of heaven because you are the most noble and righteous man and humankind will henceforth sing praise of you forever.?