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Yuyutsu: Would you publicly change parties and risk being called a traitor to the cause?

Updated: Feb 27, 2022


Blog #27

  • How important is it for you to be on the side of moral values?

  • What if your family and siblings are on the other side of the same issues?

  • Would you choose loyalty and choose to side with the family?

  • Or would you forsake the family in their time of need and cross over to the opposing side?

  • Are you prepared for the consequences if you are proven wrong?

  • How does being branded a traitor or a deserter sit with your conscience?

  • How would you handle the public spotlight of being a marked target?

The Mahabharata Context

Prince Yuyutsu was born as a consequence of the impatience of King Dhritarashtra given his wife's unusually lengthy pregnancy. King Dhritarashtra wanted his son to be born before Prince Pandu's heir could be born and therefore sired another child with the maid of his Queen Gandhari. Prince Duryodhana was born later than Prince Yudhisthira, who therefore became the heir apparent to the throne of Hastinapur. This strange twist of fate made Yuyutsu the half-brother of Prince Duryodhana and his many siblings. Yuyutsu was brought up alongside the Kaurava princes with the same training and education and became a powerful warrior in his own right. However, he grew up with none of the resentment and envy that festered in the Kaurava siblings. He accepted Prince Yudhisthira as the next in line to the throne and even acted to protect Prince Bheema from plots to poison him by the his half-brothers.

Before the battle commenced on day one of the Kurukshetra war, Prince Yuyutsu was the only warrior to follow his conscience and cross over to the side of the Pandavas on the invitation from Prince Yudhisthira. His move earned the wrath of Prince Duryodhana , who mounted many assaults to eliminate him. Prince Yuyutsu fought valiantly and ensured the victory of the Pandava siblings and was one of a handful that survived the apocalyptical war.

Our null hypothesis about the Prince Yuyutsu persona

Prince Yuyutsu was one of the most skilled warriors in the battlefield and we can therefore be comfortable with knowing that among his positives are physical strength, talent with swords, maces and archery. He was also honest, virtuous and a person of high moral values and integrity. He repeatedly worked to ensure the safety of the Pandavas despite earning the wrath of his own half-brothers. Prince Yuyutsu was brave enough to brazenly do what Prince Vikarna could not bring himself to do. He crossed over into enemy lines and joined them before the battle started.

On the negative side, he did indeed forsake his own family during their time of greatest need and leave their side. Does that make him disloyal? traitorous? a turncoat? He did cross the proverbial aisle and openly switched sides in front of both armies to choose Dharma and fight on the side of the Pandavas.

Lessons learned

During these turbulent times, Prince Yuyutsu indeed teaches us a great lesson in courage and moral strength, despite the obvious public scorn he attracted from many observers as a traitor.

  • It is not okay to be on the side of those who are clearly wrong and in denial

  • Sometimes it is important to be on the side of values rather than be seen as loyal to your team

  • Sometimes principles matter more than consequences, especially in the court of public opinion

  • Doing the right thing is never easy, especially when the spotlight is on you

  • It is not easy but one must overlook the scorn and ridicule from those who disagree with your moral decision, especially your family members

  • History judges those who acted with integrity with great reverence and eventually your decision is fully vindicated

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