Shivanshu: Pranam Swamiji, Swamiji, is betting considered wrong according to Vedas, if yes they why did Dharmraj indulged in the game of dice?
Swami Ram Swarup: My blessings to you. Betting is wrong according to Vedas. Dharamraj Yudhishthir was not interested in gambling but he was forced by the then emperor Dhritrashtra under the influence of his son. I paste my article in this regard as under-
Yudhishthir did not want to gamble
This truth is known by studying Sabha parv of Mahabharat epic written by Maharishi Vyas, wherein it is stated that once Shakuni told that Oh! Duryodhan, nobody is able to defeat Arjun, Sri Krishna Maharaj, Bheemsen, Yudhishthir, Nakul, Sehdev and Drupad with his sons. But I have a plan to defeat them.
Oh! Duryodhan, Yudhishthir likes to see the game of gambling but he does not know how to “play”. So, Duryodhan told Dhritrashtra to ask Yudhishthir to gamble. Otherwise, he would commit suicide. King Dhritrashtra came under the influence of Duryodhan and ordered Vidur to bring Yudhishthir along with his brothers. Vidur went to fetch Yudhishthir and told about gambling. But in return Yudhishthir told that in gambling fight always pursues. But after a very lengthy discussion, Yudhishthir and his brothers had to accept the order of Dhritrashtra, he being the then emperor. So, the fact is this that Yudhishthir did not know how to gamble. Therefore, he did not want to go to participate in gambling in Hastinapur. But he obeyed the order of King Dhritrashtra. Yudhishthir told to Vidur that he did not want to gamble but had King Dhritrashtra not invited him, he would not have gambled with Shakuni. But he has been invited so he will have to go to obey the royal order and therefore he went.
That was the time when Vedic culture was in vogue and therefore the order of king Dhritrashtra had to be obeyed by everyone. But Yudhishthir before starting gambling declared at that time that sure the war will be fought.
At the place of gambling, Yudhishthir told the following words to Shakuni, which also shows that he did not want to gamble.
He said, Oh! Shakuni-
(1.) The gambling is sort of cheating and is a reason to commit sin.
(2.) The gambler is respected in cunning manner and not in respective manner.
(3.) The gambling which is played with gambler is a sin.
Victory is only attained in a war of righteousness and not through gambling.
The study of Sabha Parv of Mahabharat epic clarifies that when the game of gambling was going on, then Vidurji told to Dhritrashtra that Oh! Dhritrashtra, just as a person who is about to die, he does not like to take medicine. Similarly, you will also not like my advice, but still listen that your son Duryodhan, lives with you, as cunning as a jackal. But due to attachment, you are not able to understand the truth.
Vidur added that- seller of honey when sees beehive on a tree then he does not think that he can fall down while capturing the honey. He climbs at a higher place and then either he gets engrossed after getting honey or he falls down due to the attack of bees. Similarly, Duryodhan deeply indulged in the intoxication of gambling has forgotten about the dangerous problem lying for him in the future because his enmity with the Pandavas would bring everyone’s downfall. Duryodhan is only after gambling. Vidurji added Oh! Dhritrashtra, I know that one king in past has abandoned his bad charactered son for the benefit of public. So, if you kindly order me, then Arjun can arrest your son. If sinner Duryodhan is arrested then all the Kauravas could live peacefully and happily.
He told Dhritrashtra that Duryodhan is like a crow whereas Pandavas are peacocks and asked the king that why did he not abandon/leave the jackal i.e., Duryodhan and accept Pandavas who were like lions.
Now I tell you, when Yudhishthir was defeated and lost his brothers and himself also; then Shakuni asked Yudhishthir to put Draupadi on stake which in the circumstances, was done by Yudhishthir and he lost Draupadi also. But Yudhishthir knew that he was not entitled to put Draupadi on stake because he himself was lost in game. The said fact was also told by Vidur who was then Prime Minister of Dhritrashtra. Vidur told that Oh! Duryodhan, Yudhishthir has already lost himself and therefore he has no right to put his wife on stake, so Draupadi has not been lost.
At that time, Vikarnna, a learned warrior also said that Shakuni told Yudhishthir to put Draupadi on dice so Draupadi is not lost in the game.
The story ends with the blessings of King Dhritrashtra to Draupadi, by releasing the Pandavas from slavery.
And the blessings were given by Dhritrashtra under pressure and fear when Bheem took a vow to break the thigh of Duryodhan. And everybody was telling in the court that Pandavas are so powerful that they could win over the Kauravas- It means Yudhishthir knew that he did not loose Draupadi because he lost himself first and a slave cannot donate his wife etc.. Secondly, kauravas were not capable of harming Draupadi and Pandavas. So, defeat of Draupadi in the game was mere drama played by Yudhishthir in anger because Yudhishthir was forcefully asked to play the game. Hence, people should not make an excuse to gamble by taking Yudhishthir’s name.