There is a story, not often told, in Mahabharata where the eldest of the Pandavas, Yudhishthira, comes upon a lake and finds that his brothers lay dead on its banks.
Before beginning the search into his brothers’ murder, the prince in exile finds himself burning with thirst and reaches into the lake to drink, not knowing that it was drinking from the lake that brought his brothers’ end.
At that moment a celestial appears, a Yaksha, no god or angel but instead a presence of power presiding over the lake. The Yaksha warns Yudhisthira not to drink lest he suffers the fate of his brothers.
He has an alternative: Yudhisthira can instead answer Yaksha’s questions. There are said to be eighteen questions that Yaksha asked Yudhisthira, but here is the one that concerns what I am writing today.