The Mother of All Riddles
From The Mahabharata
Question: What is weightier than the earth itself? What is higher than the heavens? What is fleeter than the wind? And what is more numerous than grass?
Answer: The mother is more weightier than the earth. The father is higher than the heaven. The mind is fleeter than the wind, and our thoughts are more numerous than grass.
Question: What is the highest refuge of virtue? What of fame? What of heaven? And what, of happiness?
Answer: Liberality is the highest refuge of virtue, gift of fame, truth, of heaven, and good behaviour of happiness.
Question: What is the best of all laudable things? What is the most valuable of all his possessions? What is the best of all gains? And what is the best of all kinds of happiness?
Answer: The best of all laudable things is skill. The best of all possessions is knowledge. The best of all gains is health, and contentment is the best of all kinds of happiness.
Question: What is that which, if renounced, makes one agreeable? What is that which, if renounced, leads to no regret? What is that which, if renounced makes one wealthy? And what is that which if renounced, makes one happy?
Answer: Pride, if renounced, makes one agreeable. Wrath, if renounced, leads to no regret. Desire, if renounced, makes one wealthy, and avarice, if renounced, makes one happy.
Question: With what is the world enveloped? What is that owing to which a thing cannot discover itself? For what are friends forsaken? And for what does one fail to go to heaven?
Answer: The world is enveloped with darkness. Darkness does not permit a thing to show itself. It is from avarice that friends are forsaken, and it is connection with the world for which one fails to go to heaven.
Question: What, O king, is said to be knowledge? What, tranquillity? What constitutes mercy? And what has been called simplicity?
Answer: True knowledge is that of Divinity. True tranquillity is that of the heart. Mercy consists in wishing happiness to all. And simplicity is equanimity of heart.
Question: What enemy is invincible? What constitutes an incurable disease for man? What sort of a man is called honest and what dishonest?
Answer: Anger is an invincible enemy. Covetousness constitutes an incurable disease. He is honest that desires the weal of all creatures, and he is dishonest who is unmerciful.
Question: What is man’s surest weapon in danger?
Question: Give me an example of space.
Answer: My two hands as one.
Question: An example of grief.
Question: Of poison.
Question: An example of defeat.
Question: Which animal is the slyest?
Answer: The one that man does not yet know.
Question: Which came first, day or night?
Answer: Day, but it was only a day ahead.
Question: What is the cause of the world?
Question: What is your opposite?
Question: What is madness?
Answer: A forgotten way.
Question: And revolt? Why do men revolt?
Answer: To find beauty, either in life or in death.
Question: What for each of us is inevitable?
Question: And what is the greatest marvel?
Answer: Each day, death strikes and we live as though we were immortal. This is what is the greatest marvel.