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We highly appreciate the efforts of all

School Principals and teachers who


have made this Ramayan Yojana
successful, Thanks to one and all.

ahabharat
MKatharup
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Writer : Kalyaniraman Bennurwar


Publisher : Shri. Mohan Salekar
Sanskruti Samvardhan Pratishthan, Mumbai
& : 2309 4306 / 6027, 2305 0393.
All rights with the Publisher
Published on :
1st Edition Guru Poornima Yugabdh 5107
( 21st July 2005 )
2 nd Edition Guru Poornima Yugabdh 5108
( 11th July 2006 )
Sahayogi Mulya Rs. 20/Cover Design & Layouts : Kishore Patil
Printed by :

Editorial Board :
Dr. Manohar Pingale
Dr. Mrs. Kirtida Mehta
Shri. Jaganniwas Iyyer
Shri. R. S. Pingale

PREFACE
Since time immemorial THE RAMAYAN has been accorded
the undisputed status of the greatest ever epic alongwith THE
MAHABHARAT Its our proud heritage and national pride. Its
acceptance is of such a degree that the ideal Governance is termed
as THE RAMA RAJYA. People even greet one another in the name
of SHREE RAM, JAI SHREE RAM
Our history, culture, society and peoples lives have been
shaped by the ideals of the Ramayan. Even the most ignorant and
illiterate of our crores of villagers know the story of Shree Ram. A
child gets the first lesson of the Ramayan in the mothers lap during
the infancy. While growing older, the knowledge expands. With each
reading of The Ramayan, understanding about life broadens,
becoming a better person and in the process, a better son, father,
husband, brother, citizen and so on.
Of Late, however, our educational system is getting more and
more away from our fundamental base of the ages. Added to that,
the electronic media, the print media and ever-increasing influence
and pressure of the western and outside world has slowly but surely
not only invaded our drawing room but pollutted and corrupted the
entire culture canvas. Leela, Jatras, Kathakali and other cultural
events do not find audiences. In the nuclear family set-up of today
the mother has to play the role of an economic earner also, affecting
child-rearing. The all important Grand-mother has also no place in
todays nuclear family.
A child is brought up on the trash purveyed by the idiot box,
cheap paper-back novels and comic books. The child is more
conversant with Spiderman, The Popeye Cartoon Character than
with Shree Ram, or Mata Seeta, Shree Hanuman or Shree Krishna.
Thus, the childs value systems, character and personality are
shaped by the character he sees on the televisions than by the
noble traits of our real ideal Indian characters.
The English, the child picks up, lacks much in grammer, diction
and usage. It jeopardizes the future of our children. What kind of
citizens will they grow up to be ? What will be their value systems ?
Will their sense of identification and belonging to their motherlandThe Bharath Mata-be affected ? Will they have the knowledge of
and admiration for and committment to our ages-old culture and

traditions ? These and several other such questions loom large


before us.
But we do not wish to be pessimistic. All is not lost. We must
start in right earnest and work for a social cultural and intellectual
renaissance. Our efforts in this direction must start with our children.
Simply put, our motto should be, Catch them Young And what
better way to do this than by introducing to our young children THE
WORLDS GREATEST EVER EPIC THE RAMAYAN & THE
MAHABHARAT The epic is the virtual encyclopaedia holding within
its pages our Ancient History, Culture, Geography and the
Philosophy. Above all, it contains examples of filial and fraternal
love and affection, love and affection, love of ones Family, love of
ones people, love of a ruler for his subjects and the subjects
reciprocal love for their ruler, Tips on state-craft, Adherence to Truth,
Equality and Justice. In short, the Ramayan reflects all the various
aspects of life in its many splendoured facets.
We have presented KATHARUP MAHABHARAT in story
books form Illustrations have been put at appropriate places. The
book has been specially written for the nine - to twelve age group
and the 7th class in particular. The language has been kept simple,
sentences are short. Where ever necessary English meanings of
Sanskrit or use words have been given.
The children reading this KATHARUP MAHABHARAT will
need hand-holding to begin with. Parents and teachers may have
to sit down with children and explain certain situations and contexts
of that historical period. We do request you to encourage the
children to read the book aloud. This will help them in developing
feel for words and phrases. It will also enable them to dramatize the
narration.
Finally, we may add that, we are only a narrator of a great
epic written by the worlds greatest learned and eminent poet. It is,
therefore, natural that our narration may have several flaws which
we would like you to bring to our notice, We do certainly welcome
suggestions and comments for improvement.
Our heartfelt thanks to Shantilal Shanghavi Foundation.
Sanskriti Samvardhan Pratishthan, Mumbai
Shreemad Ramayan Parichay Yojana

2 Shantanu

3 Bheeshmas vow

4 Dhritrashtra and Pandu

5 Dhritarashtra, Pandu and


Vidur are married

10

6 The birth of Karna

11

7 The Birth of the Kauravs


and Pandavs

12

8 The birth of Shree Krishna

15

9 The childhood of the


Kauravs and Pandavs

18

10 The princes student life

23

11 The arena of competition

25

12 Arjun gives his Gurudakshina 27

50

24 The fateful game of dice

52

25 Shree Krishna rescues


Draupadi

53

26 The Pandavs depart for


the forest

57

27 Arjun obtains divine weapons 59

14 Ghatotkach is born

33

29

15 Bheem slays Bakasur

35

28 Yaksha Prashna

61

29 The Pandavs go into hiding

64

30 The Pandavs complete


their exile

67

31 Karna - the Great Donor

70

32 The clouds of war gather

71

33 Shree Krishnas peace


mission

73

34 The Kurukshetra War begins 75


35 The passing of Bheeshma

78

36 Abhimanyu becomes a martyr 81

40

18 The division of the


Kuru Empire

41

19 Arjun acquires Subhadra

44

20 The slaying of Jarasandh

45

21 The Rajasooya Yadnya

47

22 Shishupal meets his end

48

37 Drona passes away

84

38 Karna is slain

86

39 The end of Duryodhan

88

40 After the war

92

41 Lord Krishna winds


up his incarnation

94

42 The Pandavs attain heaven

95

17 The Pandavs are married

13 The Varnavat Conspiracy

16 The Swayamwar of Draupadi 37

23 Duryodhans Envy

1 Preface

I N D E X

1. Preface

the Geeta to Arjun. Thousands of years later, the philosophy of


the Bhagwad Geeta has proved immortal and timeless and continues to guide all humanity.
It is our pristine duty to study and thoroughly understand our
true history. It is for this reason that we shall try to understand this
great history of the Mahabharat.

Our land of Bharat is timeless with a history whose antiquity


cannot be dated. Bharat is not only more ancient than any other
land but is also very holy, with innumerable illustrious sages, spiritual leaders, learned souls and great kings and rulers having taken
birth in this nation of ours. There have been countless ruling dynasties in this country. Of these, the great Kuru Dynasty ruled for
a few thousand years and established its centralized rule over India. It was a very powerful and prosperous empire. The Kuru Dynasty is also known as the Bharat Dynasty and later came to be
known as the Pandav Dynasty It naturally occupies a central place
in the study of Indias timeless history.
More than 5,000 years ago, many emperors belonging to the
Kuru Dynasty ruled a vast mass of land that stretched from presentday Tibet across of the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean in the south
and from Central and West Asia in the west/north-west from
Turkasthan to Java and Sumatra (present-day Indonesia) in the east.
Emperor Yudhishtir of the Kurus occupies a significant position
among such rulers. Our motherland was thus a mighty and unified
smoothly organized nation right from ancient times ruled by a unifary
empires.
The Mahabharat, which is the worlds longest and greatest
epic, contains the chronology of about fifty-five prominent kings from
Daksh Prajapati up to Janamejay the grandson of the Pandavas.
However, in this brief work we shall chiefly examine the events in the
lives of the Kauravs and the Pandavs as well as the great
Kurukshetra War that turned Indian society topsy-turvy like no
other event had done before.
This Great War was not just a quarrel between brothers for
mere kingdom or property. Many eternal values and questions were
involved in it. Rare was the kingdom or royal dynasty that was able
to escape this great holocaust. It was just before the Kurukshetra
War that Bhagwan Shree Krishna imparted the divine wisdom of

In the Ikshwaaku, the most


ancient and powerful dynasties
there once ruled a king by the
name of Mahaabhish. Because
of his virtue and merit, he was
accorded a very high place in
heaven. and given the rare privilege of being a member of the
divine assembly of Brahma, the
Creator.
Once, all the divine rivers
including Ganga came to
Brahmas assembly in the form
of goddesses. Mahaabhish and
-c=
_
Ganga were smitten by each
other. Seeing this Brahma was
angered and cursed Mahaabhish to be reborn on earth, but also
said that Ganga would be his wife and he would be born in the
glorious Kuru Dynasty.
The great and valourous king Hastin had built Hastinapur the
capital of the Kuru Dynasty. It was in this dynasty that Mahaabhish
was born. He was born as Shantanu. In due course of time, his
father king Prateep crowned him king and retired to the forests.
Once Shantanu was out hunting in the forests along the banks

Lotia Nathalal Amritlal, VileParle

Sri. Gunhari, Kurla

*****
2. Shantanu

of the Ganga. He happened to see a stunningly beautiful woman


and was smitten by her. When he expressed his desire to marry her,
the beautiful damsel put forth a condition: O king! I shall become
your wife only on the condition that you will allow me to do whatever
I please without any question. If you break this condition, I shall
forsake you then and there.
King Shantanu immediately agreed to her condition. They were
duly married and had a son in due time. Shantanu was extremely
happy, but his happiness was short lived. One midnight, Shantanu
was woken from his sleep when he saw his queen carrying the newborn baby towards the river. Tiptoeing, Shantanu followed her. The
queen stood with the baby in her arms on the banks of the gushing
river for a while and saying, I am only doing what you desire, hurled
the infant right into the water. Seeing this Shantanu shook with horror and wanted to pounce on his wife. But in the nick of time, he
remembered her strange condition and stood stupefied. The queen
returned as if nothing had happened.
This bizarre episode was repeated seven times with
Shantanus queen throwing seven newborn babies into the Ganga.
Shantanus grief and horror only increased and when his wife was
about to throw the eighth child, he could tolerate it no longer and
stopped her. Upon this his wife calmly replied: O king! I am goddess Ganga. I became your wife owing to Brahmas curse and had
to relieve these Vasus of their curse. This eighth child of yours shall
live long and be renowned throughout humanity. But lord, you have
broken your promise and I shall now leave you. Saying this, Ganga
vanished along with the eighth child.
Shantanu was heart-broken. He found his life totally empty of
any joy after Ganga left him, but continued to rule Hastinapur in a
virtuous and wise manner. Once, he ventured into the forest to the
very spot where he had first met Ganga and stood there for a while.
Shantanu then noticed that the rivers flow kept decreasing. Intrigued
by this, Shantanu went in the upward direction of the flow and saw a

young strong lad, displaying stupendous skill by showering the arrows obstructing the rivers flow. The boy vanished upon seeing the
king, leaving Shantanu speechless with astonishment. He called out
aloud, Jaahnavi, where are you? Who is this illustrious boy and
how did he become so powerful? Ganga soon appeared before
him holding the boy by hand. She then addressed Shantanu saying, Lord, this is your eighth son. His name is Devavrat. I have
ensured that he has learnt all that a kshatriya must learn. This boy
is well versed in all branches of knowledge including the Vedas and
the Vedangas, all the Shastras and the science of warfare. He is
supreme in the science of archery and is invincible in war. He shall
bring everlasting renown to your dynasty. Do take charge of your
great son, O king. Handing over Devavrat to Shantanu, Ganga
then disappeared.
Shantanu was overjoyed upon receiving his son and took him
to Hastinapur. He then entrusted the responsibilities of the kingdoms
administration to his son. Devavrat proved himself a worthy leader
and came to be loved and respected by the people of Hastinapur.

Offset Printers, Sewree (w)

Sri. Rajendra R. Hedaoo, Mulund

"

*****
3. Bheeshmas vow
On the banks of the river Yamuna lived the community of fisher
folk. Their ruler was known as Dheevarraj. Once, he found a girl
child in the river and took her home to raise her as her own daughter. He named her Satyavati, but the strong odour of fish emanating
from her body led her to be called Matsyagandha (smelling of fish).
When Satyavati reached teen age, she used to ferry people across
the Yamuna in a boat free of charge.
On one particular day, the stars foretold a different fortune
for the young girl. The great sage Maharshi Parashar boarded
Satyavatis boat one afternoon. The rishi saw that the girl bore signs
of becoming the mother of a very great soul. He told Satyavati what
the gods had ordained and gave birth to a divine son through her.

This boy later became the great Bhagwan Ved Vyas and was renowned throughout the three worlds for his austerity, penance and
supreme knowledge of all things material and spiritual.
Shantanu meanwhile, had still not gotten over his yearning
for Ganga and used to wander the forest indulging in his favourite
pastime of hunting. On one such occasion, he glimpsed Satyavati
and was smitten by her. He approached her saying, O beautiful
one, you seem to be a damsel of divine birth. Will you marry me?
O king, I am the daughter of Dheevarraj, ruler of the fisher
folk. You must approach my father in this regard.
Shantanu approached Dheevarraj asking for Satyavatis hand
but he put forth one condition, Dheevarraj said, Only if you agree
to make Satyavatis son the king of Hastinapur after you, will I agree
to fulfil your demand. Shantanu was stunned into silence.
How could Shantanu even think of depriving his son Devavrat
of his natural right? The king returned dejected but could not banish Satyavati from his heart. Devavrat did not fail to notice his fathers
mental condition and asked him the reason, but Shantanu avoided
giving a straight answer. Devavrat, extremely attached to his father,
found out the real reason after enquiries with the ministers, attendants and the kings charioteer. He came to know of the entire episode.
Devavrat then took a few ministers and a small retinue and
set out from Hastinapur to the banks of the Yamuna and met
Dheevarraj. With due respect the prince said, On behalf of my father, I have come to ask your daughters hand.
O prince, I have no objection whatsoever. But my condition
stands that my grandson alone must become the king.
Devavrat replied calmly but firmly, Rest assured. In the presence of all these Kaurav elders, I promise that I have forsaken my
right to the throne of Hastinapur from this very instant. Your
daughters son alone will be the future king. Everyone was shocked
into silence when they heard Prince Devavrats promise.

But Satyavatis father was not easily convinced. He said, O


prince, you are truly a great soul to forsake such power without a
second thought. I have no doubt that you shall live up to your promise. But if your sons refuse to respect your promise, this will lead to
conflict in the family. What is the guarantee that this shall not happen?
When Devavrat heard these words, he stood up and addressed Satyavatis father and everyone else: Listen Dheevarraj, I
shall set at rest all your doubts and anxieties once and for all. I shall
also fulfil my fathers wishes. Holding my mother the divine Jaahnavi
(Ganga) who flows through the three worlds as witness, holding all
the Devas (the gods), goddesses, the five elements, Gandharvas,
Apsaras, the Mother Earth, the rivers and the mountains, the sun,
moon and the stars, all these venerable elders worthy of worship,
as witnesses, I, Devavrat, the son of King Shantanu and Ganga do
solemnly swear that I shall be a celibate as long as I live on this
earth. The mountains may leave their place and the oceans may
dry up but I shall never swerve from my oath.
Terrifying thunder and lightning erupted as soon as Prince
Devavrat uttered these words. The earth shook and the heavens
gasped. The gods from the heavens showered flowers on Devavrat
and spoke in one voice: Bheeshma! Bheeshma! This one is
Bheeshma. (Bheeshma means one who adopts a terrible vow and
lives up to it).
Bheeshma turned to Satyavati and said, Mother, lets proceed to our home.
Hastinapur gave Satyavati a grand welcome. Shantanu was
proud when he heard of his sons great deed and blessed him saying, Son, what you have done for me today has never been done
by any son for his father before. I give you a boon whereby you will
die as per your wish only.
Father, I consider it my supreme duty to be the guardian and
protector of our Kuru Dynasty and Hastinapur. I shall leave no stone

Ankit Prajapati, Kurla

Gupta Chay Bhandar, Kurla

unturned to ensure that Hastinapur is not only safe and secure but
also becomes the most powerful empire. Till such time, I shall not
even think of departing from this world.
Thus, Devavrat came to be known in this world as Bheeshma.
Vedic Brahmins and learned persons also referred to him as
Bheeshmacharya.

*****
4. Dhritrashtra and Pandu
Shantanu and Satyavati spent their days happily. In due course
of time, they had two children, Chitrangad and Vichitraveerya.
Shantanu, returned to heaven as ordained by Brahma. Bheeshma
crowned the young Chitrangad as the king of Hastinapur. Chitrangad,
aggressive and violent by nature, was extremely proud of his ability
as a warrior and began challenging anyone and everyone. In one
such duet he was slain by his namesake Gandharva.
Chitrangad was not married and had died without leaving any
heir to the throne. Bheeshma was forced to make Vichitraveerya
the king after consulting Satyavati and the ministers. Vichitraveerya
was too young so Bheeshma assisted him at every step.
As the new king came of age, the question of his marriage
came to the fore. Word went around that the king of Kashi had
arranged the Swayamvar of his three daughters. There was no condition to be fulfilled. The three princesses were free to choose the
husbands of their choice. After consulting Satyavati, Bheeshma proceeded to Kashi with an army.
Bheeshma forced the three princesses of Kashi to board his
chariot and then made off, announcing that he was abducting them
for the king of Hastinapur. This enraged the assembled kings, who
pursued Bheeshma and fought. But none could withstand the mighty
Bheeshmas prowess.
Bheeshma had to send Amba back to Shalva when she told
him that she had already given her heart to Shalva and was to choose

him as her husband.


The two younger princesses, Ambika and Ambalika were
married to Vichitraveerya. Upon obtaining such beautiful wives,
Vichitraveeryas self-control gave away. He indulged in unrestrained
self-gratification, which led to a breakdown of his physical health.
Very soon, without leaving behind any progeny, Vichitraveerya
passed away.
The Kuru Dynasty was well and truly in a deep crisis. Both
Satyavatis sons had died without leaving behind any heir to the
Kuru throne. The queen was sunk in grief. She turned to her eldest
foster son Bheeshma and said, A throne without a king invites anarchy. Therefore, you must crown yourself the king and marry in
order to beget progeny. The reason for which you gave my father a
promise years ago has ceased to exist. I therefore free you from
that promise.
Bheeshma was steadfast in his refusal. He said, Mother, I
have willingly forsaken my right to the throne and have also vowed
to remain unmarried throughout my life. I shall never forsake my
vow, truth and dharma. We must therefore try and ascertain any
other means to overcome this crisis.
Seeing Bheeshmas resolve Satyavati was quiet for a while.
Then she slowly confided, Son, before my marriage to your father,
I happened to be blessed by the great sage Maharshi Parashar
whose grace bestowed upon me a divine son called Vyas. Vyass
power of tapasya can certainly beget progeny for our daughters-inlaw. But do you consent to this?
Mother, I can think of no one more suitable throughout the
three worlds for this noble task.
Bhagwan Ved Vyas appeared before Satyavati as soon as
she remembered him. She told him about the grave crisis confronting the royal family. Although not completely willing, Vyas agreed to
help considering the fact that this was an emergency. Satyavati first
sent her elder daughter-in-law to the sage to obtain his grace. Ambika
was frightened out of her wits when she saw Bhagwan Vyas, whose

Sachin More, LIC Agent, Kurla

Chandrakant Belapurkar, Kurla

&

physical appearance was indeed terrible to behold. She shut her


eyes in sheer fright unable to bear the illustrious form of Vyas. As a
result, the son born to her was blind from birth. Satyavati then forced
Ambalika, the younger one to approach Vyas for his blessings. When
Ambalika saw the huge rishi, with hair tied in matted locks, a huge
flowing beard and eyes that shone like the sun, she went pale with
terror. Thus the son born to Ambalika was also pale and afflicted.
Satyavati was angry and vexed upon learning of this. She
once again forced Ambika to approach Vyas. Ambika was too terror-stricken to do so but did not dare disobey her mother-in-law.
She however, employed a trick; she sent her maidservant in her
place to Bhagwan Vyas. The maid approached Maharshi Vyas calmly
and without fear and was blessed with a normal, intelligent and pious son.
Ambikas blind son was named Dhritarashtra. Ambalika gave
birth to a son called Pandu while Ambikas maidservant begot a son
called Vidur. Bheeshma personally looked after these kids like a
father and arranged for their education in the Vedas, the science of
warfare and statecraft, befitting Kshatriya princes. Although blind,
Dhritarashtra possessed an extremely powerful physique. Pandu
was incomparable in statecraft as well as archery. Vidurs nature
lent him to study all the shastras and sacred texts. He became wise,
god-fearing and a steady follower of Dharma.
Though he was the eldest of the brothers, Dhritarashtra could
not be crowned king because of his blindness. Vidur too could not
be made king on account of his being the son of a maidservant.
Bheeshma therefore crowned Pandu the king of Hastinapur as soon
as he came of age. Pandu was unmatched in valour and also very
popular among the citizens. He conquered kings and territories for
Hastinapur and his sound and just administration made the people
of Hastinapur look up to him with respect and affection. Under Pandus
rule Hastinapur became a prosperous and happy empire.

*****

5. Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidur are married


Bhishma was now thinking of getting Dhritarashtra, Pandu and
Vidhur married. The kingdom of Gandhar was ruled by king Subal.
His daughter Gandhari worshipped Lord Shiva. Pleased with her
devotion, Shiva granted her the boon of having a hundred sons.
He first proceeded to Gandhar and made a formal demand of
Gandharis hand for Dhritarashtra. King Subal was reluctant to give
his daughter in marriage to a blind person? But the Gandhar kingdom was too small and weak to stand up to the Kurus. Keeping the
interests and security of his small kingdom in mind, Subal finally
submitted to Bheeshmas demand.
When Gandhari learnt that she was to be married to
Dhritarashtra who was blind from birth, she did not say a word in
opposition. In fact, she accepted her fathers decision calmly. Not
only that, Gandhari also blindfolded her eyes with a piece of cloth
and thereby shut out vision from her own eyes as a mark of solidarity with her future husband. King Subal gave her away as bride
accompanied by many gifts. Subals son and Gandharis brother,
Shakuni, loved his sister and doted on her. It was Shakuni who accompanied her all the way to Hastinapur, staying there for the rest
of his life. Dhritarashtra was duly married to Gandhari. Pandu attended the Swayamvar of Princess Kunti, daughter of King Kuntibhoj.
Many kings and princes attended this event to try and win Kuntis
hand. But it was Pandus personality that drew Kunti like a magnet.
Before she realized it, she had placed her garland around Pandus
neck.
But Bheeshma was not satisfied with Pandu having only one
wife. He had decided on yet another alliance for him. Princess Madri,
the younger sister of King Shalya of the kingdom of Madra was
famed for her extraordinary beauty. Bheeshma traveled to Madra
and met Shalya to ask Madris hand for Pandu. Shalya was pleased
and Madri became Pandus second wife. Bheeshma approached
one of the vassal kings of the Kuru Empire for his daughters hand
for Vidur. This virtuous lady called Paaransawi became Vidurs wife.

Kumar Atharva Seshnath Prabhu, Kurla

Smt. Malan J. Shinde, Navi Mumbai

'



6. The birth of Karna


King Shoorsen of Yadavas was a just and god-fearing ruler.
His first cousin King Kuntibhoj was childless. Shoorsen promised to
grant him his first-born child and in keeping with his promise gave
his daughter Pritha, when she was five years of age to Raja Kuntibhoj.
The latter showered all his affection on Pritha, bringing her up as
his own daughter. In course of time, her original name was forgotten
and she came to be known as Kunti.
Kunti grew up in her foster fathers kingdom in great care and
affection. When she had barely attained adolescence, her father
entrusted her the responsibility of welcoming royal guests and looking after their needs. The soft spoken and kind natured Kunti was
able to win the approval and good will of all those who visited her
fathers kingdom. Once, Maharshi Durvasa happened to visit
Kuntibhojs capital. He wished to stay there for a few days to perform some esoteric yadnya. The rishi was feared throughout the
three worlds for his fiery temper and awesome power. Raja Kuntibhoj
therefore entrusted the difficult and delicate task of keeping Durvasa
happy to his daughter. But Kunti was able to win the quick-tempered rishis approval with ease.
After Durvasas yadnya was over, he told Kunti, Dear child, I
am extremely pleased with you and wish to bless you with a divine
boon. I am giving you a secret mantra whereby you can summon
any Deva (celestial). This mantra will make them bless you with a
son. You may use this when you need it. So saying, Durvasa left.
Kunti had hardly stepped into adolescence. Naturally she was
curious to ascertain the power of this divine mantra. In her child-like
curiosity one early morning, she stood near the window of her palace, watching the early morning sun rising, invoking the secret mantra
Durvasa had given her. Lo and behold! The sun-deity Soorya appeared before her in a resplendent form.
Kunti was frightened. She prostrated to Soorya with folded
hands and said, Lord, forgive me. I remembered you only out of my
Sau. Aparna Arun Nabar, Dadar


child-like curiosity to test the mantras power. I am an unmarried


maiden and cannot accept the progeny you may give me.
Soorya said, Kunti, the power of your mantra will force me to
bestow a son upon you who will be very valourous, chivalrous and
renowned. He shall have divine earrings and armour. But he shall
also be of a conceited and spiteful nature and shall fall into the
company of the wicked, doing misdeeds and courting adharma. This
shall lead to his downfall.
In due time, Kunti gave birth to a boy whose body had armour
and sparkling earrings. But Kunti had to conceal this fact out of fear
of social disapproval. With her heart heavy with grief, she placed
her new born infant in a box and dispatched in the river. The box
flowing through many rivers ultimately reached the Ganga and was
found by Dhritarashtras charioteer Adhirath. Adhirath had no children of his own and was overjoyed to find this infant. He took the
baby home to his wife Radha and the couple raised this child as
their own, naming him Vasusen. However, he was known more as
Karna or Radheya.

*****
7. The Birth of the Kauravs and Pandavs
King Pandu wished to set out to conquer new territories for
the Kuru Empire and thereby establish his valour and prowess. He
expressed his desire to his uncle Bheeshma who readily agreed.
Pandu then set out with Hastinapurs vast army, complete with infantry, cavalry, chariots, elephants and supplies.
In the course of his victorious campaign, Pandu defeated many
kings and conquered them. He brought unprecedented wealth to
Hastinapur. After returning to his capital, he performed a grand
Ashwamedh yadnya.
A few years passed after the completion of Pandus yadnya.
He grew bored of his daily administrative routine and decided to
escape to the forests along with his two queens and indulge in his
Sarvesh D. Shanbhag, Bhandup


favourite pastime of hunting. Accordingly, Pandu, Kunti and Madri


set out accompanied by a small retinue.
One day, having ventured deep into the forests, Pandu spotted a pair of deer indulging in lovemaking. Without a second thought,
Pandu dispatched from his bow two arrows that hit both the deers
simultaneously. Alas! They turned out to be rishis, both husband
and wife who had assumed the form of deer for gratifying their desire. While the female succumbed instantly, the dying rishi cursed
Pandu in a human voice. I am Rishi Kindam. You have killed my
consort and me while we were enjoying privacy. You shall suffer for
this act of yours. You shall die the moment you touch your wife.
Cursing Pandu thus, the rishi expired.
The powerful kindam rishis curse was bound to take effect.
Pandu lost his desire to go back to Hastinapur and donned an
ascetics robe, shedding his royal insignia. Kunti and Madri too were
firm in their resolve to stay back with their husband. Pandu had
decided to do penance in the forest. The kings ministers and attendants went back to Hastinapur with this sad news. Bheeshma was
thus forced to put Dhritarashra on the throne. Vidur was made
Dhritarashtras minister to assist him.
In the forest, Pandu, Kunti and Madri started living a life of
penance. Both the queens were extremely devoted to their husband. Pandu too was affectionate towards them but was sad that he
had no progeny. He expressed his grief repeatedly to Kunti.
One day, when Pandu and Kunti were alone, Kunti revealed
to her husband about rishi Durvasas blessings and the secret mantra for progeny. Pandu was overjoyed when he heard this. He commanded Kunti to ascertain the auspicious dates and time and appease the Devas (celestials) for obtaining progeny. Kunti then worshipped God Yama, God Yayu and God Indra with the Abhisaar
Mantra and she was blessed with Yudhisthir, Bheema and Arjun
respectively. All three babies were very handsome, healthy and endowed with signs of greatness and virtue. Good omens and heavenly voices of blessings manifested themselves on their birth.

Upon seeing Kuntis good fortune, Madri too, wished to be a


mother. She asked Pandu to convince Kunti to give her also, the
secret mantra to fulfil her desire for children. Kunti agreed on the
condition that Madri should use the mantra only once. Madri worshipped the Ashwini Kumars (twin celestials who were the divine
physicians of the Devas) and thus two very handsome children Nakul
and Sahadev were born to her.
Meanwhile, Gandhari had not begotten any children for two
years. News then reached Hastinapur that Kunti had given birth to
children. Gandhari burned with jealousy and anger.
During this time, Maharshi Vyas happened to visit Hastinapur.
Gandhari vented her grief to the sage who said that she would beget a hundred sons. and what he has said will come true.
Gandhari was pregnant afterwards. But even after nine months
had passed, she did not conceive. She started experiencing severe
pains and had great difficulty in breathing. Her condition worsened,
causing great tension to the royal family. Luckily, Bhagwan Ved Vyas
arrived at Hastinapur in the nick of time. With the sages mantras
and Ayurvedic knowledge and assistance Gandhari gave birth to a
hundred sons, one after another. The eldest son was Duryodhan
followed by Dushashan, Dussaha, Vikarna and others. A daughter
called Dushshala was also born.
Upon Duryodhans birth, metors burned and fell from the skies
and many bad omens presented themselves. The newborn baby
itself brayed like a donkey and gave out shrill cries. The worried
Dhritarashtra consulted astrologers who after studying the time of
Duryodhans birth bluntly told the king: Maharaj, these are evil signs.
This boy will one day bring about the destruction of the Kuru Dynasty. You must forsake him at once. After all, you still have ninetynine sons left.
But Dhritarashtra was blind not only in sight but also in his
attachment to his first-born child. He refused to heed their sound
advice. On the contrary, he began to dote on his first son. These
were but the earliest signs of the events to follow.

Mrs. Reshma R. Chemburkar, Chembur

Sau. Vaishali Prakash Ketkar, Opera house

!

"

Dhritarashtra had another son from one of his other wives.


This boy was named Yuyutsu. Thus the Kuru Dynasty had grown.
Dhritarashtras sons came to be called the Kauravs while Pandus
sons as the Pandavs.

Kans, the prince of Mathura had imprisoned his father King


Ugrasen and had usurped the throne of Mathura. Kans was an evil
man and a tyrant. The people of Mathura suffered under his tyrannical rule. The god-fearing citizens, rishis and munis lived in fear
and prayed to God for a saviour.
The tyrant Kans however dearly loved his sister Devaki. He
arranged her marriage to Vasudev, a wise and virtuous nobleman
of the Vrishni community. Following Vasudevs and Devakis marriage ceremony, Kans himself took the reins of the chariot to drive
the newly-wed couple to their new home. Barely after the decked
chariot had proceeded a few yards, there was sound of thunder in
the skies. An oracle from the heavens spoke: O foolish Kans! The
eighth child of this very sister of yours, whose chariot you are driving with such affection, shall slay you.
Kans was numb with shock on hearing this. Immediately, he
jumped out of the drivers seat and whipped out his sword to slay
his very sister whom he loved so much. But the gentle Vasudev
grabbed his hand firmly and said: O mighty Kans. It does not befit
a warrior like you to kill a woman. Its our eight child from whom you
have danger to your Life not Devaki herself. I promise to hand over
our eight child to you as soon as it is born. He immediately placed
his sister Devaki and brother-in-law Vasudev into prison under heavy
guard. Kans armed soldiers guarded them day and night.
Kans thought, Although it is foretold that Devakis eighth son
will be my enemy, it is difficult to ascertain which of Devakis sons will
be her first or eighth. I shall spare none of them.

As soon as Devaki gave birth to her first son, Kans stormed


into the prison when his henchmen brought him this news. Devaki
was busy breast-feeding the newborn infant when Kans rushed into
their cell and tore the infant from her bosom and dashed it upon the
walls, killing the child instantaneously. Devaki shrieked with pain
and horror and fell unconscious. Vasudev collapsed on the floor
with shock. But the evil Kans left the cell as if nothing had happened.
Kans thus killed six of Devakis children in this cruel manner
as soon as they were born. Vasudevs and Devakis grief was beyond words; they prayed to the Almighty to relieve them from this
great sorrow. For the seventh time, Devaki became pregnant. But
this time a miracle happened. The foetus in her womb was somehow transplanted to the womb of Rohini, Vasudevs elder wife, who
stayed in Gokul and was safe from Kans. Devakis seventh child
was thus born outside prison to Rohini. He was the mighty Balaram.
Devaki was about to conceive again. Kans was keeping count
and was extra alert this time. As the days neared, Devaki pleaded
with her husband with tears in her eyes, Lord, please do something to save this eighth child of ours. I do not wish to live childless
after giving birth to eight children. Both husband and wife earnestly
prayed to Bhagwan Vishnu to rescue them.
Their prayers were answered. It was Ashtami, the eighth day
of the dark half of the month of Shravan. It was dark and cloudy and
then skies erupted with thunder and lightning. Rain began in a furious downpour, Cold and icy winds swept the city.
Inside the prison cell at midnight, a divine light filled Vasudevs
chamber. Devaki gave birth to a very healthy child of bluish complexion and a captivating smile that The infant did not cry even a bit.
The mother overcome by fatigue, dropped off to sleep.
Vasudev was now desparate. Miracle after miracle now started
taking place. All of a sudden, Vasudevs chains dropped off. The
door of his cell opened without a sound. The guards were lost in

Ku. Maitrayee J. Joshi, Virar

Milan Panjab Hotel, Worli

#

$

*****
8. The birth of Shree Krishna

deep sleep.
Vasudev put his newborn baby in a basket. He tiptoed out of
the cell and was able to leave without anyone noticing him escape.
He went in the direction of the river Yamuna. The rain and storm
had turned the Yamuna into a raging torrent. Vasudev stepped into
the river as if in a daze. The waters rushed up to his head and
looked like drowning him. But lo and behold! As soon as the waters
touched the feet of the newborn baby they began subsiding. Miraculously, a thin path right in the middle of the river became visible
even in that dark and stormy night. Vasudev stumbled along the
gushing river. Huge walls of water rose on both his sides, roaring
and gushing in the rain and wind. But the thin path miraculously
created guided him on his onward journey. Vasudev was barely conscious of anything as he went on. Neither could he see a huge fiveheaded serpent Shielding the baby from the fierce downpour.
Vasudev managed to reach Gokul, across the banks of the
Yamuna. He proceeded straight to the house of his friend Nand, the
chieftain of the Gop community. Gokul was silent and still. Vasudev
entered Nands house and very quickly told him everything. Nands
wife Yashoda was asleep, having just given birth to a baby girl. Nand
placed Devakis newborn baby in the cradle beside Yashoda and
gave him the baby girl. Vasudev placed her in his basket and hurried back to Mathura, crossing the flooded Yamuna once again. He
had to get back before dawn and before Kans would reach the cell.
No sooner Vasudev reached his prison chamber than the chains
fastened themselves to his feet. The prison doors closed automatically. As soon as the baby girl was placed beside Devaki, she began crying loudly. The guards were awoken; their master had to be
alerted at once.
In a short while, Kans stormed into the prison chamber. Ignoring Devakis cries for mercy, he snatched her baby girl and was
about to dash it against a wall. But in a flash, the infant slipped out
of his hands and assumed her original form of a goddess. She
laughed in scorn at Kans and said: Vile rascal! Your sins are now

going to bear fruit. Your destroyer has been born and is alive. So
saying the goddess vanished in a flash of blinding light.
The fierce rains and storm came to halt in the morning. Gokul
woke up to the cries of a newly born baby. The entire village came
to Nands house to have a look at his just-born child. His radiant
form and enchanting smile captivated one and all. Priests named
him Krishna after consulting the horoscope.
Kans learnt that his enemy was in Gokul after a frantic search
to find out his destroyer. He then sent many demons to kill Shree
Krishna. But Krishna and Balaram slew them all. Kans panic and
anxiety grew with each passing day. When the boys reached adolescence, Kans employed a different strategy. He organized a grand
festival at Mathura. He sent a special emissary to invite Krishna and
Balaram to Mathura with the intent of treacherously killing them.
Shree Krishna and Balaram reached Mathura for this festival. Kans
ordered them to wrestle with his giant wrestlers, Chaanoor and
Mushtik. Balaram killed Mushtik while Shree Krishna took on
Chaanoor and slew him. After finishing Chaanoor, Krishna leapt upon
Kans and threw him down. He then sat on the tyrants chest and
crushed his chest, thus slaying Kans and fulfilling the divine prophecy. Mathura, freed from the tyranny of the evil Kans, resounded
with praises of Shree Krishna and Balaram.
Shree Krishna then freed his parents Vasudev and Devaki
from prison.

Alankar Restaurent, Worli

Parmeshwarsingh Shekhawat, Worli

%

&

*****
9. The childhood of the Kauravs and Pandavs
King Pandu of Hastinapur was forced to spend his days in the
Himalayan forests doing penance following Rishi Kindams curse.
But due to Kuntis mantra obtained from sage Durvasa years ago,
he was able to obtain five divine children. His two wives and their
children gave Pandu more contentment than he could ever wish for.
He now became a full-fledged ascetic. Pandu, Kunti and Madri spent

their forest life in happiness, content to watch their five children


grow up. But it was not to last.
One afternoon, Madri was busy drawing water from the river
in the forest. While trying to help her, Pandu accidentally touched
her. The rishis curse took immediate effect and Pandu collapsed
upon the ground in great agony. Madri cried out in fright. Kunti rushed
to the spot on hearing her cries. But it was too late. Pandu had
breathed his last. Both Kunti and Madri began weeping over the
body of their husband.
The rishis and ascetics of the ashram reached the spot. They
duly performed the last rites of the departed king of Hastinapur.
When the funeral pyre was lit, Madri, resolving to join her husband,
jumped into the fire and became a sati. Kuntis grief was tremendous but she had to get a hold on herself for the sake of her very
young children.
After three days, the sages of the ashram put the ashes of
Pandu and Madri in two earthen pots. An old sage then addressed
Kunti: Dear child. You must now look to the future of your five children. Take them to your home. The wise Bheeshma will see that
these children inherit their fathers kingdom that is theirs by right.
We shall accompany you and the children to Hastinapur and shall
explain the identity of these children to Bheeshma and Dhritrashtra.
The rishis and munis of the Himalayan forests then set out
with Kunti and her young children, carrying the urns that contained
the ashes of the late Pandu and Madri. They reached Hastinapur
and met Dhritarashtra, Gandhari and Vidur along with their ministers and attendants. The rishis submitted the ashes of the late king
of Hastinapur to Bheeshma and also briefly narrated to him the story
of the Pandavs birth. Thereafter, Kunti stepped forward along with
her five sons and touched the feet of the grandsire. Bheeshma took
her and the five kids to Pandus palace.
Bheeshma then duly arranged for the Vedic sanskars of the
five Pandavs that included their Upanayan (thread ceremony) and

their education in statecraft and warfare. The Pandavs now began


to grow up in Hastinapur. They soon earned the affection and respect of all. Their truthful and sincere speech, humble and courteous behaviour towards one and all made them popular. But these
very qualities of theirs also aroused the anxiety of Dhritarashtra
and the envy and hatred of his eldest son, Duryodhan. Dhritarashtra
was worried for good reason. His younger brother Pandu after all
had been the legitimate king of Hastinapur. It was only due to Pandus
untimely departure that Dhritarashtra was made the interim ruler of
the Kurus. Pandu as king had been loved and respected by all the
people and it was natural that people would consider only Pandus
eldest son as their next king. Duryodhan, for his part, never liked
the Pandavs coming to Hastinapur and residing in Pandus palace
right from day one. He made no efforts to conceal his jealousy and
hatred towards his cousins. His younger brother Dushasan, his fast
friend and the son of the charioteer Adhirath, i.e. Karna only added
fuel to this fire. Duryodhans maternal uncle Shakuni not only encouraged him in his enmity with the Pandavs but was also the mastermind of many evil plots against them.
The Kauravs and the Pandavs started growing up together
and undergoing their learning. But the five Pandavs soon excelled
the rest of their hundred cousins in every branch of learning. Their
progress in the science of warfare only made Duryodhans heart
burn even more with jealousy and anger. Adding to his envy and
hatred was the fact that Bheem, the second among the Pandavs
was growing into a superhuman with each passing day. Bheems
physical strength was simply incomparable. In his playfulness, Bheem
used to wrestle with the Kaurav brothers, drag them by their hair,
swim underwater for long holding many of them under his arms,
shake trees on whose branches Duryodhans brothers sat, causing
them to fall down and indulged in many such other childlike pranks.
Although Bheem really meant no harm to anyone, his huge size and
amazing strength soon made him a terror for Duryodhan and his
brothers. Duryodhan clearly saw that the strength and the ability of

Siddhi Sharma, Lokhandwala

Bhardwaj M. S., Santacruz

'

the Pandavs, especially Bheem was going to become a threat to his


plans one day. Arjun was proving superior in archery, while Yudhishtir,
Nakul and Sahadev too stood out in all aspects. Duryodhan now
began to plot to somehow remove the Pandavs from his path. He
wanted to finish Bheem.
One day Duryodhan approached his father Dhritarashtra and
obtained permission to go on a picnic. All princes went to a nearby
resort situated alongside the banks of the Ganga. They indulged in
games and fun throughout the day and were very tired towards the
later part of the afternoon. Bheem in particular was dying of hunger.
The princes sat down to eat and after their meals, Duryodhan requested everyone to have a swim in the Ganga to get refreshed.
All the princes ate to their stomachs content. To everyones
surprise, Duryodhan had arranged special dishes for Bheem, who
was more than pleased to find his favourite dishes and sweetmeats
ready for him. As usual, Bheem was the last to get up after finishing
his food. Strangely, when he got up, he started feeling drowsy.
Duryodhan had mixed deadly poison in his food. Yudhishtir and his
brothers were kept busy in games by the other Kauravs and were
unaware of the evil play that was in progress. Seizing this opportunity Duryodhan, Dushasan and their brothers tied the sleeping
Bheem tightly with ropes and dragged him to the banks of the river
and threw him into the water. They then cited the pretext of approaching darkness and asked everyone to return to the capital.
Yudhishtir, Arjun, Nakul and Sahadev, not finding Bheem anywhere,
started looking for him. Duryodhan lied to them that Bheem, having
eaten more than others was feeling sleepy and hence returned
before others. But when the four Pandavs returned to their dwelling
at Hastinapur, they could not find Bheem at home. Kunti, upon seeing them return without Bheem, was seized with worry and fear. She
blamed Yudhishtir for having left Bheem alone. The Pandavs and
their mother called Vidur and narrated the incident to him. It was
becoming clear that there was some foul play.

Meanwhile, Bheem, who was poisoned through food and


bound by ropes to be thrown into the Ganga, landed in the world of
the Nagas (serpents). On his way down, venomous serpents in the
water attacked and bit him. But this proved to be a blessing in disguise for Bheem, because the venom of the snakes was the perfect
antidote for the poison that had entered his body. Bheem regained
consciousness even as he fell deeper and deeper. Using his superhuman strength, he easily broke the bonds that Duryodhan and his
evil brothers had tied him with. Vasuki, the king of serpents, accompanied by a very old Naga named Aryak reached there. Aryak recognized Bheem and told him that he was his great-great maternal
grandfather. He was overjoyed at seeing his descendant. He then
told Vasuki: O king of Nagas. Give our divine nectar to Bheem.
Accordingly, Vasuki ordered for the serpents divine nectar,
which was brought forth in huge drums. Bheem gulped down eight
of these very big drums. He then slept soundly for eight days. After
he awoke, Vasuki told him, Bheem, you are indeed fortunate to
have consumed divine nectar that is not available for the humans.
You now possess the strength of ten thousand elephants. No one
can ever equal you in physical might. Duryodhans evil plot against
Bheem thus proved a boon for the latter. The serpent poison wiped
out the food poison in Bheems internal organs and made him stronger than before. The divine nectar consumed by him made Bheem
powerful beyond imagination.
Vasuki arranged for Bheem to be taken to the very spot from
where Bheem was thrown into the Ganga. Bheem then found his
way back to Hastinapur, meeting his mother and brothers, who were
fearing the worst. Their joy knew no bounds when they saw Bheem
return alive. Kunti clasped him tightly to her bosom and shed tears
of relief and joy. Bheem too embraced his brothers and told them all
that had happened. Vidur also had reached the Pandavs palace,
Yudhshtir said, This is just the beginning. There will be many more
such attempts. We must remain ever cautious, alert and united in
all circumstances.

Sri. Yogesh P. Prabhu, Thane

Sri. Ulhas Sreepad Desai, Mulund

Thus, the struggle of the Pandavs for survival and honour


began right from their childhood.

*****
10. The princes student life
Bheeshma, the grandfather wanted to make the Kaurav and
Pandav princes incomparable warriors. He therefore wished that
they should undergo such education and training that would sharpen
their skills. The guru best suited for this purpose was Dronacharya.
Bheeshma went to meet him. The eldest among the Kurus then
formally requested him to take over the education and training of
the princes of the Kuru Dynasty. Dronacharya accepted this offer
with delight.
The student life of the Kauravs and the Pandavs now began
in earnest under the watchful eye of Guru Dronacharya. They used
to wake two hours before sunrise to begin their daily routine of learning the Vedas, saying their morning prayers, physical exercise, lessons in the use of various shastras and astras, mounting elephants,
horses and chariots. The life was indeed intense, disciplined and
strenuous.
One night at mealtime, a strong gust of wind blew out the
lamps. It became pitch dark. Arjun was sitting alone in a corner of
the ashram, eating in silence. He suddenly realized that the morsel
in his hands went automatically to his mouth even though it was
dark and he could not see his hands or the food. All of a sudden, an
idea flashed in his mind. He left his food, washed his hands and
picked up his bow and arrows to practice even in the dark hour.
Arjun made this a part of his daily routine and soon became an
archer who could hit his target accurately by mere sound.
After a period of time had passed, Guru Dronacharya wished
to test all his disciples. He got an image of vulture in wood placed
upon the branch of a very tall tree. He then summoned all his students to that spot and made them stand in a row. The students had
Vaishanavi Consultant, Thane
!

to hit the eye of the bird with their arrow. Dronacharya then ordered
all his disciples to be ready with their bow and arrow. Beginning with
Yudhishtir, each disciple was summoned one by one. Dronacharya
asked each one of them: Look carefully and tell me what you see.
Gurudev, I can see the tree, the attendant standing below,
the river flowing behind him, the hills beyond and also the bird in the
branches. All students answered likewise.
Dronacharya was disappointed and said to each of them. Do
not discharge your arrow. Go
back to your place.
All the princes were
asked the same question and
everyones answer disappointed the guru. Finally, Arjun
stepped ahead. Dronacharya
asked him to be ready with his
bow and arrow and then asked
him, What do you see?
Gurudev, I can see only
the bird swaying among the
branches.
Arjun, look carefully and
then tell me.
Gurudev, I can now see
only the head of that bird.
Look carefully, very
carefully.
Gurudev, I now see only the eye of the bird.
Shoot!
In an instant, the arrow flew from Arjuns bow and pierced the
eye of the wooden vulture. Dronacharyas joy was boundless. He
embraced Arjun and said, Arjun, I consider myself fortunate that I
have a disciple like you. You are my best and most beloved disciple.
J. K. Shinde, Navi mumbai
"

I shall impart you such knowledge that there will be no bowman like
you throughout the three worlds.

The matchless knowledge and training imparted by Guru


Dronacharya to the Kuru princes turned them into warriors of repute. They had grown up into adolscence and their period of education was now coming to a close. Dronacharya decided to display
to Dhritarashtra how much his and Pandus sons had learnt under
his care, supervision and watchful eye. He issued orders for an
arena to be constructed which would be well equipped in all respects for a display of the martial skills. This huge arena was similar
in facilities and equipment even when compared to the mega sports
stadiums of todays modern age which host world events. The day
and purpose of event was announced throughout Hastinapur.
The much-awaited day arrived. The sporting arena was packed
to capacity. The citizens of Hastinapur had begun arriving early to
occupy seats before they were filled up. The royalty, i.e. Bheeshma,
Vidur, Dhritrashtra and other members of the royal family arrived
later in their chariots. Kunti and Gandhari occupied separate boxes
for royal ladies.
The display of the princes skills in warfare and the use of
weapons began. In the beginning, there was a general display of
skills. After that, the princes showed their hand in the use of the
bow, sword, spear and other weapons. They also displayed their
skills in riding horses elephants, chariots fighting atop an elephant,
etc. Some entertained the crowd by engaging in wrestling, while
others staged mock fights in attacking and warding off attacks. The
contest was getting more and more interesting. Bheem and
Duryodhan engaged each other in a display of the gada (mace).
Although this was meant to be only a contest, seeing the mutual
hatred these two had for each other, Guru Dronacharya stopped

them before things got out of hand.


Arjun was the last to enter the arena. He gave a stunning
display of both weapons and warfare. He rode an elephant, slid
down its trunk onto the back of a horse in motion, jumped from its
back safely to the ground and yet used his weapons flawlessly while
in motion. Arjuns expertise in hitting moving targets while seated on
moving horses, elephants or a chariot was simply awesome. He could
hit the most difficult of targets at first attempt. His capability to hit
targets by mere sound had the crowd roaring in approval. All
Hastinapur was lost in admiration upon seeing this heroic display by
their prince and Kuntis son. It was becoming clear that Arjuns capability as a warrior was indeed unmatchable.
However, even before the cheers had died down, a young
man arose and stood before Dhritrashtra, slapping his arms. In a
loud voice, he asked for consent to display his skills in the arena.
On behalf of Dhritrashtra, Vidur nodded in consent. The young man,
whose complexion was very fair, then proceeded to display almost
all the feats that Arjun had performed. But his behaviour clearly
carried the stamp of arrogance and disrespect for elders. He barely
glanced at Dronacharya and just gave him a formal salute. He then
announced in an arrogant tone, O people of Hastinapur! My name
is Karna. I wish to now challenge Arjun to a duel.
Guru Kripacharya, explaining the rules said, Only princes of
royal lineage can engage in duels. This young man is Arjun, son of
the Hastinapurs late King Pandu and Queen Kunti. Now please
reveal your identity. When Karna heard these words of Kripacharya,
he had to hang his head.
But Duryodhan stepped forward and announced, Birth alone
is not enough for greatness, Gurudev. A mans worth is decided by
his capability. I hereby crown Karna the king of Anga, which is part
of the Kuru Empire. I am also going to perform his coronation right
now. Priests were then summoned to chant mantras to complete
Karnas coronation. Karna was extremely touched by Duryodhans

Sri. Anant Kashinath Ghanekar, Vile Parle

Smt. Vidya A. Prabhu, Vile Parle

*****
11. The arena of competition

gesture and became grateful to him. In fact, he became Duryodhans


lifelong friend.
Karna, completely won over Duryodhans friendship, promised him, Dear friend, from this moment, my life is in your hands.
Till I live, I shall be loyal to you alone.

*****
12. Arjun gives his Gurudakshina
The formal training of the Kuru princes was now over. Guru
Dronacharya was satisfied after seeing their display of martial skills.
One morning, after their prayers were over, he summoned the
princes together and announced: The debt that any student owes
to a guru cannot be discharged without the payment of gurudakshina
Today, you all are grown up and quite capable. I can now demand
my fee from you without hesitation.
Dronacharya then proceeded to narrate his life-story in brief.
I lack nothing today. But in our earlier days, we were very poor.
Yagyasen Drupad, the king of the Panchal kingdom was my childhood friend, we being classmates at my fathers ashram. Once in
our childhood days, he had promised me that half of whatever he
possessed would be mine. After becoming a householder, I reminded
Drupad of his promise made during childhood. But Drupad was now
a king. Far from honouring his words, he replied arrogantly, O Drona!
What one says during childhood does not necessarily become a
promise. It is true that we were classmates once upon a time, but
lasting friendship can only be between equals. Everyday, I distribute considerable wealth to the needy. You too may state your need
and I shall only be too happy to fulfil your wish. These words of
Drupad caused me humiliation in public. I then resolved that I would
prepare such pupils who would demolish Drupads pride. You all
must therefore defeat Drupad in battle and produce him before me.
This is the gurudakshina I expect from you.
According to their gurus wishes, the Kuru princes set out from
A. S. Prabhu, Vile Parle
%

Hastinapur towards the kingdom of Panchal. But here, there were


two distinct groups. Duryodhan, his brothers and Karna formed one
group. Duryodhan wanted to corner the entire glory of capturing
Drupad and fulfilling the gurudakshina all for himself. He was sure
that defeating Drupad would be an easy job. For their part, the five
Pandav brothers under the leadership of Yudhishtir rode separately
in their chariots. The Kaurav army marched behind, accompanied
by Drona.
As they neared the borders of the Panchal kingdom, Arjun
slowed down and said to Yudhishtir, It will be impossible for the
Duryodhan and his brothers to defeat the mighty Panchal king and
his army. They will certainly fail. Let them march ahead and do what
they want first. When they get a beating, we shall then enter the
fray and take care of Drupad. This advice appealed to Yudhishtir.
He instructed his battalion to stay away form the initial conflict.
Duryodhans group rushed at and fell upon the Panchal army.
There was little discipline or plan in their attack. The response of
the Panchals was so severe that the Kaurav army was badly beaten
back and began to flee. Then the mighty warrior Drupad himself
entered the fray. The Kaurav princes could only retreat; Duryodhan
was beaten while Karna was badly defeated. Panchal soldiers soon
surrounded both of them. The attack thus ended in a complete disaster for the Kauravs.
Arjun had clearly anticipated all this. Under his instructions,
the five Pandav brothers now moved ahead. They ordered the fleeing Kaurav soldiers to regroup and come back into the fray. Bheem
with his gada, and Arjun with his mighty bow now proved unstoppable. Nakul and Sahadev also moved ahead protecting Yudhishtir.
Very soon, Arjun demolished Drupads bow, shot down his flag, killed
his horses and smashed his chariot. He then leapt forward and took
Drupad captive, bringing him to his Guru Dronacharya.
Drona ordered Drupads release and spoke to him: Dear
friend Yagyasen, today my disciples have defeated you in battle.
Smt. Suman S. Gulvady, Mahim
&

Your kingdom, army, wealth and prosperity are all mine now. I hope
that you shall have no objection to having me as your friend since
according to you; only a king can be a friend of another king. However, I shall return half your kingdom to you and keep the other half
with me. The areas to the north of the Ganga will be mine while you
can rule over the remaining southern part. My foremost pupil Arjun
has today fulfilled his gurudakshina and I now release all my disciples from Gurus debt. Drupad hung his head and was forced to
accept this humiliation.
Thus, barely into their adolescence, the Pandavs won a major military victory against a powerful kingdom like Panchal. They
also proved their clear ascendancy over their cousins, i.e. the sons
of Dhritarashtra.

*****
13. The Varnavat Conspiracy
The power of the Pandavs as well as their popularity among
the people of Hastinapur was increasing with each passing day.
Dhritrashtra was forced to make Yudhishtir the crown prince. After
all, he was the late King Pandus eldest son and had the legitimate
right to sit on the throne after his father. While this made Duryodhan
burn with jealousy and hatred, Dhritarashtra too worried about his
sons future. Already blind with attachment for his wicked son,
Dhritarashtra made no attempt to stop Duryodhan from doing evil.
None of Duryodhans plots to get rid of the Pandavs had
worked. Repeated failures only made him more frustrated. The evil
foursome i.e. Duryodhan, Dushasan, Karna and Shakuni now decided that the Pandavs had to be finished for good, somehow, anyhow. They also wanted to ensure that the Pandavs should be sent
away from the capital so that their uncle Vidur would not be able to
come to their aid.
Duryodhan guardedly revealed his intentions to his father.
Dhritarashtra too desired the exit of his late brothers sons, but dared
Smt. Kanchan Mohan Honawar, Mahim
'

not openly voice his intent. Duryodhan took his fathers silence to
be his consent and began implementing his foul plan. He summoned
his trusted minister, Purochan and asked him to construct a grand
palace in a town called Varnavat, which was some distance away
from Hastinapur. This palace was to have only one door for entry.
Purochan implemented his masters order to the letter. A grand
palace soon came into being at Varnavat. But it was constructed of
lac, wax, wood, oil, ghee, fat and other highly combustible materials. Duryodhan then ordered Purochan to proceed to Varnavat and
await the arrival of the Pandavs. He told Purochan, Win the trust of
the Pandavs and at the opportune moment set fire to the palace
while they are asleep in it.
Meanwhile, Dhritarashtras ministers had started praising
Varnavats beauty and its festivals in Yudhishtirs presence.
Dhritarashtra too suggested that the Pandavs along with their mother
Kunti should visit Varnavat for a change of atmosphere. Yudhishtir
and his brothers immediately understood that the Kauravs wanted
them out of the way. But they decided to go along with the plan to
uncover the real intentions of the Kauravs. Vidur too, sensed that
another sinister plot was afoot. When the Pandavs set out from
Hastinapur, Vidur warned Yudhishtir in coded language to be careful. Vidur also sent his own spies to Varnavat and came to know
what was being plotted.
The Pandavs reached Varnavat and met all the citizens of
that town. They then closely inspected the palace of wax that had
been specially built for them. It was apparent to Yudhishtir and his
brothers that this was Duryodhans trap to murder them all. The
Pandavs decided to implement their own strategy. Under the pretext of hunting, they ventured deep inside the forest and secretly
memorized all the paths. Bheem in particular, was extra vigilant.
Purochan was pleased that his plan was working.
One evening, Kunti and her sons were engaged in private
conversation when an unknown person approached Yudhishtir and
said, Mahatma Vidur has sent me. His suspicions about the plot
Shri. Satyaprakash Gupta, Dadar
!

being hatched by Duryodhan are true. Purochan plans to set fire to


this palace after a grand ceremony on the Trayodashi (thirteenth
day) of the dark half of this month. I am an expert in digging tunnels.
I shall dig a secret tunnel in the jungle and connect it to one of your
inner rooms in this palace through which you all must make good
your escape. Mahatma Vidur has asked you all to be very alert and
vigilant now as the time approaches. At the appointed hour, you
shall also find a boat waiting for you on the banks of the Ganga.
Vidurs secret emissary left hurriedly to begin his work. The
Pandav brothers immediately decided, We will set fire to this house
a few days before Purochans planned day and escape through the
underground tunnel. The problem is to arrange for six burnt human
bodies to convince Duryodhan of our death, but we shall leave this
to fate.
Vidurs agent did his job expertly and at a fast pace. The
secret tunnel opened beneath the floor of one of the inner rooms of
the palace in such a way that it was not visible. Purochan could not
suspect anything. Bheem was supervising their escape plan and
once again made sure of the paths in the jungle.
The Pandavs organized a feast three days before Trayodashi,
the night Purochan intended to carry out his evil plot. All Varnavat
was invited and thousands of citizens arrived at the wax palace to
partake in sumptuous food being served by Kunti and her sons. As
luck would have it, a Shabar (a forest tribal community) woman and
her five sons also arrived to have a free meal. Not only did they stuff
themselves to their stomachs content, but they also had brought
their own wine with them, which they gulped down after the feast.
The Shabar woman and her five sons had drunk so much that they
could not get up from their seats. They soon fell unconscious where
they were seated. Purochan too, was completely drunk and was
fast asleep in another room.
The sun had now set and it was night. The last guests had
left. There was an eerie silence. Purochan was snoring aloud. The
Pandavs and their mother had to move fast. Kunti, followed by

Sahadev, Nakul, Arjun and Yudhishtir opened the door of the secret
tunnel and stepped down. Bheem stayed back. As soon as his mother
and brothers had reached the other end of the tunnel, he first set
fire to the room where Purochan was asleep. Bheem lit the room
from all four sides. The mighty son of Vaayu then proceeded to set
fire to the entire palace, which burst into flames immediately. Because of the combustible materials. In no time at all, the palace
became a raging inferno. Then Bheem hurriedly entered the secret
tunnel, shut the door firmly and raced away to join his brothers and
mother. Above, the palace burnt ferociously. There was no escape
for Purochan. He had planned to kill the Pandavs and make it look
like an accident, but was trapped in his own plot and died a horrifying death.
The Pandavs emerged deep inside the forest. All their efforts
at familiarizing themselves with the forest and its ways now paid off.
Vidur had arranged for another of his agents to ferry them across
the Ganga by a powerful boat. This agent took Kunti and her sons
across the river and returned to Hastinapur secretly. The Pandavs
then went into a much deeper and more dangerous forest. They
were walking very fast. They wanted to be completely safe from
Duryodhan or his spies.
Meanwhile, all of Varnavat suddenly awoke at midnight to see
the Pandav dwelling on fire. The citizens rushed to spot wailing and
screaming. Many tried to put out the fire by trying to pour water into
the flames, but it was to no avail. The flames were so huge and
spread such tremendous heat that no one could even venture near.
The fire raged all night and reduced the Lakshagriha (wax palace)
to a heap of ashes. It was only at dawn that the last of the flames
slowly died out, leaving behind a mountain of red-hot ashes and
charred remains.
After the fire died out, people started searching for the
Pandavs. Vidurs agent, the tunnel digger too joined in the search
and very cleverly, blocked the tunnel entrance with mud and ashes
so that no one could even guess what might have taken place. The

Shri. Kolhatkar, Dadar

Daksha Narendra Chitroda, VileParle

!

people saw that the fire had destroyed everything. All that remained
were seven burnt bodies. One was Purochans and as for the others, people could only identify them as a lady and five males. Kunti
and her sons were thus assumed to have perished in the fire. The
grieving citizens openly accused Duryodhan and Dhritrashtra for
murdering the Pandavs and their mother.
Hastinapur reacted as if struck by lightning when this grievous news reached the capital. Hastinapur loved the Pandavs dearly;
people openly accused Duryodhan of conspiring to kill his cousins.
The entire kingdom wept for Kunti and her sons. Bheeshmas grief
was beyond bounds. Dhritrashtra was secretly relieved that the chief
obstacle to his own sons ambitions had perished. But he made a
big drama of being sad at the demise of the Pandavs. Duryodhan,
Dushasan, Karna and Shakuni were of course, simply overjoyed.
They could not even hide their elation. Dhritrashtra carried out all
the traditional rituals for the Pandavs and gave away alms on this
occasion. Only Vidur knew the truth. But he too joined in all the
rituals and show of grief so as not to arouse anyones suspicions.

*****
14. Ghatotkach is born
The Pandavs meanwhile had penetrated deep into the forests. This was an area where no human being dared venture. These
jungles were the homes of ferocious beasts and Rakshasas (demons). Yet the Pandavs just kept going deeper and deeper into the
woods. They wanted to be as far away as possible from Hastinapur.
Yudhishtir said to Bheem, Bheem, you are the mightiest amongst
us. Your speed rivals that of the wind. Do therefore carry us on your
shoulders.
Bheem placed Kunti on his shoulders and clasped Nakul and
Sahadev to his sides. Yudhishtir and Arjun firmly clung to his mighty
thighs. The powerful son of Vayu now stormed ahead into the forest. His speed was like that of the wind itself. Tree branches and

trunks collapsed at the touch of his body, making way for them.
Bheem strode ahead in this manner for two full days. He strength
knew no fatigue, but his mother and brothers were now at the end
of their endurance. They had not eaten or even slept for days together now. Finally, they rested under a huge tree deep somewhere
in the forest. As soon as they set foot upon the ground, they dropped
off to sleep, unable to control their fatigue any longer.
A ferocious man-eating Rakshas called Hidimb ruled this particular part of the forest. His sense of smell detected the arrival of
humans into his domain. He ordered his sister Hidimbaa to find out
where these human beings were, kill them and bring their flesh to
him. Hidimbaa was just like her brother and quickly reached the
spot where Kunti and her sons were asleep. Bheem stood guard
over them. Hidimbaa was smitten by Bheems personality. His tall
and huge frame, broad shoulders and rippling muscular structure
and his handsome appearance captured her heart, She wanted to
marry Bheem. So, Hidimbaa assumed the form of a beautiful damsel and approached Bheem and pleaded with him in a sweet voice,
O handsome one! My brother Hidimb, who is the master of this
forest wishes to make a meal of you all. But I have surrendered my
heart to you after setting eyes on you. My demonic nature has disappeared. Marry me and accept me as your wife. I shall guide you
and your mother to safety.
Meanwhile, Hidimb, who wanted to feast on human flesh, was
getting irritated at his sisters delay in returning. He decided to go
and find out for himself as to what the matter was. When he saw
Hidimbaa in the guise of a beautiful woman engaged in sweet talk
with Bheem, he understood what the matter was. Roaring loudly, he
rushed at Bheem, who caught hold of the Rakshas by one hand
and dragged him to another spot so as not to disturb his brothers
and mother as they slept.
Bheem and the Rakshas Hidimb were now locked in a deadly
duel. Their roars shook the forest and also woke up the Pandavs.
They were surprised and disturbed at not finding Bheem there, but

Shri. Kamalsibhai Makwana, VileParle

Mr. P. Solanki, Dahisar

!!

!"

a beautiful lady instead. Hidimbaa briefly explained to them what


was happening, and all of them rushed to the spot where Bheem
and Hidimb were locked in combat.
After a while, Bheem easily lifted the huge Rakshas and whirling him above his head, dashed him to the ground with great force.
Bheem then twisted Hidimbs neck. Yelling loudly and vomiting blood,
the demon perished.
Seeing Hidimbaas affection towards Bheem, Kunti consented
to their marriage. She also imposed a condition that Bheem would
spend half his time with her, as the Pandavs needed him. In due
course of time, Hidimbaa and Bheem gave birth to an extremely
powerful son. His head was smooth without a single hair on it. He
was named Ghatotkach. The Pandavs rejoiced at his birth.
After Ghatotkachs birth, it was time for the Pandavs to move
ahead. Bheem took leave of his beloved Hidimbaa with a very heavy
heart, promising to meet her once again. The Pandavs and their
mother proceeded ahead on their journey to safety.

*****
15. Bheem slays Bakasur
The five Pandavs and Mother Kunti entered a village called
Ekchakranagari and took shelter in the house of a Brahmin. The
Pandavs too assumed the guise of Brahmins and wandered the
village, begging for their daily food. While four brothers spent the
day out, one bother would remain in the house to safeguard Kunti.
The brothers took turns in this routine. One day, while it was Bheems
turn to stay at home with Kunti, both heard the sound of loud wailing
and sobs. It appeared that their hosts were in some deep trouble.
Kunti stood by the adjoining rooms door to try to hear what
was being spoken. At the opportune moment, she stepped forward
to ask them what the matter was, but the hosts were reluctant to
reveal anything. When Kunti persisted, the brahmin replied, sobbing, O virtuous lady! Ekchakranagari is a cursed place. A terrible

Rakshas called Bakasur rules this small town. Earlier, he used to


enter the village anytime he pleased, raiding and plundering, carrying away people to eat them alive. Unable to withstand his atrocities, the people of this town made an agreement with this Rakshas
whereby everyday, a buffalo cart full of food driven by one human
being would be sent to his cave to be devoured. In return, the
Rakshas promised not to enter the town and cause wanton destruction. Each family has to send one of its members by turn to the
Rakshas. According to this agreement, tomorrow is our familys turn.
One of us will have to die at the hands of Bakasur tomorrow.
When Kunti heard this she said, Do not worry in the least.
Tomorrow, it will be my second son who will take food to the cave of
this Rakshas. Make arrangements for the buffalo cart and the food.
My mighty son is not only an expert in wrestling but has also mastered many divine powers. He can easily defeat any demon, howsoever powerful he may be. He will soon free this town from its peril.
The next day, late in the afternoon Bheem set out with the
buffalo cart full of foodstuff, with the blessings of his mother and the
Brahmin couple. After reaching
a spot outside Bakasurs hideout, Bheem began consuming
the food himself. As usual, his
great appetite more than did justice to the foodstuff.
Bakasur smelt the arrival
of a human being and understood that the days quota had
arrived. But when he came out
and saw Bheem merrily eating
the food meant for him, his anger, already inflamed because of
his hunger became uncontrollable. He rushed forward and delivered a mighty kick on Bheems

Shri. Anirudha Parmar, Dahisar

Mrs. Nikita Parmar, Dahisar

!#

!$

back. It did not have any effect on Bheem. Bakasur now started
raining blow after blow upon Bheem, who held Bakasur down firmly
with his left hand and continued eating with his right hand. After
completely finishing the food, Bheem finally got up. He had decided
it was time to finish the Rakshas as well.
It was no contest at all. Bakasur, yelling and roaring, was hoping for an easy victim but soon found out that this newcomer was far
different from the helpless humans he had devoured earlier. Bheem
played with the Rakshas for a while and finally lifted him above his
head and brought him crashing to the ground. The fight had gone
out of the demon. Bheem broke his back and put an end to the life
of the Rakshas who had terrorized the innocent for long. He then
put his corpse in the cart and reaching the villages outskirts, placed
Bakasurs body at the gates. Bheem quietly entered the house and
narrated everything to his mother and brothers and the worried Brahmin family before going off to sleep.
In the morning, all of Ekchakranagari was simply stunned to
see the dead body of Bakasur, beaten out of shape. People gathered in crowds to see this miracle, scarcely believing that their small
town was at last freed from the Rakshasas reign of terror. They
started making enquiries as to who was their saviour. In order not to
become the focus of attraction of people, Kunti and the five Pandavs
hurriedly quit Ekchakranagari. They could not afford to be recognized by anyone.

*****
16. The Swayamwar of Draupadi
After leaving Ekchakranagari following the slaying of Bakasur
by Bheemsen, the Pandavs reached Utkochak Teerth, which was a
more secluded place. Very few people came there. Maharshi
Dhaumya, a leading disciple of Bhagwan Vyas met them there and
informed them that according to Ved Vyas instructions, he (Dhaumya)
was to be their chief priest. Acting according to his advice, the

Pandavs proceeded to the city of Kampilya, which was the capital of


the kingdom of Panchal, ruled by Drupad. They took shelter in a
potters house and stayed there in the guise of Brahmins, begging
for their food.
King Drupad of Panchal had been defeated and humiliated
by Dronacharya and deprived of half his kingdom. In order to take
revenge on Drona, Drupad had performed a powerful yadnya to
beget a mighty son who would be able to slay Drona. Out of Drupads
yadnya were born the valourous Dhrishtadyumna and the beautiful
Draupadi. When the Pandavs reached Kampilya, Drupad was busy
in preparations for Draupadis Swayamwar.
The place where the Swayamwar was to be held was splendidly decorated. King Drupad sat on a resplendent throne, accompanied by his ministers, courtiers and army. Separate arrangements
were made for guest kings and princes and for the citizens. The
Pandavs, in the guise of Brahmins, arrived and took places where
most priests and rishis were seated. Kshatriya kings from all over
India had been invited for the Swayamwar and they too occupied
their royal seats. Hastinapurs prineces, including Duryodhan and
his brothers plus Karna, had also arrived. Among the other guests
were Shree Krishna and his elder brother Balaram, who immediately recognized the Pandavs from afar. Krishna knew that the
Pandavs had escaped the attempt on their lives at Varnavat and
were safe.
The Swayamwar hall had a pond placed in the middle, with a
pole erected in its middle. The pole had a rotating wheel on top of it
and above the wheel was the image of a fish. The condition of the
Swayamwar was that anyone wishing to win Princess Draupadis
hand had to hit the eye of the fish by looking at its reflection in the
water.
Crown prince Dhrishtadyumna led his beloved sister Draupadi
by hand to the Swayamwar hall. She was bedecked in bridal finery
and her beauty outshone that of even apsaras (heavenly damsels).
She held a fragrant garland in her hands. Dhrishtadyumna welcomed

Mrs. Prabhavati Rathod, Pune

Shubhachintak, Dahisar

!%

!&

the assembly of kings and princes and announced the Swayamwars


condition.
Many kings and Kshatriya noblemen stepped forward to try
their fortune but none could fulfil the near-impossible test. Many of
them could not even lift the heavy bow; the few who could manage
to do so could not string it. Drupads brow grew dark with worry;
Draupadis brothers Shikhandi and Dhrishtadyumna grew anxious
by the hour.
Duryodhan too was among the grand failures. After his humiliating exit, Karna got up and went near the bow. He picked up the
bow, strung it and was about to step forward to aim at his target,
when Draupadis razor-sharp voice rang out in the hall: I shall not
marry a sootputra (son of a charioteer).
Draupadis declaration stopped Karna in his tracks. He looked
up at the sky and then with an angry stare, threw down the bow and
went back to his place.
A hushed silence descended on the hall. No Kshatriya king or
prince was able to fulfil the Swayamwars condition. Finally, a youth
from the ranks of the Brahmins stepped forward. It was none other
than Arjun in Brahmin guise. He politely asked for permission to try
his hand with the bow, which was granted by Dhrishtadyumna. He
then picked up the mighty bow with ease and strung it without much
effort. Arjun then concentrated all his physical and mental energies
on the target looking at its reflection in the water. The next instant,
the arrow flew upwards from his bow and lo and behold! It was a
perfect hit! The eye of the fish above the rotating wheel was pierced.
The hall resounded to deafening cheers from Kampilyas citizens.
Draupadi, blushing repeatedly, garlanded him.
The assembled Kshatriyas could not tolerate an unknown Brahmin winning a Kshatriya princess, especially when all of them had
proven miserable failures. They rushed forward with their weapons
to fight Arjun. But Arjun was more than a match for all of them. Using
the same bow, he dispatched showers of arrows on them, forcing

them to beat a hasty retreat. The mighty Bheem also played his
part, uprooting a huge pole and scattering the attacking kings and
their guards like flies. Nakul, Sahadev and Yudhishtir safely escorted
Draupadi home. Karna, who had been rejected by Draupadi, fought
Arjun most bitterly, but he too had to retire, having failed to subdue
Arjun. Finally, Shree Krishnas intervention brought this encounter
to an end.

Late Karuna Luxman Vispute, Dahisar

Arvinda Vinayak Belsare, Mira Road

!'

"

*****
17. The Pandavs are married
The five Pandavs along with Draupadi reached home. Kunti
was inside. Yudhishtir called out to her, Mother, see what we have
brought.
Share it equally amongst yourselves replied Kunti still inside.
But when Kunti stepped out, she saw Draupadi dressed in
bridal attire standing beside Arjun. Kunti immediately realized the
mistake she had committed in uttering those words. She spoke to
Yudhishtir, who was the embodiment of Dharma. Son, I have spoken without realising the situation. But you know the shastras as
well Dharma. Find a way out whereby my words shall not be rendered false, at the same time ensuring that injustice does not take
place.
After a lot of deliberation, debate and arguments, it was finally resolved that all five brothers would marry Draupadi. Draupadi
too, agreed to this. Drupad sent a well-decorated chariot to the
potters dwelling where the Pandavs were residing, and summoned
them to the palace with due respect and ceremony. Dhrishtadyumna
gave them a grand welcome and took them to Drupad. Shree Krishna
and Balaram too were seated beside the king.
Yudhishtir addressed the king, saying, Maharaj! I am
Yudhishtir, the eldest son of the late king of Hastinapur, Maharaj
Pandu. These are my four brothers. The one who won your daugh-

ter Draupadis hand yesterday is Arjun. Following that, Yudhishtir


briefly narrated the events from their journey to Varnavat and their
escape, to their arrival at the Swayamvar. When the Panchal king
and his sons learnt that their beloved Draupadi was to become the
empress of Hastinapur, their joy was unbounded. They expressed
their desire to solemnize Draupadis marriage with Arjun that very
day. Upon this, Yudhishtir replied, O king! We have decided that all
five of us must marry Draupadi. My mother has commanded us to
do so and Draupadi too has willingly consented to this.
When Drupad and his sons heard this, they were shocked.
They objected to this condition in the strongest of terms. At that
very moment, Maharshi Ved Vyas appeared there. He convinced
King Drupad that his daughters marriage with all five Pandavs was
ordained by destiny. Shree Krishna too, persuaded Drupad and his
sons that Draupadis marriage to all the Pandav brothers was in the
best interests of everybody concerned. After much argument and
convincing, Drupad agreed.
At an auspicious moment, the marriage of Yudhishtir and
Draupadi was solemnized. Bheem, Arjun, Nakul and Sahadev too
were married to Draupadi in the following four days.

The evil foursome of Duryodhan, Dushasan, Karna and


Shakuni were gathered in Duryodhans palace chamber.
Duryodhans carefully laid plans had gone up in smoke. The Pandvas
had escaped unhurt. By winning the goddess-like Draupadi as their
wife the very powerful Panchal king Drupad had become their father-in-law and warriors like Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi were
their brothers-in-laws. The Pandavs were now supported strong by
relatives and allies. Very soon they would return to Hastinapur and
expose Duryodhans plots and conspiracies. What could be done
about the Pandavs? The four were discussing exactly that.

Karna was of the opinion that the Kauravs should make a


surprise attack on the Pandavs and finish them while they would be
busy in their marriage ceremony. Duryodhan was angry and confused. He desired the end of the Pandavs anyhow, but confronting
them now in open war was not possible. This discussion soon reached
the royal assembly, where Bheeshma and Vidur cautioned
Dhritarashtra against heeding the evil advice of people like Karna
and Shakuni. Bheeshma, in fact, condemned Dhritarashtra in angry terms: The Pandavs have been ill-treated by us till today. Let
us now take them back with honour and dignity. The kingdom must
be divided and the Pandavs must receive their rightful share. In this
alone lies justice.
Acharya Drona too supported Bheeshmas counsel and said
to Dhritarashtra, O king! Bheeshmas counsel is wise and just. Do
therefore dispatch a responsible emissary who is well versed in
speech and diplomacy to Kunti, her sons and Drupad with gifts and
courtesy. Send precious gifts to Draupadi, your daughter-in-law as
well.
The wise and virtuous Vidur too intervened and convinced
Dhritarashtra that the grandsires and the gurus advice was most
suitable and must be respected. Dhritarashtra was forced to respect Bheeshmas advice, much against his own wishes.
Accordingly, Vidur was sent as an emissary of Hastinapur. He
arrived in Kampilya with many precious gifts for the Pandavs and
the royal family of Panchal. Drupad gave Vidur a grand and befitting welcome. Dhritarashtras minister then requested the Pandavs
to return to Hastinapur. After consultation with Shree Krishna and
consent from their father-in-law Drupad, the Pandavs returned to
Hastinapur. Drupad sent them with royal honour. Hastinapur welcomed its beloved princes with great joy. People were relieved that
the Pandavs and their mother had escaped alive.
After a few days, Dhritarashtra called the Pandav brothers
and said, I love my younger brothers sons as much as I do

Shri. Pandurang B. Chowgule, Santacruz

The Memory Of Late Krishnaben J. Shah, Dahisar

*****
18. The division of the Kuru Empire

"

"

Duryodhan and my other sons. Let us forget the bitter events of the
days gone by and find a solution to this problem. I have decided to
divide the kingdom in two. You may take the territory of
Khandavprasth. Settle there and build a new kingdom and rule wisely
and well.
Yudhishtir agreed to this request of Dhritarashtra. On an auspicious date, the Pandavs, their mother and Draupadi left for their
new abode. Khandavprasth was the ancient territory of the forefathers of the Kuru Dynasty but lay abandoned for centuries now. It
was a dense forest area on the banks of the Yamuna, with no cultivation, infested with ferocious animals and robbers. Many noble
citizens, artisans, priests, learned scholars, and people from all walks
of life accompanied the Pandavs. Within a short time, the Pandavs
worked tirelessly to build a new and prosperous kingdom on the
desolate wasteland of Khandavprasth. They built a new capital and
renamed it Indraprasth ( Todays Delhi. The Pandav brothers are
the real founders of modern Delhi).
Indraprasth had huge impenetrable fortresses surrounded by
deep and wide moats with elaborate arrangements for its security. It
had wide and well-connected roads, well-developed markets, palaces with towering heights, beautiful gardens, natural places of scenic beauty in the vicinity of the kingdoms outskirts and was surrounded by dense forests. This new city and kingdom founded by
the Pandavs on the banks of the Yamuna was a heavenly sight to
behold. Their sheer enterprise created a heaven out of a dense
jungle. The arts and sciences, industry, trade and commerce and
above all, Dharma and spirituality flourished in Indraprasth. Artists
and scholars flocked to Indraprasth to prosper under the benign
rule of Yudhishtir. Learned scholars of the Vedas, rishis and munis
were pleased to live in this new kingdom. Indraprasth under Yudhishtir
soon became renowned for its prosperity, security and peace.

*****

19. Arjun acquires Subhadra


One fine day, Devarshi Narad arrived on a visit to and had
wide-ranging discussions with the Pandavs of the most Laying down
certain rules as to their mutual relations with their wife. According to
this, when one brother would be with Draupadi, none of the other
four brothers would enter that room. The one who breached this
condition would have to go on a pilgrimage for twelve years.
Once, Arjun had to break the rule set by the five brothers. He
therefore resolved to go on a pilgrimage for twelve years as atonement. Yudhishtir had to agree to it, unwillingly.
Arjun set out on his pilgrimage, going to Haridwar, Kalinga
and Vang. He then went and spent a couple of years at Bhagwan
Parashurams ashram, Arjun completed his pilgrimage when Shree
Krishna took him to Dwarka. One day, Arjun happened to see
Krishnas younger sister Subhadra and was smitten by her. He asked
Shree Krishna for Subhadras hand. Sensing Arjuns steadfast feelings for Subhadra, Krishna replied, The practice of a Swayamwar
is risky, I feel. One cannot be sure whom the girl will choose. Abducting the girl and marrying her is the best course for Kshatriya.
Arjun grasped the hidden message in Krishnas words. After
a few days, there was a grand festival at the Raivatak Mountains in
Dwaraka. Subhadra, along with her female attendants arrived for
worship of the family deity.
Shree Krishna secretly gave Arjun his divine chariot complete
with sophisticated weaponry for use. Arjun too arrived at the temple
at Raivatak Mountains in full battle gear. Before anyone could even
understand what was happening, he grabbed Subhadra, placed her
in his chariot and sped off.
News of Subhadras forcible abduction caused a great uproar in the Yadav assembly. While Balaram was highly enraged
Shree Krishna was quiet. Balaram condemned Krishna but Krishna
smilingly replied, Arjun has not only abducted our dear sister, but
also my very special chariot with its mighty bows and advanced weap-

The Memory Of Late Kamlabai Joshi, Sangamner

Anand Tiwari, Santacruz

"!

""

ons. He is great warrior and also the son of our own Aunt Kunti and
is entirely worthy of Subhadra. It is better that we bring both Arjun
and Subhadra back with dignity and honour and conduct their marriage with proper rites.
All agreed with Shree Krishnas advice. Yadav elders brought
Arjun back to Dwaraka with great honour and his wedding to
Subhadra took place in a grand manner. Arjun stayed for a year in
Dwaraka and then returned to Indraprasth after having completed
his twelve-year pilgrimage.

*****
20. The slaying of Jarasandh
Yudhishtir learnt of the Ashwamedh and Rajasooya yadnyas
conducted by great victorious emperors of yore and decided that in
order to formalize his status as an Emperor, a Rajasooya yadnya
must be performed. He put forth this proposal before the assembly.
His priests and advisors declared, Maharaj! No other ruler apart
from yourself is more qualified to perform the Rajasooya yadnya as
on today. Therefore, you may go ahead and perform this yadnya
without hesitation. But it would also be best to consult Shree Krishna
and obtain his advice and guidance before undertaking this yadnya.
Upon receiving Yudhishtirs message, Shree Krishna arrived
at Indraprasth. He wholeheartedly agreed with this idea but also
cautioned Yudhishtir saying: Although I dont foresee any opposition from the Kauravs or their allies, Jarasandh, the mighty emperor
of Magadh will certainly oppose our Rajasooya fiercely. Magadhs
strong and capable king, Brihadrath had no son. Once, a great rishi
Chandakaushik visited Magadh and blessed him by giving him a
mango that would yield an extremely powerful and valourous son
Brihadrath gave the mango to his two queens who shared one half
of the fruit each and later became pregnant. But alas! Each gave
birth to only half a male infant with one eye, one hand, half a trunk
and half a head, with both halves being born lifeless. Terrified, King
Brihadrath asked their attendants to throw the two human halves

outside the palace A Rakshasi called Jara smelt human flesh and
chanced upon the two halves of the infant. Curious, she joined both
halves and the infant boy came to life and started crying. The
Rakshasi took the baby boy and presented it to Maharaj Brihadrath
warded. Because Jara put him together, Brihadraths son came to
be named Jarasandh. He grew up to become a very huge, powerful
man. with awesome. Strenghth he is unconquerable by any weapon.
Jarasandh became the emperor of Magadh. To become immortal he is going to sacrifice a hundred kings. He has imprisoned
eighty-six kings till now. We have to defeat and slay Jarasandh. The
eighty-six kings imprisoned by him will be our permanent allies.
Jarasandh can be slain only in physical combat and only Bheem
has the strength to accomplish this. Therefore, myself, Bheem and
Arjun shall go and put and end to the evil Jarasandh.
Accordingly, Shree Krishna, Arjun and Bheem reached
Magadh in disguise and sought an audience with Emperor Jarasandh
and then revealed themselves to him. Shree Krishna spoke, O ruler
of Magadh! I am Krishna, son of Vasudev. These are Bheem and
Arjun, the sons of Pandu. We challenge you to a duel. Choose any
one of us. But it shall be a
--.f.
physical combat of wrestling
and will end only with the
death of one of the contestants.
'
,,c'~
Jarasandh
Said,
f ..
Krishna, you are not fit to
fight me. Neither Arjun is. He
chose Bheem. Jarasandh
then crowned his son I
Sahadev as Magadhs king J
r
and entered the arena. Both
were supreme experts in the
science of wrestling and
tested their superhuman

Dr. Sachin Tiwari, Kalyan

Smt. Swati Dhruv, Dadar

"#

"$

strength against each other. Their combat went on for thirteen days.
On the fourteenth day, Jarasandh showed signs of tiring. Sensing
that his end was near, Krishna picked up a blade of grass and split
it into two and threw them in the oposite directions. Bheem understood the signal, and picked up the tiring Jarsandh, whirled him
over his head many times and then dashed him to the ground. The
son of Vaayu then broke Jarasandhs back placed his foot on his
adversarys left foot and catching hold of his right foot, tore his body
in half and flung both pieces far apart in opposite directions. The
saga of the evil Jarsandh was over. Bheem emerged victorious.
Krishna immediately ordered the release of the eighty-six
kings imprisoned in Jarasandhs dungeon. They promised to render all assistance to make Yudhishtirs Rajasooya yadnya a success. Jarasandhs son Sahadev, formally coronated as Magadhs
next ruler.

were also invited and all were respectfully welcomed and taken care
of by Nakul. Yudhishtir welcomed each of them. Bheeshma and the
elders blessed him and wished his yadnya a grand success.
The Rajasooya yadnya now commenced in a serene atmosphere at the appointed hour.

*****
22. Shishupal meets his end

Preparations were complete for Yudhishtirs Rajasooya


yadnya. Yudhishtir undertook the vow of the yadnya. Each Pandav
brother chose one direction to carry out a victorious campaign to
compel other kings to accept the suzerainty of Yudhsihtir. Arjun went
northwards, Bheem eastwards, Sahadev set out in the southern
direction, while Nakul took care of the western direction. The four
Pandav brothers were victorious in their campaigns and subdued
kings and rulers who did not accept Yudhishtir as their emperor.
They also won great wealth for Indraprasth. The victory of the
Pandavs made them rulers of practically the entire world. Yudhishtirs
Rajasooya yadnya was now ready to be performed. Shree Krishna
came to Indraprasth for this yadnya. Kings and rulers who were
invited to this Rajasooya yadnya brought innumerable precious gifts
and limitless wealth with them as their mark of respect for Yudhishtir.
Bheeshma, Drona, Kripacharya, Vidur, Ashwatthama (Dronacharyas
son), Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, Duryodhan and his brothers, etc.

With great enthusiasm and jot, the citizens of Indraprasth,


sages and holy men, and the royal family members were engaged
in their respective tasks. The appointed hour for the Somyaag, an
important part of the yadnya, soon arrived. In this, Yudhishtir as the
host and the performer of the Rajasooya yadnya was required to
honour the invited kings. He had to choose the person to whom the
foremost worship was to be accorded. Yudhishtir turned to the
grandsire Bheeshma and asked, Grandfather, out of all these assembled kings, renowned for their greatness, intelligence and valour,
who is worthy of being worshipped first?
Bheeshma replied: Yudhishtir, I can think of none other than
Shree Krishna who is more worthy to be worshipped first. His presence brings divinity to this august assembly. He is your friend, philosopher and guide and is also the protector of this yadnya. Do
therefore accord the honour of first worship to Shree Krishna.
Yudhishtir was filled with joy and reverence when he heard
these words of his grandfather. He then proceeded to wash Shree
Krishnas feet with holy water and to the accompaniment of mantras, duly performed the worship of Krishna. Yudhishtir then presented Vaasudev with precious gifts as a mark of respect. Shree
Krishna accepted Yudhishtirs worship respectfully. The yadnya rituals were in progress when everyones attention was rudely diverted.
Shishupal, the king of Chedi, had risen from his seat and was in a
rage. The first worship of Krishna angered him beyond control.
Shishupal, a cousin of Krishna was also his sworn enemy and could
not bear to see him honoured thus. The king of Chedi in a loud and

Mrs. Nalini Puranik, Kurla (e)

Deepak Gupta, JVPD Mumbai

"%

"&

*****
21. The Rajasooya Yadnya

a raucous voice, completely forgetting the dignity of the occasion


started hurling abuse after abuse at Shree Krishna and the Pandavs.
Yudhishtir, you have deliberately insulted all the kings and
rulers present here. This coward Krishna is not worthy of any
honour.
Shishupal, burning with jealousy and anger, used extremely
uncivilized and foul language while abusing Krishna. Yudhishtir,
greatly disturbed at this, tried to pacify him with soft words at which
Bheeshma announced: Shishupal is a cousin of both Shree Krishna
and the Pandavs as their mothers are vasudevs sisters. But he has
always hated the Yadu clan. He was born with four arms and three
eyes, seeing which his father was about to throw him away. But a
voice from the heavens foretold that this boy would grow up to be
strong and powerful, he would be wicked. and that he in whose lap
Shishupals extra limbs and eye would fall away would also become
his slayer. The king therefore safeguarded his deformed son, asking every visitor to hold the child in his lap. When Balaram and
Shree Krishna went to Chedi to visit their aunt, Krishna took Shishupal
in his lap affectionately. The next instant the babys extra limbs and
eye disappeared. Shishupals mother knowing that Krishna would
be her sons slayer prayed for a boon that krishna would not kill
him. Shree Krishna promised his aunt that he would forgive one
hundred crimes of Shishupal. He has crossed his limit long back.
Hearing this Shishupal turned his vile tongue against
Bheeshma as well. But while all this was happening Shree Krishna
himself sat calmly in his seat. He narrated Shishupals wrong doings
and asked him to repent and cool down. But Shishupal, working
himself into frenzy now began to hurl the vilest of abuses against
Krishna.
Finally, Shree Krishna stood up and announced in his deep
and resonant voice: I have pardoned Shishupal on more than a
hundred occasions but he has crossed all limits of tolerance. Immediately there was a flash and Shree Krishnas forefinger shone
with the blazing light of his Sudarshan Chakra, which sped like light-

ening. Before anyone could realize what was happening, Shishupals


head had rolled off his shoulders. His lifeless body fell to the ground
with a thud.
After Shishupal was slain by Shree Krishna, there was no further obstacle to the completion of the Rajasooya yadnya. To the
accompaniment of Vedic mantras, Yudhishtirs coronation as the
Emperor of Bharat was formalized. The yadnya was successfully
completed. All assembled kings congratulated Emperor Yudhishtir
and Empress Draupadi.

Sonjuhi Malhotra, VileParle

Kamiyani Ajay Khanna, Navi Mumbai

"'

#

*****
23. Duryodhans Envy
Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Dhritarashtra and Vidur blessed
Yudhishtir and wished him well while leaving for Hastinapur.
Duryodhan, however, stayed back for an extra day, but was overcome by jealousy upon seeing the grandeur and prosperity of
Indraprasth. In order to forget his troubling thoughts, Duryodhan
roamed the central hall of the palace, the Maya Sabha. This was a
breathtaking piece of architecture. The pillars of the halls were studded with precious gems and stones, the walls were set in pure gold,
doors out of rare crystal. There was an artificial pond with fishes
and lotuses in it. Then he across what looked like a beautiful floor
with an exquisite carpet. Duryodhan strode upon it, but the very
next moment, there was a big splash. He had fallen into a pond. The
flooring was actually a concealed pond designed to look like a floor.
His clothes became wet. Duryodhan hurriedly scrambled out and
tried to exit through a door in front of him, but bang! It was not a
door, but only an illusion of a door carved in wall. At this moment,
Duryodhan heard the laughter of Draupadis maids. as also a comment Sons of the blind are blind too from Draupadi fun of him.
Duryodhans anger was now at its peak. He left the same day for
Hastinapur.
Duryodhan now knew no peace of mind even in Hastinapur.
The prosperity of the Pandavs, their triumphant achievements, and

the respect that all kings and princes accorded Yudhishtir increased
his hatred for them. He had never liked them since childhood and
today they had become the rulers of the whole of Bharat. Hio own
future looked doomed. This was Duryodhans twisted way of thinking. He could not tolerate his virtuous and kind cousins who meant
him no harm.
Duryodhan vented his innermost thought before the scheming and evil Shakuni, Uncle, I cannot tolerate the rise of the Pandavs
anymore. Let us attack and kill them and snatch their prosperity.
Dont be absurd, Duryodhan. The Pandavs are invincible in
war. But I have another strategy. Let us invite Yudhishtir to a game
of dice. No one can conquer me in this art. Dharmaraj Yudhishtir
cannot refuse this challenge. His kingdom will soon be yours. You
only have to arrange for permission from our king, said Shakuni,
with a vicious smile.
Duryodhan then pestered his father Dhritarashtra to invite
the Pandavs to Hastinapur. Dhritarashtra was well aware of his sons
evil intentions, but was helpless in his blind love for him and agreed
to invite the Pandavs.
Vidur, the embodiment of Dharma and fair play, tried to dissuade Dhritarashtra from going ahead with this dangerous plan,
but his Vidurs repeated pleas were in vain. Fate had something
else in store. Dhritarshtra yielded to his sons evil insistence. He
also ordered Vidur to go to Indraprasth to personally invite Yudhishtir
for the game of dice. Vidur reached Indraprasth with a heavy heart
and frankly told Yudhishtir what had been planned. The Pandavs
were both worried and angry. Everyone knew Shakunis renowned
cheating skills in dice as well as his capacity for foul play.
But despite the fierce opposition of his brothers and Draupadi,
Yudhishtir accepted Dhritarashtras invitation. He said, It is improper
for a kshatriya ruler to refuse an invitation for a game of dice. I
cannot refuse to obey Dhritarashtras command who is in the position of a father to us. I shall do as he says. Shakuni cannot dare to
commit foul in the presence of grandfather Bheeshma, Guru Drona

Mr. & Mrs. Shobha R. Duke, Kurla (E)


#

Subrai Shcnoy, Rey Road (E)

and uncle Vidur.


Yudhishtir accepted the invitation. He left along with Vidur, his
brothers and Draupadi for Hastinapur.

*****
24. The fateful game of dice
One day after their arrival at Hastinapur, Yudhishtir, along with
his brothers, came to the hall where the game of dice was to be
held. Kings friendly to Duryodhan, his hangers-on, Shakuni and
Duryodhans brothers too were present.
King Dhritarashtra, Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa and Vidur along
with other Kaurav elders also arrived. Yudhishtir announced, I have
immense wealth at stake and shall consent to play only against one
who also agrees to stake similar amount of wealth.
To this Duryodhan replied, I too am not lacking in wealth but
my uncle Shakuni shall cast the dice on my behalf.
Yudhishtir objected to this. But Shakuni taunted him saying,
Are you afraid to play?
Yudhishtir could not bear to back out of a challenge and the
game of dice now began. The atmosphere was heavy with tension.
The first stake was Yudhishtirs. He said, I offer my priceless-necklace as stake.
Keeping an eye on Yudhishtir and twirling the pair of dice in
his palms, the venomous Shakuni cast them on the board. He then
laughed aloud and shouted, I have won, I have won.
Taken aback, Yudhishtir offered trunks filled with gold coins
as stake. The throw of dice again favoured Shakuni who shouted,
I have won again.
Shakuni, an expert in cheating and foul play, could make the
dice obey his commands. Yudhishtir went on offering all his wealth,
chariots, elephants, as stake. Shakuni easily won all of them. It
seemed as if Yudhishtirs self-restraint had deserted him. Like a
man possessed by evil spirits, he went on playing and losing in this

GPA and Parents Shauti Devi Foundation Trust, Bandra (W)


#

desperate gamble.
The Kauravs were thoroughly overjoyed. The Pandavs sat
with their heads hung. The Kaurav elders like Bheeshma, Drona,
and Kripa sat helpless, not knowing what to say. Dhritarashtra was
secretly very happy at his sons success, but tried hard not to display it. The wise Vidur got up and pleaded with Dhritarashtra to stop
this gambling contest from continuing further, but Dhritarashtra paid
no attention to him.
Yudhishtir, meanwhile, had lost all sense of reason. He now
said, I now offer my entire kingdom of Indraprasth, excepting the
Brahmins living it.
Your kingdom is ours, Yudhishtir, roared Shakuni. The dice
had done its trick again. Yudhishtir and his brothers were shocked.
The hall was stunned.
Yudhishtir then offered his ornaments and robes and also his
brothers one by one and lost each one of them. Finally, he offered
himself and lost yet again.
The entire hall sat speechless. Shakuni taunted Yudhishtir
and said, O son of Kunti, although you have lost even yourself,
you still possess something which you have not lost, your damsel
like wife Draupadi. But Yudhishtir seemed as if he was in a trance.
He wagered Draupadi too.
Shakunis dice obeyed him again. I have won Draupadi too,
he shouted aloud.
The Kaurav royal assembly was shocked beyond belief. The
elders sat with their heads hung in shame. The silence was such
that one could even hear an ant move. Fear and tension gripped
the air.

*****
25. Shree Krishna rescues Draupadi
When Shakunis dice captured Draupadi too as the gambling
matchs prize, Duryodhan shouted to his charioteer in his loud voice,

Gupta Communication Centre, Kurla (E)


#!

Dr. Meena Kamble, Andheri

Pratikami, go an fetch that slave woman of ours.


Pratikami, Duryodhans charioteer went quietly with bowed
head and stood silently before Draupadis room. He could not lift his
eyes towards the queen of the Pandavs. He then narrated whatever had happened in the hall of dice and requested Draupadi to
proceed to the hall. At first, Draupadi could not follow what Pratikami
was saying. When things came clear to her, the proud Panchali
retorted, I shall not set foot in the hall of dice.
Pratikami was sent again but Draupadi was firm in her refusal
to obey the Kauravs. Duryodhan then commanded his villanous
brother Dushasan saying, this weakling Pratikami seems afraid of
Bheem. Go now and drag Draupadi here in whatever condition she
is.
Dushasan was only too glad to obey this command of his elder brother. He stormed into Draupadis room and addressing the
Pandav empress in uncivilised language, said, Come with me,
Panchali. Your husbands have become our slaves. We have won
you too. Your master Duryodhan has summoned you to the hall. So
come with me right now,
Draupadi retorted sharply, stay away Dushasan and desist
from this evil. I cannot appear before men folk like this. I have just
had my bath and will not step out of my room like this.
Dushasan smiled in an evil manner and said, Maids do not
have any shame or dignity. Dont waste time and come with me,
now. Dushasan grabbed the helpless Draupadi by hair and dragged
her to the hall.
Draupadi cried out for help loudly as soon as she reached
the hall. She saw her five husbands, who were unconquerable in
battle sitting helplessly. She cried out loudly: I see elders and gurus of the dynasty present in this assembly. Do they feel nothing
seeing such atrocity committed upon a lone and helpless woman?
Has the valour of true kshatriyas turned to dust? Have you all, descendants of the Bharat race, forgotten your duty of protecting wom-

Shri. Prasad A. Vaidya, Ggaon (W)

Shri. Vishwanath N. Mumbai - 71


#"

anhood? I ask all of you present in this sabha, if Yudhishtir had


wagered himself and lost, how could he possibly wage me. How can
anyone therefore claim to have won me?
Draupadis cries fell on deaf ears. The elders sat silent and
helpless. But Duryodhan, Dushasan and Karna and their friends
were enjoying her plight and congratulating each other.
Dhritarashtras sons were repeatedly calling her dasi, dasi (slavewoman). The learned and venerable elders like Bheeshma, Drona,
Kripa had no answer to Draupadis question: How can I be won by
the Kauravs when Yudhishtir having lost himself, head no right to
wage me?
Karna, who nursed hatred against Draupadi for being rejected
by her years ago, showed his lowly nature by instigating Dushasan.
A woman who has five husbands is not worthy of any respect. What
does it matter if she is clad or unclad? Its all the same. Dushasan,
remove this slaves clothes at once.
Dushasan, caught hold of Draupadis saree. Draupadis cries
would have shaken even a stone but not the hearts of the Kauravs.
Finding no hope of any human assistance, Panchali now fixed her
mind on the Supreme Almighty. She called out aloud: Lord of the
three worlds! O refuge of the weak! O saviour of the helpless! Shree
Krishna! I pray to you in this hour of distress. Save me from dishonour
and disgrace. O Lord of the entire universe! O Almighty God Himself! I surrender myself to Thee! Protect me, O Keshav, Madhav,
Govind, Gopal, Mukund, Muraarey! Shree Krishna, hundreds of
miles away in Dwaraka, heard Draupadis prayers in an instant. The
Lord of all Creation, ever present by the side of his devotees and
especially so in their hour of distress, rushed to Draupadis rescue
using his divine power of yogamaya.
Dushasan was pulling away at Draupadis saree even as the
people assembled there watched with horror. Draupadi stood in a
trance, her mind completely fixed on Lord Krishna, chanting,
Krishna! Krishna! Jai Shree Krishna! And lo and behold! A miracle
began to unfold. Dushasan pulled and pulled, but Draupadis saree

Karandikars (Private) Tutions, Vile Parle (E)


##

S. R. Joshi, Mulund (E)

was never-ending! Garment after garment appeared on Draupadis


body to fully cover her. Dushasan was pulling away like mad, but
the saree never ended. Not one inch of Draupadis body could be
exposed. Bhagwan Shree Krishna, the saviour of the pious and the
virtuous had come to the rescue of his devotee Krishnaa (Draupadi).
The awesome power of
the Lord, though unseen, could
be felt by one and all in the assembly. None of the Kauravs,
including Duryodhan, dared
move even a muscle. The five
Pandav brothers shed quiet
tears of gratitude as they remembered their Supreme
Friend and Benefactor who had
rushed to their rescue. Exhausted, Dushasan collapsed
upon the heap of sarees that
now filled the entire hall.
Bheem, stood up like an
elephant in fury, breathing ferocity. He proclaimed a terrible
oath: I shall tear apart the chest of this vile wretch Dushasan with
my hands and drink his blood, failing which I shall not reach the
abode of my virtuous ancestors!
Bheems terrifying oath sent shivers of horror throughout the
Kuru assembly.
Seeing the helplessness of Draupadi, Bheeshma, Drona, Vidur
and other Kaurav elders, Duryodhan taunted Draupadi, saying,
Your husbands have forsaken you. Marry one of us, Panchali and
be happy. Saying this, Duryodhan showed her his thighs in the
presence of everyone. Seeing this, Bheem roared again, You lowly
wretch. I shall smash both your thighs to pieces in battle and slay
you. The hall trembled at Bheems words. The howling of wolves

Smt. Seema J. Shetgen, Borivali (W)


#$

Miss Punya Shah, Santacruz (W)

and braying of donkeys could be heard in the distance, along with


other evil omens. It was clear that what Duryodhan had done today
was going to lead to the destruction of the Kurus one day.
Dhritarashtra reacted with some sense of reason. He was
afraid for his sons. He condemned Duryodhan and called Draupadi
to his side, soothing her and told her to ask for anything she wished
for. Draupadi immediately demanded that Dharmaraj Yudhishtir and
her other husbands to be freed from the result of the game of dice.
Dhritarashtra agreed at once and requested her to ask for more.
Draupadi demanded the kingdom of Indraprasth back, along with
all the weapons of the Pandavs. Dhritarashtra ordered likewise. Thus
the Pandavs got back what they had lost to Shakunis treachery.
Dhritarashtra then told Draupadi, I am pleased with you, dear
child. You are the best among my daughters-in-law.
Yudhishtir stood up along with his brothers and asked permission to leave. Dhritarashtra tried to pacify him too, saying, Dear
Yudhishtir, forget all that has happened. I know that you will not
bear any bitterness. Forgive Duryodhan, Dushasan, Shakuni and
Karna as a father forgives his children. Go back to Indraprasth and
rule wisely and well.
Yudhishtir bowed to Dhritarashtra and other elders. The
Pandavs and Draupadi left that shameful hall and prepared to depart for Indraprasth.

*****
26. The Pandavs depart for the forest
The world, it seemed to Duryodhan, was coming crashing down
on all his sides. He had trapped the mighty Pandavs, through deceit. And nownow those very Pandavs were completely free. Those
Pandavs would now be thirsting for revenge for humiliatlay Draupadi.
Bheem would not rest until he had fulfilled his row. Something drastic had to be done. But what?
Duryodhan and Shakuni hurried to Dhritarashtras chamber.

Shri. Umesh W. Shetty, Vikroli (E)

K. M. Harigavindan, Kandivali (E)


#%

Duryodhan came to the point straightaway: Father, by freeing the


Pandavs you have endangered our lives. Earlier there was only
jealousy between us, but after what took place today, they will be
out for our blood. Call Yudhishtir back for another game of dice.
The loser must agree to spend twelve years in exile in the forest
and the thirteenth year in hiding without being detected. If this condition is successfully fulfilled, he will get his kingdom back. Yudhishtir
is sure to lose this time too. I shall thus be able to grab the kingdom
and wealth of the Pandavs at no cost and increase my political power
and influence. After their return thirteen years later, even if I refuse
to return their kingdom, the Pandavs would have been weakened
politically and cannot challenge me. Shakuni also brainwashed his
brother-in-law with his evil advice.
Dhritarashtra was taken in by these arguments. Bheeshma
and Vidur opposed this madness but to no avail. Dhritarashtra sent
Pratikami to call back the Pandavs for a second game of dice.
Pratikami rushed after them and met them when they had travelled
some distance from Hastinapur. He conveyed Dhritarashtras message to Yudhishtir. Draupadi and his brothers fiercely opposed going back to Hastinapur, but Yudhishtir felt bound by Dhritarshtras
command and his own desire not to turn down an invitation for dice
since this did not befit a kshatriya.
The Pandavs came back to Hastinapur and sat down again
for a game of dice. The condition this time was clear: twelve years
of exile in the forest and one year of undetected stay. If detected
during the thirteenth year, the loser would once again have to endure twelve years of exile and another year of unrecognized stay.
Shakunis command over his pieces of dice proved unbeatable again.
Yudhishtir lost this time too.
The Pandavs cast off their royal dress and ornaments. They
donned dress made of the bark of the trees and tied their hair in
matted locks. They were careful to take their divine weapons with
them as they prepared to leave for the forests.
The Pandavs met Bheeshma, Drona and Vidur to seek their

Ku. Aarati R. Ramsinghani, Scruz (W)


#&

Sukhvinder Singh, Vasai (E)

blessings before departing. Hastinapurs air was thick with sorrow.


No one could speak or say anything at this great injustice that was
taking place before their very eyes. The elders prayed to God for
the safety of the Pandavs. Yudhishtir said: What we earned through
our efforts has been usurped by fate. But the world knows that I
underwent this atrocity only to respect the tradition of obeying a
fathers command and to uphold kshatriya dharma. With Gods grace,
we shall safely and successfully complete our period of exile and
come back to pay our respects at your feet.
Vidur said with tears in his eyes, Yudhishtir, I have no doubt
that you shall return after thirteen years to destroy your enemies
and establish truth and justice. Vidur made arrangements for Kunti
to stay in his dwelling while the Pandavs were in exile.
Before setting out for the forest, Bheem announced his resolve to kill all of Dhritarashtras sons. Likewise, Arjun swore to kill
Karna and Sahadev made an oath to kill Shakuni. The citizens of
Hastinapur came in huge crowds to the gates of the city, weeping
and wailing, singing praises of Yudhishtir and cursing Dhritarashtra
and Duryodhan. All Hastinapur grieved for the Pandavs.
Many bad omens appeared as the Pandavs left for the jungles.
There was an air of fear all around. Rishis and munis visited
Dhritarashtra and warned him that what had happened in Hastinapur
would bring about the destruction of not only the Kuru Dynasty but
also that of the kshatriyas. But these had no effect at all upon the
blind Dhritarashtra.

*****
27. Arjun obtains divine weapons
While the Pandav brothers and Draupadi were in the Kamyak
forest, Maharshi Ved Vyas visited them. Upon his advice, Yudhishtir
instructed Arjun to go to the heavenly abode of Indra, the king of
gods in order to obtain divine astras and shastras from the Devas.
Arjun set of for the Himalayas and reached the snowy

S. R. Paradkar, Mahim

Ramniwas Gupta Foundation, Scruz (W)


#'

Indrakeel Mountains. He immersed himself in severe penance, living only on fruits and leaves. One morning, an old and wrinkled
man appeared before him. This was Indra himself. After testing Arjun
and being pleased with his devotion and firm resolve, Indra revealed
his true form. Arjun asked his divine father for the invincible weapons of the Devas. Indra promised to give them to Arjun after the
latter worshipped Lord Shiva and obtained his grace.
Arjun immediately began penance unto Shiva. His tapasya
was very severe. Lord Shiva, Arjun to severe test by engaging him
in combat. Thereafter, pleased with Arjun, he his supreme weapon,
the Pashupatastra. also the power to achieve victory over any other
power, human, natural or supernatural.
After Shiva disappeared, Indra, Varun, Yama, Kuber and other
celestial Devas appeared before Arjun and gave him their respective weapons along with the complete knowledge of their use and
recall. Indra invited Arjun to heaven to receive other divine weapons. Accordingly, Arjun reached the abode of Indra.
Residing in Indras heaven for sometime, Arjun learnt many
secret weapons of the Devas. Indras Gandharv friend Chitrasen
taught him the art of dance and music. Arjun mastered these arts
too.
Arjun also had the opportunity to see the divine apsara
Urvashis dance in Indras assembly. He was struck by Urvashis
grace and beauty and gazed at her for long. Indra therefore sent
Urvashi to Arjuns palace. The captivating Urvashi arrived in Arjuns
room but he would not lift his eyes to meet hers. Instead Dhananjay
said, What can I do for you, O divine lady?
Hearing this, Urvashi was very angry, She demanded to know,
Whats all this Parth? The king of gods has sent me to you since
you were longing for me during my dance in his assembly. What do
you mean by this?
Arjun blushed when he heard this and said, O divine lady! I
respect you in the same way as I do my mother Kunti and Indras
wife Shachi. You are worthy of respect and worship. I was looking at

Smt. Leelavati Acharya, Ggaon (W)


$

Shri. Phatandas Ailani, Khar (W)

you the other day out of sheer respect and not with ay other intent.
Urvashi felt that Arjun had mocked her. She cursed him saying, You shall become a eunuch.
Arjun was highly worried when he heard this and approached
and told Indra what happened. Indra consoled him and said that the
period of this curse would not last more than one year. He also told
Arjun that this would be a boon in disguise as no one would be able
to recognize Arjun during the Pandavs stay in hiding during their
thirteenth year of exile.
Meanwhile, the Pandavs roamed many forests and holy
places, meeting rishis and munis and benefiting from their blessings. They then arrived at the Gandhamadan Mountains where Arjun
joined his family after his return from Indras heavenly abode.
The Pandavs were overjoyed when they learnt of the divine
weapons and capabilities that Arjun had obtained. They now possessed the power to fully avenge themselves of the insults and atrocities they had suffered over the years.

*****
28. Yaksha Prashna
Once, in Dwaitvan, the Pandavs were very thirsty on a hot
afternoon, having wandered far from their ashram. They rested
under a tree. Yudhishtir asked Sahadev to fetch water from any
lake or pond nearby.
Sahadev searched for a while and saw a clear pond nearby.
As he was about to touch the water, a voice spoke in a warning
tone: Stop. Do not touch the water. This pond belongs to me. Those
who drink water here without my permission will die instantly. Answer my questions first if you want to quench your thirst.
The surprised Sahadev looked here and there but could see
no one. He steeped forward to drink water, but once again the unseen voice stopped him. Sahadev then saw a stork at some distance speaking in a human voice. He ignored this being out of sheer

Shri. Janardan Kari, Ggaon (W)

Smt. Archana A. Samant, Ggaon (W)


$

thirst and took some water in his hands to quench his parched throat.
The next instant, Sahadev collapsed, unconscious.
When Sahadev did not return even after a lot of time had
passed, Yudhishtir sent Nakul, then Arjun and finally Bheem. But
none of them returned to Yudhishtir. Worried, Yudhishtir himself proceeded to the place and saw all his brothers lying lifeless. He was
shocked and stupefied when he saw this. Who had done this?
But when Yudhishtir looked more closely, he was puzzled. Their
bodies did not bear any wounds or marks of battle. There were no
signs of anyone else having come to that lake. What had happened?
Yudhishtir was also extremely thirsty and proceeded to the
lake to drink a little water. Immediately, the strange voice stopped
him as well. Yudhishtir saw the stork staring at him and realized that
this must be some celestial or demon in disguise. He replied, Im
sorry. I did not realize that this lake belonged to you. It is clear that
you are no ordinary being. If you have indeed caused my brothers
to fall unconscious, you cannot be any ordinary stork. Put your questions to me. I drink water only after answering your questions.
The next moment, a yaksh (a certain group of celestials, similar to the Devas) stood in place of the stork. He asked various questions on Dharma, virtue, proper conduct and philosophy to Yudhishtir.
Yudhishtir, whose wisdom was legendary, answered them all effortlessly.
Some of these questions were Like this.
Yaksha : Who is real friend of a peison ?
Yudhishthir : Courage
Yaksha : What makes a person more clever ?
Yudhishthir : Company of great people.
Yaksha : What is more precious than the Earth ?
Yudhishthir : The womb of a mother holding the child for nine months.
Yaksha : What walks faster than air ?
Yudhishthir : Mind.

Shri. Danesh R. Raut, Thane

Smt. Madhukanta N. Shah, Gkopar (E)


$

Yaksha : Which is the most despicable thing ?


Yudhishthir : Anxiety.
Yaksha : What is that thing which, when you loose, you are not
sorry ?
Yudhishthir : Temper.
Yaksha : What is more friendly / useful for a person who is dieing ?
Yudhishthir : His Chanilty. The soul travelling alone after death gets
company only of Charity he has made while living.
Yaksha : Which is the biggest vessel in the world ?
Yudhishthir : Earth. It holds everthing
Yaksha : Which thing makes you rich when you loose it ?
Yudhishthir : Greed.
Yaksha : Which is the biggest wonder on this earth ?
Yudhishthir : To feel that one is immortal. Everday a person sees
people dieing. Still the person thinks that he will not die or he should
not die.
Highly pleased, the yaksh said: I shall allow any one among
your brothers to come back to life. The choice is yours.
Yudhishtir answered without hesitation: Let my brother Nakul
arise again.
Surprised, the yaksh asked, Why Nakul? When you try to
regain your kingdom, Bheem of matchless might or the invincible
Arjun are more likely to be of use to you.
O yaksh, the pursuit of Dharma is more important than kingdoms or material wealth. My father had two wives, Kunti and Madri.
I, the son of Kunti am still alive. Similarly, Madris son too must live,
answered Yudhishtir without a moments hesitation.
The next instant, the yaksh vanished and in his place stood
none other than Yama, the deity of death and justice, who was also
Yudhishtirs divine father. He said, Dear son, I had deliberately done
all this to test you. Of course, all your brothers shall arise again. Do
ask me for any other boon.

Shri. Ketan Chheda, Ghatkopar (E)

Shri. M. M. Mehendale, Scruz (W)


$!

Yudhishtir asked, Bless us so that we may not be recognized


during our thirteenth year of stay in hiding. Yamraj blessed them
and disappeared.

*****
29. The Pandavs go into hiding
The Pandavs completed their twelve years of exile, braving
many dangers and hardships. They decided to make Matsya, the
kingdom of King Virat the place of their thirteenth year in hiding.
Before they left for Matsya, they decided what guise each of them
would adopt.
Reaching a forest near the borders of Viratnagar, the capital
of Matsya, the Pandavs found a shami tree in a desolate cremation
ground. They tied their weapons in a bundle and placed it atop the
tree so that it was not visible. Then they proceeded to the capital to
see King Virat as per their plan of action.
Yudhishtir approached the king first in the guise of a Brahmin. He greeted the king and said, My name is Kank. I am an expert
in the art of dice. I also possess experience in advising rulers in
statecraft and can be of assistance to you. Virat employed Yudhishtir
as his minister and courtier.
The towering Bheem then approached King Virat a few days
later and told him that he was an expert cook and could prepare
delicious dishes. Bheem introduced himself as Ballav and also told
the king that he could entertain him by wrestling with elephants and
bulls.
Nakul then presented himself by the name of Granthik, an
expert in horses and their breeding. It was then Sahadevs turn to
seek employment as Tantripal, an expert in cows and their breeding.
Arjun then came to Viratnagar and introduced himself as
Brihannala. Arjun was in the guise of a eunuch, as Urvashis curse
was in operation for a year. He informed King Virat that he was an

Shri. Phatandas Ailani, Khar (W)

Kum. Nupur M. Avasare, Ggaon (E)


$"

expert teacher of music, dance and the fine arts. Virat appointed
him for teaching music and dance to the royal ladies, especially his
daughter Princess Uttara.
After everyone had moved in Draupadi approached
Sudeshna, Virats queen in the guise of a maid by the name of
Sairandhri. She told the queen that she was well versed in the art of
make-up and decorating
hair. Sairandhri also told
Sudeshna that she was
married to five Gandharv
husbands, who guarded
her unseen. Her Gandharv
husbands would kill anyone trying to molest her.
The Pandavs thus
found a suitable place to
complete their thirteenth
year of exile to remain undetected. Ten months
passed without any noteworthy incident.
Queen Sudeshnas
brother Keechak, was the
commander-in-chief of
King Virats army He was a strong man. He was an extremely cruel,
lecherous and tyrannical individual. The king was forced to tolerate
his wrongdoings because of his wife Sudeshna, who was always
partial to him. One day, Keechak happened to glimpse Sairandhri
and was instantly captivated by her sheer beauty. He started pestering Sairandhri to marry him and when his entreaties had no
effect, started threatening her. Finding her unyielding, he asked his
sister Queen Sudeshna to send Draupadi to his chamber under the
pretext of some work and then chased her. Sairandhri escaped his
clutches and ran towards the royal assembly with Keechak in hot

Trimurti Printpack, Andheri (W)

Shri. Shivram (Appa) Joshi, Dadar


$#

pursuit. In the presence of King Virat and his court, Kank and Ballav
who were also present, the drunk Keechak kicked her, causing her
to tumble to the floor. Bheem had to make a superhuman effort to
control his rage. Yudhishtir cautioned him using coded signs not to
do anything hasty and reveal their identity. There were but a few
days left of their period of undetected stay in their thirteenth year.
But Draupadi was in no mood to tolerate this insult. She secretly went to Bheems kitchen at midnight and woke him up and
poured her hearts grief to him. Bheem really loved Draupadi no
end. Both then planned that Keechak should be invited by Draupadi
to the dance hall the following night as the place would be deserted
after sunset. Bheem would go there in disguise and lay in wait for
the villainous Keechak.
The next day, Keechak was pleasantly surprised when he found
Sairandhri to be very friendly towards him. He was in the seventh
heaven of delight when she actually invited him for a secret meeting
at the dance hall after dark. Keechak was simply thrilled. At night,
Keechak reached the appointed place, highly eager to capture his
new victim. He saw a sitting figure fully covered with a very long
sheet of cloth. Thinking that Sairandhri was waiting for him under
that sheet, Keechak bolted the hall door from inside and rushed to
where the figure was sitting and grabbed it. Alas! It was not the soft
touch of any beauty as Keechak had imagined but the iron frame of
Bheemsen, who sprang like a mighty lion upon a helpless prey.
Keechak, though physically strong, was no match for the huge
Bheem. The son of Vaayu reduced Draupadis molester to a pulp of
human flesh, punching his body totally out of shape. He then threw
the mass of human flesh somewhere in the hall, quietly returned to
the kitchen and told Draupadi everything. She waited for a few hours
and then informed the guards and told them that her Gandharv
husbands had killed Keechak as punishment for tormenting her.
Next morning, all Viratnagar was stunned upon hearing news
of Keechaks slaying.

Smt. Bhavana Dal, Bandra (W)

*****

Shri. Vishwanath Joglekar, Ggaon (E)


$$

30. The Pandavs complete their exile


Duryodhan was desperate. His spies had roamed the earth in
search of the Pandavs and had returned empty-handed. The thirteenth year had a few days left to expire and he wanted to find out
the Pandavs and send them back to the forest. As the stipulated
period neared its end, Duryodhan received news that Keechak, the
mighty commander-in-chief of the Matsya kingdom had been slain
by a powerful man. Duryodhan immediately reckoned that none other
than Bheem could have done this.
Susharma, the king of the Trigart kingdom had been defeated
many times by Virat, on account of Keechaks strength. He now
glimpsed an opportunity to have his revenge; especially that Keechak
was no longer alive. He put forth his plan to Duryodhan, according
to which Susharma would attack Matsya from the south, while
Duryodhans Kaurav army would invade Viratnagar from the north.
Susharma assured Duryodhan that they would be able to lay hands
on a lot of wealth and cattle. Duryodhan also hoped to find the
Pandavs in Virats place.
The plan was put in action. Susharma and the Trigartas invaded with their army from the southern direction, looting and plundering. King Virat went out with his army to meet this challenge. The
Pandavs, Yudhishtir, Bheem, Nakul and Sahadev too accompanied
the Matsya army in their respective disguises. Arjun in the guise of
Brihannala stayed back.
The battle went badly for Virat and his army. Susharmas army
scattered them and Virat was surrounded by Susharmas warriors,
and was in danger of being taken captive. Yudhishtir then ordered
Bheem, Nakul and Sahadev to free King Virat. Bheem, Nakul and
Sahadev attacked Susharmas army and turned the Trigart victory
into total defeat. Susharma was taken captive and dumped him before Virat. After Susharma admitted his defeat before the Matsya
king, Yudhishtir asked Bheem to let him go. Virat was very happy
that his kingdoms wealth and its cattle were returned to him. Most

Shri. Rakesh Moghe, Ggaon (E)

Shri. Prasad Gondhlekar, Ggaon (E)


$%

of all, he was relieved that he was himself safe and sound and praised
Kank, Ballav, Granthik and Tantipal for having come to his rescue.
But another disaster had struck from the north. The entire
Matsya army had gone southwards to ward of the Trigart challenge.
The powerful Kauravs attacked the kingdom from the northern frontier. Virats son Prince Uttar alone remained to face this threat. Uttar
was still very young. In the presence of his sister Uttaraa and the
other ladies of the palace, he childishly boasted that if only he could
get hold of a proper charioteer, he would send the entire Kaurav
army packing all by himself. He boasted that he could defeat even
Arjun.
Sairandhri told him that Brihannala was an excellent charioteer as well. She had handled Arjuns chariot too. Brihannala was
ready and a chariot was ready to proceed to the battlefield. Uttar
picked up his weapons, donned armour to proceed with great pomp
and show. But when he reached the battlefield and actually saw the
Kaurav army, the young lads foolhardiness vanished. He jumped
down from his chariot and started running back towards the capital.
But Brihannala seized him and brought him back forcibly. She then
said, Dont worry kid. If you are afraid to fight then handle my chariot.
I shall do the needful.
Uttar was in no mood to listen to Brihannala. Let me go home,
he shouted. But Brihannala drove the chariot to the shami tree where
the Pandavs had hidden their weapons. She then told the prince,
Climb this tree and bring down the weapons of the Pandavs. Uttars
surprise knew no bounds when he first saw the renowned weapons
of the legendary Pandavs and then upon seeing Brihannala cast
off her appearance. It was not a she but a he. Arjuns period of
curse as a eunuch had ended. Uttar stood gaping with surprise and
joy. Arjun briefly narrated everything to him, picked up his mighty
Gaandeev and then blew his powerful conch, the Devdatt.
The Kaurav army that was proceeding towards them suddenly
froze in its tracks. There could be no mistaking whose bugle this

Smt. Dhanisha R. Garg, Shivsrusti

Shri. Atharva M. Gole, Badlapur (E)


$&

was. It was Arjun, no doubt about that. Argument began in the Kaurav
army that the Pandavs had revealed themselves before the thirteenth year was over. Bheeshma, Drona and Kripa were scholars of
astrology and clearly stated that as per the lunar monthly calculations, the Pandavs had successfully completed their thirteenth year
of undetected stay. Duryodhans evil gang of four was in no mood
to agree to this and wanted the Pandavs to go back into exile. Finally Bheeshmas statement settled the issue in favour of the
Pandavs.
Arjun was looking for Duryodhan who was meanwhile running
away from the battlefield. The huge Kaurav army that tried to obstruct Arjun was scattered by a never-ending shower of arrows that
poured from Arjuns Gaandeev. Dushasan was forced to flee with
wounds all over his body. Duryodhan was badly defeated. Karna
was simply blown Dronacharya and his son Ashwatthama were forced
to withdraw Grandfather Bheeshma, too fell unconscious after Arjun
used the Sammohanastra. Thus, the entire Kaurav army had been
badly routed. by Arjun single-handedly. He also asked Prince Uttar
to remove the upper garments of the Kaurav warriors as a mark of
their victory.
Arjun returned the chariot to the shami tree near the cremation ground and safely deposited his weapons. He re-assumed his
guise of Brihannala and strictly instructed Uttar to keep the events
of the day a close secret. He then took over the reins of the chariot
with Uttar in the main seat and both returned to Viratnagar.
Raja Virat meanwhile had already come back to his palace.
He was informed of the Kaurav invasion from the north and also
that Prince Uttar alone, accompanied only by Brihannala as charioteer had gone to meet the challenge. Before Virat could even recover his wits, news arrived that Prince Uttar had successfully driven
off the invaders and was returning to the capital in triumph. Virat
was filled with boundless joy at what he thought was the stupendous achievement of his young son. Just then, Uttar entered the
kings chamber. When Virat eagerly questioned him how he had

Shri. Manoj G. Kulkarni, Bandra (W)


$'

Shri. S. A. Viadya, Andheri (W)

defeated warriors of the stature of Bheesma, Drona and Karna


single-handedly, all Uttar said was, I did nothing of the sort, father.
A divine figure appeared to my rescue and it was he who singlehandedly routed all the Kaurav warriors and their army. He has disappeared but has promised to come soon and meet all of us.
The next day, the Pandavs and Draupadi cast off their disguises and sat on royal seats in King Virats assembly. Yudhishtir
occupied King Virats throne, seeing which the king was highly enraged. But Bheem stepped forward and explained that Yudhishtir
indeed had a right to sit on the throne, revealing the Pandavs real
identities. Virat, upon knowing the truth was overjoyed. He also came
to know that it was none other then Arjun who had save d Uttar and
his kingdom from the Kauravs.
King Virat proposed that Arjun marry his daughter Princess
Uttaraa. But Arjun rightly said that having taught her dance and
music, he was her guru and therefore in the position of a father to
her. He agreed to accept Uttaraa as bride for his young son
Abhimanyu. There was joy all around
Thus, the Pandavs successfully completed their twelve tough
years of forest life and one year of hidden stay.

*****
31. Karna - the Great Donor
Karna was invisible in war as he had divine kavach and
kundals on him. He had sworn to kill the Pandavs to please his
friend and master Duryodhan, to whom he was indebted for life.
Indra, the king of celestials, wanted to deprive Karna of his
kavach and kundals as he feared that they would give Karna undue
advantage in battle and put the Pandavs at risk. Indra was Arjuns
divine father and Soorya (the sun) had fathered Karna. Soorya
guessed Indras intentions and appeared before his son and warned
him, Son, tomorrow, Indra shall appear before you to ask for your
kavach and kundals. You must refuse him.

Smt. Sabita R. Malkani, New Delhi

Smt. Bharti J. Hegde, Bandra (W)


%

But Karna replied O lord! If the king of gods himself asks me


for something, how can I refuse him? It is my vow not to refuse
anyone in need who asks me for something. Let me become renowned by granting Indras wishes
A day later, Indra appeared before Karna in the guise of a
Brahmin and asked for his kavach and kundals. Karna bowed to
him and said, Lord of the Devas, I consider myself truly blessed
today. The ruler of celestials himself has come to my door as a
needy person. But you must grant me a divine weapon in return
that will destroy my most formidable enemy.
Indra replied: Karna, you shall attain lasting fame as a
daanveer (renowned for donating anything). Radheya, I give you
my special weapon called the Vaijayanti. This will claim the life of
anyone upon whom it will be used. But it can be used only once,
after which it will come back to me.
Karna pulled off his kavach and kundals and handed them
over to Indra and received the Vaijayanti weapon in return. He thus
became renowned as a danveer.

*****
32. The clouds of war gather
After completing their thirteen years of exile, the Pandavs left
Viratnagar and moved to a place called Upaplavya in the Matsya
kingdom. They had successfully completed the conditions of their
exile. The time had come to demand their kingdom back. Their friends
and relatives arrived from all over the country for Abhimanyus marriage to Uttaraa, Virats daughter. After the marriage, Shree Krishna,
Balaram and other relatives assembled to discuss the future course
of action. Krishna proposed sending an emissary to Dhritarashtra
to demand that the Pandavs be returned their share of the empire.
King Drupad of Panchal said: Duryodhan is not going to quietly
return the Pandavs kingdom. As per my information, he has already started making preparations for war. Kshatriya kings and rul-

Bandra Hindu Association, Bandra (W)


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Smt. Neelam S. Patil, Worli

ers usually join them who invite them first. Let us therefore not delay for even a day
in inviting our allies and
well-wishers to join us. I
have no objection to sending our emissary to
Dhritarashtras court, as
Krishna has suggested. But
let us start making serious
preparations for war also.
Both sides spared no
effort to woo kings and warriors along with their respective armies from all over the
earth to join them. As coincidence would have it, both
Arjun and Duryodhan arrived in Dwaraka the same day to seek help from Shree Krishna.
Keshav was asleep upon his bed when both entered his room.
Duryodhan entered first and sat near Krishnas head. Arjun immediately followed him and sat at Krishnas feet in reverence. When
Krishna opened his eyes, he saw Arjun first, though Duryodhan
claimed that it was he who came first. But Krishna said that as he
had seen Arjun first, the latter had the right to choose first. Shree
Krishna then put forth his condition saying: I shall give my one
million-strong Naaraayani Sena to one of you. I shall join the other
side, but shall not take up any weapon. You are free to choose,
Arjun.
Arjun respectfully said: O Achyut! It doesnt matter whether
you take up arms or not, fight or remain inactive. I want you and you
alone, as you are. I have chosen you.
Duryodhan controlled his laughter with great difficulty. Arjun
had made a fools choice and had refused the million-strong Yadav

Shri. Mohanlal G. Rohira, Khar (W)


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Shri. Anand Gupta, Mumbai - 11.

army. Duryodhan could scarcely believe his good luck. These


Pandavs were real idiots, choosing someone who wasnt even going to fight. He made a show of thanking Krishna and hurriedly left
for Hastinapur. When they were alone, Krishna asked Arjun the reason for his choice. Parth replied: Keshav, victory and glory are
present only where you are. It does not matter whether you take up
arms or not. In the battlefield, the warriors best friend is his charioteer. Therefore be my charioteer and guide us to victory in the
coming Dharmayuddh. Shree Krishna said: So be it, Dhananjay.
Thus, Shree Krishna also became Paarthsaarthi (Parths charioteer, Arjun was Parth).

*****
33. Shree Krishnas peace mission
King Drupad had sent his family priest as an emissary to
Hastinapur to try and convince him of the need for a peaceful settlement. But Dhritarashtra evaded committing anything and instead
sent Sanjay to Upaplavya, instructing him to convince Yudhishtir to
forget the Pandavs rightful claim over their own kingdom.
But Shree Krishna, who was unbeatable in diplomacy, bluntly
told Sanjay: The greedy Duryodhan and weak-minded Dhritarashtra
do not seem to be in any mood to listen to good counsel and do
justice to the Pandavs. I shall personally go to Hastinapur and try
for a peaceful settlement to this dispute. If the Kauravs do not yield
and return half the kingdom to the Pandavs, then war will be inevitable.
As Krishna was about to leave for Hastinapur, he also carried
special message for Duryodhan from Yudhishtir: We accepted what
our uncle (Dhritarashtra) had given us without question and established the independent kingdom of Indraprasth. You must now return our kingdom to us as per the conditions of our exile or be ready
to face us in war. But I am also ready to settle for even five villages
to avoid war and bloodshed.

Shri. Sai S. Vartan, Ggaon (E)

Shri. Prakash V. Shirsat, Bhandup (E)


%!

Shree Krishna reached Hastinapur and paid his respects to


the Kuru elders. He then argued the Pandavs case forcefully and
with convincing arguments, narrating the sheer injustice meted out
to them right from their childhood, presenting evidences of the hairraising atrocities of the evil sons of Dhritarashtra. Though the
Pandavs were definitely much more powerful than Duryodhan, his
brothers and their friends, they suffered all atrocities for the sake of
Dharma and upholding their word. They genuinely desired amity
and wanted to avoid a showdown, but would not tolerate any further
injustice in the name of peace. Shree Krishna finally addressed
Dhritarashtra: O king! If the Pandavs do not get their due even
after repeated requests, they are certainly ready for war. Yet, they
are ready to accord the position of a father to you and serve you
with respect if you act justly and according to Dharma. Therefore,
consider everything carefully and do as you deem fit.
Duryodhan got up and shouted in a fit of rage, Krishna, you
are blaming us for everything. I am not in the least afraid of the
Pandavs and their threats. Forget five villages, I shall not yield them
even as much land as can be covered by the pointed tip of a needle.
I care not for the consequences.
Shree Krishna then said: You have usurped the Kuru kingdom through deceit. You also tried to dishonour your sister-in-law,
who is like your mother, in this very assembly. Your cup of sins are
now full, Duryodhan. Very soon, the world shall see you fallen in
battle, writhing in a morass of blood and slush. I had come here to
offer friendship and a peaceful settlement, but your arrogance and
evil advisors have made this impossible. War is now a certainty.
Shree Krishnas words were like the message of doom for the Kaurav
Dynasty.

*****

Shri. Harshadbhai J. Barot, Kashimira


%"

Shri. Sanjay Podar, Kalbadevi

34. The Kurukshetra War begins


Shree Krishna returned to Upaplavya and reported the events
of Hastinapur to Yudhishtir. There was no alternative left for the
Pandavs but to go to war. Kings and warriors along with their huge
armies had already started assembling on either side to take part in
the coming war.
Yudhishtir, appointed Draupadis brother and King Drupads
son Dhrishtadyumna as the supreme commander of the Pandav
armed forces. On the other side, Duryodhan requested the grandfather Bheeshma to become the commander-in-chief of the vast
Kauarav army.
At this time, Maharshi Ved Vyaas arrived at Hastinapur to visit
Dhritarashtra. The blind king was eager to know how the war progressed. Upon his request, Maharshi Vyaas bestowed divine vision
to Sanjay whereby he could actually see the events of the battlefield sitting in Hastinapur and narrate them to his king. When
Dhritarashtra asked the illustrious rishi which side would win the
war, Bhagwan Vyaas replied: Yato Dharmastato Jayaha meaning where there is Dharma, there shall be victory.
On the ancient plains of Kurukshetra, which was also known
as Dharmakshetra in the ages gone by, the Pandavs and Kauravs
had assembled for a trial of strength. The Pandav army totalled
seven Akshauhinis (ancient army divisions) in all, while the Kauravs
had gathered a force of eleven Akshauhinis. Both armies now stood
facing each other. Acting according to Shree Krishnas guidance,
Arjun first worshipped Goddess Durga and the Devas, prostrated
his divine chariot adorned with the emblem of Lord Hanuman and
ascended it after Shree Krishna.
Shree Krishna drove the chariot and placed it between the
two armies. Arjun, Gandeev in hand surveyed the Kaurav army that
stood before him, ready for combat. He wanted to have a glimpse of
the main warriors who he would have to tackle.
He saw his grandfather Bheeshma, his guru Drona, his ma-

Shri. Madhao Sahasrabuddhe, Ggaon (E)


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S. R. Paradkar, Mahim

ternal uncle Shalya (who had defected to Duryodhan), his first


teacher Kripa, his gurus son and childhood classmate Ashwatthama,
friends, companions, elders, teachers, brothers and cousins, just
about everyone he personally knew. Yes, they were all there today.
But for what? To shed each others blood?
Upon seeing his family members and kinsmen arrayed against
him, Arjuns senses began going numb. There was no doubt that
this Great War was going to consume millions of human lives. Arjun
was overwhelmed by grief at the thought that he would now have to
slay his own kith and kin. He would thus be responsible for the downfall of his family and race. killing my own brothers just for the sake of
a mere kingdom? He voiced his state of mind to Shree Krishna,
refusing to fight. Arjun placed his Gandeev aside and sat remorsefully in the rear of his chariot.
Bhagwan Shree Krishna, seeing his devotee and confidant in
mental distress, then came forth with his words of supreme wisdom.
Shree Krishnas solace to Arjun on the battlefield of Kurukshetra,
dispelling his mental illusions, inspiring him to perform his karma in
a spirit of selfless attachment is the Divine Shreemad Bhagwadgeeta
we all know and worship today, the greatest ever philosophy that
mankind has known. The Geeta, thousands of years after Shree
Krishna first narrated it to Arjun, continues to inspire, illuminate and
guide humanity even today.
Shree Krishna said: Your impression that you are going to
be the cause of death of your loved ones like Bheeshma and the
others is totally wrong, Arjun. The soul is neither born nor does it
perish. It cannot kill anyone nor be killed by anyone. The elements
cannot touch it and it is detached from the bodys travails. As one
discards old clothes and dons new ones, so too, the soul discards a
body worn out by age and enters a new one. What is born has to
die and what dies will be reborn again. Why then grieve for the
physical body?
Our Dharma is to perform our duty. Your grieving will not
avert this war. If you do not perform your duty of fighting this

Ku. Aarati R. Ramsinghani, Scruz (W)


%$

Shri. Kantilal Nisar Andheri (E)

Dharmayuddh, you shall certainly be guilty of sin, besides earning


undying disgrace. Any self-respecting individual would prefer death
to disgrace.
O Kaunteya! The world looks upon you as an invincible and
fearless warrior. If you run away from this conflict, you shall be the
laughing-stock of your enemies. You will be condemned by history
as a weak-minded coward. Dharma and justice stand by you in this
conflict. Do not worry about the consequences, because you will
not be responsible for it. Cease worrying about victory or defeat,
benefit or loss, joy or sorrow and stand up to perform your duty. No
sin shall attach to you. If you are slain you shall attain heaven and if
you are victorious, you shall enjoy the fruits of victory. Cast aside all
doubts of the mind, Dhananjay. I have already consumed those whom
you think are going to perish. You have merely to carry out your
responsibilities.
The Lord then showed Arjun His awesome Cosmic Form. Arjun
was overcome with wonder and devotion, and realized that Shree
Krishna was none other than the Almighty Himself, incarnated in
human form on earth. All Arjuns doubts and weaknesses of mind
were dispelled; he prostrated to the Lord and said: O Achyut,
blessed by You, my doubts have been quelled. Fully aware of where
my duties lie, Keshav, I shall carry out your bidding. Pleased with
his devotee, Shree Krishna blew his conch the Panchajanya. The
sound of Arjuns conch the Devdatt, mingled with it, shook the battlefield.
However, before the hostilities could break out, everyone was
surprised to see Yudhishtir remove his armour, discard his weapons and walk on foot towards the Kaurav army with folded hands.
Both armies were astonished to see this. The Pandav brothers, accompanied by Yudhishtir, followed their king as he went ahead.
Yudhishtir walked to Bheeshmas chariot, touched the
grandfathers feet and received his blessings before commencing
this great conflict. Bheeshma was very touched. Even on the occasion of war, Yudhishtir had not forgotten his samskars. Pleased,
Shri. Anant Shelters Pvt. Ltd. Bandra (E)
%%

S. R. Joshi, Mulund (E)

Bheeshma told Yudhishtir to ask for any boon.


Grandfather, you are unconquerable. How do we defeat you
in war?
So long as I hold weapons in my hands, no one, not even the
celestials can defeat me. But meet me later, I shall tell you.
Yudhishtir and his brothers then touched Dronacharyas feet
and asked him the same question. The Guru was pleased with
Yudhishtirs humility and character and replied: It is not possible to
vanquish me so long as I hold weapons in my hand. But if any reliable person brings me bad news on the battlefield, then I may discard my weapons. I can then be slain. The Pandav brothers then
sought and received blessings from Kripacharya and their uncle
Shalya.
Before returning, Yudhishtir stood between both armies and
announced: Dharma and truth are on our side in this war. Those
who wish to be on the side of Dharma and justice are welcome to
join us.
Hearing this, Dhritarashtras son by another woman, Yuyutsu,
joined the Pandav.
Warriors on both sides blew their conches. Trumpets and
bugles blared and war-drums thundered, their noise shaking the
skies. Both armies began to advance upon each other, in a variety
of classical battle formations. The Great Kurukshetra War had begun.

*****
35. The passing of Bheeshma
Fighting began with sunrise and ended at sunset on the first
day.
While under Bheeshmas command, the Kaurav army used to
march ahead, but was stopped by Bheem and Arjun used to halt it
in its tracks. Bheem ruthlessly slaughtered many of Duryodhans
brothers. Bheeshma caused immense loss to the Pandav army. Arjun

Shri. Mahesh Tejwani Khar (W)

Smt. Sabita R. Malkani, New Delhi


%&

and other Pandav warriors, on their part, destroyed many Kaurav


divisions.
While Bheem was killing many of Duryodhans brothers daily,
not a single important Pandav warrior had yet been slain. Duryodhan
was exasperated. At sunset on the eighth day, he accused the
grandsire in contemptuous language, saying, Grandfather, it is clear
that you are partial to the Pandavs. You will not do anything to kill
them. I cannot rely on you.
Bheeshma was furious and hurt at hearing these insulting
words of Duryodhan. But he controlled himself; He cursed himself
at his bondage to his promise of safeguarding the Kuru Dynasty at
all costs. Bheeshma then somehow assured Duryodhan that he would
not be found wanting.
As if to prove his words, Bheeshma wrought havoc on the
ninth day. The Pandav army quaked before his terrible valour. Arjun
alone was able to stand up to the grandsire with great difficulty. It
was sheer good fortune that the Pandavs ended the ninth day without losing any of their noted warriors, but now Yudhishtir was seized
with worry. At night, the Pandav brothers and their allies sat down
for some harsh decisions. It was clear that Bheeshma had to be put
out of action if the Pandavs were to win the war. But the grand old
man of the Kurus was unconquerable in battle. Moreover, he also
had the boon to die when he wished to. Shree Krishna then reminded Yudhishtir that Bheeshma had promised to tell them how he
could be killed. It was decided that the Pandavs would go and ask
Bheeshma how he could be felled. Accordingly, the Pandavs went
unarmed to Bheeshmas camp and paid homage to their grandfather. Yudhishtir then asked humbly, Grandfather, tell us how we
can achieve victory in this war?
Bheeshma was pleased at seeing his virtuous grandchildren.
He said, Yudhishtir, you must defeat and slay me in order to win this
war. Tell Arjun to attack me placing shikhandi before me. I will not
fight Shikhandi as he was born a woman. I can thus be easily overwhelmed in this manner. Yudhishtir, this is the only way you all can

Smt. Manisha Kaulaskar, Kurla (E)

Smt. Manisha Kanlaskar, Kurla (E)

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get rid of me.


The tenth day of the war dawned. According to plan, the
Pandavs attacked Bheeshma. The grandfather was like a furious
storm, blowing away Pandav soldiers who dared stand before him.
But his mind had had enough. He wanted to depart from this world.
The victory of the Pandavs and the destruction of Duryodhan were
essential for the safety of virtue and goodness in this world. He
would not stand between the Pandavs and victory.
The Pandavs too, furiously attacked the Kaurav formations
that stood to protect Bheeshma from Shikhandi and destroyed them.
Very soon, the chariots of Arjun and Shikhandi faced Bheeshmas.
Seeing Amba reborn as Shikhandi before him, Bheeshma calmed
his mind. Arjun and Shikhandi showered arrows upon the grandsire.
Arjun easily smashed many of Bheeshmas bows, something no other
warrior had done to Bheeshma in his lifetime. The thick shower of
arrows from the Gaandeev pierced Bheeshma leaving not an inch
of space in his body. Finally, the grand old man of the Kurus,
Bheeshma, the son of Shantanu and Ganga fell headlong from his
chariot to the ground. But as his body was filled with arrows, it did
not touch the ground. Bheeshma thus came to rest on a bed of
arrows.
Arjun immediately cast aside his Gaandeev and rushed to his
beloved grandfathers side. The Pandav brothers and Shree Krishna
joined him. The Kauravs too stopped fighting. Hostilities were suspended immediately. Warriors on both sides assembled around
Bheeshma. The gods showered flowers from the air. Everyone was
filled with grief. Only Shree Krishna and Bheeshma himself remained
calm.
Bheeshmas head hung without support. He requested Arjun
to provide him a pillow. Arjun immediately shot three arrows beneath the grandfathers head in such a fashion that Bheeshmas
head could comfortably rest on the pillow of arrows. Arjun also shot
an arrow into the ground whereby Ganga herself surged forth to
quench her dying sons thirst.

Smt. Bhavana Dal, Bandra (W)

Smt. Padmanabha R. Rao, Mumbai - 59.


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Bheeshma expressed his desire to lie on this bed of arrows till


the sun turned from Dakshinaayan to Uttaraayan, preferring to leave
his mortal body then. All paid homage to him.

*****
36. Abhimanyu becomes a martyr
After Arjun felled Bheeshma, Duryodhan was filed with fear,
though refusing to admit it. He appointed Guru Dronacharya commander-in-chief of the Kaurav armed forces with due ceremony.
Duryodhan also asked Drona to capture Yudhishtir alive. His plan
was simple. He wanted to use the captive Yudhishtir to bargain with
the Pandavs on his terms. After ten days of war, and the destruction
of many of his brothers at Bheems hands, Duryodhan had no confidence in any of his warriors that they would ever be able to beat
the Pandavs. Time was running out.
Drona tried on the eleventh and twelfth days to somehow capture Yudhishtir alive. The Pandavs were aware of the Acharyas
intentions and Arjun guarded Yudhishtir like a shadow. Leading
Kaurav warriors perished during these two days. Duryodhan, true
to his nature, abused his guru for failing to accomplish the task of
seizing Yudhishtir alive.
On the thirteenth day, the Trigart king Susharma and his brothers challenged Arjun to fight and drew him afar. Drona had designed
a Chakravyooha. Only Arjun, Shree Krishna, Pradyumna (Krishnas
son) and Arjuns son Abhimanyu knew how to breach this deadly
formation. Abhimanyu knew the tactic of entering the formation but
not its exit route. Yudhishtir and the Pandavs requested him to breach
the Chakravyooha; they would follow him inside and then smash it
from within.
Duryodhan, Karna, Shakuni and Kripacharya guarded Dronas
Chakravyooha in the centre. Drona himself stood at the opening as
Abhimnayus chariot rushed towards them. Their efforts were of little
use. Abhimanyu, piercing the Chakravyooha where Drona stood,

Smt. Sunita G. Shirke, Kurla (E)

Smt. Sharvari S. Palekar Mumbai - 4


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inflicted a defeat on the old Acharya and then proceeded to display


martial prowess of an astonishing nature. Bheem, Dhrishtadyumna,
Saatyaki and the other Pandav warriors followed him closely, destroying the Kaurav army as they advanced, but alas! Jayadrath,
the king of Sindhu, effectively halted them at the entrance of the
Chakravyooha Jayadrath had obtained a boon by worshipping Lord
Shiva that he would be able to stop the Pandav brothers with Arjuns
exception advance for one day. This one-day boon to Jayadrath
eventually proved fatal for Abhimanyu who was now trapped inside
the Chakravyooha alone. The Kaurav army and its leading warriors
now surrounded him.
But the son of Subhadra and Arjun was an outstanding warrior. Abhimanyu easily defeated Duryodhan and Dushasan,
Dronacharya soon realized that it was impossible to confront
Abhimanyu single-handedly. The seven Kauurav Maharathis (great
chariot-warriors) i.e. Dronacharya, his son Ashwatthama, Kripa,
Karna, Kritavarma, Brihadbal and Shalya now surrounded
Abhimanyu, in complete disregard for the rules of war. Yet, the valiant Abhimanyu not only stopped their advance but also made them
retreat. He then started slaughtering the Kaurav army inside the
Chakravyooha.
The Kauravs realized that fair play would soon lead them to
total defeat. Upon Dronas advice, Karna attacked Abhimanyu from
behind and broke his bow. Kritavarma killed his horses, while
Kripacharya slew his charioteer. Abhimanyu jumped down from his
chariot, sword in hand and continued the fight, but Drona broke his
sword, while Karna destroyed his shield. Abhimanyu then picked up
the wheel of a broken chariot and dispatched many Kaurav warriors
to their doom, but the constant shower of arrows from his unjust
enemies broke the wheel too. Arjuns son then picked up a gada
and continued destroying the Kaurav soldiers. Dushasans son also
rushed forward with a gada and engaged him in combat. Both fell
unconscious, but Dushasans son recovered first and before
Abhimanyu could regain consciousness, brought the gada down on

Smt. Archana M. Kulkarni

Smt. Anuradha A. Vasekar, Dahisar (E)


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his skull mercilessly. The shameless Kauravs blew their conches


and danced like savages.
Thus Arjuns mighty son Abhimanyu became a great martyr
at a very young age. Far away, after destroying Susharmas formations, Arjun was returning to camp. His mind was troubled that
evening. Arjun entered the tent, saw his grieving brothers and then
heard the terrible news of his beloved sons martyrdom. His grief
knew no bounds. When he learnt that Jayadrath was responsible
for Abhimanyus isolation, Arjuns rage knew no bound. He swore
revenge, saying: I shall sever the sinner Jayadraths head by sunset tomorrow, failing which I shall enter fire.
Spies carried the news of Arjuns terrible oath to the Kaurav
camp. Jayadrath trembled when he heard of Arjuns resolve. He
wanted to flee to his kingdom but Duryodhan, Karna and Drona
somehow assured him of protection.
Arjuns wrath was like the message of doom for the Kauravs
on the fourteenth day of the war. He was simply unstoppable. Shree
Krishna piloted the chariot, which surged like a stormy wind felling
huge trees. The thunder of Arjuns Gaandeev and the never-ending shower of arrows like bolts of lightning swept away everything
before it. The Kauravs wanted to somehow prevent Arjun from fulfilling his vow. But anyone who dared stop him perished. In his quest
to find Jayadrath before sunset, Arjun wiped out seven Kaurav
Akshauhinis on the fourteenth day. Drona, Kripa, Karna and
Duryodhan tried their utmost to stop him but were badly defeated.
But Jayadrath could not be glimpsed even as the sun drew
closer to the western horizon. He had been well-hidden behind the
Kaurav formations. Shree Krishna, using his power of yogamaya
created the illusion of sunset. The jubilant Kaurav warriors and a
relieved Jayadrath came forward. Krishna suddenly withdrew his
illusion. The sun had still not set! Krishna prompted Arjun: Parth,
here is the sun and there is Jayadrath. Fulfil your vow.
Parth reacted like lightning. In an instant, a deadly astra flew
from the Gaandeev and removed Jayadraths head from his body.

Kum. Sachi P. Kale, Borivali (W)

Smt. Narayani Rajgopal, Dahisar (W)


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Arjun had fulfilled his vow.

*****
37. Drona passes away
Duryodhans spirits were broken at the close of the fourteenth
day. Arjun had slain Jayadrath and the Pandavs had wiped out a
huge portion of the Kaurav army. As usual, Duryodhan vented his
anger on his commander-in-chief Dronacharya. The old guru was
enraged at this and said: You are most ungrateful, Duryodhan,
insulting me even though I am doing my best for your sake. I shall
now destroy the Pandavs or perish myself.
The battle continued even into the night with the help of torches
and flaming lights. It was an eerie and frightening night.
Duryodhans army also had many Rakshas soldiers who now
began causing havoc in the Pandav army. Yudhishtir was anxious
to counter this. Bheems son Ghatotkach, now stepped forward to
wage counter-warfare. Not only did he defeat and wipe out
Duryodhans Rakshasas, but also began destroying the Kaurav
army.
Soon, Ghatotkach single-handedly wiped out an entire Kaurav
Akshauhini. The Kauravs trembled at the ferocious detsruction that
Ghatotkach was causing. It was clear that unless something was
done to stop him, the Kaurav army would cease to exist by sunrise
next morning. But no one including Drona, Karna or Shalya could
stand before Ghatotkach.
Karna had obtained the Vaijayanti weapon from Indra in return for giving away his kavach and kundals. He had kept it reserved for use against Arjun, but Duryodhan and his brothers now
pleaded with him to use the weapon now to stop Ghatotkach. Karna
was reluctant to use it, but there was little time for thought. Ghatotkach
would indeed leave no Kauravs alive by morning.
Karna went forward to combat Ghatotkach and used many
divine astras against but to no avail. Ghatotkachs powers easily

Latha Raghuraman, Chembur

Smt. Deepa D. Wadekar, Ggaon (E)


&"

disposed off Karnas weapons. Left with no alternative, Karna discharged Indras shakti upon Ghatotkach. It entered the giants body
in a flash of light and then flew heavenwards. Ghatotkach even while
dying enlarged his body and fell, crushing innumerable Kaurav soldiers, chariots, elephants and horses under him. Bheems young
son too became a martyr.
The Pandav army grieved at Ghatotkachs heroic death. Only
Shree Krishna was relieved as Karnas Vaijayanti was now gone
and could not be used against Arjun. Arjun now had nothing to fear.
It was now certain that he would eventually slay Karna.
After a while, the fifteenth morning of the war dawned. Acting
according to the promise he had made to Duryodhan, Dronacharya,
with scant regard for the rules of war, was fighting like a man possessed. He first killed King Virat and then also slew his childhood
friend King Drupad of Panchal. Drona then went about slaughtering
the Pandav army.
It was necessary to stop Dronacharya. But none could defeat
him as long as he held a bow in his hand. It was necessary to convey some bad news to him. Shree Krishna had a plan. If Drona
heard that his son Ashwatthama had been killed, he would break
down. Bheem killed an elephant of the Kaurav army by the name of
Ashwatthama, stood before Dronas chariot and roared: I have slain
Ashwatthama!
Drona was stunned when he heard this. But he could not easily
believe it and asked Yudhishtir, Dharmaputra, you never speak
untruth. Is what Bheem has said true?
Krishna had anticipated this. He had somehow convinced
Yudhishtir of the need to adopt strategy to achieve victory for the
sake of Dharma and the higher truth. Drona was after all, fighting
for injustice and adharma. There was nothing wrong in employing
tactic to put him out of action.
The ever-truthful Yudhishtir therefore said with a heavy heart:
Yes, Ashwatthama has perished. But soon added, Ashwatthama

Smt. Malan J. Shinde

Shri. Madhao Sahasrabuddhe, Ggaon (E)


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the elephant, or the man.


It was too late. Yudhishtirs words were lost in the din of the
battle. Stunned, Drona cast aside his weapons and sat in the rear
of his chariot, meditating upon the Almighty. He had lost interest in
life. Dhrishtadyumna, the Pandav supreme commander ascended
Dronas chariot and with one slash of his powerful sword, chopped
off Dronas head. The saga of Dronacharya was over.

*****
38. Karna is slain
After fifteen days, it was becoming clearer and clearer that
the Kauravs would soon be defeated. In desperation, Duryodhan
appointed Karna as his third commander-in-chief on the sixteenth
day of the war. Karna swore that he would slay all the Pandavs and
make Duryodhan victorious. But he was unable to achieve anything
substantial on the sixteenth day.
At night, Karna said to
Duryodhan: Arjun has a
great charioteer in Krishna.
Only Shalya, the king of
Madra can match Krishna in
charioteering skills. Order
Shalya to be my charioteer
and I can easily take care of
Arjun.
When Shalya heard of
Karnas desire, he was
highly enraged. Duryodhan
pacified him with difficulty
and got him to agree for the
task at hand.
Arjun continued to
speed ahead in his destruc-

Smt. Swati U. Pai, Dahisar (W)

Mrs. R. Subbalakshmi, Andheri (E)


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tion of the Kaurav army on the seventeenth day. Slowly, the chariots of Karna and Arjun began to draw nearer.
Meanwhile, Bheem spotted Dushasan. He remembered the
game of dice and what Dushasan had attempted to do to Draupadi.
Bheem could no longer control his rage. He jumped down from his
chariot gada in hand and charged at Dushasan like a mighty tiger
springing upon its helpless prey. Bheems assault smashed
Dushasans chariot. The son of Vaayu picked up the trembling
Dushasan like a bundle of clothes and roared, See your hand that
dared touch the divine Draupadi. Bheem plucked out Dushasans
hand and threw it afar. He than brought Dushasan crashing to the
ground and proclaimed, Wretch! I now fulfil the oath I made thirteen years ago. Anyone who has the courage may try and stop
me. The giant Bheem than ripped apart the screaming Dushasans
chest and drank his blood like a lion feasting upon its prey.
Duryodhan fainted with shock when he saw Bheem fulfil his oath.
Ten of his brothers attacked Bheem but the son of Vaayu finished
them off in no time.
Arjun slew Karnas son Vrishsen before his fathers eyes.
Burning with anger, Karna attacked Arjun. Both warriors showered
arrows on each other and also began using their divine weapons.
All of a sudden, the wheel of Karnas chariot sank in the mud
and got stuck firmly. Karna got down from his vehicle to retrieve it
and requested Arjun not shoot arrows at him, saying it would be
against righteous conduct. Shree Krishna then mocked Karna, saying, Karna, it is surprising that you remember Dharma and right
conduct when you are in distress. Where was Dharma throughout
your life? Arjun, there is nothing wrong in slaying such people even
if they are helpless.
Karna pleaded, Krishna, I am unarmed at the moment and
on the ground. Attacking me now would be against Dharma.
Krishna replied in a stern, resounding voice, Oh really? So
now you remember Dharma when your own life is in danger. Where
did your great knowledge of Dharma vanish when you all tried to

Smt. Pooja Shah, Scruz (W)

Smt. Madhukanta N. Shah, Gkopar (E)


&%

poison Bheem and threw him into the river? While plotting to burn
the Pandavs alive at Varnavat, conspiring with Duryodhan to deprive the Pandavs of their basic rights in that game of deceit or
trying to dishonour Draupadi in publicly? Or when seven of you
killed young Abhimanyu with no regard for the rules of war? Arjun,
what are you waiting for? Dispatch your arrow and put an end to
this vile man, this embodiment of adharma!
Arjun obeyed the command of Shree Krishna and shot down
Karnas flag. Then he demolished his chariots umbrella and fixed
his third arrow to his bow. Dhananjay dedicated this arrow to his
penance, his merit and Shree Krishna Himself and loosened the
bowstring. The Gaandeevs sound was like a thunderclap. A flash of
lightning emerged from it as Arjuns arrow sped towards Karna. The
next instant Karnas head flew from his shoulders and landed afar.
Krishna and Arjun blew their conches in victory. The seventeenth
day of the war was over.

*****
39. The end of Duryodhan
On the eighteenth day, Duryodhan appointed King Shalya of
Madra as the commander-in-chief of the Kaurav army, or whatever
was left of it after seventeen days of incessant warfare. The Pandavs
were on the threshold of victory; the Kauravs, sensing defeat were
determined to fight to the bitter end. It was decided that instead of
individual combat, they would stick together.
Sahadev killed the remaining sons of Karna. He also sought
out and killed the evil Shakuni and his son Ulook. Arjun finally killed
Susharma of Trigart. Bheemsen slew all the remaining brothers of
Duryodhan.
Yudhishtir used a powerful shakti piercing Shalyas chest. After
Shalyas death, the remainder of the Kaurav army completely dispersed in all directions. The Kauravs had been decisively routed;
the Pandav victory was complete.

Smt. Savita Kakkar, Scruz (W)

Smt. Jayashri Hatwalane, Borivali (W)


&&

Thus the eighteen-day Kurukshetra War came to an end. All


the Pandav brothers and their leading warriors were still alive, while
only Duryodhan, Sanjay, Ashwatthama, Kripacharya and Kritavarma
remained on the Kaurav side. Their vast army of eleven Akshauhinis
had been completely destroyed by the Pandavs. Ashwatthama, Kripa
and Kritavarma fled the battlefield on their chariots. Seeing the victorious Pandav army advancing towards him,
Duryodhan too fled the
scene. The Pandavs began
looking for him. Wounded,
tired and desperate,
Duryodhan went northwards
and reached the vast
Dwaipayan Lake. He used
some magic he knew to still
the waters of the lake and
entered it to rest inside the
water.
The Pandavs were
aware that their victory would
be incomplete without
Duryodhans end. Spies
brought them news of
Duryodhans hiding place. Yudhishtir and his brothers with Shree
Krishna, followed by the Pandav army reached the place. Yudhishtir
challenged Duryodhan, Do not hide like an imbecile, Duryodhan.
Come out and fight like a Kshatriya.
Duryodhan replied, I am ready to come out and kill all of you
but am tired and have come to rest here. I shall fight only one of you
at a time, kill you all and repay debt to all those who have laid down
their lives for my sake. Duryodhan then came to the surface of the
water hissing like a snake. He donned armour and picked up his
gada. Bheem too picked up his mace and stepped forward to con-

Smt. Nivedita R. Bhat, Kurla

Shri. Vishwanath Joglekar, Ggaon (E)


&'

front Duryodhan.
Desperate after his defeat in the war, Duryodhan charged
towards Bheem. He was aware that this was his last chance. For his
part, Bheem remembered the suffering of the Pandavs all these
years and was also enthused with confidence by their stupendous
victory in the war. Bheem was huge and unmatched in physical
strength, while Duryodhan had put in more practice in wielding the
mace during the last thirteen years. Sparks flew as both clashed in
this deadly duel.
Arjun slapped his thighs to remind Bheem of his vow. Bheem
remembered in a flash and his anger now exploded. Duryodhan
had leapt in the air to avoid Bheems blows but left his thigh exposed. Bheem now brought his gada crashing down on his
adversarys thigh. It was like a thunderbolt. Duryodhan let out a
sickening scream Eeeeeyyaaaaaa and fell to the ground. Bheem
roared in triumph and stomped upon Duryodhans head to vent his
burning rage of the past many years. The victorious Pandavs blew
theor conches and left Duryodhan beside the lake. He had only a
few moments of life left.
The Pandav army returned to its camps. All warriors celebrated
their historic victory and rested for the night. Upon Shree Krishnas
advice, the five Pandavs spent that night outside the camp near a
river some distance away.
Ashwatthama, Kripacharya and Kritavarma had seen the victorious Pandav army depart from the Dwaipayan Lake where
Duryodhan was supposed to be resting. After the Pandavs had left,
they came to meet Duryodhan and saw him lying mortally wounded.
All three were sunk in grief; Ashwatthama burnt with rage and swore
to kill the Pandavs at night when they would be asleep. He forcibly
convinced his uncle Kripa and Kritavarma to assist him in his evil
plan.
It was very dark night. The three reached the Pandav camp
stealthily. While Kripa and Kritavarma stood guard at the entrance,

Miss Pranjali Patil, Kurla (E)

Shri. Anant Shelters Pvt. Ltd. Bandra (E)


'

Ashwattham entered unseen. He first slaughtered Dhrishtadyumna


then Shikhandi and Draupadis five sons. He then set fire to the
whole camp. The Pandav soldiers were thus helplessly slaughtered.
Kripacharya and Kritavarma who were lying in wait at the gates cut
down those who tried to escape. Within a few hours, most of the
camp was reduced to ashes. After committing this ghastly crime,
Ashwatthama hurried with Kripa and Kritavarma to the lake where
Duryodhan was in the throes of death. Hearing what Ashwatthama
had done, Duryodhan was very happy. He then breathed his last.
Ashwatthama, Kripa and Kritavarma left in different directions.
When the Pandavs learnt of this terrible tragedy, they went
mad with rage and grief. They had lost all their sons. Draupadi and
the other wives of the Pandavs, living in Upaplavya too arrived on
the scene. Their grief was beyond control. Draupadi vowed not touch
even a drop of water until the murderer Ashwatthama was dealt his
due punishment. Bheem ascended a chariot and rushed in the direction Ashwatthama had taken. Krishna and Arjun, plus the other
Pandavs followed him on their chariots.
They found Ashwatthama hiding in a rishis ashram on the
banks of the Ganga. When Arjun challenged him, Ashwatthama was
struck by fear and took a blade of grass in his hand. He then uttered the mantra of the Brahmashiras astra and let it loose on the
Pandavs in order to destroy them. To counter this, Arjun also released the Brahmashiras. Both the divine astras, possessing the
awesome power of universal destruction clashed with each other. It
seemed as if the entire creation would come to an end. Devarshi
Narad and Ved Vyaas appeared at that moment and ordered both
Arjun and Ashwatthama to withdraw their astras. Arjun could easily
do so, but Ashwattham failed to do likewise. Finally, he diverted the
astra upon the womb of Uttaraa, the late Abhimnayus wife who was
pregnant and was living in Dwaraka.
Krishna cursed the wretched Ashwatthama, who though being a Brahmin had ventured into the Kshatriyas domain of fighting
and killing. In fact, Ashwatthamas actions had made him fall below

Smt. Vaishali Sahoni, Ggaon (E)

Smt. Leelavati Acharya, Ggaon (W)


'

even an animal. Shree Krishna then pronounced a terrible curse on


him: Your body will be full of boils and wounds, with pus oozing out
of it. You shall keep wandering for many thousands of years in forests and mountains. No human will be able to see you or help you.
You shall thus suffer for long. Krishna then snatched away a celestial gem on Ashwatthamas head. Ashwatthama turned into a ghoulish figure and left for the forests.
Bheem presented the divine gem to Draupadi and told her,
We have taken revenge on Ashwatthama by inflicting terrible punishment on him. You must now stop grieving. Draupadi gave the
gem to Yudhishtir who wore it on his crown.

*****
40. After the war
The Pandavs returned to Hastinapur. They went to meet
Dhritarashtra and Gandhari, whose world had collapsed with the
death of all their sons. Dhritarashtra and Gandhari were inconsolable. The mother of a hundred sons and many grandsons was rendered childless. All this happened because of the evil of one man,
Duryodhan. She accused Krishna: Madhusoodan, if you had really
wished, you could have stopped this war and the destruction of the
Kuru Dynasty. I curse you that like me, you too shall be forced to
witness the destruction of the Yadav race.
I accept your curse, said Shree Krishna calmly.
Yudhishtir gently persuaded Dhritarashtra and Gandhari that
they should continue living in Hastinapur as before.
Yudhsihtir was then duly crowned as emperor of the Kurus to
the accompaniment of Vedic mantras. Bheem held the reins of his
chariot. Arjun held a royal umbrella over Yudhishtirs head. Nakul
and Sahadev stood fanning him.
Arjun had felled Bheeshma the grandsire on the tenth day of
the Kurukshetra war. He was now lying on his bed of arrows, waiting
for the appropriate time to depart from the mortal world. The

Smt. Lajwanti Narang, Gkopar (E)

Smt. Rajani D. Achrekar, Khar (W)


'

Pandavs, Dhritarashtra and Shree Krishna went to Kurukshetra to


see Bheeshma.
There were still fifty-six days for Uttarayan to begon. Bheeshma
imparted the knowledge of statecraft, kingly duties (rajdharma), the
duties of a kshatriya, politics and administration to Yudhishtir. This
discourse lasted for all the fifty-six days. On the final day, Bheeshma
enquired about everyone. He then fixed his mind and senses on
Lord Krishna who blessed him and said: You have not done anything wrong, never spoken a lie nor acted against Dharma in your
life. You have never shirked your duty and have upheld your vow in
every respect. You are now free to rejoin the celestial world of the
Vasus.
Using the power of yoga, Bheeshma concentrated his entire
energy in his head and left his earthly body through the route of the
Brahmachakra (on the crown). A shining halo left his body and traveled heavenwards. The divine Vasu, who had been born as
Shantanus son, had completed his journey on earth.
Once, Maharshi Ved Vyaas came to see Yudhishtir. He advised Yudhishtir: To dispel your minds grief at having to fight an
undesired war and also to quell the anarchy arising from the destruction of most kings in the Kurukshetra war, you must perform
the Ashwamedh Yadnya.
Soon, Abhimanyus wife Uttaraa conceived. But because of
the effect of Ashwatthamas Brahmaastra, her baby boy was delivered lifeless. This child was the only hope of the continuation of the
Pandav lineage after all their children had perished in the war. But
seeing Uttaraas lifeless infant, their grief was uncontrollable. Shre
Krishna immediately entered Uttaraas chamber and consoled her
and all the ladies. He then said, If I have never spoken a lie in my
life, never run away from battle, have slain evil-doers and if Dharma
and power be present in me then let this child rendered lifeless by
the Brahmaastra come to life.
So saying, Shree Krishna placed the toe of his right foot upon
the chest of the infant. The next moment, the baby boy came to life

Smt. Seema J. Shetgen, Borivali (W)


'!

Smt. Kavita K. Swamy, Bhandup

and started crying loudly. There was joy in the Pandav family. Shree
Krishna named the boy Pareekshit.
Yudhishtirs Ashwamedh Yadnya began on an auspicious day.
Arjun escorted the sacred horse and forced all rulers to accept
Yudhishtir as their emperor. After the Pandav victory in the
Kurukshetra war, few dared argue. Arjun returned victorious.
Yudhishtirs Ashwamedh Yadnya was a grand success.

*****
41. Lord Krishna winds up his incarnation
Dhritarashtra and Gandhari lived for fifteen years in Hastinapur
after Yudhishtirs coronation as emperor. They then desired to enter the vaanaprasth ashram. Kunti, Vidur and Sanjay too decided to
join them. All of them left for the forest. The Pandavs and the city of
Hastinapur grieved for them. After three years, Narad arrived to
meet the Pandavs. He informed them that their mother Kunti,
Gandhari and Dhritarashtra had given up their bodies in a forest
fire. Vidur had passed away earlier. Sanjay had become a sanyasi.
Yudhishtir ruled wisely and well for thirty-six years after the Great
War.
The Yadavs of Dwaraka had become intoxicated with power
and wealth and very arrogant. Strife and quarrels among them became an everyday affair. Once, during their community festivals,
they started furiously quarrelling among themselves. This soon led
to physical fight and bloodshed. Most of them perished in this manner. In Shree Krishnas presence, Balaram left for his heavenly abode
of Vaikunth using the power of yogamaya. Deciding to wind up his
avatar on earth, Shree Krishna sat under a tree in a yogic posture.
A hunter mistook his foot for the mouth of a deer and shot an arrow
in its direction. When he reached the spot, he saw what he had
done and was horrified. But Shree Krishna consoled him and left
his physical body to return to his original divine form. All the Devas,
Goddesses, Gandharvs, Kinnars, Siddhas, rishis and munis pros-

Smt. Sita J. Kari, Ggaon (W)

Smt. Archana A. Samant, Ggaon (W)


'"

trated to the Lord and sang his praises as he left for His abode of
Vaikunth. The Kali Yuga began the moment Shree Krishna wound
up his incarnation.

*****
42. The Pandavs attain heaven
After Shree Krishnas departure, the Pandavs lost all interets
in life and decied to renounce the earth. They crowned their grandson Pareekshit as the emperor of Hastinapur and Vajra, the sole
surviving descendant of the Yadav Dynasty, as king of Indraprastha.
The Pandavs and Draupadi cast off their royal clothes and left
Hastinapur forever.
Yudhishtir walked ahead followed by Bheem, Arjun, Nakul,
Sahadev and Draupadi. Yudhishtirs pet dog too followed them
a f f e c t i o n a t e l y. T h e
Pandavs visited the eastern part of the country and
then turned to the south.
They then went southwest, westwards and saw
the city of Dwaraka submerged by the ocean after Shree Krishnas departure from earth. The
Pandavs then turned
northwards towards the
Himalayas. Crossing the
Himalayas, they went still
upwards to the divine
Meru Mountains.
All of a sudden,
Draupadi fell down lifeless.
When Bheem asked the

Miss Punya Shah, Santacruz (W)

Smt. Bharti J. Hegde, Bandra (W)


'#

reason for this, Yudhishtir replied, She was partial to Arjun amongst
her husbands.
Sahadev fell next. Yudhishtir explained, Sahadev thought
himself to be the most intelligent on earth.
Nakul was the next to go. Yudhishtir said, he was too vain
about his handsome looks.
Arjuns turn came next. Dharmaraj said, Arjun was fond of
boasting of finishing all his enemies in a single day.
Bheem was the last one to fall. Yudhishtir told him, You are
falling because of your pride in your matchless strength, your excessive greed for food and extreme hatred of foes.
Yudhishtir was now alone. Only the faithful dog kept him company as he transcended the realms of human life and existence.
Finally, Indra, king of the Devas, appeared before him and informed
him that his brothers and Draupadi had already reached heaven
before him. Indra invited him to enter heaven in that very body.
Yudhishtir picked up his little dog. Indra objected, saying, Why are
so fond of a mere dog?
Yudhishtir replied, This dog has been faithful to me in my
final journey. I shall incur sin if I were to forsake it. I would rather
forsake the joys of heaven, but shall not leave this faithful companion.
The next moment, the dog vanished and Yama, the god of
death and justice stood in its place. Pleased, he said to Yudhishtir,
Dear son, you have successfully passed all tests and have emerged
supreme.
Following this, Yudhishtir bathed in the Ganga that flowed in
heaven and discarded his physical body to attain a divine one. He
saw his mothers, father, all his brothers and Draupadi, near and
dear ones. The Pandavs also could see Bhagwan Shree Krishna
being worshipped by the gods. In this state, they attained complete
bliss, having completed their journey on earth.

*****
Smt. Neelam S. Patil, Worli

Shri. Satyanarayan Hamirwasia, Worli


'$

Smt. Dhanisha R. Garg, Shivsrusti

Kum. Nupur M. Avasare, Ggaon (E)


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Shri. Sai S. Vartan, Ggaon (E)

Shri. Manoj G. Kulkarni, Bandra (W)


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Shri. Mahesh Tejwani Khar (W)

Shri. Prakash V. Shirsat, Bhandup (E)


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Shri. Sanjay Podar, Kalbadevi

Shri. Mohanlal G. Rohira, Khar (W)