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NAME: P.Sai Teja


ID: 200501113

A STUDY ON THE MAHABHARATA


Epics are the very long poems that try to articulate the knowledge of the epoch. These epics which are
based on the knowledge framework, the episteme, reflect the problems in the present epoch and
suggest solutions to those problems. One such great Indian Epic, the Mahabharata, has been able to
capture the knowledge and life style of the people during the Dwaparayuga. The main characters in the
epic are the descendants of the clan of Bharata, hence it is titled Mahabharata, meaning the stories
about the people of bharata. The story is about a war for power between the cousins. The book has
eighteen parvas and many sub parvas. There are many interrelated side stories in the Mahabharata
which try to reflect the then society.
The following document deals with three stories taken from Mahabharata. These stories have been
chosen from the Vana Parva, in which the valour of the five pandavas is showcased and contrasted with
that of the Kauravas, the sons of Dritharashtra. The stories start with how Arjuna goes on a penance
and attains the grace of Shankara, the Lord Shiva. He then proceeds to the heaven to learn the arts of
war, music and dance and repays his preceptor with what he desires. Once he returns back to the earth,
there ensues a great battle with the Gandharvas, and the pandavas emerge victorious. These stories
mainly portray Arjuna as an undefeatable warrior who is superior to the king of Gods, Shakra.
These stories worsen the relationship between the pandavas and the Kauravas and lay the foundation
for the war that happens later on. Kauravas had despised the pandavas for long time and seeing Arjuna
attain the abode of the Gods, and get powerful with the new weapons instigates their hatred.
Dhuryodhana getting saved by the pandavas from the gandharvas, worsens the situation and thought of
defeating the pandavas in war gets settled in the minds of sons of Dhritharashtras, Karna and the
descendants of simbala (i.e. Shakuni and his family). Without these stories, the idea of defeating
pandavas in the war wouldnt have been ignited and the enemity between the children of bharata clan
would continue without any solution. The purpose of these stories is to show pandavas as noble and
powerful warriors contrary to the kauravas who are weak and filled with hatred.
The stories are discussed below in a chronological order with the reasons like need for the story, the
purpose it serves and what it carries forward. For every story, a summary (for reference) and an analysis
have been provided.
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Story1: KAIRATA PARVA


Summary:
This story is about the war between Arjuna, the archer who has never been defeated before, and the
Lord Shankara, the three eyed God who is without a parallel and extraordinary. At the command of
Yudhishthira, the foremost of the pandavas, Arjuna embarks on a journey to the Himalayas in order to
attain weapons from the Celestial beings. Choosing a favorable place, he engages himself in asceticism.
Lord Shankara, understanding the reason behind Arjunas asceticism, assumes the form of a hunter and
comes down to earth accompanied by his wife Uma and various other divine beings. At the same time a
danava named Muka assumes the form of a boar and tries to attack Arjuna. When Arjuna notices the
disguise, aims at the boar, which was also simultaneously aimed by the Hunter. The arrows from both
the bows hit the boar at the same time killing it in an instant. Then both the hunter and Arjuna, start
arguing about who had killed the boar which results in a fight between the two.
Arjuna shoots innumerable arrows at the hunter who remains unscathed by those arrows. Soon
the inextinguishable quivers of Arjuna were exhausted and he starts attacking with his bow. The hunter
then snatches the bow and throws it away leaving Arjuna with only a sword to fight with. But even that
sword, which can cut rock, cannot harm the hunter. Unable to control his anger Arjuns engages in a fist
fight with the hunter in which he gets wounded severely and falls on the ground unable to fight.
Accepting his defeat, when Arjuna starts praying to him and the Lord Shankara gets pleased. He praises
Arjuna for his deeds and grants him a wish. Arjuna asks for the Brahmashira weapon which could
destroy the entire Universe. Shiva grants him his favourite weapon, Pashupata, which should not be
withdrawn without proper reason or else it would destroy the Universe. Lord shiva also grants him the
knowledge of using the weapon and then departs to his abode.
Arjuna gets pleased with the idea that he could touch the great lord, whom others cannot even
see unless they do great penance and considers himself blessed. Later all the heavenly lords along with
Shakra, the lord of heaven, appeared before him. They eulogize him and grant him many divine
weapons which could destroy the danavas, daityas and all the enemies. The lords return back to their
heavenly abodes.
Analysis of the narrative structure:
This story takes place at the foot hills of Himalayas, which is sacred and also secluded. There are many
reasons for choosing this place, it is the abode of Lord Shiva and also whatever happens there is
unknown to the people who cannot question it and check the authenticity. This gives the advantage that
anything could be said without showing any proof. If this story was developed at other places, then
doubts could have been raised like when Lord Shiva descended to the earth, hasnt anyone seen him
because he alone didnt come down but many apsaras have followed him? So building up the story at
Himalayas provided the best option.
From this story we get an idea about the powers of the God. Gods could change forms and they are
invincible to all the weapons. From the way the Lord Indra and other gods came from heaven to bless
arjuna signifies the idea that, gods keep watching us humans and they bless us for our good deeds.
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Though Arjuna was a great archer, as was portrayed earlier, he couldnt stand a chance against Lord
Shiva. This shows the gap between humans and Gods and that a human cannot surpass gods whatever
they do.
A way has been suggested in the story for a human to meet with god. By merging with the nature,
wearing clothes made of grass and deer skin, and by taking up asceticism one could meet with god. He
should forsake meat and beverages and live on plants. The amount of food intake should decrease as
time passes by, from fruits in the first month at intervals of three nights, in the second month at the
interval of six nights, in the third month at the interval of fortnight and during the fourth month simply
the air.
Certain rules followed by archers have been put forward in the story. The target aimed by one archer
should not be aimed by another one and it is a highly offending act. Indirectly, the author is suggesting
that it is a disgrace to doubt the skill of a warrior. The characteristics of a warrior have been neatly
presented here. In the story, Arjuna is shown as the ideal warrior who fights the opponent with all his
strength, even when he doesnt have any weapons he resorts to fist fight. He accepts defeat only when
he loses his consciousness. The story portrays the idea of a warrior as one who would never show his
back in a fight, even though he is at the verge of a defeat.
The main purpose of this story has been to elevate Arjuna as a great warrior and bring out the view that
the one who has impressed and is blessed by the Gods is undefeatable. This is very important to the
later parts of the story because there are many great warriors and when Arjuna must emerge victorious
among them, he must have achieved something which others would not even dare to aspire. This story
had served the purpose and enemies start to hesitate to confront him later on in the Mahabharata
fearing him.
Story2: INDRALOKAGAMANA PARVA
Summary:
This story is about how Arjuna goes to heaven to learn the mystical weaponry of the gods and
their arts like dance and music and how he gets cursed by Urvashi, the apsara.
After Arjuna pleased the Lord Shiva, obtained the pashupatha and was blessed by the celestials, he
starts his meditation. Soon a golden chariot comes to him from heaven, to carry him to Shakras abode
on the invitation of Lord Indra (shakra). Thereupon Falguni (Arjuna) prays to the Mountain lord where
he had been staying so far and ascends the chariot. On his journey he encounters various rishis,
gandharvas, apsaras, the white elephant Airavata and at last reaches the city Amaravati. The city was
filled with sacred trees and flowers and Arjuna comes across the Nandana, the celestial Garden and gets
captured by its beauty. When he enters into the Surabhithi (Milky Way), he sees vasus, rudras, ashvins,
Tumbaru, Narada and other Gandharvas and salutes them. When he dismounts the chariot, he sees
Indra (Shakra). Arjuna approaches him and salutes him by bending low. Shakra, very much pleased to
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see his son, makes him sit on his chair, which is resorted to by many celestials. The happiness at the
union of father and son is portrayed in the form of dance and music by the great celestial performers.
Arjuna living in the house of his father, Indra, learns using many weapons along with the great Vajra
(Thunder) weapon. At the command of his father he lives there for five years. He also learns the celestial
dance and music arts from Chitrasena. Though he was happy there, he couldnt get peace of mind
remembering his brothers, mother and the dice game in which they were defeated.
One day in the assembly, Arjuna gazed specially at the apsara, Urvashi. Seeing this Indra(Shakra) asks
Chitrasena to send Urvashi to Arjuna as he seemed attracted to her. Receiving the command, Chitrasena
goes to Urvashi and informs her about the command of Indra. He eulogizes Arjuna and asks her to
satisfy his needs and Urvashi agress to it. After sending Chitrasena away, Urvashi embellishes herself
and moves out to meet Arjuna. On the way, all the passersby are spell bounded by her beauty. When
she reaches the gates of Arjunas palace, Arjuna respectfully comes and receives her. Seeing her, Arjuna
modestly closes his eyes and then saluting her asks what brought her here so late at night. Then Urvashi
explains to him that once he had looked at her at the assembly with steady gaze and Indra observing this
asked Chitrasena to send urvashi to Arjunas place, and thus she has come here.
Arjuna, filled with shame, shut his ears and eyes and says it isnt proper for him to hear her say such
words. He says that to him she occupies the same place as her mother Kunti. He admits he has gazed at
her steadily, it wasnt because he was attracted to her but because he was surprised seeing the mother
of the Puru Dynasty dance there. He says he doesnt hold any other feelings toward her than seeing her
as the perpetuator of his race, his great mother.
Urvashi says she belongs to the clan of apsaras, who are free and unfettered in their choice, so Arjuna
shouldnt consider her as his superior. All sons and grandsons of the Puru dynasty come there and sport
with them and they dont incur any sin by doing it, so she asks him not to send her away. But Arjuna
remains unchanged in his attitude towards her. He tells her that she is same to him as are Kunti and
Madri and bows his head to her asking her to leave and protect him as her son.
Hearing this, Urvashi loses her senses, gets angered and curses Arjuna that he would live among women
becoming a dancer, losing his manhood and his respect. She then returns to her house infuriated.
Thereupon Arjuna goes to Chitrasena and explains to him what has happened and about the curse, who
in turn goes and says it to Shakra. Shakra tries to console Arjuna in private saying the curse is for good
and it would come in handy during the last year of the fourteen years exile. Hearing this Arjuna becomes
glad and forgets about the curse.
Later one day a great rishi named Lomasha comes to the heaven to see Indra. He is surprised to see
Arjuna, a mere human, occupying the half of the seat beside Indra. While he was wondering what great
deeds might have been performed by Arjuna, Indra explains to him that Arjuna was not a mortal even
though he has been born among men. He says that there were earlier two great Rishis names Nara and
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Narayana renown in the three worlds, who at request by Indra had been sent to earth to accomplish a
job of reducing the burden of mother earth. They are born as Arjuna and Hari ( Krishna ). There are
many daityas (demons) like Nivatakavachas, who by obtaining boons are trying to attack the celestial
worlds. They can be killed by Partha or the Hari alone. On this purpose Arjuna has come to the heaven
to obtain celestial weapons. Indra then requests the rishi Lomasha to go to earth and inform Yudhistira
that Arjuna has achieved what he came to heaven for and would return back to earth soon. Lomasha
then departs from the heaven to earth.
At the same time, Dhritharashtra, on the earth, gets to know from Sanjaya, the suta, about the great
deeds Arjuna has performed. He feels who on earth would be able to defeat Arjuna, who has received
the blessings from the Lord Shiva himself. He gets frightened thinking his sons wont stand a chance
against the great Pandavas. Then Sanjaya consoles him saying that nothing could be done now, and he
has lost his chance to save his children. Earlier, when his sons were dragging draupadi to the assembly
he hasnt taken the necessary steps to control them and now he is bearing the fruits of it.
Analysis of the narrative structure:
The story takes place at Heaven whose splendor is described very beautifully in the story. Heaven is the
final destination for good people and this story signifies that fact by taking Arjuna to heaven, who is
considered the best among humans. To tag arjuna as an undefeatable warrior he must be taken to
places which no other person could reach. So if Arjuna trained at a place on earth by the best teachers,
others might think of going to that place to learn too, but if the same happened in heaven, which no
other person might even think of approaching, then it would achieve the purpose. Hence heaven was
chosen to train Arjuna in divine weapons.
This story gives us a glimpse of how heaven looks like. On the way to Heaven, we first encounter rishis,
gandharvas and apsaras, then the golden chariots of the gods and the heavenly elephant Airavata which
are the gods transport facilities and then we enter into the city of amaravati which has the Assembly of
Indra and the houses of other gods. Thus we get a picture of the heaven as having the core central part
filled with houses of gods and important places and the surrounding areas of filled with beings of lower
status like the apsaras, gandharvas and rishis. The buildings are beautiful, adorned with gems and gold,
and there are the beautiful apsaras, whom every man aspiries, who entertain the audience with dances,
music. There are beautiful gardens throughout the heaven which are filled with beautiful beasts. There
is no scarcity of food there. Heaven is portrayed as an embodiment of every good aspect that a being
aspires. Heaven is the place every being aspiries to be, and this description of that place is quite
satisfactory.
The character of Arjuna is portrayed as the one who knows the dharma and behaves properly. When
Urvashi approaches him, the self-restrain that he shows acts as an index of his good nature. This
instance highlights that it is wrong to have feelings towards a person who is in the mothers position and
this belief as we can see is valid still in the present society. The curse incurred by Arjuna, is turned into a
boon which comes to aid during the last year of the exile when they need to be in incognito. This
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projects the idea that one who follows the dharma can negate all the negative forces acting on him. The
story shows the necessity for a person to follow dharma and the benefits that he obtains by doing so.
There was a belief of reincarnation during the period of Mahabharata and this idea has been reinforced
in this story, when Indra narrates the birth story of Arjuna and Krishna to rishi Lomasha. The idea of
Karma is strongly followed in the story, which says that a persons destiny is decided at his birth and he
alone bears the results of his actions either god or bad. This has been made clear when the rishi
Lomasha sees Arjuna on the seat of Indra which is not available to great rishis let Arjuna, who is a mere
human.
At the times of Mahabharata, there is a procedure followed to impregnate the queen, if the king is
unable to do so. Other people, as per certain rules, are eligible to perform the task, but still the son born
would be the legitimate son of the king. This method is not considered as an offence, and had been
followed by Indra and other gods to result in the valorous pandavas. This fact is reasserted in this story
when Indra states that Arjuna is his son. This gives us an insight into the social customs during the period
of Mahabharata.
We can see that Caste system was present during the times of Mahabharata and in this story itself we
see the demarcation between people of the kshatriya class, the upper class of kings, and the Suta class,
who are just inferior to the kshatriya class and serve them. Sanjaya, the suta, is obedient to
Dhritharashtra, the kshatriya, and provides him with valuable suggestions from time to time.
Mahabharata is full of valuable suggestions on how to lead a life. In this story, we get to know that it is
improper to repent about something later on when one had the opportunity earlier to prevent this
situation. This truth has been expressed as a conversation between Dhritharashtra and sanjaya, when
the king fears his sons death seeing Arjuna obtaining the heavenly weapons.
This story carries forward the idea about the beauty of heaven and who all would be able to reach that
splendid place. After reading this story we look at Arjuna as a warrior more powerful than Indra himself
after obtaining the heavenly weapons. It has been shown that Destiny and karma play an important part
in the life of an individual and even great personalities like arjuna are controlled by it.
Story3: GOSHA YATRA PARVA
Summary:
This story describes the valor of pandavas and how Dhuryodhana was saved from the Gandharvas by the
sons of pandu which resulted in dhuryodhana deciding to defeat the pandavas in the war.
When the pandavas were in the forest as per the oath taken, Dhritharashtra and his sons were in
Hastinapur enjoying the comforts. Pandavas settled near a lake which was far from the habitations of
men and many rishis came to see them. Seeing their condition, Dhritharashtra feels sad and says that his
sons need to pay for what they have caused and no one can stop that from happening. Having heard
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that Arjuna has fought with Lord Shiva and has been to Indras abode, the heaven, Shakuni carries the
news to Dhuryodhana and Karna. When duryodhana is filled with grief, shakuni suggests that they
should visit the pandavas in the forest and gain happiness by seeing their condition. On hearing this
Duryodhana became excited with the desire to see the pandavas in rags, but again became melancholy
saying that king Dhritharashtra would not grant permission to go to the place where the pandavas are.
He orders Shakuni and Karna to find a valid reason so that Dhritharashtra would not prevent them from
going there. The next day they make up a plan, as their cattle herds are located at Dvaitavana, they
could go on the pretext of checking them. They instructed a cowherd to approach the king with this
proposal and when it was done they offered to go and check the cattle. Dritharashtra felt the reason
was proper as a king should check his cattle from time to time, but he was afraid that his sons might face
the wrath of the pandavas who are also living in the same region. He asks dhuryodhana to send some
faithful servants of his own to go check the cattle rather than he himself embarking on the journey.
Shakuni tries to convince the king that they dont have interest to interfere with the pandavas and their
sole purpose is to count the cattle. As they wouldnt go near the residence of pandavas, there is no
question of any wrong happening. Hearing this Dhritharashtra unwillingly issues them permission to
take up the journey.
Dhuryodhana along with Karna starts on the journey accompanied by many chariots, horses and
elephants. They settle at a favourable place four miles away from the lake and the cattle are brought
there. Dhuryodhana himself supervised the cattle counting and once the task is done, they begin
enjoying at the forest. At that time Yudhishthira (Dharmaraja) was living near the lake and performing a
sacrifice called Rajarshi. Arriving at that place Dhuryodhana orders his soldiers to build pleasure houses.
Just when his soldiers reach the lake, some gandharvas ask them to leave the premises saying they are
sporting at that place and it is closed for all comers. When the soldiers return back, Dhuryodhana gets
angry and orders his Kuru army to vanquish the gandharvas in the battle and capture the area. On his
command, all the descendants of Dhritharashtra and other thousands of armies go to attack the
gandharvas and forcefully enter the forest area. This angered the Gandharvas and a war breaks out
between the parties. Karna with his mighty shower of arrows tried to stop the gandharvas by beheading
them, but they returned back in hundreds and thousands. Dhuryodhana and his brothers come to
support Karna and the Gandharvas who became serious begin using illusionary techniques. The kuru
heroes deprived of their senses are unenable to fight with the gandharvas, only Karna stood still
continuing the fight. When all the gandharvas rush upon karna destroying his chariot he jumps away
from the chariot and escapes on a horse.
Seeing Karna slip away, the Kuru army looses courage and fled away at the sight of rushing gandharvas
except the king dhuryodhana, who refuses to run away and keeps fighting. The gandharvas capture the
king and all the ladies of the royal household. The sons of Dhritharashtra who ran away come to
pandavas to ask their help. Though the four pandavas were against the idea of helping them, Yudishthira
explains to them that family members may fight among themselves, but they shouldnt tolerate any
outsider insulting their family and due to the insult offered to Duryodhana and to the ladies of the royal
family, the family honor has been destroyed and he orders them to regain it back. As he is in the middle
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of a sacrifice, he asks the four pandavas to take up the task of protecting the family honor. Taking
orders, the pandava warriors arm themselves and ride on fast blazing chariots and encounter the
gandharvas in the forest. They kindly ask them to leave Dhuryodhana and their family members and
when they reject it, a war ensues between the pandavas and gandharvas. Both parties hurl great
showers of arrows on each other. With the intention to destroy their chariots, as they had previously
done in the battle with dhuryodhana, the gandharvas surround the pandavas. But their plans are met
with resistance by the great shower of arrows from the Kuru warriors and the gandharvas feared to
come near them. With the new acquired celestial weapons, arjuna kills gandharvas in large numbers and
when the gandharvas try to ascend the sky and take away dhuryodhana, Arjuna surrounds them on all
sides by his arrows. Having nowhere to go, they hurl great weapons on him and arjuna gracefully
negates them. When they resorted to illusionary techniques, arjuna uses arrows with mantras and
cancels their spells. When the gandharva king chitrasena gets attacked by those arrows, he approaches
arjuna saying that friends had been fighting so far and asks him to stop this war.
When arjuna requests him to release Dhuryodhana and the ladies of royal families, Chitrasena explains
him the intentions with which Dhuryodhana came to the forest and how Indra, who had known this
before hand, had ordered him to stop them. Having heard this Arjuna feels happy seeing the help
extended by the gandharvas, but he says that Dhuryodhana needs to be released as it was requested by
his brother Yudhisthira. So they approach yudhisthira and narrate to him what has happened. The
foremost pandava thinking about the family respect requests the gandharvas to release the captured
members and thanks them asking them to return to heaven. Dhuryodhana being saved by Dharma
(Yudhishthira) thanks him and leaves back to the capital.
During the journey back, karna joins them and expresses his happiness seeing the king, Dhuryodhana
and others in great form. When he asks how they defeated the gandharvas, Dhuryodhana explains to
him what has happened and thinking about the insult he encountered, he refuses to continue the
journey further and declares that he would commit fasting till his death. Even though Karna, Shakuni
and his brothers try to convince him, he wouldnt budge from his decision. Karna and others too refuse
to move forward and decide to stay at the feet of Dhuryodhana.
On hearing about the fasting unto death of the king, the sons of diti and the danavas fearing that they
wouldnt stand a chance before the gods without the leadership of the great Dhuryodhana performed a
sacrifice to summon him before them. A goddess appeared before them and brought the great king to
their place, the daityas eulogized him and they plead him to break his vow to starve till death. They
explain to him the origin of his birth and assure him that with the great weapons that they possess and
with his leadership they could easily defeat the pandavas. And in order to help them many asuras had
been born and they are going to manipulate the great warriors like Bhishma, drona, karna and others to
fight with their enemies. When these asuras are going to enter their hearts, the hosts would not show
any mercy and kill the enemies. Also many daityas and yakshas have been born as kings and they would
unite with Dhuryodhana in his war against pandavas. They assure him that he is going to rule the world
without any rival.
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On being pleased by the speech of the daityas, dhuryodhana stops his idea to commit suicide and gets
convinced that they would be able to defeat the pandavas, even though he had seen their valor that
day. Dhuryodhana didnt reveal what had happened to any one and kept it to himself. He returns back
to hastinapur and gets berated by his elders, but even then he wouldnt stop making plans to destroy
the sons of pandu. Meanwhile Karna in order to show his valor to the king, goes on a campaign to annex
the kingdoms and returns successfully. Dhuryodhana decides to perform the rajasuya yaga, but being
unable to do so performs another sacrifice called Vaishnava and calls all the neighboring kings to show
his splendor. The sacrifice ends successfully, but some remain unsatisfied comparing it with the rajasuya
yaga performed by Yudhisthira. This hurts their feelings and they pledge to kills the pandavas when they
return from their fourteen year exile.
Analysis of the narrative structure:
The story takes place in the forest named Dvaitavana. As the pandavas were in their exile, they had to
be in the forests and this place which was away from hastinapur and other habitations had been chosen.
There had been enmity between cousins (Pandavas and Kauravas) from earlier times. This story
intensifies the enmity lays down the base for the war that is to happen later on.
Dhritharashtra is partially responsible for bringing down the war within the Kuru clan. He is the head,
the king, of the country, the person who should be impartial to his subjects and think properly about the
repercussions before taking any decision. Contrary to this, he has been prejudiced towards his own
children and allows them to insult the pandavas, and he had partially enjoyed padavas disgrace himself.
After performing such unkind acts, looking at the pandavas grow in power he fears the death of his sons
and starts repenting when all possibilities he had to stop this from happening. Even in this story, he
knows he shouldnt believe what his sons promise, but due to the love for them, he allows them to
check the cattle because of which dhuryodhana is disgraced in the fight with gandharvas and he decides
that war is inevitable.
Dhuryodhana, by himself, was not purely responsible for the disastrous war. It has been due to the evil
intentions of karna and Shakuni together who were responsible for the downfall of the kuru clan. During
the dice game, when the pandavas had been defeated, it was because of karnas cruel intentions that
dhuryodhana decided to defame her in the assembly. Even now, it was because of the evil intentions of
shakuni and karna that dhuryodhana had decided to go to the forest to criticize the pandavas in that
situation.
Karna is portrayed in the story as a weak minded person who boasts of his skill and when the need
arises, would be the first person to run away. Karna had been the person responsible for the trip to
forest with the idea of insulting the pandavas in their poverty. When the Kuru army was fighting with
the gandharvas, he took his stand initially, but when they threatened his life he started running away
leaving the king, whom he should have protected with his life. Later on when he joins the king, he simply
starts praising him without even realizing the blunder that he had committed. In order to prove his
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valour, later on he tries to annex the neighbouring kingdoms and showcase his prowess, when the real
warriors (pandavas) had been in the forests. In Mahabharata, karna involved too much in the family
matters of the Kuru clan, he being an outsider had been the reason for the disgrace done to draupadi
during the dice game. He is powerful but boasts more about it and he creates false impressions in the
mind of Dhuryodhana which leads to their downfall later on.
The story suggests that a king, during those times, possessed a large number of cattle which are left to
the care of the cowherds. They are a form of wealth which indicate the status of the king. These cattle
roam in the grass lands within the territory of the king and once in a while, are counted by marking them
with the royal emblem. It is the right of the king to take care of his cattle from time to time. This right
had been made use of by the sons of Dritharashtra to go the forests. The importance of cattle wealth is
also indicated in the story of Goharana parva, where the Kauravas try to criticize the king of Virata by
stealing his cattle. Hence we can say that during those times, cattle had been considered as an
important component of the kings wealth.
Some revelations about the abilities of the Gandharvas have been show cased in this story. Gandharvas,
as we know belong to the heaven and can fly in the sky. They are versed in the mystical arts of dance
and music. In this story we can see them as great warriors and people who can use illusions in the war.
While fighting with such valorous gandharvas, the sons of dhritharashtra, though having an army,
starting running away being unable to defeat them. They do not stand a chance against the divine
warriors. Contrary to this, the pandavas who are just four in number face them bravely and are able to
fight on equal levels with them. Even the illusionary techniques of the gandharvas had been dispelled by
the pandavas. Arjuna with his new acquired divine weapons has been invincible. This shows the gap
between the levels of courage and skills that separates the sons of the Kuru clan.
This story delivers a message that, maintaining the family pride should be given importance over
individual pride. It is vital to preserve the pride of the woman of the family. Members of a family might
loathe each other and fight among themselves, but they should not allow an external person to insult
the family name. Also one must never say no to a person who has come for aid even when the person is
an enemy.
When dhuryodhana was humiliated by the Pandavas and he decides to commit suicide, we see the start
of preparation for war. As Gandharvas had taken the side of Pandavas by helping every now and then,
the danavas and daityas (the evil) have chosen Dhuryodhana to be their leader. The war between
cousins turned into a battle between the good and the evil. The danavas persuaded dhuryodhana not to
commit suicide by showing him their powerful allies, their unique powerful weapons and how they
planned to manipulate powerful warriors like Bhisma, Drona and Karna for their advantage. From this
story we could say that the preparations have started for the great war which is going to change the face
of the earth.

P.Sai Teja

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Conclusion:
From the stories we can see that Mahabharata has tried its best to portray the knowledge of that era
and it has succeeded in this aspect. Mahabharata, though it deals with the war between cousins, it is
about the way a person should see life. It shows that there is good and evil in this world and there exists
a constant fight between them. The one which emerges victorious is going to influence the later
civilizations. Mahabharata is about Dharma, the action, and as an action is present at all times, we can
say the Mahabharata remains valid all the times. We should read Mahabharata not as a religious text,
but for attaining a perspective on the mode of actions that we perform.

P.Sai Teja

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