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Mahabharata

The longest Sanskrit epic ever written, Mahabharata has a collection of more
than 74,000 verses, divided into 18 books. The Mahabharata story is much revered in
India and basically among the Hindus. The Mahabharata contains the Bhagawad Gita, the
famous gospel of duty that was taught to the great warrior, Arjuna by Lord Krishna. The
Mahabharata dwells on the aspect of the important goals of a human being in his mortal
life. The epic aims at making people realize the relation between the individual and the
society and how they both are inter dependent on each other. Read on further a summary
of Mahabharata, the greatest epic ever.

The epic revolves around the struggle for the throne of the kingdom of Hastinapura. The
struggle is between two branches of the same family, the Kauravas and Pandavas. The
Kauravas were collectively the hundred sons of the blind king Dhritarashtra and the
Pandavas were the five sons of Pandu, who died of a curse. The five brothers named
Yudhisthira (eldest son), Arjuna, Bheema, Nakula and Sahdeva were always obedient and
dutiful, which made them the most loved in the kingdom. Each of the Pandavas had a
special virtue in them that made them stand apart from the rest of the world. This made
the Kauravas hate them and they planned many devious ways to get rid of them.

As time went by, the Pandavas got married and shared a common wife named Draupadi.
The Kauravas got even more enraged and challenged the Pandavas to a game of gamble.
The Pandavas lost and were banished
from the kingdom for an exile of 12 years. There was a condition that if they were
recognized by the end of 12 years, they would have to begin from scratch.

One of the most important and dramatic character in this epic is Lord Krishna. He was
the sole advisor, guide and true friend of the Pandavas and helped them in each and every
difficulty in their exile. He is said to be the incarnation of God, who came to earth in
human form to relieve the world of evil people and restore faith in his devotees. During
the great battle of Kurukshetra fought between the Kauravas and the Pandavas, Lord
Krishna took upon himself the duty of driving Arjuna's chariot. He imparted the valuable
and practical lessons of the Bhagawad Gita, a text of the conversation between Lord
Krishna and Arjuna, where Lord Krishna shows Arjuna a glimpse of his majestic divine
form.

The Pandavas won the battle and ruled over Hastinapura for a number of years. It is said
that Dhritarashtra and his wife retired into the forest to lead a stress-free life of an ascetic
and Krishna left after around thirty six years after the battle took place. When the
Pandavas realized that it was time to leave this earth, they all set out on a journey towards
the North on foot. It is said that the gates of heaven opened on the northern horizon. One
by one they dropped dead, until Yudhisthira finally reached the gates of heaven to be
united once again with his brothers and wife.