Episode # 87 – How are the Paandavas and Bhagawan Krishna related to each other? An important accord!!!

In the previous episode, we had completed our discussion on the long “Amsa-Avatarana-Parva”, which is one of the most important “Upa-Parvas” under the “Aadhi Parva”. We had witnessed in this Upa-Parva as to who all took birth as part of the “Chandra-Vamsa” and as which “Amsas”. With the brief discussion of Bhagawan Krishna’s divine incarnation as part of the “Chandra Vamsa”, we had concluded the “Amsa-Avatarana-Parva”. Now we move on to the next “Upa-Parva” called “Sambhava Parva”. This is also a lengthy “Parva” just like the “Amsa-Avatarana-Parva”. This forms the entire crux of the initial Mahabharata text, wherein we’re going to witness the birth of each and every person in the “Chandra-Vamsa” one by one. This “Upa-Parva” might be a bit confusing too, and even if we miss out on a single event, we would not be able to understand subsequent events after that. Hence, readers should focus their full attention while reading through, so that the entire crux could be clearly understood. 

As Sage Vaishampaayana had outlined the “Chandra-Vamsa” thus, King Janame-Jaya wanted to listen to more details. Even our interest has been triggered with that touching description that Sage Vaishampayana gave, isn’t it? If such is the case, King Janame-Jaya had listened directly from him first-hand! This triggered his interest to understand things in detail and hence, requested Sage Vaishampaayana to put everything to perspective. Thus, Sage Vaishampaayana starts from Mareechi, in the Chandra-Vamsa. Sage Mareechi was the direct son of Bhagawan Brahma. Sage Mareechi, along with the other sages of Athri, Angiras, Pulasthya, Pulaha, Krathu were all Bhagawan Brahma’s “Manasaputras”. This means that they were born out of Bhagawan Brahma’s mere thought process in his mind. They were not biologically created. Sage Mareechi in turn gave birth to Sage Kashyapa. It is this Sage Kashyapa who had four wives namely Diti, Aditi, Kadru and Vinata. We’ve seen this earlier too. Aditi gave birth to the twelve “Aadityas” who form the core group of the Devas. Diti gave birth to Hiranyaksha and Hiranya Kashibu, through whom subsequently the Raakshasas were born. As Sage Vaishampayana explains about the birth of Hiranya-Kashibu, he adds an accord on Prahlaada and how Bhagawan Narasimha finishes off Hirayna-Kashibu! 

We might wonder here as to why Sage Vaishampaayana is talking about all this! We should be discussing the “Chandra-Vamsa”, isn’t it? In the middle, from where did Sage Mareechi come? Where did Sage Kashyapa come from? There is a connection and a definitive purpose behind which Sage Vaishampayana is explaining all this. But, if we’ve to understand the purpose, we need to wait for the right context and the right time and for that, we need patience! Only if we keep listening to the entire story and the narrative, we would be able to understand why is Sage Vaishampayana going off track every now and then. Moving on further, all we see here is the “Surya-Vamsa”. Sage Kashyapa marries Aditi. Aditi gives birth to Bhagawan Surya. It is in this “Surya-Vamsa”, King Iksvaaku and King Manu are born. After King Ikshvaaku, King Maandhaata, King Sagara, King Ambareesha, King Katvaanga, King Raghu, King Aja, King Dasharata and finally Bhagawan Rama were born! Thus, we can see here that Bhagawan Rama was born as part of the Surya-Vamsa. 

Now that we’ve witnessed the “Surya-Vamsa”, it is now time that we discuss the “Chandra-Vamsa” too. It all starts from Pururavas. Subsequently, Nagusha was born. Subsequently came Yayaati, Yadhu Maharaja and Kuru. It is in the clan of Yadhu Maharaja where Bhagawan Krishna was born. This is why this community is referred to as the “Yaadava Community”. Subsequently, the children who were born in Kuru’s lineage were none other than the “Kauravas”. Now with this, we’ve witnessed a brief about both the “Surya Vamsa” and the “Chandra Vamsa”, isn’t it? With this, we can also see what is the connection between Bhagawan Rama and Bhagawan Krishna. We’ve witnessed that the former was born in the Surya-Vamsa and the latter incarnated in the Chandra-Vamsa. We’ve witnessed earlier itself that Bhagawan Krishna and the Paandavas are relatives to each other. How? We’ve seen the ancestors to Bhagawan Krishna and one of them was Yadhu. Similarly, the ancestor of the Kauravas and the Paandavas, who was Kuru. Kuru was the last son and Yadhu was the eldest son to Yayaati, who had married Devayani and Sharmishta. Thus, we can see here that Yadhu and Kuru were brothers. This is why, the Paandavas and Bhagawan Krishna are cousins to each other. 

As King Janame-Jaya was listening to all this, he had a question in his mind! Now what was his question? Let us continue this discussion in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 86 – End of the “Amsa-Avatarana-Parva” – A brief about Bhagawan Krishna’s divine incarnation!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the “Amsa-Avatarana-Parva” wherein we had seen who all took birth as part of the “Chandra-Vamsa”. We’ve witnessed in these lines that Sage Veda-Vyaasa himself was born in this famed “Chandra-Vamsa”. Subsequently, Vichitraveerya, Chitraangata and Bhishmaachaarya took birth. The next generation to these people were Dhirdiraashtra and Paandu. Subsequently, the next generation people were the Paandavas and the Kauravas. The Kauravas were born to Dhirdiraashtra and Gaandhaari, whereas the Paandavas were born to Paandu, Kunthi Devi and Maadri Devi. Similarly, Guru Dhronaachaarya was born to Sage Bharadwaaja., who in turn had a son by name Ashwatthaama. Similarly, if we see the lineage of the Shubala Desha, we have Shahuni and Gaandhaari. Gaandhaari was married to King Dhirdiraashtra, and with her came Shahuni to Hastinapura kingdom to “be of help” to his sister. Ultimately all of us know what kind of “help” Shahuni ended up doing! 

In between all of this, there is a mention by Sage Vaishampayana that Dhirdiraashtra and Paandu were born due to the divine “Anugraha” of Sage Veda-Vyaasa! This might be a bit confusing for readers here. So far we’ve witnessed that Satyavati gave birth to Vichitraveerya and Chitrangada. Sage Vyaasa had already told Satyavati that he wouldn’t be staying with her. If that is the case, how did Sage Vyaasa come into the picture all of a sudden? Vichitraveerya and Chitrangada got married to Ambika and Ambaalika. Ideally it should be out of their marriage that Dhirdiraashtra and Paandu should have been born. Where did Sage Vyaasa come in the middle of all these? What is the connection between these two people to Sage Vyaasa? We’re going to witness the answers for all these questions as we move on further. 

Subsequently, the Paandavas had sons called as Upa-Paandavas with Draupati. As all this was happening, the population in the world was increasing, along with the “Raakshasa-characteristics” in all of them. Unable to bear all of this, Mother Bhoomadevi ran to Bhagawan Vishnu asking Him a series of questions thus, “Oh Bhagawan! What is happening in the world below? “Kali” is getting stronger every passing day. “Adharma” is increasing its presence every day. People who follow “Adharma” are also increasing day after day. Until a few years ago, people’s lifespan was very long without any disease and with a long youthful stage. However, with passage of time, things are changing and people are not having a peaceful life, which in turn reduces their lifespan! Oh Bhagawan Vishnu! You should intervene and set the record straight!” 

It is very clear and evident from what Mother Bhoomadevi mentions here – If we’re following “Dharma”, our lifespan would be longer, without any physical and mental illness. If we’re on the contrary, all sorts of illnesses are going to reign in us. This happens a lot as the “Kali” gets stronger and stronger. With the situation becoming grave thus, Bhagawan Vishnu decides that He would go and incarnate in the “Manushya Lokha” as Bhagawan Krishna and restore the “Dharma” that has been lost with time. Subsequently Bhagawan Brahma issues orders for all the Devas and the other “Devatas” to go and incarnate themselves in the world along with Bhagawan Vishnu. Thus with this, we come to an end of the “Amsa-Avatarana-Parva”. Thus, we’ve witnessed a lot of details in this Upa-Parva as to who were all born as whom in this world, including the likes of Bhagawan Krishna. The next Upa-Parva that we’re going to witness is called “Sambhava Parva”, which is an ultra-long one. Here, we’re going to commence witnessing in detail as to how the “Chandra-Vamsa” unfolded and how different generations of the Chandra-Vamsa took birth. We shall wait till the next episode to witness the commencement of the “Sambhava Parva”. Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 85 – An overview of “WHO IS WHOM” in Mahabharata – Sage Vaishampayana outlines!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of Sage Vaishampayana’s accord on how Sage Veda-Vyaasa was born. Subsequently, Sage Vyaasa’s mother, Satyavati gets married to King Shantanu of the “Chandra Vamsa” lineage. This is where the actual set of events commence. We’ve witnessed a brief about the “Chandra Vamsa”, how it all started from Sage Shukraachaarya and how it went all the way to the Kauravas and the Paandavas. Subsequently, the Upa-Paandavas, King Parikshit and King Janame-Jaya too belonged to the “Chandra-Vamsa” only. As an offshoot here, Bhagawan Krishna is also part of the “Chandra Vamsa”. We’ve to understand here that Bhagawan Krishna’s father, Vasudeva’s sister is none other than Kunthi Devi, who is the mother of the Paandava brothers. Thus, we can see here that the Paandavas were none other than Bhagawan Krishna’s cousins. This is perhaps one of the main reasons why Bhagawan Krishna had a special affection towards the Paandavas, especially on Arjuna. There are many other reasons for this too, and we’ll witness them one after the other when the context comes. 

Now moving on further, we’ve witnessed that King Shantanu had two sons with Satyavati, namely, Vichitraveerya and Chitraangata. Moreover, King Shantanu married another woman apart from Satyavati, who is none other than Mother Ganga Devi. It was out of this marriage, Bhishmaachaarya was born. Thus, along with Vichitraveerya and Chitraangata, Bhismaachaarya too was born to King Shantanu only. Meanwhile, we’ve also witnessed how Vidura was born. Sage Aani-Maandavya once cursed Yama-Dharma-Raja that he would be born in this world as a normal human being for a full lifetime, enduring a lot of suffering and pain. This incarnation of Yama-Dharma-Raja in this world was none other than Vidura. Since Vidura had such a high-profile background behind him, he was a complete epitome and an embodiment of “Dharma”. 

Subsequently as part of this “Amsa-Avatarana-Parva”, we’re going to witness who are the other “Amsas”. Kunthi Devi’s first son was none other than Karna, who was Bhagawan Soorya’s “Amsa”. All of us might know this story – Kunthi Devi obtained a boon that she could obtain a son by offering prayers to any of the Devas at any time. In order to test whether the boon was working or not, Kunthi Devi accidentally offered a prayer to Bhagawan Soorya. During this time, she was unmarried. However, due to the boon’s power, Bhagawan Soorya appeared in front of her immediately and gave her a baby in hand. With this, she was shocked! How can she have a baby without getting married? Thus, she secretly puts away the baby into the river by wrapping it in a leaf. Subsequently the baby was picked up by a charioteer family and was brought up. This is why, Karna is often referred to as “Raadheya” by many people in the Mahabharata text. We’re going to witness this story in detail later on. Moving on further, after Kunthi Devi gets married to King Paandu, she once again obtains a son through her boon – This time through Indra. This “Amsa” of Indra is none other than Arjuna. Subsequently, Vaayu Bhagawan’s “Amsa” was Bheemasena. “Dharma Devata’s “Amsa” was Yudishtra or “Dharma-Putra”. Ashwini Devatas’ “Amsas” were the twin brothers of Nakula and Sahadeva. Thus, the Paandava brothers are none other than the “Amsas” of the Devas themselves. 

To add feather to this cap, Vasudeva and Devaki had their eighth son by name “Krishna”, who was none other than the divine incarnation of Bhagawan Vishnu from Vaikunta! Thus, Bhagawan Krishna had incarnated in this world to restore and re-establish “Dharma”, and all the Devas were born in this world too in various “Amsas” to be of help to Bhagawan to achieve His divine mission. Subsequently, Sage Bharadwaaja had a son, who was none other than Guru Dhronaachaarya. As we all know, Dhroaachaarya was the Guru for all the Paandavas and the Kauravas and he played a very important role in shaping all of them as competent warriors. Subsequently, Sharadhvaan had two children – A daughter by name Kripi and a son by name Kripa. This son was a great sage, and he was revered and respected as Sage Kripachaarya. This daughter Kripi was married to Guru Dhronaachaarya, and they obtained a son by name Ashwathaama. 

In these lines, there was a great disciple of Prahlaada by name Nagnajith. All of us know who Prahlaada is, isn’t it? He was the son of Hiranya-Kashibu. Prahlaada’s disciple was Nagnajith. Nagnajith’s king was King Dharmahantri. This King Dharmahantri’s “Amsa” was none other than Sahuni, who was the king of Shubala-Desha (Present day Afghanistan). Subsequently, With the divine “Anugraha” of Sage Veda-Vyaasa, King Dhirdiraashtra and King Paandu were born. So far, we’ve witnessed who are the “Amsas” of who in the Mahabharata text. We are subsequently going to witness an enormous detail about all these in the coming “Parvas”. But as part of the “Amsa-Avatarana-Parva”, we’ve just witnessed an overview of who was whom in this text. So for today, let us understand up to this point, and let us wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further. Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 84 – The “CHANDRA-VAMSA” – King Shantanu marries Satyavati!!!

The previous episode marked an important event in the entire Mahabharata text – The divine incarnation of Sage Veda-Vyaasa. As we’ve witnessed yesterday, Sage Veda-Vyaasa was born to Sage Paraashara and Satyavati in an unconventional manner, wherein Sage Paraashara involved in a union with Satyavati with the help of his divine power of penance. With this, Satyavati too did not lose her virginity, even though she gave birth to a child. This child that was born out of this union was a great person with an extreme involvement in the pursuit of Brahman. Immediately after Sage Vyaasa was born, he left his mother with an assurance that he would appear in front of her at any time whenever she wanted his help or intervention. Sage Paraashara on his part blessed Satyavati with virginity again and made her ready to get married to someone before he left. Now since this child was black in color (“Krishna”) and was born in an island (“Dveepa”), he obtained the name “Krishna-Dvaipaayana”. Sage Veda-Vyaasa grew up and he was the only person who was instrumental in segregating the complex Vedas text into the four different categories – Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana. Also, Sage Veda-Vyaasa was solely instrumental for the Mahabharata text to come up, which is even today revered and respected to be the “Fifth Veda” along with the four others. Thus, the contribution of Sage Vyaasa to our Sanaatana Dharma is enormous and he is easily regarded as one of the great “stalwarts”! 

Now coming back to the events that conspired after Satyavati was left alone by Sage Paraashara and Sage Veda-Vyaasa – As per Sage Paraashara’s blessing, Satyavati again gets married. She gets married to King Shantanu. Now the question would arise – Who is this King Shantanu? The answer was that, he was born as part of the “Chandra-Vamsa”, amidst great kings who came as part of that lineage. Now the next question arises – What is this “Chandra-Vamsa”? There is a huge narration of the “Chandra-Vamsa ” here, wherein it all begins from Sage Shukraachaarya. Subsequent to Sage Shukraachaarya came Yayaati. This Yayaati has two wives by names Devayani and Sharmishta. Subsequently, Dushyanata was born as part of the “Chandra-Vamsa”. Bharata was born as a son to Dushyanta. Bharata in turn had a son by name Kuru. Kuru had a son in turn by name Deva. It is to this Deva that Shantanu was born. King Shantanu in turn had a son by name Bhisha. It is to this same Shantanu did Vichitraveerya and Chitraangatha take birth. These people in turn had sons by name Paandu and Dhirdiraashtra. It is to this Dhirdirasshtra that Duryodhana and his hundred brothers were born. Subsequently Paandu had five sons inclusive of Yudishtra and Co. This is how the “Chandra-Vamsa” took shape. 

Thus, we’re witnessing Satyavati getting married to King Shantanu, who is part of this “Chandra-Vamsa”. But we’ve witnessed that King Shantanu’s son is Bhishmaachaarya. But did Bhishmaachaarya take birth out of this marriage? The answer is “No”! King Shantanu’s other wife is none other than Mother Ganga Devi (River Ganges). It is to King Shantanu and Mother Ganga Devi did Bhishmaachaarya take birth. This is why Bhishmaachaarya is also referred to as “Gaangeya”. This means, “Son of Mother Ganga Devi”. Satyavati’s marriage with King Shantanu produced the two sons of Vichitraveerya and Chitraangata. Readers should be very careful in remembering this family lineage here. It is to be remembered that it is to this same Satyavati, Sage Vyaasa was born. That was one side of the story which we witnessed yesterday. Now, after Sage Paraashara blesses Satyavati with virginity again, she gets married to King Shantanu and in turn has two sons namely Vichitraveerya and Chitraangata. 

As this goes on in one end, there is another sub-story to this – There was a great Sage by name “Aani-Maandavya”. Once upon a time Yama-Dharma-Raja commits a mistake to Sage Aani-Maandavaya and gets cursed that he would go and take birth in the world and experience all the trials and tribulations that a human being would experience in the “Manushya Lokha”. This person who took birth because of Sage Aani-Maandavya’s curse is none other than the great Vidura. Thus, we can see here that Vidura is a direct incarnation of “Yama-Dharma-Raja” and is a complete embodiment of “Dharma”. We’re going to witness in due course how Vidura is going to play a very important role in the life of the Paandavas and how he is going to be their “savior” at critical junctures. 

So for today, let us understand till this point, and we shall witness in the next episode as to who else was born in this world as whom! Stay tuned for the important discussion! 🙂 

Episode # 83 – The divine incarnation of Sage Veda-Vyaasa!!!

In the previous episode, we had continued with Sage Vaishampayana’s narrative on how King Upari-Chara-Vasu had two children that were born out of a fish accidentally. One of the children from this was Satyavati. This Satyavati grew into a beautiful woman and eventually as she was being brought up amidst a fisherman group, Sage Paraashara spots her. As Sage Paraashara once wanted to cross over the River Yamuna, Satyavati was incidentally the person who drove the boat for him. As both of them were in the middle of the river, Sage Paraashara expressed his desire to have a son with her. Upon hearing this, Satyavati was shell-shocked! Although she did not negate Sage Paraashara’s request, she expressed her fear and concern regarding the same. However, Sage Paraashara consoled and convinced her by creating a conducive situation with his enormous “Yoga-Balam” for them to get together. Also, Sage Paraashara assured her that with this child’s birth, she wouldn’t be losing her virginity and this son would not be living with her at all. He’s going to be a great sage and is about to make a great contribution to this world in terms of “Dharma”. Moreover, if Satyavati wants to meet him anytime, he would appear in front of her then and there! 

After this assurance from Sage Paraashara, Satyavati was convinced and both of them get together. Unlike ordinary children taking ten months to be born, this child was born immediately once they got together. All this happened in the middle of the River Yamuna, amidst an island that was created by Sage Paraashara with his “Yoga-Balam”. This child was black in color when it was born, and this is why it obtained the name called “Krishna-Dvaipaayana”. We should remember that “Krishna” means “Black”. Moreover, since the child was born beneath the “Badri” tree, the child was also called “Baadaraayana”. As the child was born, right from the first minute he was interested only in searching for the ultimate “Brahman”. He was not into any worldly activities. In fact, he did not even know of anything around him as he slipped into deep “Tapas” almost immediately after taking birth. 

However, upon seeing all this, Satyavati did not understand anything. We should remember here that she was born amidst a group of fishermen, and she did not have even an iota of spiritual knowledge that Sage Paraashara had. As the child was born, Sage Paraashara blessed Satyavati with virginity again, and with this he left. As Sage Paraashara left, this child talks to his mother thus, “Oh Mother! Please do not mistake me for what I’m going to tell you now – I cannot live with you because I’m completely into “Tapas”. However, if you want my help at some point in time, you can feel free to call me anytime. I shall appear in front of you immediately when you call out for me! Please do not feel bad that I’m not with you. I’m always with you in an invisible form!” Assuring Satyavati thus, the child leaves her and with this, Satyavati also returns home as if nothing had happened. 

This child, which obtained the names “Krishna-Dvaipaayana” and “Bodaraayana” is none other than Sage Veda-Vyaasa. Thus till this point, we’ve witnessed how Sage Vyaasa incarnated. We’ve seen in our first episode itself that Sage Vyaasa is also considered to be one of the divine incarnations of Bhagawan Vishnu Himself. This is why we chant the sloka as “Vyaasaaya vishnuroopaaya vyaasa roopaaya vishnave”! Thus, Sage Vyaasa was born and as he left Satyavati, he was instrumental in the birth of Sage Shukaachaarya, but that happened much later. Now Sage Vyaasa went completely into the “Yoga-Nishta” and with this, he obtained divine powers and knowledge. With this, Sage Vyaasa took the Vedas text and segregated it into the four different categories – The “Rig Veda”, “Yajur Veda”, “Saama Veda”, and “Atharvana Veda”. Since Sage Vyaasa was instrumental in segregating the Vedas and simplifying its complex content, he started to be revered and respected all over the world as “Sage Veda-Vyaasa”. 

Thus, today we’ve witnessed the interesting episode of Sage Veda-Vyaasa’s divine incarnation. Later on, this same Sage Vyaasa was completely instrumental in authoring the great Mahabharata text, which we’re currently witnessing. This Mahabhaarata text is the extract and essence of all the Vedas put together, and this is why it is referred to as the fifth Veda, apart from the already witnessed four Vedas. So for today, let us understand upto this point of Sage Veda-Vyaasa’s incarnation, and in the next episode, we shall witness what were the series of events that happened next! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 82 – Sage Parashara meets Satyavati amidst River Yamuna!!!

In the previous episode, we had commenced Sage Vaishampayana’s detailed accord on the Mahabharata right from the birth of King Upari-Chara-Vasu. We had witnessed how this King Upari-Chara-Vasu was noble in nature, and had obtained enormous boons from Indra himself. Once upon a time, King Upari-Chara-Vasu had undertaken a huge penance with the aim of attaining a good position in the Indra-Lokha. However, Indra was not ready to grant such a thing to King Upari-Chara-Vasu. Instead, Indra gave him the option of an equivalent position in this world itself as a normal human being, wherein he would be in-charge of ensuring whether everything in this world is happening as per the principles of “Dharma”. King Upari-Chara-Vasu too did not argue much with Indra and accepted this deal. Subsequently, once when King Upar-Chara-Vasu was roaming around in a thick forest, he suddenly had the feeling of “Kaama” (Desire) within him. This “Kaama” feeling let out the energy that is required for child birth. Since his wife was not in his vicinity at that time, he transferred that energy into a bird, with an instruction that this bird should carry and deposit this energy into his wife’s womb, so that a child would take birth. 

However, the bird accidentally ended up transferring this energy into a fish. Subsequently, the fish had to bear King Upari-Chara-Vasu’s child, and with that, two children were born – One boy and one girl. Since they were born to a fish, the girl’s name was Matsya-Gandhi. Also since these children were born to a fish, the smell of fish was very strong in both of their bodies. Both these children were being brought up amidst the fisherman community, not knowing that these children were actually those of King Upari-Chara-Vasu. As seen yesterday, this fish had a name, Adrika. This fish was not an ordinary one. It was one of the “Apsaras women” who had taken birth as a fish. Because of some wrongdoing in the past, she had accumulated some curse from some sage, and because of this, she was living in that pond as a fish. Once these two children were born, this Adrika was freed from the curse and left this physical body of the fish. 

Thus, this girl child that was born out of the fish was named as “Matsya-Gandhi”, however, her original name was “Satyavati”. This Satyavati was a beautiful woman and since she was growing amidst fishermen, her main job was to ferry a boat from one bank of River Yamuna to the other bank on the other side of the river. This was going on everyday as per the routine, and one fine day, Sage Paraashara came by that way. He wanted to cross the River Yamuna and was looking for a boat to do so. Finally his eyes fell on this particular boat where Satyavati was sitting. He approached Satyavati and requested her help to cross the river with her boat. Satyavati agreed and Sage Paraashara got on to the boat. 

As the boat was travelling amidst the river, Sage Paraashara was looking at Satyavati and was getting immersed in her beauty. He immediately expresses his desire to her thus, “Oh Satyavati! I’m none other than the great Sage Paraashara. Today I’m seeing you and I’m falling in love with you. We have an important task to do together – We should get together and have a son who would be a great sage and the world would revere and respect him for something great that he is going to accomplish!” Upon hearing this, Satyavati was shocked! She did not know how to react! Amidst the River Yamuna, if someone is coming and asking such a question and that too so directly – How can a woman feel comfortable? Satyavati too was in this state of shock. On one hand, Sage Paraashara is an extremely powerful person and if she negates his proposal, she might end up in a huge trouble. On the other hand, she did not know how to take this matter to her parents, and what would be their reaction. However, she composed herself within a couple of minutes and replied back to Sage Paraashara thus, “Oh great Sage! I revere and respect your words. However, we’re amidst a river and there are people (Sages) on either side of the banks. What if they see us together? Won’t that be an insult to you? Afterall I’m a fisherwoman, whereas you are a great Sage. How will the world appreciate our combination?” 

As Satyavati expresses her concern thus, Sage Paraasharata understood her fear. Immediately with his “Yoga-Bala” (Power of Penance) he makes everything around them to be blurred and in such a way that nobody would be able to see their union. With that, everything gets blurred immediately! However, Satyavati was still not satisfied. She replies thus, “Oh Sage! It is fine that all things around us have become blurred! However, we’re in between the fast-flowing Yamuna River. How will we be able to get together amidst the water? For that too, Sage Paraashara had an answer – He immediately creates an island in between the river and both of them walk into it. This island was completely secluded and was beautifully created by Sage Paraashara’s “Yoga-Bala” again. Even after this, Satyavati’s concerns did not vanish completely. She asks again, “Oh Sage! Now we’re getting together. That’s fine. After this, you would leave me then and there. What would happen to my life henceforth? How will I take care of this child all by myself? Moreover, what would happen to my marriage when I attain that particular age? Who will marry me if anyone comes to know that I’m already a mother of a child?” 

Sage Paraashara had an answer for this as well. He replies thus, “Oh Satyavati! Please do not worry about this! Even if you get pregnant and bear a child, your virginity would not go away. This is not an ordinary child that you’re going to bear now. This child is extremely divine in nature. Moreover, remember one thing very clearly – The moment this child is born, he is going to leave you immediately. He’s not going to reside with you. However, he would appear in front of you whenever you think of him and whenever you need some help. So, you don’t need to worry!” 

With this reply from Sage Paraashara, Satyavati was convinced and they get together to obtain a child. Now who is this child that we’re talking about all this while? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 81 – Sage Vaishampayana begins the Mahabharata marathon with King Upari-chara-Vasu’s accord!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Janame-Jaya continuing to express his wish to listen to the entire Mahabharata story in detail from Sage Vaishampayana. As the great Sage briefed King Janame-Jaya of what had happened earlier to his ancestors, King Janame-Jaya was moved to tears and along with it, his interest also grew multi-fold to listen to all the details pertaining to the Mahabharata. As he expressed his wish thus, Sage Vaishampayana was more than happy to start his detailed narration. In fact, Sage Vaishampayana was waiting for this moment to detail the entire Mahabharata text to him. However, since King Janame-Jaya was a noble king, he was extremely focused on his “Raaja-Dharma”, and eventually did not have time to listen to stories. Now that Sage Vaishampayana had triggered the interest in him, King Janame-Jaya was more than ready to listen to the entire accord. As Sage Vaishampayana asked King Janame-Jaya to select one of the four “Purusha-Arthas” (“Dharma”, “Artha”, “Kaama” and “Moksha”) that he liked in the Mahabharata briefing, King Janame-Jaya replies that he is not interested in all of these. All he wants is to keep listening to the Mahabharata text, detail after detail from Sage Vaishampayana. 

With this, both King Janame-Jaya and Sage Vaishampayana get ready for the marathon! King Janame-Jaya is seated on the floor as Sage Vaishampayana is seated on the “Aasana” (Seat). As Sage Vaishampayana was about to start, he still had a doubt within himself whether King Janame-Jaya would have the patience to listen to the marathon accord of 1.5 Lakh slokas. He again quips King Janame-Jaya thus, “Oh Janame-Jaya! I was just wondering whether you would be able to sit continuously for a long time without a break to listen to what I’m going to tell you. In the middle you might feel like having a break to consume food, use the washroom, etc. However, I’m a sage and I can control my physical body needs to a large extent and I wouldn’t have any problem of that sorts. You’re a normal human being. How’re you going to manage this?” As Sage Vaishampayana asks thus, King Janame-Jaya replies, “Oh Sage! I’m indeed extremely happy and fortunate to have you in my courtroom. More than just having you, I’m more fortunate to hear the “Hari-Katha” from you. If the substance that you’re narrating is about Bhagawan, what is going to induce me from getting up from my seat? I’m never going to get up for anything throughout the entire duration of the narration. You may proceed without any further delay, as I’m eager to listen to your divine words about Bhagawan Krishna!”

As King Janame-Jaya asserts thus, Sage Vaishampayana is going to commence the gigantic narrative. Till now we’re in the “Upa-Parva” called “Hamsa-Avatarana Parva” inside the “Aadi Parva”, which is the main “Parva”. Here, we’re in the process of witnessing all those people who took birth as part of the great Hastinapura. It all starts from King Uparicharavasu. King Uparicharavasu was the ancestor of King Dhirdiraashtra and even of Sage Veda-Vyaasa. It is only after King Uparicharavasu comes all the other people including Sage Vyaasa. Only after the incarnation of Sage Vyaasa we’re going to have Paandu, Dhirdiraashtra, and the rest of them, isn’t it? Thus, King Uparicharavasu had obtained enormous amounts of boons from Indra and the Devas. King Uparicharavasu had a unique feature – His chariot would never anchor on the ground. It would always travel an inch above the ground, which means that it would literally float in the air and fly in the air while moving. This is why he had the name “Upari-Chara-Vasu”. His original name was “Vasu”, but since his chariot was always floating in the air (Upari-Chara), he obtained the name “Uparicharavasu”. 

This King Uparichara-Vasu wanted to somehow obtain a great position in the “Indra-Lokha” and hence, he undertook a great penance. However, Indra was not convinced. We’ve already witnessed how Indra is always jealous and protective of his wealth and position. He immediately appeared in front of King Uparichara-Vasu and explained to him thus, “Oh great king! I understand your intentions, but it is not feasible for you to attain the Indra-Lokha at the moment. As I’m ruling the Deva-Lokha for so many years now, it would create unwanted conflict between you and me. Hence, you continue ruling the Bhoo-Lokha like how you’re doing today, and ensure that all the good and auspicious things keep happening in your kingdom. With this, I’m also granting you a lot of wealth and powers, with which you can be happy and content in this Bhoo-Lokha itself!” 

Accepting Indra’s deal thus, King Uparicharavasu is continuing to rule his kingdom with all the “Dharma” in place. As he was going around his kingdom to check whether everything is happening according to the “Dharma”, he spotted a beautiful woman and eventually ended up marrying her. Her name was Girika. He should have ideally had children with his wife, isn’t it? But that did not happen. Once upon a time, when King Uparicharavasu was roaming amidst a forest, he suddenly had the feeling of “Kaama”, and with this, he transferred his feelings into a bird that was flying above him. He instructed the bird to somehow transfer this energy into his wife, Girika, so that they would be able to have a child. However, on the contrary, the bird transfers this energy to a fish amidst a lake. This fish was called “Adrika”. As the fish obtained this energy from King Uparicharavasu, it started to bare his child, rather than his wife becoming pregnant. There was a child that was born out of this, and it was called “Matsya-Gandhi”. Since it was born out of a fish, and since it was with a human form, it was called so. Also, since it was born to a fish, it always had the smell of a fish in it! King Uparicharavasu did not know of all this, as the bird accidentally transferred his energy to the fish, isn’t it? So for today, let us understand upto this point, and we shall continue this discussion in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 80 – King Janame-Jaya’s “GURU BHAKTI” towards Sage Vaishampayana – A lesson for all of us to learn!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed how Sage Vaishampayana gives the perfect “Elevator Pitch” to King Janame-Jaya for the launch of the great Mahabharata narration. With this, Sage Vaishampayana triggered the interest in King Janame-Jaya to listen to more of the Mahabharata, and induced many “unanswered” questions in his mind. As King Janame-Jaya was given the suspense in this way, he came up with a multitude of questions to Sage Vaishampayana, which in turn prompted Sage Vaishampayana to commence the detailed narrative. As this happens, Sage Vaishampayana commences the narrative, completes the entire one-lakh-odd slokas of the Mahabharata that covers four important aspects of our Sanaatana Dharma – “Dharma”, “Artha”, “Kaama” and “Moksha”. After the entire narration is over, Sage Vaishampayana asks King Janame Jaya thus, “Oh Janame-Jaya! As you wished, I have narrated the entire “Charitra” for you. Now I guess you would have a fair bit of understanding of the four pillars of our Sanaatana Dharma. Now please tell me – Out of these four pillars, which is the one that you like the most? Given an option, which pillar would you adopt for your life as a king?” 

As Sage Vaishampayana asks thus, King Janame-Jaya replies, “Oh Sage Vaishampayana! To answer your question frankly, I did not like any of the four pillars! I’m not in agreement with any of them!” As Sage Vaishampayana hears thus, he’s surprised! He asks again, “Oh Janame-Jaya! What do you mean by saying that you’re not in sync with any of the four pillars? Are you going to find a fifth pillar?” King Janame-Jaya replies thus, “Oh Sage! I’m not going to find a fifth pillar after all what you’ve said! In fact, I’m so incompetent for all that. All what I meant to say here is that, I was very impressed with the way you narrated the entire Mahabharata in detail. You moved me into tears and a state of bliss! If given an opportunity, I would keep listening to you all day, all year and all throughout my lifetime! I’m not interested in all these “Dharma”, “Artha”, “Kaama” and “Moksha”. I’m only interested in what you’re saying. So please continue with this narration further and I want to keep listening to your divine words!” 

Such was the devotion that King Janame-Jaya exhibited to Sage Vaishampayana. From this, one important aspect that we should learn here is the amount of “Guru-Bhakti” that King Janame-Jaya exhibited. Only if one has such a devotion and unconditional surrender to the “Guru” (The Spiritual Master), will he / she be able to obtain the divine knowledge that is required to attain “Moksha”. King Janame-Jaya is an epitome of this aspect of our Sanaatana Dharma that emphasizes on the “Guru-Bhakti”. As Sage Vaishampayana was narrating the entire text, King Janame-Jaya didn’t move here or there, even for an inch! He was totally devoted to listening to what Sage Vaishampayana was explaining, and this concentration towards whatever we’re learning is extremely important. One of the main reasons why many of us aren’t really successful in learning something important is that we neither have the concentration nor the patience to learn and understand things. Both these qualities are extremely important if spiritual learning should happen. Some aspects in our Sanaatana Dharma would make us uncomfortable and might be difficult to understand and comprehend. This is because, we do not have that prior experience in our present lifetime to understand and relate these things. However, having said that, it doesn’t mean that we would discard those important principles. This is the reason why our ancestors have given all these “tough” principles of life in the form of stories. This would make us understand and comprehend these things in a much easier way.

One other reason here is that, these principles are also in the form of complex Sanskrit “Shabdhas” and “Dhaatus”, which might be extremely difficult for us to understand and learn. In today’s scenario, we’ve literally forgotten our ancient language called “Sanskrit”, in which, fortunately or unfortunately all our Sanaatana Dharma literature is written in – Be it Vedas, Upanishads, Puraanas, and even the Ithihaasas of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Hence, there is a huge “language barrier” too that prevents us from learning and understanding these texts. This is why I always keep insisting to all our readers to take a step forward towards learning the Sanskrit language. It is very heartening to see today that many people are taking that initiative, but more and more people should chip in. Of course, I can explain many things through English, but if we know Sanskrit, it is a different ball-game altogether! We would be able to understand with even more clarity! Hence, let us use whatever opportunity we get today, to enrich our knowledge in Sanskrit, which in turn would be extremely useful in understanding our Sanaatana Dharma literature in an even better way. 

So for today, let us understand this important point of King Janame-Jaya’s “Guru Bhakti” towards Sage Vaishampayana and we shall continue this discussion further in the next episode, wherein Sage Vaishampayana is all set to commence the bigger narrative of the Mahabharata text! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 79 – Sage Vaishampayana’s “ELEVATOR PITCH” triggers King Janame-Jaya’s interest to listen more!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the crucial role played by Bhagawan Krishna in bringing all those people following “Adharma” to book. None of them were spared on either camps, except the five Paandava brothers. Each and every individual of the 18-Akshauhini-strong army had to bite the dust at the end of the eighteenth day of the war. As Sage Vaishampaayana narrates all of these with a “chilling” effect, King Janame-Jaya was moved to tears. Till that point, he did not know all of what had happened in the past, and he was totally unaware of Bhagawan Krishna’s important role in his family lineage. Thus, with the divine “Anugraha” of Bhagawan Krishna, the Paandava brothers succeeded King Dhirdiraashtra to the throne of Hastinapura, ruled the kingdom as per the “Dharma” for many further years, and finally attained the highest “Moksha” with the divine “Anugraha” of Bhagawan Krishna. With this accord, Sage Vaishampaayana stops his narration and is about to take leave from King Janame-Jaya’s place. He had narrated the entire story within just 30 slokas! 

This “brief narration” triggered King Janame-Jaya’s curiosity even more. He replies to Sage Vaishampayana thus, “Oh Sage! I was thinking that you would give me a detailed accord with more than a lakh slokas about what happened to all my ancestors! However, you’ve finished the entire story within just 30 slokas! With this, there is a huge trigger within myself with so many doubts and queries. Therefore, I request you to elaborate the entire story in such a way that all my queries are answered! Oh Sage! I’m not satisfied with listening to this brief. I want to hear more!”

“Itham shata sahasraamhi slokaanaam punya karmanaam!

Satyavatyaatmanatheeneha vyaakhyaatam amitoujasaa!!”

As King Janame-Jaya expresses his wish thus, Sage Vaishampayana was more than happy to continue his accord in a great elaboration. He replies to King Janame-Jaya thus, “Oh Janame-Jaya! I was actually waiting for you to come up to me with this request. Is it going to be a burden for me to narrate the entire “Charitra” that has been authored by Sage Veda-Vyaasa? It is indeed a pleasure for me to do so! I was just thinking whether you would have the liking and the time to listen to the elaborate narration or not!”

In fact, there is a background story to this – When Sage Vaishampayana approached King Janame-Jaya earlier to enlighten him about his past, King Janame-Jaya was not ready to sit and listen to all this. He was a great king and with that, came a lot of responsibilities too. King Janame-Jaya was extremely busy with his roles as a king and did not have time for all this. He kept postponing this for a while now. However, Sage Vaishampayana was very smart. He requested King Janame-Jaya multiple times to listen to atleast one “Parva”, or atleast one “Upa-Parva” or atleast one “Adhyaaya”. To all these requests, King Janame-Jaya wasn’t ready to budge. However, when Sage Vaishampayana requested him to listen to just one sloka, he acceded. Sage Vaishampayana explains thus, “Oh King Janame-Jaya! Suyodhana and Dashaanana, although they knew of their enemy’s valor and power in war, they still came to fight each other!” With this, the sloka came to an end! 

Upon hearing this, even we’re unable to understand anything, isn’t it? King Janame-Jaya too had the same feeling! Many questions arose in his mind – Who is this “Suyodhana”? Who is this “Dashaanana”? Why did both of them come to loggerheads? Suyodhana was none other than Duryodhana. When Arjuna and the Paandavas were living in the “Viraata-Nagara”, Duryodhana witnessed Arjuna’s enormous powers in warfare. He was slightly taken aback by that. However, Duryodhana’s ego pushed him to go for an all-out war against Arjuna and the Paandavas at Kurukshetra, isn’t it? Similar is the case with “Dashaanana”, who was none other than Ravana. Even though Hanuman had come to Lanka and burnt down the entire city, Ravana still did not relent from his stance of submitting Mother Sita back to Bhagawan Rama, isn’t it? Even though Ravana knew that one Hanuman was enough to destroy a thousand Ravanas like himself, he did not relent and still fought a war with Bhagawan Rama, isn’t it? We’ve seen this in our earlier Ramayana project. Thus, Sage Vaishampayana’s message here was that both “Suyaanana ” and “Dashaanana ” were the greatest fools on this earth! Saying thus, Sage Vaishampayana asked King Janame-Jaya whether he can leave! 

As Sage Vaishampayana was about to leave, King Janame-Jaya was filled with questions in his mind! He wanted answers! This is where Sage Vaishampayana was very smart! He triggered King Janame-Jaya’s interest with just that one sloka, within just 5 seconds! How long is it going to take to chant one sloka? Maximum 10 seconds maybe? This is what we call in today’s management terms as “Elevator Pitch”. In other words, we should be able to convince and impress an investor within just five to ten seconds while going on an elevator that we’ve got a business plan that is fundable! Similarly here too, Sage Vaishampayana employs an “Elevator Pitch” to King Janame-Jaya to impress them that he should spend time listening to the Mahabharata story! With this, Sage Vaishampayana succeeded in triggering King Janame-Jaya’s interest, and from now onwards, the Mahabharata narration in a great detail is about to start! 

So for today, let us leave it at this point, and we shall continue this discussion forward in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 78 – Role of Bhagawan Krishna in the entire Mahabharata story – Sage Vaishampayana briefs!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of how the Paandavas were humiliated more and more by Duryodhana and Co. They were sent to the forest as part of the “Agnyaata-Vaasam” for a period of twelve years. During their thirteenth year when the Paandavas finished it and were residing at Viraata-Nagara, Duryodhana claimed to have “spotted” them and with this, as per the previous agreement, they had to go on another twelve years of “Agnyaata-Vaasam” to the forest. This was grossly protested from all corners and the enmity started rising. Even though many tried to convince Duryodhana that he was going on a wrong path, he was not ready to relent. He was firm that Yudishtra should not become the ruler of Hastinapura forever, and the kingdom would solely be under Duryodhana’s control. Uncle Sahuni was motivating Duryodhana to up his ante against the Paandavas every time. As the enmity breached the threshold levels, it was just about time that a war broke out between the two camps. Messengers were sent from either side to doze off the tension, as a “last minute” attempt. However, this too did not work. With the public insult meted out to Bhagawan Krishna Himself by Duryodhana, all the war clouds came together! Bhagawan Krishna too decided that enough and more of opportunities were given to Duryodhana and Co., but they never mended their ways towards “Dharma”. So the only option that was left was the war, and with this, Bhagawan Krishna ensured that not even a single person in the Kaurava camp survived after the eighteen-day event. 

The destruction in the war and its aftermath was so severe that even in the Paandava camp, except for the five Paandava brothers, nobody was left over! Even the Upa-Paandavas had to die at the end of the war, courtesy, Ashwathhaama’s “unethical war tactics”, which we’re going to witness later. After all this got over, Bhagawan Krishna ensured that the entire aspect of “Adharma” in this world came to an end! It was a ghastly end to a great kingdom, which had to bite the dust, courtesy, Duryodhana’s arrogance and jealousy. Thus, Bhagawan Krishna ensured that he “enacted” this war perfectly with the help of the Paandava brothers without taking even a single weapon in hand. This is a very important point that needs to be noted by readers here – During the war, Bhagawan Krishna did not take out even a sword to fight. In fact, He never even fought with a single person on the battlefield. Yet, with His ever-sharp intellect, He made sure that the Paandavas danced to His whims and fancies and got the job done! 

Thus, during His childhood, Bhagawan Krishna made sure that He Himself killed all the Raakshasas who came to attack and kill Him at Gokula and Mathura. We’ve witnessed all these during our previous Shri Vishnu Puraanaa and Bhaagawatha Puraana projects. Right from Poothana to Kesi, Bhagawan Krishna destroyed all the Raakshasas who came to kill him at Gokula. Subsequently at Mathura, Bhagawan Krishna killed Kamsa and Chaanura. Eventually during His later years of incarnation, Bhagawan Krishna killed Sishupaala too. He was also instrumental in Bheemasena killing Jaraasantha and the other allied Raakshasas. Thus we can see here that Bhagawan Krishna’s entire purpose of incarnation was to complete destroy “Adharma” which had manifested in various forms – One in the form of the Raakshasas themselves, and mainly the other form in which normal people like Duryodhana who followed the path of “Adharma”. Duryodhana was not a Raakshasa by any means, but still he bore the brunt because of his “Adharmic” approach. Same was the case with the others like Karna, Ducchaasana, Sahuni, etc. 

If such is the case with Duryodhana and Co., seniors like Bhishmaachaarya, Guru Dhronaachaarya, etc. were also not spared either! This is because they were aiding the “Adharma” to take place by compromising on the “Dharma”. Even though Bhishmaachaarya knew that Bhagawan Krishna is a divine incarnation of Bhagawan Vishnu and that, He would always stand by the “Dharma”, the “Maya” (Illusion) took over and this made Bhishmaachaarya take a stance towards Duryodhana and King Dhiridiraashtra, although it was a known fact that these people were talking the path of “Adharma”. Thus, Bhagawan Krishna had no other option but to bring all these people to book, even though they were very senior and learned people! 

So for today, let us understand and appreciate Bhagawan Krishna’s divine role in this Mahabharata story as Sage Vaishampayana narrates these chilling events to King Janame-Jaya. We shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂