We’re amidst an important phase in the discussion of the “Preface”, wherein Sage Vyaasa has described the entire story of the Mahabharata in a nutshell. In this, we’ve seen till now as to how the Kauravas and Paandavas were born and what happened subsequently after their birth. We’ve witnessed how King Dhirdiraashtra was “forced” to accept the Paandava brothers as the legal heirs of Hastinapura kingdom, after King Paandu’s demise. Even though King Dhirdiraashtra was ruling the kingdom, both he and his son, Duryodhana were extremely possessive and jealous with the Paandavas entering into the kingdom through the “back door”. Ever since then, Duryodhana had a grudge towards Yudishtra and Co. and this grudge only grew more and more as the Paandavas were slowly growing up in their stature. They eventually proved to be extremely good and invincible warriors and administrators as well.
As Yudishtra became the king of Indraprasta, he arranged for a huge “Raajasuya Yaaga”, wherein Duryodhana was also invited. As Yudishtra conducted the Yagnya with a huge grandeur and with countless amounts of “Dakshina” given to everyone who attended it, Duryodhana’s fuming only increased further. As this “Yagnya” became a huge talking point all over the world, Duryodhana’s jealousy increased manifold. The situation peaked when Mayan constructed an impeccable palace for the Paandavas to administer from. It is at this point Duryodhana decides that he has had enough of all this. He rushes to his father, King Dhirdiraashtra and pours out all his frustration to him. He repeatedly blackmails King Dhirdiraashtra that if this situation continues further, the Paandavas are going to capture Hastinapura too, and finally he would become a hapless person. This is the point which Duryodhana kept on emphasizing to his father – If the Paandavas rise any more in stature, Duryodhana would become a beggar! The world would praise Yudishtra only and not Duryodhana!
As Duryodhana keeps on repeating this in different ways again and again, at one point, King Dhiridraashtra’s mind started giving away! His affection towards Duryodhana started taking over. Until that point, King Dhirdiraashtra was treating both the Kauravas and the Paandavas as his own sons only. However, when Duryodhana came up with this accord, King Dhirdiraashtra’s selfishness took over slowly. He too realizes that if this goes on like this, his son would be on the streets! This selfishness from both King Dhirdiraashtra and Duryodhana led them to do all possible “Adharma” that they could. Subsequently the Paandavas were called for a gambling game and all of us know how Draupati was insulted at the end of the game. Yudishtra ended up losing all his property, kingdom, money, etc. and finally all of them had to go on an exile for thirteen years. Even during the exile period, so many things happened and once it was over, Duryodhana never seemed to change his stance. His arrogance only kept increasing day after day and finally this arrogance is what led to the unfortunate happening of the Kurukshetra war.
All of us know what happened at the end of the war. The entire Kaurava clan was totally destroyed. It was not just the Kaurava camp that faced mass destruction. The Paandava camp wasn’t an exception either. Only ten people survived post the war – The five Paandava brothers of Yudishtra and Co., Apart from the Paandava brothers, Sage Kripachaarya, Kritavarma and Ashwathaama were the only people who were left unscathed. Except for these people, Bhagawan Krishna made sure that all others died, including the huge army from both sides. The Paandava camp had seven “Akshauhinis” of army and the Kaurava camp had eleven “Akshauhinis” of army. Each “Akshauhini” has around a thousand elephants, a thousand soldiers, a thousand horses, etc. I shall describe this in detail when we get to this stage of the Mahabharata detailed story. But the point here is that, at the end of such a huge war, only these seven or eight people remained.
As all this happens on the Kurukshetra battlefield, Sanjaya is detailing “live action” to King Dhidiraashtra at Hastinapura. Upon hearing each and every moment of how the Kaurava army was getting destroyed, King Dhirdiraashtra’s heart broke slowly and steadily. Finally when the news of Duryodhana’s demise reaches King Dhirdiraashtra, he couldn’t hold himself any further! He bursts out crying with immense fury, frustration and regret! At this point, King Dhirdiraashtra himself is regretting for all that happened on that fateful day when the gambling game took place. In fact, King Dhirdiraashtra’s regret is captured by around 50 slokas one after the other. He says to Sanjaya thus, “Oh Sanjaya! The moment Draupati was insulted in the public courtroom in front of everyone, I knew that my son was going to be destroyed! The moment Bhagawan Krishna started leaning towards the Paandava camp, I knew that my son is slowly moving towards destruction. The moment Bhagawan Krishna came to Hastinapura as the “Paandava-Thooda” (Messenger of the Paandavas), I knew that Duryodhana was nearing his end. The moment Bhagawan Krishna took His position as Arjuna’s charioteer, I knew that it was only about time that Duryodhana is going to face a huge repercussion! No matter how much I tried to convince, Duryodhana never listened to my words even once! This ultimately led him to downfall!” Saying thus, King Dhirdiraashtra couldn’t control the loss of all his hundred sons!
As Sanjaya listens to all this, he asks a counter question to King Dhirdiraashtra thus, “Oh King! If you knew all of this, why didn’t you press the panic button earlier itself? Why were you silent? What kept you mum all these years? You should have taken strict action against your son then and there, isn’t it? What is the use of grumbling now, after everything is over?” For this, King Dhirdiraashtra is going to give a very important answer! What is that? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂