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! 🙂 


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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