Episode # 117 – The “Guru-Sishya” relationship between Arjuna and Bhagawan Krishna – A background!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the simultaneous incarnation of Bhagawan Krishna, along with the Paandavas and Kauravas. As the five Paandava brothers and the hundred Kaurava brothers take birth, it is precisely at the same time did Bhagawan Vishnu decided to incarnate as the divine son of Devaki and Vasudeva as part of the Yaadava clan. We’ve seen how Yadu had lost his opportunity to rule the kingdom of the Yaadavas, and Bhagawan Vishnu took it upon Himself to incarnate as Bhagawan Krishna to uplift the entire Yaadava community. At the same time, Bhagawan Krishna also played a pivotal role in the lives of the Paandava brothers, as we’ve witnessed that the Paandavas were cousins to Bhagawan Krishna. We’ve seen that Prutha (Kunthi Devi) and Vasudeva were sisters and thus, the relationship between Bhagawan Krishna and the Paandavas is visible for all of us to understand. However, in the last episode, we had asked an important question towards the end – Although we say that the Paandavas are cousins to Bhagawan Krishna, why was Bhagawan more inclined towards Arjuna than the other four brothers. Let us witness the answer to this question in today’s episode. 

If we’ve to trace back to the past a little bit, Bhagawan Krishna and Arjuna are actually incarnations of “Narayana” and “Nara” who form the main deities of the divine Badrinatha Kshetra amidst the Himalayas. We can worship this Badrinatha Kshetra even today and it forms one amongst the 108 Divya Desas of Bhagawan Vishnu. The main deity of Badrinatha Kshetra is Bhagawan Narayana, and His closest disciple was none other than Nara (Meaning, a normal human being). Nara wanted to learn all the aspects of the Vedas, Upanishads, and the nuances of life, and with this, he wanted to be under Bhagawan Narayana directly. Bhagawan Narayana too accepted Nara as His own disciple and blessed Nara with all the requisite knowledge. It is this same “Nara-Narayana” combination that has incarnated here as Arjuna and Bhagawan Krishna! This is why we witness the close nexus between the two. Arjuna and Bhagawan Krishna share a “Guru-Sishya” relationship, more than being biological cousins. This is the reason why Bhagawan Krishna chose Arjuna amidst the battlefield to educate him on the Bhagawad Gita. 

Even otherwise, at various instances in the Mahabharata text, we’re going to witness how Bhagawan Krishna guided Arjuna whenever he faced hurdles, and it is important to also know that Arjuna followed Bhagawan Krishna’s advice word by word, without any blemish. This is also important isn’t it? Bhagawan can give all the advice, but it is upto us to follow whatever Bhagawan says, or reject it totally! Arjuna took it upon himself to make sure that he follows whatever Bhagawan Krishna asked him to do. If he had to fight the war, he was ready to fight the war, even though the enemy camp was full of his own relatives, including his own Guru. Dhronachaarya. This was Arjuna’s dedication towards Bhagawan Krishna. In fact, we’re going to witness a stage in the Mahabharata during the war wherein Bhagawan Krishna Himself declares to the world that life for Him would be extremely difficult if Arjuna wasn’t there with Him! If Bhagawan has to mention a “Jeevatma” and feel that His life had no meaning without the presence of that “Jeevatma”, we can witness how much of an impact that Arjuna made in Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation! Thus, this is the nexus between Arjuna and Bhagawan Krishna, who were cousin brothers to each other! 

We might wonder here – Maybe Bhagawan Krishna was close to the Paandavas only because He was related to them! Perhaps, if we’re Bhagawan’s relatives in some way, Bhagawan would automatically become closely associated with us! Is this true? The answer is “No”! There is a classical example of being a rebel to Bhagawan, even though Bhagawan was his cousin! This example is none other than Sishupala! Readers should understand here that Sishupala was also Bhagawan Krishna’s cousin, but even then, Sishupala was a Raakshasa and he revolted against Bhagawan Krishna, only to be killed by Him! We’re going to witness this at a later stage. Thus, here’s a cousin who did not want to follow Bhagawan’s footsteps! We can thus understand here that just by merely being related to Bhagawan biologically, it is not a guarantee that one would be an ardent “Bhakta” towards Bhagawan! 

So for today, let us understand these two important points and let us wait till the next episode to continue the discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 116 – Bhagawan Krishna incarnates alongside Pandavas & Kauravas in the “Yadava” clan!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed a tragic and a shocking event in the life of the Paandava brothers wherein erstwhile King Paandu had passed away, owing to trying and getting into a union with his wife, Maadri Devi. On a rainy day when both King Paandu and Maadri Devi were roaming around amidst the dense forest, King Paandu was attracted towards Maadri Devi’s beauty and hence tried to get into a union with her. Although Maadri Devi tried stopping him and despite reminding him of the curse that he had obtained from Sage Kindama, King Paandu was in no mood to relent. As fate would have had it, King Paandu was immediately killed at the very moment he tried to get into a union with Maadri Devi. Shell-shocked by this, Maadri Devi cried aloud and with this, Kunthi Devi along with the five Paandava brothers rushed to the spot, only to find King Paandu dead! Unable to bare the guilt of “being responsible” for King Paandu’s death, Maadri Devi too finished off herself then and there, thus leaving the five children alone with Kunthi Devi. This was the first rude shock that the five children had in their lives, seeing their father’s demise at such a tender age. 

As this happened, the last rituals of King Paandu were performed by Yudishtra, the eldest of the five brothers, along with the assistance of Kunthi Devi and the others around. Months and years rolled by, and the five children along with Kunthi Devi continued to reside in the forest, away from the kingdom. However, as time progressed, the Maharishis in the forest felt that it is not going to be right for these young princes to be loitering around in the forest, and that, they should immediately go to Hastinapura kingdom, since they had the due right to be the successor of their father, King Paandu. Thus, paying heed to the Maharishis’ advice, the Paandavas (Three Kaunteyas and two Maadreyas) along with Kunthi Devi made their way to the Hastinapura kingdom. This is one side of the story. 

So we shall leave this story at this point and till now, readers should remember that we’ve been witnessing the family lineage of Puru. We’ve seen two important people as part of the “Chandra Vamsa” namely Yadu and Puru. All what we’ve seen till now with Paandu, Dhirdiraashtra, Paandavas, Duryodhana, etc. are part of the “Puru-Vamsa”. Now we’ve to witness what happened to Yadu, isn’t it? It should be remembered that Yadu should have ideally been the successor of his father, however, since Yadu wasn’t ready to donate his youthfulness to his father when he desired for it, his father denied Yadu the opportunity of becoming the next king. It was handed over to Puru, and from there, we witnessed the birth of King Shantanu, and the rest of them. Now, Yadu had children and these people were also called “Vrishnis” or “Yaadavas”. It is in this clan that Bhagawan Krishna incarnate, and this is the reason why Bhagawan Krishna has a divine name called “Yaadava”. In other words, Bhagawan Krishna is referred to as “Yaadava”, because he was born as part of the family lineage of Yadu. 

As we’ve witnessed here, even though the Yaadavas were having the right to rule the kingdom, they were denied and the entire clan was insulted. Thus, one of the important purposes of Bhagawan Krishna’s birth is to uplift the Yaadava clan and make them regain their lost respect and opportunity to rule. If we look at the Bhagawad Gita, at many places Arjuna would refer Bhagawan Krishna as “Vaarshneya”. This is because Bhagawan Krishna was born in the clan of the Vrishnis. Thus, “Vaarshneya” is also another divine name of Bhagawan Krishna. In turn, at many places in the Bhagawad Gita, Bhagawan Krishna would refer to Arjuna as “Kaunteya” or “Paartha”. This is because, Arjuna was the son of Kunthi Devi (Kauntheya), who is otherwise known as Prutha (Paartha). We’ve witnessed earlier as to why Kunthi Devi had these two names. 

Of course, apart from this important purpose of uplifting the Yaadava community and restoring their status, Bhagawan Krishna’s main purpose of incarnation was to restore and re-establish the “Dharma” in this world. It is for this reason Bhagawan Krishna moved very closely with the Paandavas and whenever the Paandavas were suffering in the hands of “Adharma”, Bhagawan Krishna was the first person to come and protect them. Thus, at this particular stage of the Mahabharata, precisely at the same time when the Paandavas and Duryodhana were born, Bhagawan Krishna too incarnated as the divine son of Devaki and Vasudeva. We’ve already seen in detail, the incarnation of Bhagawan Krishna during our “Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana” (Dashama Skandha) project, and hence, I’m not going into that detail again. Readers can go back to either our previous Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana or Shrimad Vishnu Puraana projects for references regarding Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation. 

It is also to be noted that Bhagawan Krishna and the Paandavas were cousins to each other, because of the brother-sister relationship between Vasudeva and Kunthi Devi. This is also one reason why Bhagawan Krishna and the Paandavas were very closely knit to each other. Also, we would have a doubt here as to why Bhagawan Krishna and Arjuna specially had a unique bonding with each other. Readers should note that Bhagawan Krishna and Arjuna share a peculiar relationship with each other and this can be seen at various stages in the Mahabharata text, not only during the Kurukshetra war. Of course, all of us know that Bhagawan Krishna was even ready to be the charioteer to Arjuna, and not to any other Paandava brothers! What is the nexus between these two? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 115 – The demise of King Paandu – The Paandava brothers are left alone with Kunthi Devi!!!

In the previous episode, we have been witnessing King Dhirdiraashtra and Paandu having children separately – One at Hastinapura and the other in the forest. As time progressed, Kunthi Devi used her “Mantra” route to start obtaining children. Meanwhile, Gaandhaari, who was blessed by Sage Veda-Vyaasa for a hundred children, also started carrying. Both the ladies became pregnant for their respective first children precisely at the same time. However, Yudishtra was born much earlier than Gaandhaari’s eldest son, Duryodhana. Gaandhaari’s pregnancy lasted for almost two years, and within this time, Kunthi had started carrying her second child as well! Frustrated by this, Gaandhaari “forced open” her stomach, only to find a ball of meat which fell on the floor from her uterus. Shocked thus, Gaandhaari requested Sage Vyaasa for a solution again, and according to his guidance, the meat ball was split into a hundred pieces, each piece put into individual pots filled with ghee. As time progressed, each pot burst into pieces and the babies were born out of them. Thus, Gaandhaari had hundred babies from the hundred pots that were kept there. The eldest son of Gaandhaari was none other than Duryodhana. By the time Duryodhana was born, precisely on the same day, Bheemasena took birth to Kunthi Devi, who was her second son after Yudishtra. 

Thus, after this day wherein Duryodhana and Bheemasena were born, Gaandhaari was obtaining a baby every day from the pots for the next hundred days. However, Kunthi Devi had her third child, Arjuna only after one more year. Thus, for Kunthi Devi, Yudishtra was born first. Subsequently after one year, Bheemasena was born. Again, subsequently after one more year, Arjuna was born. Thus, these three children took birth in the forest for erstwhile King Paandu and Kunthi Devi, and the hundred children took birth at Hastinapura for King Dhirdiraashtra and Gaandhaari. Meanwhile, as Kunthi Devi was happy with the three children that she had, Paandu was wanting to have a fourth child. However, Kunthi Devi refused to have more than three children as she thought that it might create problems when the fourth child arrives. However, Maadri Devi, Paandu’s another wife also wanted to have children with Paandu. For this, both Kunthi Devi and Paandu were ready, and with Kunthi Devi’s help, Maadri Devi prayed towards the “Ashwini Devatas” for obtaining children. As a result of her prayers, Maadri Devi had twin children by names “Nakula” and “Sahadeva”. 

Thus, the five Paandava brothers took birth, namely, Yudishtra, Bheemasena, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. Similarly, the Kaurava brothers, starting from Duryodhana and Duchhaasana were born at Hastinapura and with this, days, months and years rolled by. The children were growing up fast. However, one day, as Paandu and Maadri Devi were together in the forest, it started to rain heavily. As it was raining, both of them got drenched, and with this, Paandu got carried away by Maadri Devi’s physical beauty. Thus, as fate would have had it, Paandu tried to get into a union with Maadri Devi, even though she tried stopping him from doing that. Maadri Devi tried to remind King Paandu of the curse that he had obtained from Sage Kindama and that, he had the responsibility to bring up the five children. However, Paandu turned deaf ears to whatever Maadri Devi tried to say. As Paandu entered into a union with Maadri Devi, the curse worked and showed its true colour! King Paandu was killed then and there and with this, Sage Kindama’s curse came true! 

Shocked by what had happened, Kunthi Devi rushed to the spot and however, it was too late by then! Meanwhile, Maadri Devi also confessed to Kunthi Devi that she had tried her best to stop him from getting close to her, but she failed in her attempt! Fate had the last laugh! Highly dejected by this, Maadri Devi too decided to breathe her last, along with her late husband, Paandu, and thus, both of them attained the “Svarga Lokha” together. Now it was upto Kunthi Devi to take care of the five children. The responsibility was not an ordinary one for Kunthi Devi. She had a huge challenge in front of her! So for today, let us understand upto this particular point, and in the next episode we shall witness what happened to the five Paandava brothers and Kunthi Devi, post Paandu’s demise! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 114 – Bheemasena and Duryodhana are born on the same day!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Paandu renouncing his kingdom and descending to the forest along with his wives Kunthi and Maaadri. This was after King Paandu was inflicted with a terrible curse from Sage Kindama who was in the form of a deer. As per the curse, King Paandu wouldn’t be able to get into a union with his wives to have children. If at all he tries to do so, he would be killed then and there! Stunned by this curse, King Paandu decided that there’s no point in being a king if he’s unable to have the next successor from his generation. As King Paandu left, the responsibility fell upon Dhirdiraashtra and he was crowned as the next king after King Paandu. Meanwhile, when King Paandu was roaming around in the forest, Kunthi Devi suddenly remembered the divine “Mantra” that Sage Durvaasa had offered her when she was young. She explained to King Paandu as to how she could still bear a child without biological intervention and if she could pray towards any of the “Devas”, she would be blessed with a child immediately. Upon hearing this, King Paandu was excited and relieved that there is still a possibility of having kids without biological intervention. 

However, as Kunthi Devi explained this to King Paandu, she kept mum on the birth of Karna. Readers might remember that Kunthi Devi hid the fact that she had already obtained one baby before her marriage by testing whether this Mantra holds any waters or not. This baby was none other than Karna, who was in turn being brought up by a family of charioteers. Moving on thus, with the consent of King Paandu, Kunthi Devi finally takes this “Mantra” route to obtain children. She first prays towards “Yama-Dharma-Raja” and immediately obtains a child, who was none other than Yudishtra or “Dharma-Putra”. As Yudishtra was the “Amsa” of Yama-Dharma-Raja, he was an epitome of “Dharma” in all what he did. Thus, Yudishtra was born. Subsequently, after the passage of one year, Kunthi Devi again employed the “Mantra” given by Sage Durvasa. With this, now Kunthi Devi prayed to Vaayu Bhagawan and thus obtained a child by name “Bheemasena” or “Bhima”. As this was happening in the forest, on the same day when Bheemasena was born, Duryodhana was born to King Dhirdiraashtra and Gaandhaari at Hastinapura. 

There is an interesting background story that happens here – As Kunthi Devi delivered Yudishtra, Gaandhaari was also carrying. However, unlike the normal situation where the pregnancy lasts for around ten months to a year, Gaandhaari’s case was different. Her pregnancy went on for almost two years. Her stomach got bigger and bigger, but she was unable to deliver the baby on time because of some strange reason. At the time when Kunthi Devi was carrying for the second time and at the time of her delivery, the news spread to Hastinapura that Kunthi had obtained a second son after Yudishtra. Getting jealous of this, Gaandhaari lost her patience. We should note here that both Gaandhaari and Kunthi Devi got pregnant at the same time when Kunthi Devi delivered Yudishtra. Ideally, Duryodhana and Yudishtra should have been born at the same time. But Gaandhaari couldn’t deliver the baby on time. Frustrated by this, Gaandhaari took a sword from the palace and forcefully pierced her stomach by herself! Upon doing that, unable to withstand the pressure, the womb along with the child inside it came out and fell on the floor! Upon seeing this, Gaandhaari was shocked! She was thinking within herself thus, “Oh my god! Is this for what I was waiting for almost two years? On one hand, Sage Veda-Vyaasa had promised her that she would bear a hundred sons, but on the other hand, this is what has happened!” 

Thus, she immediately called for Sage Vyaasa and asked him for a solution for this. Sage Vyaasa too understood the situation and immediately asked her to arrange a hundred pots filled with ghee. In all the hundred pots, the womb with the flesh should be mixed with the ghee inside and all these hundred pots should be preserved for a few months in water. 

As Sage Vyaasa was busy in preparing these hundred pots thus, Gaandhaari knew that Sage Vyaasa is going to ensure that she gets a hundred sons. However, she had a small wish of having one girl child alongside ninety-nine boys. Sage Vyaasa understood Gaandhaari’s wish, although she did not express this to him. Thus, the last pot was isolated from the rest of the ninety-nine pots and this pot gave birth to a girl child, which was named “Duschala”. Thus, we can witness here that Duryodhana and Co. had a sister, who is not talked about much in the Mahabharata. 

As days progressed, each pot burst out every passing day and with this, one child was born from each of the pots. The eldest one was none other than Duryodhana. Thus, after Duryodhana, Duchaasana was born and within the next ninety-nine days, ninety-nine children were born. As the children take birth one after the other, Gaandhaari and King Dhirdiraashtra were extremely happy and relieved! Finally after a long struggle of two years, the children were born! So for today, let us also join hands with the Hastinapura couple and the forest couple to rejoice the birth of their respective children! We shall continue this accord into the next episode as well! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 113 – Birth of KARNA – A brief accord!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed King Paandu and Dhirdiraashtra getting married. King Paandu got married initially only to Kunthi Devi, and Dhirdiraashtra got married to Gaandhaari from the Shubala Desha. As days progressed, everything was very smooth at Hastinapura and King Paandu was ruling the kingdom efficiently by discharging all his duties, until one day things turned bad! King Paandu went on his usual hunting spree, and accidentally attacked a great sage who was in the form of a deer. Moreover, this deer was happily in union with a female deer when King Paandu hit it with his arrow. This deer was none other than Sage Kindama! Upon being hit, Sage Kindama became extremely angry and in turn, cursed King Paandu that just like how he was going to be killed when he was in union with his wife to obtain a child, King Paandu would also meet his death if he gets into a union with his wives to obtain children! This intense and furious curse shocked King Paandu beyond words! He did not know how to react to Sage Kindama! He was taken aback completely and was caught off guard. Eventually as he returns to his kingdom, King Paandu was completely dejected and he lost the interest of ruling the kingdom anymore. How can a king discharge his duties if his mind is completely dejected with guilt? Moreover, how can a king rule the kingdom if he could not give way to the next generation? Now that it has been confirmed that King Paandu could not join hands with his wives to produce children, the next generation from King Paandu is out of question! Hence, thinking about all this, King Paandu decided that he had had enough. He decided to enter the “Vaanaprastha-Ashrama” by going to the forest once and for all! As King Paandu descends from the kingdom, his wives also join him in his pursuit. Both Kunthi Devi and Maadri Devi followed King Paandu to the forest, leaving aside all their luxuries and royal lives. Eventually as King Paandu left the scene, again the kingdom was leaderless! Someone has to step up now to rule the kingdom isn’t it? The responsibility fell on Dhirdiraashtra! 

Thus, even though Dhirdiraashtra wasn’t the first choice to be the king of Hastinapura because of his ailment, it was a compulsion on him now to take over the reins of the kingdom with King Paandu’s leaving. Of course, there was nobody as a successor to King Paandu, and with this, the responsibility fell on Dhirdiraashtra. Meanwhile, as all this was conspiring, Sage Veda-Vyaasa pays a surprise visit to Hastinapura and meets Dhirdiraashtra and Gaandhaari. Sage Vyaasa understands the situation of the kingdom, and blesses Gaandhaari thus, “Oh Gaandhaari! Please do not worry about the next generation! You would obtain a hundred sons who would individuallybe as powerful as a hundred elephants!” Saying thus, Sage Vyaasa left. This is one side of the story. 

Now we’ve to look at what happened to erstwhile King Paandu and his wives, isn’t it? As Paandu descended to the forest, he was completely disappointed that he’s never going to be able to have children in his life. However, here comes the twist in the story – Kunthi Devi had a small secret in her life. She had obtained a boon from Sage Durvaasa that if she prayed to the Devas, she would be blessed with children without a biological union. Kunthi Devi explained this secret to King Paandu. Upon hearing this from Kunthi Devi, King Paandu rejoiced with happiness. On one hand, he was relieved that he wouldn’t go childless in this birth. On the other hand, he was happy that there is a possibility of his next generation to take over the Hastinapura kingdom. 

However, as Kunthi Devi explained this secret to King Paandu, she remained silent on Karna’s birth. It should be remembered by readers that Kunthi Devi had obtained this boon and the “Mantra” from Sage Durvaasa before her marriage, and she wanted to test whether this Mantra worked or not. With this, Kunthi Devi had prayed to Surya Bhagawan and in return, she obtained a baby by name Karna. However, since she was unmarried at that time, she did not want to disclose the birth of Karna and hence, she left the baby in the river, to be adopted by a charioteer’s family. The charioteer’s wife was named as Raadha and hence, Karna was often referred to as “Raadheya”. Thus, Karna was growing up amidst the charioteer couple and meanwhile Kunthi Devi married King Paandu. 

Thus, we’ve witnessed the brief story of how Karna was born, and with this, Kunthi Devi and King Paandu are ready to obtain children by taking the “Mantra” route. Now how is Kunthi Devi going to execute this plan? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 112 – Sage Kindama badly curses King Paandu – Leaves him shell-shocked!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation after the birth of Dhirdiraashtra and Paandu. Upon Satyavati’s request to Sage Veda-Vyaasa, Ambika and Ambaalika were to meet him again so that there might be a solution for the handicaps that both the children had, but both were reluctant to do so. Instead, Ambika sent her helper to Sage Vyaasa. She was however very tolerant by nature and felt blessed to approach such a powerful and a divine sage in her life. As she went to Sage Vyaasa, with his divine “Anugraha”, she gave birth to Vidura, who was an epitome of “Dharma”. As months and years progressed by, Paandu was crowned the king of Hastinapura, even though Dhirdiraashtra should have been the due successor of King Vichitraveerya. Paandu was preferred over Dhirdiraashtra for the simple reason that he was blind by birth, and he might not be able to fulfil the responsibilities of the kingdom efficiently. Eventually, King Paandu was ruling the kingdom for a few years, before Bhishmaachaarya decided to get both Paandu and Dhirdiraashtra married. King Paandu was married to Kunthi Devi, whose background was described in detail in the previous episode. Today we shall continue from this point and witness who was destined to be Dhirdiraashtra’s wife and her background. 

Just like how King Paandu was settled for his life, Bhishmaachaarya started his look-out for a bride for Dhirdiraashtra. Bhishmaachaarya narrowed down on the daughter of King Shubala of the Gaandhaara Desha (Present day Afghanistan). The kingdom was also known as “Gaandhaara Desha” and the daughter of King Shubala was named as Gaandhaari. Thus, the decision was made and Bhishmaachaarya finalized the alliance between Dhirdiraashtra and Gaandhaari. Similarly, Devaka’s daughter was fixed for Vidura, and thus, all the three marriages took place simultaneously at Hastinaapura. A grand ceremony was arranged and the marriages took place with a lot of extravaganza. The marriages were extremely successful and the couples started leading their married lives happily. King Paandu continued to discharge the duties of the Hastinapura kingdom. 

As time progressed, King Paandu met Maadri, who was the sister of the king of “Madra Desha”. This person was none other than King Shalya. As both of them fell for each other, King Paandu got married for the second time and thus, he had two wives – Kunthi Devi and Maadri Devi. Again, life went on peacefully for the next few years for all the couples at Hastinaapura, until one fine day when things took a huge “U” turn! King Paandu was going for his hunting exercise for the day and came across Sage Kindama who was in the form of a deer. This Sage Kindama, because of some previous curse that he had obtained, was roaming around in the thick forest in the form of a deer. He was happily walking around with his wife, who was also a deer. Both of them were enjoying each other’s presence and were wanting to give birth to a baby deer and it was at this time, King Paandu’s arrow directly went and hit Sage Kindama! Unable to bare the extreme pain of the arrow coming and hitting him, Sage Kindama shrieked aloud and looked around, only to find King Paandu standing in front of him with the bow and arrow! It is to be noted that King Paandu too did not realize that the deer that he had hit was not an ordinary deer, but was a great sage. 

As Sage Kindama was shrieking with pain, he cursed King Paandu thus, “Oh Paandu! You’ve hit me when I was involved with my wife in bringing up our next generation! Hence from today, just like how myself and my wife had lost the opportunity to produce a child, you would also lose the ability to produce a child in your life!” Sage Kindama did not stop with this. He went a step further and cursed King Paandu thus, “Oh Paandu! It is not only that you’ll not be able to produce children. You would meet an end to your life immediately when you involve yourself with your wives to produce children!” Upon hearing this from Sage Kindama, King Paandu was shell-shocked! First of all, he did not expect that deer to be such a great sage! Secondly, even if it was to be so, he did not expect such a harsh curse to be put on his head for just a mere hunting exercise that he had undertaken! 

So what is King Paandu going to do next? Let us wait till the next episode to find out what happened to King Paandu, Kunthi Devi and Maadri Devi after this curse! An interesting accord awaits us yet again! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 111 – KUNTHI DEVI and her background – A detailed accord!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the birth of Dhirdiraashtra and Paandu to Ambika and Ambaalika respectively. This is a landmark event in the Mahabharata text and we’ve also witnessed why Dhiridraashtra was blind by birth and why Paandu had fits right from day one. Since Ambika closed her eyes upon seeing the shabby appearance of Sage Veda-Vyaasa, the child that was born to her became blind! Also since Ambaalika started shivering with fear upon seeing Sage Veda-Vyaasa, the child that was born to her also was shivering and trembling right from day one of its birth. Thus, Ambika delivered the blind Dhidiraashtra and Ambaalika delivered the shivering Paandu. As this happened, Satyavati was once again concerned – How can a king be handicapped like this? How will a handicapped king take on the enemy and defeat him? How will a handicapped king be able to protect the kingdom and rule it effectively? She once again ran to Sage Vyaasa for a solution. As Sage Vyaasa listened to his mother, although initially he expressed his inability to intervene anymore in this, he accepted to do something upon constant persuasion from Satyavati. 

Accordingly, Sage Vyaasa instructed Satyavati to send Ambika again to him that night. However, Ambika wasn’t ready to go to Sage Vyaasa for one more time. Hence, she called one of her helpers, asked her to dress like Ambika and go to Sage Vyaasa that night. The helper too obeyed Ambika’s words. She dressed up exactly like Ambika and went in front of Sage Vyaasa. However, unlike Ambika, this helper woman was extremely righteous in nature. She took this as an opportunity to worship Sage Vyaasa and obtain his divine “Anugraha”. This woman knew the might and power of Sage Vyaasa, and with this, she went wholeheartedly near him. As this woman approaches Sage Vyaasa, he extended his “Anugraha” on this woman completely and the son born to this woman was none other than Vidura. Vidura, as we might know, was an embodiment of “Dharma” (Righteousnesss) and he had extreme thought clarity in whatever he did. In the later part of the Mahabharata text, we’re going to witness how Vidura played a key role in nurturing the Paandava brothers and how he protected them from the wrath of their enemies. 

Thus coming back to this context, three children were born – Dhiridraashtra, Paandu and Vidura. We can see here that all these three children were born out of the divine “Anugraha” of Sage Veda-Vyaasa. As months and years progressed by, the three children grew up into young boys. As the time came for taking up the responsibilities of the kingdom, Dhirdiraashtra, although being the eldest son, could not be crowned as the king because he was blind. Because of this, the next alternative was Paandu. Vidura was out of the race here because people knew that he was born to the helper of Ambika. Thus, Paandu was unanimously chosen to be the successor of King Vichitraveerya. Thus, Paandu was coronated as the king of Hastinapura with a grand ceremony. It should be remembered that the kingdom was without a king for almost a decade or more, primarily because King Vichitraveerya died very early. At the time of his death, there was no son (successor) for the kingdom and all these events with Sage Vyaasa happened only after the death of King Vichitraveerya. Thus, Paandu took over the kingdom many years after King Vichitraveerya’s demise. Readers should be very clear with this point here. 

Now that King Paandu is ruling Hastinapura, he was an efficient king and ruled the kingdom with all aspects of “Dharma”. Bhishmaachaarya was also ably assisting King Paandu in all the administrative affairs of the kingdom. As days go by, Bhishmaachaarya wanted to get Paandu and Dhirdiraashtra married, as they had come to that age. Meanwhile, Satyavati too attained the Svarga Lokha and her episode came to an end. Now the responsibility again fell on the hands of Bhishmaachaarya to get all these three children married. On one hand, there was a king by name “Kunthi-Bhojana” and he had a daughter by name “Kunthi”. Now who was this Kunthi? Actually, Kunthi was not born to King Kunthi-Bhojana. There was someone by name Shurasena and he had a son by name Vasudeva. All of us know who Vasudeva is – The father of Bhagawn Krishna! Vasudeva had a sister by name “Prutha”. Thus, Prutha was born to Shurasena and was the sister of Vasudeva. However, when Prutha was born, she was “donated” away to King Kunthi-Bhojana as he did not have children in his kingdom. This King Kunthi-Bhojan was a close friend of Vasudeva. Now since Prutha was brought up by King Kunthi-Bhojana in the “Kunthi Desha”, she came to be known as “Kunthi Devi”. 

This might be a bit confusing here. Readers should understand this very clearly – Bhagawan Krishna’s father was Vasudeva. Vasudeva’s sister was Prutha. Prutha was donated to King Kunthi-Bhojana and thus she is known as Kunthi-Devi. The sons born to Kunthi Devi were none other than the Paandava brothers. Thus, we can see here that the Paandavas and Bhagawan Krishna were cousin brothers to each other. Thus, coming back to this context again, Bhishmaachaarya understood that this Kunthi would be an apt bride for King Paandu and finalized his decision thus. 

So for today, let us understand up to this point, and in the next episode we shall witness who was the apt bride for Dhirdiraashtra and the bride’s background. A very interesting accord awaits us! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 110 – Ambika gives birth to Dhirdiraashtra & Ambaalika gives birth to Paandu!!!

In the previous episode, we were at an important juncture wherein King Vichitraveerya passed away without leaving behind a legal heir to take over the kingdom. Concerned by this, Satyavati was longing for someone to help the kingdom out of this precarious situation. Someone has to emerge to lead the kingdom isn’t it? A kingdom cannot survive successfully without a king. Hence, Satyavati was in deep thoughts as to what to do regarding this. After a while of thinking about various options, she remembered her son Sage Vyaasa. He had given her an assurance that whenever she required any help, he would come and help her out in whatever way possible. Thus, Satyavati prayed and called out for Sage Veda-Vyaasa and with this, Sage Vyaasa appeared in front of her immediately. As Satyavati explained the situation to him, Sage Vyaasa accepted to help her, but under one important condition – Both Ambika and Ambaalika should not get perturbed or uneasy with his physical form. Sage Vyaasa was very clear that he would not freshen up himself just for these two ladies. He would be as he is, and it is upto Ambika and Ambaalika to take it forward. 

Satyavati accepted to this condition and the agenda was set – Both Ambika and Ambaalika were to meet Sage Veda-Vyaasa that night. As the night falls by, both Ambika and Ambaalika go to meet Sage Vyaasa to obtain his divine “Anugraha” for bearing children. Ambika goes to meet him first. However, the moment Ambika saw Sage Vyaasa in an uncharacteristic form, full of dirt and with a nasty smell coming from his body, she couldn’t bear it and closed her eyes instinctively! However, Sage Vyaasa’s stance never changed and he remained as he was. Thus, since Ambika closed her eyes while Sage Vyaasa blessed her, she ended up bearing a child who was blind! Later on, Sage Vyaasa explains to Satyavati thus, “Oh Mother! I extended my divine “Anugraha” to Ambika only because you asked for it. The child that would be born to Ambika would be blind. However, the child would be extremely powerful, equivalent of the strength of around 10,000 elephants!” This blind but powerful child was none other than Dhirdiraashtra! Thus, as we know already, Dhirdiraashtra was born blind, however, he was a very powerful person by birth itself. 

Now that we’ve witnessed what happened to Ambika, we’ll witness what happened to Ambaalika. After Ambika came out, it was the turn of Ambaalika to make her way to meet Sage Vyaasa. As Ambaalika saw Sage Vyaasa’s “ugly” form, she got extremely scared! By nature itself, Ambaalika was a seemingly scared woman and the form of Sage Vyaasa made her even more scared! With this, she started trembling with fear and her body entered into a feverish state. Ambaalika did not expect such an ugly-looking person to be in front of her. However, since Ambaalika had come in front of Sage Vyaasa, she was blessed with a child. But just like his mother’s characteristics, this child also was born with a feverish state and with a kind of “fits”, wherein his body was trembling all the time. This child was none other than Paandu. The word “Paandu” means “white”. This is because, he was born white in colour with fits. However, having said thus, Paandu was also a powerful child with enormous strength. 

Thus the two children were born – Dhirdiraashtra and Paandu. Even though the kingdom was secured with the next generation to rule it, Satyavati was concerned – Both the children had physical ailments, isn’t it? Dhirdiraashtra was blind and Paandu had fits. Now Satyavati was puzzled as to how to resolve this issue. A king should be physically fit, isn’t it? This is the basic qualification to be a king. Thinking thus, Satyavati went back to Sage Veda-Vyaasa to seek for a solution. Sage Vyaasa too accepted Satyavati’s request and asked both Ambika and Ambaalika to meet him again. Now what is going to happen next? Are Dhidiraashtra and Paandu going to see some light at the end of the tunnel? What was Ambika going to do? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 109 – Satyavati seeks Sage Veda-Vyasa’s intervention to obtain King Vichitraveerya’s successor!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Amba taking a savage resolution to somehow take revenge on Bhishmaachaarya for allegedly insulting her. As Amba goes on with her pursuit, nobody was willing to come forward to fight Bhishmaachaaraya as everyone knew his might and power. However, Amba was determined to take Bhishmaachaarya on, and she requested Parashurama for undertaking this pursuit, along with the divine garland that Bhagawan Muruga had offered her. However, even with the garland, Parashurama wasn’t able to win over Bhishmaachaarya and eventually he too gave up on the pursuit. Annoyed extremely by this, Amba decided to take the extreme step of committing suicide, but not without a strong resolution – She herself would enter into the pursuit of Bhishmaachaarya by transforming herself into someone who would be able to kill Bhishmaachaarya directly. With this, Amba jumped into the fire, killed herself and eventually took a rebirth many years later as “Shikandi”. We would be witnessing in our later episodes as to how this Shikandi is going to be directly responsible for Bhishmaachaarya’s downfall. 

So till now, we’ve witnessed the “Charitra” of Amba. Now we’re left with the two other daughters, Ambika and Ambalika isn’t it? Now let us witness what happened to these two daughters. As planned, Bhishmaachaarya continued his journey towards Hastinapura with these two girls and a grand marriage ceremony was arranged for King Vichitraveerya. Thus, Ambika and Ambalika became wives of King Vichitraveerya, courtesy Bhishmaachaarya. After their marriage was over, King Vichitraveerya and his wives were childless for many years and eventually one fine day King Vichitraveerya passed away. Just like King Shantanu, Vichitraveerya too passed away at a very early age. This rendered the kingdom without any successor, yet again! Of course, when Shantanu died, Vichitraveerya was already born and he was a child. Still, he was crowned as King Shantanu’s successor. However, now the case is even worse – King Vichitraveerya died without a child. Now who will rule the kingdom after King Vichitraveerya? There should be someone to take the kingdom forward, isn’t it?

This is where Satyavati remembers her first son, Sage Veda Vyaasa. Readers might remember that Sage Veda Vyaasa was born to Satyavati before she got married to King Shantanu. Sage Paraashara had once met her in a boat, and with their union, Sage Veda-Vyaasa was born. However, after he was born, Sage Paraashara blessed Satyavati with her virginity and left her. Sage Veda-Vyaasa too left her, but he had given an assurance that if she requires any help from him at any stage in her life, she can approach him. Now it was a critical time and Satyavati immediately remembers her son, Sage Veda-Vyaasa. Satyavati knew that Sage Veda-Vyaasa was a great sage and it would be with his divine “Anugraha” that there would be children born in this family. With this in mind, Satyavati called out for Sage Vyaasa and as per the promise, Sage Vyaasa immediately appeared in front of his mother. As Sage Vyaasa arrived, Satyavati explains the situation to him thus, “Oh son! I know you are a great sage by birth. Please understand my tough situation here – My son Vichitraveerya passed away at a very early age, just like King Shantanu. Now there is nobody to rule the kingdom and take it forward. I request your divine intervention to produce children to take the kingdom forward!” 

As Sage Vyaasa hears thus, he replies to his mother, “Oh Mother Satyavati! I understand your situation completely. However, your daughter-in-laws might not be ready to accept me for a union. I’m looking so shabby and with a bad smell. It has been so many years since I even took a shower, as I’m a sage and I’m not into worldly activities. Moreover, I’m a Brahmana Rishi and these girls are Kshatriya princesses. How would they even think of me? Even if they would like to accept me, let them perform penance for atleast one year and after this, I would re-appear to bless them with children!” As Sage Veda-Vyaasa explains thus, Satyavati was not very satisfied. She replied thus, “Oh son! I don’t think we have that much time now. One year is way too long and a kingdom cannot be without a king for such a long time. You should do something immediately. Moreover, I don’t think Ambika and Ambaalika are made for performing penance like how you do. They are incapable of all this. Hence, you should offer your help immediately, rather than waiting for one long year for things to happen!” 

Hearing thus from Mother Satyavati, Sage Veda-Vyaasa accepted her request. He replies thus, “Oh Mother! Fine! Bring both of them to me tonight. However there is one condition – Your daughters should not get scared or uneasy upon seeing me. I would not change myself for them. I would be with the same physical body of mine, with the bad smell and without a shower. If they’re fine with it, they can come closer to me tonight!” Accordingly, Satyavati takes both Ambika and Ambaalika to Sage Veda-Vyaasa that night. We’re now at a crucial juncture here. Now what is going to happen next? Are Ambika and Ambaalika going to oblige to Sage Veda-Vyaasa’s conditions and go forward? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 108 – Bhishmacharya defeats Parashurama – Amba takes rebirth as “Shikandi”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed a landmark event in the entire Mahabharata text, wherein one of the “lethal weapons” to kill the invincible Bhishmaachaarya comes into existence. Of course, this is not going to be used right away, but we should remember that this “lethal weapon” exists, when the time comes much later. This “lethal weapon” is nothing but the divine garland which Bhagawan Muruga (Skandha) gives to Amba to fight over Bhishmaachaarya for the insult that he had given to her. We should remember here that Amba, Ambika and Ambaalika were the three daughters of the king of “Kaashi Desha”. In the Svayamvara event conducted by the Kaashi King, Bhishmaachaarya emerged victorious and was on the way to Hastinapura with the three girls, whom were planned to be married to King Vichitraveerya. However, on the way, Amba expressed her inability to marry Vichitraveerya as she was already in love with the king of “Shaalva Desha”. Upon knowing this, Bhishmaachaarya immediately granted permission for her to leave. However, the king of Shaalva Desha was reluctant to accept Amba as his wife as he was scared of Bhishmaachaarya and his invincible powers. Rejected thus, Amba comes back to Bhishmaachaarya but now, Bhishmaachaarya started to behave in a “bossy” way! He made Amba go back and forth in between himself and the king of Shaalva Desha. Frustrated by this, Amba prayed to Bhagawan Muruga to teach a befitting lesson to Bhishmaachaarya’s behavior, and thus obtained this divine garland.

With this garland, Amba wanted someone to fight against Bhishmaachaarya but nobody came forward. Finally she requested King Drupada to do it, but even he wasn’t ready to have warfares with Bhishmaachaarya. With this, Amba was completely dejected and she hung the garland at the entrance of the Drupada Desha. With this, we complete one part of the story. Meanwhile, the frustrated Amba again undertook a severe penance to invoke Parashurama into the show! Accordingly, Parashurama also agreed to fight Bhishmaachaarya after a lot of convincing from Amba. All of us know who Parashurama is – He is considered to be one of Bhagawan Vishnu’s incarnations and it is he who has the distinction of destroying innumerable generations of Kshatriya princes who walked the path of “Adharma” and drank all of their blood at the same time. It is the same Parashurama who comes to Amba’s rescue here. 

Buoyed by the idea of taking on Bhishmaachaarya head on, Parashurama gets ready. An intense and a fierce battle takes place between the two of them. Both of them were equally qualified with regards to warfare techniques, mental astuteness, smartness and in the usage of various weapons. Parashurama was giving more than his 100% in the war and so was Bhishmaachaarya. The war was going into a stalemate every time one attacked the other. There was no end in progress as both of them were equally powerful. However as time progressed, Parashurama realized that there was no way in which he could defeat Bhishmaachaarya convincingly and thus, at one stage, Parashurama accepted defeat under the hands of Bhishmaachaarya! 

With this, Parashurama bows down to Bhishmaachaarya’s prowess and straightaway goes to Amba. Parashurama explains to Amba thus, “Oh Amba! I tried my level best to defeat Bhishmaachaarya, but it wasn’t possible, because Bhishmaachaarya is an embodiment of “Dharma” and has great expertise in warfare techniques. If I cannot take down Bhishmaachaarya, nobody in this world is capable of doing so. Hence, please leave this vengeful attitude with Bhishmaachaarya, forget what had happened in the past and move on with your life!” As Parashurama advises thus, Amba gets extremely furious. She couldn’t believe the fact that even Parashurama couldn’t take down Bhishmaachaarya. She thinks of other ideas and approaches equally powerful people for help. However, nobody was ready to take on Bhishmaachaarya’s might, after realizing that he had given Parashurama a run for his money! Annoyed beyond a point thus, Amba decides to take an extreme step here – She decides to commit suicide and kill herself, but not without taking a pledge! 

As Amba decides thus, she makes a huge fire in front of her and takes a thunderous pledge in front of Agni Bhagawan thus, “Oh Agni Bhagawan and the entire world! With the insult that I had obtained from this Bhishmaachaarya, I hereby take a pledge that I would take a rebirth after today, and since nobody had come forward to help my cause, I myself would take down Bhishmaachaarya single handedly in my next birth! I shall take all measures possible in this world to defeat Bhishmaachaarya and only with this, I would be satisfied!” With this pledge thus, Amba jumps into the fire and kills herself! Now according to the pledge, Amba takes a re-birth after a few years, and this person is none other than “Shikandi”. Many of us might be knowing this Shikandi very well as he is one of the very famous characters in the Mahabharata. We shall witness Shikandi’s Charitra later after a few episodes, but for today, let us understand how Shikandi took birth. It is to be remembered by readers here that this same Shikandi is going to be the root cause of Bhishmaachaarya’s downfall later. We shall continue this discussion forward in the next episode as well! Stay tuned! 🙂