Episode # 273 – Bheemasena vs. Jaraasandha – An intense THIRTEEN-DAY war begins!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an interesting prelude to Bhagawan Krishna’s divine incarnation and how it all began at Mathura jail. This context comes when King Janame-Jaya asks an interim question to Sage Vaishampayana who is narrating all these events of the Mahabharata one after the other. We are at a stage where King Jaraasandha is about to be taken down by Bhagawan Krishna, Arjuna and Bheemasena, and as Sage Vaishampayana was narrating the background story of King Jaraasandha, the context of how the feud developed between Bhagawan Krishna and Jaraasandha comes. To explain this, Sage Vaishampayana uses this opportunity to commence from how Kamsa gave his sister Devaki in marriage to Vasudeva, and how an “Aakaasha-Vaani” thundered from above that Kamsa’s death was going to be in the hands of Devaki’s eighth child. Subsequently, Sage Vaishampayana explains how Kamsa got terribly shocked and furious at the same time and imprisoned both Devaki and Vasudeva at Mathura. As Devaki started delivering child after child, Kamsa ensured that each child be killed the very next day of its birth. However, the divine intervention commenced when Devaki delivered the seventh baby. Before delivering, the child was transferred from Devaki’s womb to Rohini’s womb and the child that was born out of it was none other than Balarama. 

Now for the eighth child – As the baby was born, again the divine intervention took place and this baby was transferred by Vasudeva to Gokula, wherein he picked up Yashoda’s girl baby and brought it back to Mathura! Now as Kamsa saw that the eighth baby was a girl child, he couldn’t believe his eyes! However, as he was clear with his mission of killing it, he took his sword and was ready to massacre it. However, the girl baby (An incarnation of the Divine Mother Devi) flew off from Kamsa’s hands and warned him that the eighth boy baby had already taken birth and he was at Gokula, getting ready to kill him! This shocked Kamsa even more! Thus, Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation took place and eventually He grew up and killed Kamsa, which infuriated King Jaraasandha, because both his daughters have lost their husband (Kamsa) to Bhagawan Krishna’s fight! Subsequently, King Jaraasandha wanted to seek revenge for this act of Bhagawan Krishna, and invaded Him seventeen times! 

I’m going a bit fast with this, because we’re going to witness all this again when Bhishmaachaarya narrates the entire incarnation of Bhagawan Krishna. I’m just setting up the context here to bring out the point that King Jaraasandha had a long-standing feud with Bhagawan Krishna in this way. Now coming back to what happened at the “Ranga-Bhoomi” of King Jaraasandha, the fight was about to begin. Bheemasena and Arjuna took their spots and were ready to launch a counter attack on Jaraasandha. The fight begins, and it quickly escalates into a huge war! Bheemasena and Arjuna were equally powerful as King Jaraasandha was, and it was an extremely tough fight going on! Jaraasandha was extremely good at the bow and arrow, but Arjuna was giving him a run for his money! As this was becoming a “stale-mate” at one point, Bhagawan Krishna signals Bheemasena to take over the mantle from Arjuna. Thus, Bheemasena invited Jaraasandha for a “Dvanda-Yuddham” (Modern day Boxing / Wrestling). Jaraasandha accepted it too, and again, a huge fight broke out between the duo. Both were equally powerful and were giving lusty blows on each other! The war continued for a long time and as it was proceeding, Bheemasena was not able to win over Jaraasandha! He simply couldn’t understand the secret behind Jaraasandha’s enormous strength. The fight went on for thirteen days non-stop! 

So for today, let us understand up to this point, and in the next episode we shall witness how this marathon-fight came to an end and who tasted victory in this! Stay tuned for an absorbing accord tomorrow! 🙂 

Episode # 272 – Bhagawan Krishna’s divine incarnation – Sage Vaishampayana gives a prelude!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed a war of words that was happening between Bhagawan Krishna and Jaraasandha. Bhagawan Krishna decided to play this game along, as Jaraasandha did not identify Him. Bhagawan Krishna used this and without revealing who He was, He tried to introduce Bheemasena and Arjuna to Jaraasandha. By doing so, Bhagawan Krishna explained how Yudishtra was the most righteous king in this world and he would not tolerate any “Adharma” that happens around him. Hence, Yudishtra’s brothers had come to Magadha Desha to take on the “Adharmic” Jaraasandha and kill him! Upon saying thus, Bhagawan Krishna also gave an ultimatum to Jaraasandha – Either to release all the kings whom he had kept under arrest without any reason, or to face the heat of the war! 

As Bhagawan Krishna gives one final warning thus, Jaraasandha got provoked! Instead of realizing his mistake, his ego got hurt and with this, he was ready for an all-out war. Jaraasandha replied to Bhagawan Krishna thus, “Oh Brahmana Rishi! You do not know to whom you’re talking such unpardonable words! I’m one of the greatest and the most powerful kings in this entire world. You’ve not faced the wrath of fighting a war against me. If all these kings aren’t able to win over me, how are you guys going to achieve it? Anyway! If you voluntarily want an all-out war with me, I’m nore than ready for it! You may collect all your weapons (if at all you have any) and get prepared!” As the decision was made thus, a huge “Ranga-Bhoomi” was arranged and the entire audience gathered around it to witness an interesting war. 

As this was being narrated, King Janame-Jaya asked Sage Vaishampayana an important question here! Readers might wonder from where did King Janame-Jaya come here all of a sudden! It should be remembered by all of us that this entire Mahabharata story is being witnessed as a huge narrative given by Sage Vaishampayana to King Janame-Jaya. We’ve witnessed some important events that led to Sage Vaishampayana giving this narration to King Janame-Jaya many episodes back. Now that King Janame-Jaya is intervening here, let us witness what he had asked. King Janame-Jaya asks thus, “Oh Sage Vaishampayana! Of course I understood that King Jaraasandha was an “Adharmic” person who had held many kings hostages for no reason and hence, Yudishtra was right in giving the apt punishment to him. I also understood King Jaraasandha’s birth story as well. However, I’m not understanding what was the feud between Bhagawan Krishna and Jaraasandha. Why did both of them become enemies? Of course, Bhagawan Krishna killed Kamsa, who was Jaraasandha’s son-in-law, but was this the only reason why Jaraasandha invaded Bhagawan Krishna seventeen times? Is there any other reason as well?” 

As King Janame-Jaya asks thus, Sage Vaishampayana replies: “Oh Janame-Jaya! I’m sorry! I had left one important story untold, and I think if I narrate that story, you would get an answer for the question that you’ve asked. Bhagawan Krishna’s parents are Devaki and Vasudeva, isn’t it? Now I’ll tell you an incident that happened when Devaki and Vasudeva got married to each other. As soon as the marriage was over, Kamsa (Devaki’s brother) wanted to escort both of them in his chariot from Mathura. As Kamsa was driving the chariot, there was an “Aakaasha-Vaani” which thundered from above, saying that Kamsa is going to meet his death from the eighth child which is going to take birth to the Devaki-Vasudeva couple! Upon hearing this from the “Aakaasha-Vaani” from above the skies, Kamsa was shocked, and eventually imprisoned both of them back at Mathura jail. Thus, as the couple started having children, child after child was massacred by Kamsa mercilessly. Six babies were destroyed this way, and the divine game started to unfold with the seventh baby! It was mysteriously transferred into Rohini and this baby was none other than Balarama. Now for the eighth baby – Vasudeva transferred this baby to Gokula and took Yashoda’s new-born daughter to Mathura. As Kamsa tried to kill this baby, it flew away from his hands and warned him that the eighth son for Vasudeva was already born!” 

Now as Sage Vaishampayana was narrating thus, readers might slowly understand that he was paving the way for the entire Krishna-Avatara to be narrated. Bhishmaachaarya is going to narrate this in a short while from now, and this serves as a good introduction for the same. If we look at various “Puraanas” and the “Ithihaasaas” of our Sanaatana Dharma Literature, if there is a major event that is going to be described, a prelude or a trailer would be given in the beginning, with which, we can understand that a major event is going to be narrated very soon! This is exactly what is happening here – Sage Vaishampayana, in the pretext of narrating the feud between Bhagawan Krishna and Jaraasandha, commences his narration right from Bhagawan Krishna’s incarnation in this world! So for today, let us understand up to this point, and in the next episode, we shall slowly move into why King Jaraasandha had a long-standing enmity with Bhagawan Krishna! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 271 – Bhagawan Krishna provokes Jarasandha to fight Bheemasena & Arjuna!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an accord on how Bhagawan Krishna, Bheemasena and Arjuna make their way towards the Magadha Desha, in pursuit of King Jaraasandha. The trio crosses through various geographical locations such as mountains, rivers, etc. and there are references that they have crossed through River Sarayu, River Yamuna, River Ganga and the likes. Also, there were many mountain ranges such as “Vipula Parvatha”, “Varaaha Parvatha”, “Vrishabha Parvatha”, “Rishigiri Parvatha” and “Chaityaka Parvatha” through which they’ve traveled. Of course, we do not know today whether these mountain ranges still exist in the northern and central parts of India – Maybe they do. But this requires a lot of research and comparison of today’s Indian map with the ancient Indian map. This would give us a fair idea as to which geographical features remain the same even today and which of those have changed over a period of time. For instance, many rivers might have changed their course because of various reasons. If we look at the River Ganga for instance, it has existed for over lakhs of years. We’ve seen references of this river even during the Ramayana time and now during the Mahabharata time as well. Even today we have the River Ganges flowing across the entire North-Indian plain. However, we never know what was the course of the river in those times and how it has changed to what it is today. Readers, if interested, can undertake this as a research and come up with findings. I shall be happy to understand from all of you! 🙂 

Moving on further thus, Bhagawan Krishna and Co. reach the Magadha Desha now and they enter through the backdoor of the territory. As they approached King Jaraasandha, they did not go in front of him as Kshatrya princes. Instead, they adorned themselves like Brahmana Rishis and went to see him. Upon seeing three Brahmana Rishis coming towards him, King Jaraasandha bowed down to them. Any king, no matter how powerful he might be, will always bow down to a Brahmana Rishi. This is according to the “Raaja-Dharma”. Due respect should always be given to Brahmana Rishis by the king, and we’ve seen this in many instances earlier as well. This is exactly what King Jaraasandha was doing here as well, however, he had a mild doubt within him. Just before the trio arrived, he had obtained an information that somebody had broken the drums kept amidst the “Cahityaka Parvatha” mountain ranges. Moreover, instead of entering the territory through the main entrance, the trio had come through the back door. Upon analyzing all these, King Jaraasandha raises a question to the trio thus, “Oh Brahmana Rishis! I pay my respects to all the three of you! However, because of these two reasons, I suspect whether you are my friends or foes!” 

As King Jaraasandha raises this question, Bhagawan Krishna immediately replies thus, “Oh Jaraasandha! Yes! As you’ve doubted, we are not your friends, but your foes!” Surprised by this answer, King Jaraasandha asks thus, “Oh Brahmana Rishis! What mistake did I commit to you? Why are you saying that you are my foes? We’ve never even seen each other earlier, and we’ve never had a dispute between us till date! Hence, how do you come to a conclusion that we are enemies to each other?” At this point, readers should remember one thing which is very important – Even though Jaraasandha had invaded Bhagawan Krishna’s Mathura seventeen times earlier, he had never obtained an opportunity to see Bhagawan Krishna physically so close. Perhaps, he might have seen Bhagawan Krishna at a distance every time, and hence, he was not able to identify that it was none other than Bhagawan Krishna who was standing in front of him. Only Kaalayavana knew who Bhagawan Krishna was, and of course, Kaalayavana was no more at this point of time. Hence, there was nobody to educate King Jaraasandha as to how Bhagawan Krishna looks like! 

Thus, as King Jaraasandha raises this question, Bhagawan Krishna laughs within himself and decides to confuse him further! Jaraasandha is already confused here, and Bhagawan Krishna decides to play on for some more time, so as to create more chaos and confusion! Bhagawan Krishna replies to Jaraasandha thus, “Oh Jaraasandha! There are two people standing with me, aren’t they? They are none other than the brothers of King Yudishtra of Indraprastha! You’ve got a direct confrontation and a dispute with King Yudishtra and hence, these two have come here to fight with you! King Yudishtra is an epitome of “Dharma”, as you might have heard! He has come to know that you’ve imprisoned many kings from many other territories and trying to put them to death for no fault of theirs. This is a huge blunder according to “Raaja-Dharma”! Hence, to give you a punishment and to teach you a lesson, these two brothers of Yudishtra have come along with me to take you down!” 

We should note here that Bhagawan Krishna was extremely smart enough not to introduce Himself to Jaraasandha! This is how Bhagawan Krishna operated – not only in this instance, but throughout the Mahabharata story! His alertness and smartness to take on His enemies knew no bounds and was impeccable! Bhagawan Krishna continues to provoke Jaraasandha thus, “Oh Jaraasandha! Thus for the fault that you’ve committed, these two have come to punish you! Don’t act as if you’ve not done anything! All of us know what kind of atrocities you’ve done in this world! Hence, you only have two options here – Either release all the kings you’ve imprisoned and seek their forgiveness, or, try fighting against these two people and prove your might! Refrain from giving all these arguments that you do not have any dispute with us! Get to action without any further unnecessary talks!” 

These words from Bhagawan Krishna provoked Jaraasandha sharply! So what is Jaraasandha’s reaction going to be? Is he going to take up the weapons and fight them down? Let us wait till the next episode to find out! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 270 – Bhagawan Krishna & Co. enter Magadha Desha – Some key geographical features en-route!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of Bhagawan Krishna’s accord on Jaraasandha’s life history and how he was born. Subsequently, Jaraasandha obtained a series of boons from Sage Chanda-Kaushika, who was also responsible for his birth as well. According to the boons, Jaraasandha would become extremely invincible and powerful in nature that nobody in this world could not even think in their wildest dreams of defeating him. Moreover, since Jaraasandha was made up of two half bodies, one can kill him only by splitting him into two halves and throwing them on either side so that they cannot join back again. This is one important secret which only Bhagawan Krishna knows. This is exactly what Sage Kaushika also said – When he said that Jaraasandha could never be killed, he put an open-ended loop there – There can only be one person in this world who knows this secret and probably a danger might come for Jaraasandha through this person. However, Sage Kaushika did not mention who this person is! Thus with this, Jaraasandha became extremely aggressive and king after king fell to Jaraasandha’s wrath. As things were going on thus, it was becoming unbearable at one point and this is where Yudishtra was also planning for the Raaja-Suya Yaaga. Thus, Bhagawan Krishna strategizes along with Yudishtra, Arjuna and Bheemasena to take on Jaraasandha and kill him at once, since he would be a stumbling block for the Yaaga to be performed. 

Thus, the strategy was made, and Bhagawan Krishna along with Bheemasena and Arjuna marched on towards Magada-Desha. En-route, they cross through different other “Deshas” and finally reach the Magadha-Desha. All along the way, Sage Vyaasa explains all the geographical features that these people crossed and went. This is very interesting here. Sage Vyaasa explains that they had crossed River Sarayu at one point. Hence, we can understand that River Sarayu had existed during the Ramayana time, and as well as during the Mahabharata times as well. Similarly, the names of many territories too might be very familiar to us even today. These are certain things that readers should make note of very keenly and then do an extensive “Homework” on the same. Readers should spend time exploring these places with the ancient India map and compare their locations in the present-day India map as well. This would reveal how certain places coincide with the past and certain places deviate with time. For instance, many rivers might have changed course over a time period. We should remember that the Ramayana took place hundreds of thousand years ago and the Mahabharata took place around five thousand and five hundred years ago. Hence as time progressed, many rivers might have changed their course, and many small kingdoms that were present in those days might have completely disappeared with time. There are publications of books which talk extensively about ancient kingdoms, physical and geographical features that existed in those times, etc. It would be extremely interesting for us to follow all these and readers are requested to do this as homework! 🙂 

Moving on thus, we shall witness certain important geographical features (if not all, owing to lack of time) that Sage Vyaasa explains here. He explains that the trio crosses through River Sarayu at one point and also crosses through five important mountain ranges – “Vipula Parvatha”, “Varaaha Parvatha”, “Vrishabha Parvatha”, “Rishigiri Parvatha” and “Chaityaka Parvatha”. These mountain ranges existed in those days in the northern and central parts of India, but we do not know if these exist today or not. We shall find out at a later stage and I shall share my research findings very soon in a different context. Moving on thus, the “Chaityaka Parvatha” was something that King Jaraasandha was extremely fond of, and for this reason, the trio broke open the mountain range and passed through it. Amidst this mountain range, King Jaraasandha had three drums that were specially made by him and the trio wantedly broke all of them as they moved on. This was intended to send a message to King Jaraasandha that an enemy is approaching his territory. 

As they broke open the mountain range that was surrounding the territory, the trio entered into the Magadha Desha through the back door! Normally, there seems to be a main entrance into the territory, but these people did not enter through that entrance. They made their way into the territory through the back entrance, again signaling that they’ve come on a mission! So for today, let us understand up to this point, and in the next episode we shall witness how the trio proceeded further towards King Jaraasandha! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 269 – King Jarasandha obtains eight boons from Sage Kaushika & becomes extremely powerful!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed an interesting accord from Bhagawan Krishna about the birth of Jaraasandha. We’ve witnessed how Jaraasandha was born as two “half pieces” as a baby for the two wives of King Brihadrata. Horrified by the “half-babies” that were born, Brihadrata’s wives threw both the halves out of their window, thinking that the baby was dead. However, a Raakshasi by name Jaraa came by and upon seeing these two halves of a human baby, she thought of consuming them as her food for the day. However, when she happened to join the two halves together, the baby came to life! In turn, Jaraa became horrified and she left from that place. Thus, since the two halves were joined together (Aasandhi) by Raakshasi Jaraa, he obtained the name “Jaraasandha”. 

However, before leaving that place, Raakshasi Jaraa took the newly formed baby to the king and handed it over to him. As King Brihadrata saw this baby, it resembled him in many ways and with this, he concluded that this baby was none other than his own son, whom his wives had delivered. As King Brihadrata asks, Raakshasi Jaraa explains the whole story as to how she saw this baby as two halves and she happened to join both of them and thus, this baby came to life. Upon hearing this, King Brihadrata was happy and thanked Jaraa for this great help. Thus, as Jaraa was leaving, she also wanted to do something good for King Brihadrata and the Magada Desha. She proposes thus, “Oh Brihadrata! Right now I’m a Raakshasi by name Jaraa. However, I was not a Raakshasi before. I’m actually a “Devata” who gives immense good to people who have some idols and dolls hanging in front of their houses. Bhagawan Brahma had given the name as “Griha-Devi”. Thus, from today, if anybody in your kingdom has my portrait or idol in front of their houses, I shall ensure that they will live in prosperity throughout their lives! Meanwhile, you accept this baby as your son and raise him up!” 

Thus, as time passes by, Jaraasandha is growing up fast and after many years, Sage Chanda-Kaushika again comes to visit King Brihadrata. It should be remembered that Sage Chanda-Kaushika was the person who was solely responsible for the birth of Jaraasandha and upon seeing the boy growing up fast, he was very happy. Also, Sage Kaushika was happy that King Brihadrata had accepted Jaraasandha as his son, even though the child had a troubled past. Upon seeing Jaraasandha, Sage Kaushika wanted to provide his divine “Anugraha” in the form of eight different boons. Sage Kaushika declares thus, “Oh King Brihadrata! I’m very happy that Jaraasandha is being well taken care of. I would like to bless him with the following boons: He would have infinite power and strength to take on any enemy in this world with ease. He would be totally invincible and there would be no better king than Jaraasandha. However, there is a small twist here – There would be someone in the future who would be that only person knowing about Jaraasandha’s secrets. It is only that person who would be able to defeat him!” 

As Jaraasandha obtained all these boons from the Sage, he obtained enormous powers within himself. King Brihadrata too paved the way for Jaraasandha to succeed him as the next king of Magada Desha, and with this, Jaraasandha’s atrocities began. King after king fell into Jaraasandha’s trap, and nobody was able to win over him. He started abducting all the wives of all the kings who get defeated under his hands, and with this, Jaraasandha was establishing himself as someone who can never be won over. All the people feared his “Gadhaa”, bow and arrows! Eventually, Jaraasandha had two daughters, who were married to King Kamsa of Mathura. Now Bhagawan Krishna explains thus, “Oh Arjuna and Co. Now that I’ve killed his son-in-law, his two daughters are completely powerless. This is the right time for us to go and win over him! Till a few years back, King Jaraasandha was ably supported by Kamsa in all the wars that he undertook. Now that Kamsa is no more, Jaraasandha is left all alone to defend himself! We shall make the best use of this opportunity to corner Jaraasandha and kill him!” 

Thus, as Bhagawan Krishna narrates the entire birth history of King Jaraasandha, the Paandavas also understand how to corner him and kill him. It was decided that Bhagawan Krishna, along with Arjuna and Bheemasena would go to the Magadha Desha and to fight Jaraasandha. Thus, the trio commenced their journey from Indraprastha to Magadha Desha, and they had to travel through many other small kingdoms to reach there. So for today, let us understand up to this point, and we shall witness what happened at the Magada Desha in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 268 – Birth of Jarasandha – An interesting narration by Bhagawan Krishna!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Bhagawan Krishna explaining who Jaraasandha really was, and what is his power. He also explains how He had to tackle Jaraasandha seventeen times, but failed to kill him. Everytime Bhagawan Krishna defeated Jaraasandha in the war, Jaraasandha used to run away to safety, without getting caught in Bhagawan Krishna’s hands even a single time. As Bhagawan Krishna was narrating thus, Yudishtra started having a doubt whether he would be able to kill Jaraasandha, so as to proceed with the “Raaja-Suya-Yaaga”. At this point, Bheemasena and Arjuna intervened in the middle and explained to Yudishtra that Jaraasandha can be killed – Provided they do a complete “SWOT Analysis” (Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) of themselves and of Jaraasandha. If this is done completely, the root cause of the problem could be identified and then a solution can be worked out. Thus, it was decided that Bheemasena, along with Arjuna and Bhagawan Krishna would go to the Magadha Desha and take on Jaraasandha. 

Thus, as the preparations were going on in full swing for the Magada-Desha pursuit, the Paandavas and Bhagawan Krishna sat together and discussed the strengths and weaknesses of Jaraasandha. At this time, Bhagawan Krishna explains to Arjuna the significance of Jaraasandha and who exactly he is. Arjuna first asks a question to Bhagawan Krishna thus, “Oh Bhagawan! Everybody is thinking of Jaraasandha as an extremely invincible person! Every king in this country fears going to the Magada Desha! I’ve also heard of it sometime back from some source. Just like how a small insect falls into a huge “Agni” (Fire) burning with all its might, I’ve heard that king after king goes and falls into Jaraasandha’s trap. Is that true?” For this, Bhagawan Krishna replies back thus, “Oh Arjuna! Whatever you’ve heard is right! Jaraasandha is not an ordinary person to tackle! He has three “Akshauhinis” of the army with him! (We’ve already witnessed what is the arithmetic behind one “Akshauhini”. I’m not going into it for now. If readers have a clarification, you can refer to our previous episodes pertaining to this detail). Jaraasandha’s father was King Brihadrata. I shall first narrate how Jaraasandha was born!” 

As Bhagawan Krishna narrates thus, Arjuna and Co. are very interested and keen to understand Jaraasandha’s birth story. It might seem to us at the onset that these people are extremely interested in listening to stories a lot! Whoever comes to Indraprastha or wherever, Yudishtra and Co. are extremely interested in knowing all that the other person wants to say! In fact, this is an excellent quality in a human being. We might dismiss this in today’s scenario that who has time to sit and listen to unwanted stories – But if we listen to more and more of things from someone, it gives us a huge opportunity to understand many things in this world. The problem today with all of us is that we fail to listen to others, including our own parents! This is why we have half-baked information and with this, we keep doing useless debates and arguments that have no stuff behind it. Whereas, if we look at Yudishtra and Arjuna, we might wonder how clear they are in their decision-making or whatever they want to do. It is only because they lend their ears to what other people have got to tell them. Even if it is a long story, they have the patience to listen to it completely, understand the crux of it and take the important messages for themselves to implement. This is the most important quality of a leader. If a leader listens to his people patiently, half of the problems would get solved. Thus, “listening” is of paramount importance to all of us, and we should learn this important message from this section of the Mahabharata! 

Moving on thus, Bhagawan Krishna narrates the life history of Jaraasandha, which would be useful for the Paandavas to understand who exactly Jaraasandha is, and how to strategize against him. Bhagawan Krishna explains thus, “Oh Arjuna! There was a great king by name Brihadrata in the Magadha-Desha. He was childless for a long time. King Brihadrata had two wives, and after a long wait, he is going to get twin children!” Actually, here is where the twist in the story comes! When we say “twin children”, we do not mean that they are two separate children, like we usually see today. This is just one child, born in two pieces! Now this is what we’ve to understand very carefully! Bhagawan Krishna continues further thus, “Oh Arjuna! King Brihadrata had two wives, who were twin children of the king of Kaashi Desha. As they did not have a child for a long time, they went to a great sage and requested his help. This sage was none other than Sage Chanda-Kaushika. He is a great sage who comes in the family lineage of Sage Gauthama. As King Brihadrata and his wives approached Sage Chanda-Kaushika with this request, he gave them a fruit with all the requisite “Mantras” chanted over it for them to bear a child. The Sage explains to King Brihadrata that he has to split this fruit into two and give it to his two wives. Accordingly, King Brihadrata did the needful and both his wives became pregnant. However, when they gave birth, two halves of one child were born! In other words, one half of the child had one eye, half nose, one ear, half mouth, etc. and the other half of the child was also similar!” 

Upon seeing this, both the wives of King Brihadrata were shocked! At the same time, they were angry at the sage for blessing them with such a malformed child, and out of frustration, they threw both the halves out of the window! They were of the opinion that what will they do with half children and what benefit is this going to give them! This is one side of the story! However on the other side, there was a Raakshasi by name “Jara”, who saw these two halves of a child being thrown out of the palace. She was hungry and wanted to eat these two halves of the baby to satisfy her hunger. However, when she tried to do so, she brought these two pieces of the baby together by mistake! Once she did so, the two halves joined with each other and became a full-fledged baby! Thus, since the Raakshasi by name Jara brought these two halves of the baby together (“Sandhi”) and gave life to it, the baby was named “Jaraasandha”! 

So for today, let us understand upto this point, and in the next episode, we shall witness how this Jaraasandha grew up and the subsequent events that conspired! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 267 – “Performing a ‘SWOT Analysis’ of the enemy & us is key to victory” – Bheemasena advises Yudishtra!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Bhagawan Krishna apprising Yudishtra on who Jaraasandha was, and why is he a stumbling block from his Raaja-Suya Yaaga to take place. Bhagawan Krishna explains that Jaraasandha was the king of the Magadha Desha and was the father-in-law of Kamsa, who was the king of Mathura. As Kamsa was killed by Bhagawan Krishna during His childhood days, Jaraasandha was seeking revenge on Bhagawan Krishna ever since, and everytime both Bhagawan Krishna and Jaraasandha met for a war, neither of them won it. Everytime Bhagawan Krishna defeated Jaraasandha, he would run away from the cusp of Bhagawan Krishna. This was happening not once or twice, but seventeen times. Hence, Bhagawan Krishna decided to leave Mathura once and for all, as He thought that the people of Mathura are constantly getting disturbed because of the repeated war cries there. Thus, Bhagawan Krishna “ran away” overnight, being chased by Jaraasandha’s brother, Kaalayavana, all the way to Dwaaraka, where He established His mammoth kingdom. Thus, Bhagawan Krishna narrates all these past experiences to Yudishtra and He concludes by saying that it is up to Yudishtra now to take on Jaraasandha and kill him, before proceeding ahead with the Raaja-Suya Yaaga. 

We’ve witnessed all these details in our “Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana” project earlier, and this is why I’m going a bit fast here. Thus, Bhagawan Krishna narrates His entire background story with Jaraasandha and how He had to “escape” overnight from Mathura to stop His Mathura people from suffering the aftermath of the war with him. Finally, Kaalayavana was also killed by Muchukuntha, who was sleeping inside a cave until that point. As Kaalayavana had mistaken Muchukunta for Bhagawan Krishna, he kicked Kaalayayavana and Muchukuntha opened his eyes, only for Kaalayavana to be burnt down! Subsequently, Bhagawan Krishna sent Muchukuntha to the Svarga Lokha and all these incidents happened at a place called “Daakur Dwaraka”, which is close to the present Indian city of Ahmedabad in the Indian State of Gujarat. Readers might be aware of this place, and the presiding deity (Bhagawan Krishna) at Daakur Dwaraka is often referred to as “Rana-Chod-Rai”. This means, Bhagawan Krishna had escaped the battlefield at Mathura and ran all the way to this particular place. Thus, Bhagawan Krishna explains to Yudishtra, all these incidents so as to alert him that Jaraasandha is not an ordinary person to be defeated so easily. 

As Bhagawan Krishna says thus, Yudishtra listens to all this and now he changes his question! Till now he was asking Bhagawan Krishna as to whether he would be able to perform the Raaja-Suya Yaaga correctly or not. But now, he asked Bhagawan Krishna thus, “Oh Bhagawan! Will I be able to kill this Jaraasandha? Do I have the capability to do so?” 🙂 We might think on the onset that Yudishtra is excellent at asking questions! Yes! Yudishtra asks many questions, and this is not the end of all! Subsequently as we move into the other “Parvas”, Yudishtra is going to ask more and more questions to many different people! Of course, we should also understand here that Yudishtra is also good at answering questions as well! We would see this at a point referred to as the “Yaksha-Prashnam”, wherein Yudishtra is going to give important answers to Yama-Dharma Raja on various aspects of “Dharma”. We shall take it up for detailed discussion when that context comes up. 

As Yudishtra asks thus, Bheemasena and Arjuna give replies to him. Bhagawan Krishna now lets Bheemasena do the talking. Till this point, none of the other Paandava brothers were doing the talking. It was only Yudishtra and Bhagawan Krishna who were talking, and now it is the turn of Bheemasena to talk and give his opinion. Bheemasena explains thus, “Oh brother! Oh Bhagawan Krishna! Why do you want to lower your confidence level? Haven’t we fought wars before? Haven’t we won over many other treacherous enemies earlier? Why do you want to lament this way? We should focus on our strengths and the enemy’s weaknesses. Similarly we should also identify our weaknesses as against the enemy’s strengths. Thus, if we do a “SWOT Analysis” of ourselves and the enemy and identify the key points, we shall easily be able to win over any enemy in this world, isn’t it?” As Bheemasena replies thus, Arjuna continues the same narrative further thus, “Oh Yudishtra! As Bheemasena rightly said – We should be clear in our understanding about who the enemy is and what is he capable / not capable of. If we’re clear in this aspect, it is not going to be difficult for us to win over the enemy! Moreover, if Bhagawan Krishna is there amidst us, how on earth are we going to face defeat?” 

As Bheemasena and Arjuna explain thus, Yudishtra is still not very convinced. He asks them again thus, “Oh Bheemasena and Arjuna! I know that both of you are extremely powerful. I know that Bhagawan Krishna is the best strategist in this world! But we’ve to think of the enemy too. Jaraasandha, as narrated by Bhagawan Krishna just now, is not an ordinary guy. He has to be taken down in a smart as well as a powerful way! How is this going to be possible?” As Yudishtra asks thus, Bheemasena replies back: “Oh Yudishtra! Please do not worry! Dhananjaya (Arjuna) has the “Jaya” (Victory) factor in him. Bheemasena (Myself) has the “Balam” (Strength / Muscle power) with me! Bhagawan Krishna has the “Nayam” (Capability to strategize things clearly and smartly). The three of us will go to Jaraasandha and win over him! You do not worry! We shall take care of Jaraasandha!” As Bheemasena explains thus, Bhagawan Krishna also accepts Bheemasena’s proposal. Thus, it was decided that Bheemasena, Arjuna and Bhagawan Krishna would go to Magadha Desha and call Jaraasandha for a fight! 

So for today, let us understand up to this point and in the next episode, we shall witness how the fight between Jarasandha and this trio conspired! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 266 – KING JARASANDHA – A stumbling block to Yudishtra’s “Raja-Suya Yaga”!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Yudishtra and Co. having a final consultation with Bhagawan Krishna on whether to proceed with the “Raaja-Suya-Yaaga” or not. As we’ve witnessed earlier, the “Raaja-Suya-Yaaga” is like “Pre-qualifier” for a king to be accepted by the world as a great and a righteous king, and hence, performing it was somehow like a mandatory thing for the king to prove his credibility to the world. Although Yudishtra had all the qualities in him for being successful in this pursuit, he had his own self-doubts as to whether he would be able to successfully perform the Yaaga or not. He had extensive consultations with domain experts (Great Maharishis), and all of them opined that he has to go ahead with the Yaaga. However, Yudishtra wasn’t very convinced as yet. He invited Bhagawan Krishna once again to Indraprastha and wanted to ask His opinion on the same. Accordingly, Bhagawan Krishna was more than ready to be back at Indraprastha with a huge welcome, and Arjuna was overwhelmed to see his Bhagawan in front of his eyes again! As Yudishtra asks Bhagawan Krishna’s opinion thus, He replies back saying that Yudishtra has to proceed ahead with the Yaaga, but…. He stopped there, to the utter amazement of the Paandava brothers. Yudishtra was eager to know why Bhagawan Krishna stopped right there! Is there any problem? Or is there some hurdle that he needs to overcome before doing the Yaaga? Or, is he not qualified enough? So many questions were running in Yudishtra’s mind as he was awaiting Bhaagwan Krishna’s next word! 

As Bhagawan Krishna continues thus, He says, “Oh Yudishtra! Do you know why I stopped in the middle? It was not because you aren’t fit enough for it. Of course, you are! You are one of the very few “Kshatrya princes” who were left behind by Parashurama without killing! You are born as part of the auspicious “Chandra Vamsa”. Hence, you’ve got all the qualifications to go for the “Raaja-Suya-Yaga”! However, there’s something that you must understand – There is a kingdom by name “Magadha Desha”, and its king is none other than Jaraasandha. This King Jaraasandha is a wicked person and is a Raakshasa by nature. With his enormous power and valor, he is in the process of destroying anyone who wants to follow the path of “Dharma”. He is in a killing-spree of sages in the forest. He is not allowing any auspicious things to happen anywhere in this world. Nobody has the power to take him on, and this has been his huge plus point! Because of this, Jaraasandha has become virtually unstoppable in this world! Hence, only if you are able to take him on and defeat him, will you be able to proceed with the “Raaja-Suya-Yaaga”. 

Bhagawan Krishna continues further thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Please do not underestimate Jaraasandha’s strength and power. He is extremely powerful and moreover, he has obtained certain unique boons as well. That also adds to his prowess. Also, there are two assistants to Jaraasandha namely, Hamsa and Dimbaka! It is only with these two people, Jaraasandha is doing whatever “Adharma” he does! Hence, if you’ve to win over Jaraasandha, you’ve to first win over these two!” As Yudishtra hears all this from Bhagawan Krishna, he replies to Him thus, “Oh Bhagawan! If that is the case, why don’t you take him down single handedly? Is there something that you cannot achieve? Why should Jaraasandha be let off with so much prowess and “Adharma”? Why don’t you step in and kill him then and there? Of course, you are the best person to know the secrets of how Jaraasandha could be taken down, isn’t it? You’ve killed various powerful Raakshasas earlier as well, isn’t it? Hence, why can’t you do this too?”

As Yudishtra asks thus, Bhagawan Krishna laughs within Himself and replies thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Do you know something? This Jaraasandha was the sole reason for me to leave Mathura city overnight and make my way to Dwaraka! This fellow tried to kill me not once, but eighteen times! Unable to bare his atrocities, I had to leave Mathura without the knowledge of anyone! You might know that when I was ten years old, I had killed my uncle by name “Kamsa”! This Kamsa was the king of Mathura at that time and he had two wives, who were Jaraasandha’s daughters. Unable to bare the separation from their husband, these two daughters went and complained to Jaraasandha and with this, he waged battle after battle with me! Everytime he would get defeated and he would run away from that place! In this way, Jaraasandha has battled with me seventeen times! Hence, this has become a never-ending story! Hence, Yudishtra, when Jaraasandha comes to fight for the eighteenth time, you people have to take him on! I’m fed up fighting with him anymore!” 

Hearing thus from Bhagawan Krishna, Yudishtra was surprised! How can a person in this world remain undefeated by Bhagawan Krishna Himself not once but seventeen times? This shows how powerful Jaraasandha is, isn’t it? Again, many thoughts were running in Yudishtra’s mind – “If Bhagawan Krishna Himself is unable to kill Jaraasandha, will I be able to? What if I get killed by Jaraasandha in the battle?” So for today, let us understand until this point and in the next episode, we shall witness how Bhagawan Krishna is going to motivate the Paandavas to take on Jaraasandha! An important discussion awaits! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 265 – Bhagawan Krishna to Yudishtra – “You may perform the “Raja-Suya Yaga! But….!!!”

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Yudishtra and the Paandava brothers contemplating on whether to do the “Raaja-Suya-Yaaga” at Indraprastha at the present moment or not. As many of us know by now, only if the king performs the “Raaja-Suya-Yaaga” and completes it meticulously as per all the rules and regulations, the world would accept him as a great and a noble king. Thus, this is something that a king should mandatorily perform. Hence, Yudishtra was also thinking of performing it as quickly as possible. However, he had doubts in his mind, whether he would be able to complete it as per the rules or not. He called some domain experts in this area (Great Maharishis) and had an extensive consultation session with them. All the great Maharishis also opined that Yudishtra should go for it at the earliest, and all of them exuded confidence that Yudishtra being an epitome of “Dharma” himself, would be easily able to complete it without any hiccups. Even as the experts give their advice and green signal, Yudishtra wanted to consult the “Expert amongst the experts”, who was none other than Bhagawan Krishna! Yudishtra decided that he would talk to Bhagawan Krishna on this once, and if He gives a green signal, then the route is cleared! With this in mind, Yudishtra and Co. sent a few messengers from Indraprastha to Dwaaraka to invite Bhagawan Krishna for a detailed discussion. 

Here also we’re witnessing how the Paandava brothers had that unconditional “Bhakti” and complete surrender towards Bhagawan. Yudishtra could have easily concluded based on the opinions given by the great Maharishis whom he had invited earlier. But he did not stop just with that. He ensured that Bhagawan gives the final “Go ahead” for the mission. Of course by doing so, Yudishtra did not intend to demean the Maharishis’ opinions and suggestions. Those were incorporated and noted down carefully as well. However, the “Final say” for anything that the Paandavas did, was from Bhagawan Krishna. This is the level of respect and surrender they had towards Him, and this is what we should learn as an important lesson for our life as well. 

Moving on thus, as Yudishtra’s messengers reach Dwaaraka and invite Bhagawan Krishna, He too was ready to come to Indraprastha! We had just witnessed that after all the construction works that happened at Indraprastha, Bhagawan Krishna had left for Dwaaraka to look after His administrative duties of His kingdom. However, within just a few days, as Yudishtra called Bhagawan again, He was extremely happy to leave everything aside and come to Indraprastha again! This shows how Bhagawan responds immediately to the call of an ardent devotee! No matter how pressing His other commitments would be, if an ardent devotee calls Him with ultimate “Bhakti”, He would leave behind all those commitments and come running to serve the devotee’s needs! This is exactly what Bhagawan Krishna did! In fact, it was as if Bhagawan was waiting for Yudishtra to call Him, and the moment Yudishtra’s servants brought the message, Bhagawan was ready to come to Indraprastha! 

Thus, Bhagawan Krishna arrives at Indraprastha with all the fanfare and the welcome formalities! Arjuna was overwhelmed to see His Bhagawan once again in front of his two eyes! He ran towards Bhagawan Krishna, hugged Him and submitted a tearful welcome to Him! Bhagawan Krishna too was in tears of joy upon seeing His ardent devotee and accepted Arjuna’s welcome! Thus, as Bhagawan Krishna settles down, He asks Yudishtra thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Why did you call me here again, all of a sudden? What happened? Is everything fine with all of you?” Upon Bhagawan Krishna asking thus, Yudishtra replies thus, “Oh Bhagawan! With your profound and divine Anugraha, everything is fine with us! We called you to seek an opinion on an important matter – As I’ve taken over as a king of Indraprastha, we feel that a “Raaja-Suya Yaaga” should be conducted. In this regard, I had also consulted various experts and Maharishis, and they too opined that I should go ahead with it. However, I wanted to consult you and seek your opinion on this. I always wanted your opinion to be final. Hence, Bhagawan Krishna! Please advise us – Should we go ahead in performing the “Raaja-Suya Yaaga” or not? What is your take on this?” 

Upon hearing this from Yudishtra, Bhagawan Krishna was also very happy. He replies straightaway to Yudishtra and Co. thus, “Oh Yudishtra! Yes! You should go ahead with the “Raaja-Suya-Yaaga”, But……!” As Bhagawan Krishna says thus, He suddenly stops from going further! This created a confusion and panic amongst Yudishtra and Co. So why did Bhagawan Krishna stop there? There’s an important thing that He is going to explain to Yudishtra, which we shall witness in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂 

Episode # 264 – The grand “Raaja-Suya Yaaga” – Should Yudishtra go for it???

In the previous episode, we had witnessed Sage Naarada commencing his detailed accord on how the Indra Lokha’s “Sabhaa Mandapa” (Courtroom) looks like. He gives a beautiful description about the length and breadth of the courtroom, which is around 1,300 kilometers long and 2000 kilometers in breadth. This is almost the distance of Chennai to Delhi in today’s calculation! Hence, we can see how big Indra’s courtroom would be! Moreover, the height of the courtroom is around 65 to 70 kilometers! We can imagine the enormity of what we’re seeing here! Thus, at the center of the courtroom, there is a beautiful throne upon which Indra sits. He is surrounded by his wife, Indrani and the others who constantly keep fanning him. The other speciality of the Indra Lokha courtroom is that, if anybody sits there, they would be completely devoid of hunger, thirst, etc. and would be completely satisfied with various aspects that we require in life! With this, Sage Naarada highlights the importance of the Indra Lokha to Yudishtra, who was awestruck with Sage Naarada’s description. 

Now moving on further, Sage Naarada is going to commence the next description – The “Yama-Lokha”. Subsequently, he talks about the “Varuna Lokha”, “Kubera Lokha” and finally the “Satya-Lokha” of Bhagawan Brahma. We shall quickly move on further from this description, as we’ve got loads of other important things to discuss here. As Sage Naarada explains all this, he concludes his discussion and is preparing to start! As Sage Naarada departs from Indraprastha, Yudishtra and the others meet together and decide to perform a “Raaja-Suya Yaaga” as quickly as possible. It is only when the king performs the “Raaja-Suya Yaaga” successfully, will he be accepted as a “Chakravarty” (Righteous and a Noble King) by the country and the world. Thus, with the advice given by Arjuna and the others, Yudishtra decides that a Raaja-Suya Yaaga should be conducted very soon. Thus with this, we come to the end of the “Loka-Paalaka-Sabhaa-Aakhyaana Parva”. 

After this Upa-Parva under the main Sabhaa Parva, we now move into the “Raaja-Suya Aarambha Parva”. Here, we have the entire discussion on the various aspects of the planning process as to how to conduct the Raaja-Suya Yaaga and who all should be invited for the same. As the Paandava brothers suggested to Yudishtra that he has to perform the “Raaja-Suya Yaaga” in a grand manner, Yudishtra asks them back thus, “Oh Arjuna and Co. Of course, all of you are right! We should perform the Raaja-Suya Yaaga as soon as possible. But I only have one doubt – Whether will I be able to perform such a huge Yaaga? Do I have the right qualifications to even think about it? Normally, the Raaja-Suya Yaaga is performed by those Kings who are epitomes of “Dharma”. I’ve just taken over as a new king and I do not know whether I’m an epitome of “Dharma” to that extent of those kings, to take up such a huge thing! Anyways, let us do one thing – Let us call some experts and discuss this matter with them. We shall proceed as per what they advise!” 

Hearing this from Yudishtra, Arjuna and Co. agreed to the idea and various Raaja-Rishis and Brahma-Rishis were invited to Indraprastha. As all of them arrived, Yudishtra expressed his concern to them for advice. As Yudishtra expressed himself thus, all the Maharishis unitedly said thus, “Oh Yudishtra! There is absolutely no doubt that you’ve to perform the Raaja-Suya Yaaga immediately. You are completely qualified for it. Please do not delay it further. Instead of doubting yourself as to whether you are qualified or not, please focus on how to perform it meticulously!” As the Maharishis opined thus, Yudishtra was still not very convinced. He asks them back, “Oh great Sages! I understand the point that I’ve to perform this great task. My only concern however is that, if I commence it, what would happen if I’m not able to complete it properly? Won’t it become a great sin? If the Yaaga stops mid-way due to some reason or the other, or due to some fault / mistake from my end, what would happen to the welfare of the kingdom? Won’t an incomplete Yaaga affect the kingdom and it’s people very badly?” 

As Yudishtra expressed further concerns thus, the Maharishis once again join together and advice him. They say thus, “Oh Yudishtra! What you’re expressing is right! However, you should have the confidence within you that you can complete it perfectly. Please do not keep thinking too much on the negative consequences. Imagine this for a moment – If you’re not performing the Raaja-Suya Yaaga, that is also a sin on your part as a king, isn’t it? Hence, instead of fearing the negatives, focus on your positives and start it. Give it a start from your end, and we shall cooperate with you to give the Yaaga the perfect finish! All what is important from your end as a king, is to plan and start the Raaja-Suya Yaaga as soon as possible!” 

As the Maharishis advised thus, Yudishtra was fine with it, but he still had something in his mind. He wanted to ask the opinion of Bhagawan Krishna on this. He wanted to consult and ask Bhagawan Krishna whether He is fine with this idea. Depending on whatever Bhagawan Krishna says, Yudishtra decides to proceed further. Hence, he instructs his officials to invite Bhagawan Krishna to Indraprastha one more time! So for today, let us understand up to this point, and we shall continue further in the next episode as to what Bhagawan Krishna opined on this! Stay tuned! 🙂