Monthly Archives: December 2013

Draupadi Swayamvara

Draupadi Swayamvara

Draupadi was the beautiful girl of King Drupad. When she attained youth, Drupad wanted her wedding to happen. Thus, Draupadi swayamvara ( the ceremony of choosing a groom) was organised with great fanfare. When this ceremony happened, Pandavas were supposed to be dead in the house of Lakshagriha.

The suitors

Many dignitaries, who hoped to win her hand were present. Duryodhana was present along with Karna. Shri Krishna was also present. Balrama, the brother of Shri Krishna present there. Kings of Kosala, Madra and Chedi were also present in the swayamvara.

And last, but not the least, the Pandavas were also present at the Swayamvara, but in the guise of Brahmins. No body knew that they were alive and participating in this event.

The target

Draupadi’s father, Drupad was fond of Arjuna and secretly hoped that Arjuna will win her daughter’s hand. Thus he set forth a condition which was impossible for anyone except Arjuna, to fulfill.

The challenge was to pierce the eye of a revolving fish, which was erected on a pole, by looking at the reflection in a water filled vessel. The bow was a heavy one, and very few could lift it.

Announcement by Dhristadyumna

Dhristadyumna, the brother of Draupadi, announced that whosoever can bend the bow and pierce the eye of the fish, may marry Draupadi.

Dhristdyumna announces Draupadi swayamvara

Having spoken thus, the prince recited to his sister the names of the royal guests, their lineage and their deeds of fame, and bade her award the golden garland to the successful archer.

The rajahs then descended from their gorgeous thrones and gathered around Draupadi as the bright gods gather around Párvati, the mountain bride of Shiva. Their hearts were filled with love for the maiden and with hate for one another. Rivals frowned upon rivals. Those who had been close friends became of a sudden angry enemies because that Draupadi was so beautiful.  Shri Krishna, and Balarama alone remained aloof; calmly and self-restrained they stood apart, while rajah opposed rajah like to angry elephants.

The competition begins

One by one , the kings came and tried to lift the bow. But none of them were able to do so, putting the arrow on the bow was a tough ask. Duryodhana and Dushashana also failed to lift the bow. Thus, to defend the honour of Hastinapur, Karna decided to take part in the competition.

Karna lifts the bow

Karna, arguable the best archer along with Arjuna, could lift the bow easily. It appeared that he would achieve the condition which Drupada set forth. Drupada and his son were alarmed, fearing he might succeed and claim the bride. Suddenly Draupadi intervened, for she would not have the son of a charioteer for her lord. She said, speaking loudly: “I am a king’s daughter, and will not wed with the base-born. . . .

Thus Karna, left the competition without having to try.

As the day passed and Kings failed, it appeared that no one could be able to fulfill the condition set forth by Drupada. A gloom was descending over the court.

A young brahmin arises

Just when it looked at no body could fulfill the target, Arjuna , clad in the guise of Brahmin, rose.

All kings thought that how a weak looking Brahmin can achieve the feat where all the kings have failed. But Arjuna, took the permission of Dhristadyumna and confidently walked towards the target.

 The murmur

Some ridiculed his efforts, while some said that the Brahmin knows best his own skill. He would not go forward if he were not sure of success.

An aged priest endeavoured to restrain Arjuna, lest he should by his failure bring ridicule upon the Brahmans; but the hero would not be thwarted. He strode forward like to a stately elephant and bared his broad shoulders and ample chest. He was nimble as a lion, and calm and self-possessed.

Krishna watches as Arjuna targets fish

Ere he lifted the bow, he walked round it; then he addressed a prayer to the gods.  He stood up unmoved and serene as a mountain peak, and he bent the bow and fixed an arrow in it.

The young brahmin pierces the target

All eyes watched him. He drew the cord, and the arrow flew upwards with a hissing sound; it hit the target eye, and the golden fish fell over and clashed upon the ground.

Draupadi swayamvara story

Draupadi swayamvara story

Like distant thunder arose the plaudits of the multitude; hundreds of Brahmans shouted in ecstasy and waved their scarfs. A thousand trumpets clamoured in triumph, and the drums were beaten loud.

Draupadi is overjoyed and garlands Arjuna

The heart of Draupadi was filled with joy, and, smiling coyly, she advanced towards Arjuna and flung the golden bridal garland over his shoulders. Celestial blossoms fluttered, descending through the air, and the sound of celestial music was heard. Drupada is also visibly pleased.

Finally, the objective of having Draupadi swayamvara was fulfilled.

The protest of Kings

When the reality dawned over the kings, they felt humiliated that what they could not do, a weak Brahmin has achieved. Citing that Draupadi should be married to warrior class (Kshatriya), they attacked the humble Brahmin.

Pandavas rose in unison

As Arjuna was attacked, Bhima gave him company with an uprooted tree.  Yudhishthira and the younger brothers were soon helping them, and the Brahmins  also came forward to give their aid.

For a moment the kings paused, pondering at the daring of the priestly band, but impatient Karna and angry Shalya, King of Madra, dashed forward like two infuriated elephants against Arjuna and Bhima.

The duel of Karna and Arjuna

The brothers sustained the attack, and soon Karna was struck by Arjuna. Karna was amazed with the skills of the Brahmin, and enquired that who was he to possess the great skill of an archer. He said “There is no man who can thwart me with defiance as you have done even now, save Arjuna alone.”

Arjuna politely replied that I am a humble Brahmin who wants to protect himself. Soon Karna withdrew, realizing that this was no ordinary Brahmin, but Bhima and Shalya fought valiantly. Fighting furious like two elephants, they continued for a while, before Bhima defeated him.

Arjuna takes Draupadi

Soon enough, Arjuna took Draupadi by the hand and led her away in peace from that scene of angry strife. So ended the Draupadi swayamvara, and Krishna declared that the bride had been fairly won.

Pandavas were recognised

Drishtdyumna, Draupadi’s brother, followed them to find out who the Brahmin was. When they reached their hut, the Pandavas called out to their mother, Kunti, “Look, Mother, what we have brought.” Kunti replied from inside the hut, “Share it among yourselves,” thinking that they had brought food.

Draupadi marries Pandavas

When she saw the bride and was told that she was Arjuna’s wife, Kunti was very unhappy at what she had said. As a custom, the Pandavas would have to obey every word that she had said – Draupadi would have to become the wife of all five brothers. Just then Krishna came to their hut. He told Kunti, “in her previous life Draupadi had worshipped Shiva to get a husband with certain qualities. So, Lord Shiva had given her a boon which has resulted in her having five husbands” On hearing this Kunti felt satisfied and Draupadi became the wife of all five Pandavas.

Pandavas marry Draupadi

Pandavas marry Draupadi

Dhrishtadyumna who had followed them, heard all this. He went back to his father Drupada and said, “I have good news for you. The brave Brahmin who married Draupadi was none other than the great Arjuna.” Drupada was delighted to hear this. But when he came to know that Draupadi was to be the wife of all the five Pandavas, he was sad, because this was against the law. At that time, Sage Vyasa came there. He told Drupada, “Though such a marriage is not permitted in the Holy Scriptures, this particular marriage is a result of a boon by Shiva himself, so it is not against the law.” Satisfied Drupada arranged for a reception at the palace. The Pandavas were invited and the wedding between the Pandavas and Draupadi was performed with great splendour.

Draupadi could have ended up with fourteen husbands

Ganesha and Lord Shiva

Seven interesting stories of Lord Ganesha (Indian mythology)

Lord Ganesha

He is the son of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, has the blessing that his worship should be performed before all gods. Following are some of the unknown and interesting facts about Lord Ganesha.

 Broken tusk

When Sage Vyasa set out to write Mahabharata, he wanted someone to help him with the writing.. He approached Lord Ganesha for help. Ganesha accepted the job on a condition that you will have to recite the tale without a pause and without a break. If you stop even once, I will stop writing.

Vyasa accepted this condition from Lord Ganesha. But, he too set a condition that Ganesha should understand every thing before writing. Ganesha agreed. Both sat down to create an epic.Vyas started narrating his epic at a great speed and Ganesha took down the dictation fast and furious. However, soon Ganesha’s pen broke. It could not keep pace with Maharishi’s recital.

Ganesha understood that he had been a little too proud and underestimated the Maharshri’s intellectual powers. Quietly he broke off one of his tusks, dipped it in ink and used it as a pen. As for Vyasa, whenever he would get tired he would compose a particular difficult stanza. Ganesha would spend few seconds trying to figure out the lines and Maharishi would get a break. Ganesha and Vyasa spend 3 years writing the epic. Although several stanzas of mahabharata are said to be lost, even today the poem stands 100,000 stanzas long.

Vyasa and Ganesha writing Mahabharata

Vyasa and Ganesha writing Mahabharata

Wedding party

Swarg Lok, was buzzing with excitement. Lord Vishnu was sending out invitation for his wedding to goddess Lakshmi. The wedding was to take place at Kundanpur, Lakshmi’s home town.

The Gods were busy taking out there finest jewels for the wedding. They planned to impress Lakshmi and her town people with a grand marriage procession. Guests started assembling at Vishnu’s house. Suddenly,the gods saw Ganesha entering Vishnu’s house. They were very upset to see him.

They did not want Ganesha to come along with with them to Kundanpur. They said he eat too much and look weird. Not only does he have an elephant head, he is very fat too. and his feet look like jugs and tummy sticks out a mile.we are all such handsome fellows, we would feel embarrassed walking along with such strange looking person. They informed Vishnu about their decision, Vishnu didn’t want to leave Ganesha behind, but under pressure from gods, he had to accede.

They asked Vishnu to tell Ganesha to stay back to look after swarglok.Vishnu did as he was told. Ganesha felt bad about missing out on the wedding,he accepted the task. Narad,a real mischief-maker told every thing to Ganesha, and gave him a brilliant plan how to get back at other gods.

Narad said Ganesha, the mouse you ride is the chief of the mice, ask him to take army of mice and dig under the road the marriage procession plans to take. The hollowed out road will not be able to bear the weight of chariots,elephants, carriages and horses in the procession.As soon as any one steps on it,the road will get crumble and all will get stuck.

Ganesha was delighted with the plan. He sent his mouse scurrying to the task. Things just happened as Narad had planned. As soon as Vishnu’s chariot rolled on to the hollowed-out section, the road crumbled. The horses tumbled down and the chariot wheel sank deep into the earth. The entire parade came to halt. The gods were unable to pull out the wheels. a farmer who saw gods struggling offered to help. Although gods didn’t believe the farmer could do much , yet they decided to give him a chance. Shouting Jai Ganesha in one jerk the wheel came up. One god asked him why he shouted Jai Ganesha before pulling out the carriage. The farmer replied that Ganesha is remover of all obstacles. He is the God of beginning. So, he always pray to him before starting any work. Gods were very ashamed The farmer simple words reminded that looks do not matter.It’s person’s greatness and goodness that really counts. They went back to Ganesha, apologise and begged him to join the procession.

Punishment to Moon

Ganesha, the pot bellied elephant god, loved food and could spend entire day, eating. Once on a moonlit night after stuffing himself with his favourite sweet, ladoo, he went for a ride on his vahana, a tiny rat. The rat could not bear his weight and tripped. Ganesha fell on the ground with a thud. The moon laughed,seeing this funny sight. Seeing the moon mocking him, Ganesha got angry. He cursed the moon saying that any man who looked at the moon on Ganesha Chaturthi, would be wrongly blamed.

Moon and Ganesha Chaturthi festival

Moon and Ganesha Chaturthi festival

The moon, realised its mistake, and  begged Ganesha to remove his curse. But Ganesha was adamant, finally after a long time, Ganesha gave in and reduced the punishment. He could not take back his curse, but said that falsely accused person would have to look at the Moon on the second day of the fortnight to win back his good name.

 The elephant god

One day Parvati wanted to take bath, but there was no one to guard her. So she created a young boy with the sandal wood paste. She named the little boy Ganesha. Parvati asked him not to allow anyone to enter while she bathed. Soon Lord Shiva returned and was surprised to see Ganesha. Ganesha refused to allow Lord Shiva to enter the house.

Lord Shiva was furious and sent his bull, Nandi, to fight the little boy but Ganesha defeated Nandi. After a fierce fight between Lord Shiva and Gaesha,  Shiva cut off Ganesha’s head. When Parvati came out and saw her son dead, she was furious. Shiva tried to console her but she couldn’t stop crying.

She ordered Shiva to bring him back to life. Shiva asked Nandi to bring the head of the first creature he found. Nandi returned with the head of an elephant. Lord Shiva placed the elephant head on the Ganesha’s body and bring him back to life. Shiva gave him the title of Ganpati, and all other God’s declared him the God of beginnings. All would have to pray him before starting anything new.

Ganesha and Lord Shiva

Ganesha and Lord Shiva

Mooshak

Long long ago, there lived a terribly wicked asura, Gajamukh. He wanted to become richest and strongest king ever. He was already king of asura but  wanted to become king of peoples and God’s world too. He decided to impress Lord Shiva and ask ed God to grant him with magical powers. He left his palace, started living in jungle and worshipping Shiva.

Without eating or drinking, and standing on just one foot, he prayed to Shiva every day. Several years passed and finally Lord Shiva was impressed and granted him all the magical powers he wanted. The most special of these was that no weapon could harm him. Gajamukh then started misusing his powers first, he  conquered the world and then he started attacking Gods.

Only Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma and Ganesha  remained unconquered by him. Gajamukh ordered everyone to worship him and only him. Then Lord Shiva, asked his son Ganesha to punish him. A terrible fight between Ganesha and Gajamukh started. Swords, spear, arrors all bounced off the asura because of the boon he was granted.

Finally Ganesha, broke his tusk an threw it on Gajamukh wounding him badly. Still Gajamukh was not ready to give up. He turned himself into a mouse and rushed at Ganesha. Ganesha jumped and sat down on his back. Crushed under Ganesha’s weight, Gajamukh had to accept his defeat. Ganesha decided to punish him by keeping him as a mouse and keeping him as a vehicle. Gajamukh was also happy with  the arrangement and became Ganesha’s friend now.

Mooshaka-and-Ganesha

Mooshaka-and-Ganesha

 

A fistful of rice

There was a little village, named Ganeshpur. People of Ganeshpur loved Lord Ganesha.Peoples were busy in a big Ganpati festival. Villagers were busy in cleaning and decorating the village and women were busy in cooking sweets. Meanwhile a little boy entered the village with little rice in one hand and and a spoonful of rice on other hand His clothes were torn and face was dirty.

He walked through the village shouting ‘Here I come with a spoonful of milk and  a fistful of rice. cook me kheer and Ganesha will give you prize. But the people were too busy to pay him any attention. Then the boy reached the hut of a poor,old women. she lived alone,  and was sick but still decided to help the little boy. She said I can make kheer but I have nothing to cook. The little boy said don’t worry amma borrow a big pot from your neighbour.

The old lady thought the little boy was being silly but did what he wanted.She put the fistful of rice and a spoonful of milk into the pot, added some sugar and put it on fire. The little boy said amma, the kheer  will take some time to cook. I will go and have a bath. when I will come back we can eat together. The boy ran away and the old women fell asleep.

Suddenly she woke up by delicious smell. She got up and look inside. she was shocked to see that the pot was brimming over with creamy white kheer. This site made her mouth water and irresistible to wait for the little boy. Finally, she decided to eat, first she too a little bit and  offered to  Ganesha and then took large portion for herself. In one gulp she finished, then she took another then another yet the pot remained full. when the little boy came, he asked for the kheer.

Quietly the old women put the bowl in front of him. The boy asked and where is your bowl amma. Red faced, the old women confessed, that  I ate without waiting for you.  The little boy said, don’t worry amma I have eaten the kheer too. But when you have just came. The boy said, don’t you remember amma before eating you have offered some to Ganesha. Well I am the same Ganesha said the boy changing into true form.

The old women fell crying at Ganesha feet. Ganesha picked her and said you are very kind to me now make a wish. The old women was very intelligent. She asked Ganesha to give me health,give me wealth, surrounded me with lots of daughters and sons. Let me live long enough to see my great great grand sons.  Ganesha granted her the wish. The old women was very happy and she thanked Ganesha for making her wish come true.

Mr and Mrs frog

Mr and Mrs. frog lived in the well behind the king’s palace. What a perfect life they led! they spend the whole day lolling around the sun. If they felt hot, they would pop into the pool for a quick swim. And if in case they felt bored, they would simply nip into the palace and watch the people there.

They thought men’s are very very funny creatures because they were tall and walk on two legs, have clear skin and are always in hurry and scurry. They both hop back to the well and examine there brilliant green skin full of warts and feel happier then ever and feel how lucky they are to be born as frog.

But there was one problem in frog’s life. It was Ganesha. Mrs frog was great follower of Ganesha, She chant Ganesha’s name throughout the day to thank him for giving them such a nice life. Mr frog was terribly jealous of this. He hate to hear his wife taking name of Ganesha and would quarrel with her. He said I am your husband and I will give you all happiness in this world so, you should stop taking Ganesha’s name instead you should take my name.

One day a maid came to draw water from the well . The frogs got drawn along with the water. Maid didn’t noticed them and set the pot on fire. to warm the water.  Poor frogs tried to jump out but the pot was so deep that they couldn’t. Mr frog croaked , ‘Dear wife , why don’t you pray to your lord Ganesha ? He might help us. Mrs frog said ,dear husband , you have often told me that a good wife only chants her husbands name. Mr frog croaked you misunderstood me no one becomes a bad wife by chanting Ganesha’s name.  But husband chant irritates you.

Wife, hot water irritates me more. So, please pray to God to rescue us. Mrs frog took a promise that he would never stop her from taking his name. Mrs frog pleaded for mercy within minutes the  pot overturned and fell from fire. All water spelled out and both frog hopped back to well. Now they both sit in the sun singing Ganesha’s praises.

Shri Krishna challenging Bhishma in the war of Kurukshetra

Seven unknown facts from Mahabharata about Bhishma Pitamah

Seven untold and unknown facts about Bhishma Pitamah from Mahabharata

 

Bhishma, or Devvrata will be known in the history as one of the great warriors who adorned this earth. The story of his birth was and his death were strange, but even stranger were his deeds on this planet. We all know that he has taken couple of difficult vows, but there are few other stories which are equally mesmerizing. Read on.

The vow which made Devvrata Bhishma

The vow which made Devvrata Bhishma – even devtas (gods) showered flowers on him

The garland of ever fresh lotuses

This is the story of Amba and Bhishma. It is a well known fact that Amba was discarded by her lover and Bhishma. She did severe penance to exact her revenge on Bhishma. Following this, Lord Subramanya appeared and given her a garland of lotuses which were fresh forever. This was also said that whosoever wears the garland, would be the enemy of Bhishma. Getting her desired blessing, she sought the help of the present warriors, but such was the clout of Bhishma, nobody dared to accept the garland.

Bhishma abducting Amba for Vichitravirya

Bhishma abducting Amba for Vichitravirya

Frustrated, she hanged the garland at the gates of King Drupad and left.  Later on, she dived in a pyre of fire and given her life. In her next life, she was born as a girl to Drupad and playfully wore the garland and later became the reason of Bhishma’s demise.

The stalemate between Bhishma and Parshurama – teacher and disciple

After leaving garland of Lotus, Amba reached to Parshurama and requested him to teach Bhishma a lesson. Parshurama, who also was the teacher of Bhishma, decided to fight him in order to have justice for Amba. The fight ensued for a long time and nobody could be beaten. Reason, Parshurama was akhand chiranjeevi, means one who could not die and Bhishma had a boon from his father, Shantanu, that he would be able to choose the time of his death.

The sixteen year old who held a river

Bhishma was the child of Ganga and Shantanu. There is a story of how Ganga drowned her seven sons, and Bhishma was eighth. This was because of a curse from sage Vasistha. Ganga took her eighth child away with her. After 16 years, a youth was found stopping the water flow of Ganga with a wall of arrows. When Shantanu came to know, he himself went to see that. He found a young man doing this, then he got ready to have a fight with him, the then Gangaa came, introduced him as his son and handed over him to Shantanu. Shantanu brought him home. His Guru were Parashuraam Jee and Brihaspati Jee like teachers.

Bhishma chose his date of death and waited for 58 days

Grandsire Bhishma’s body was pierced all over by arrows which served as his bed. He noticed that the sun was in Dakshinayana and hence it was not the best time to embrace death. Hence he waited 58 days for Uttarayana while lying on the bed of arrows. Bhishma Pitamaha had attained a boon from his father Shantanu that death would befall him only when he desired it.

Bhishma teaches Pandavas from the death bed

On the bed of arrows, after the war of Mahabharata was over, Pandavas reached over to Bhishma. Yudhisthira asks some questions which essentially ask how the welfare of mankind can be achieved.  Bhishma answers by stating that mankind will be free from all sorrows by chanting the [quote]”Vishnusahasranama“[/quote], which are the thousand names of the all-pervading Supreme being Vishnu, who is the master of all the worlds, the supreme light, the essence of the universe and who is Brahman. All matter animate and inanimate reside in him, and he in turn resides within all matter. This is available in anushashana parva of Mahabharata.

Bhishma teaching Pandavas from deathbed - Sharshayya

Bhishma teaching Pandavas from deathbed – Sharshayya

 

Books

An excellent book by none other than Anant Pai from Amar Chitra Katha. Third one is dedicated to the battle of Kurukshetra.

Bhishma was known as Prabhasa in earlier birth as a vasu

Vasus went for a holiday with their wives to a mountain tract where stood the hermitage of Vasishtha. One of them saw Vasishtha’s cow, Nandini, grazing there. Its divinely beautiful form attracted him and he pointed it out to the ladies. They were all loud in praise of the graceful animal, and one of them requested her husband to secure it for her. The vasu, Prabhasa explained that this cow is of no use, but on her insistence, he has given in. When Vasistha knew about, he cursed vasus to be born into the world of men. When the Vasus came to know of the curse, they asked forgiveness. Vasistha softened the curse on other brothers, but not on the one who took the cow away. This boy later became the eighth child of Ganga and Shantanu, Devvrata. He later known as Bhishma, who even caused the Lord to break his promise.

Bhishma made lord Vishnu to break his vow

Perhaps the grandest of his feats, was the occasion in the war of kurukshetra, when Shri Krishna decided to fight the grandsire. This happened after Bhishma created havoc in pandava’s army with his skills. Lord Krishna decided before the war that he will not pickup any weapon. On other hand Bhishma promised Duryodhana that he will fight like a lion and will kill Arjuna. There was an  intense battle  between Arjuna and Bhisma and Arjun being powerful still was no match for Bhishma.  Bhishma shot arrow which cut Arjuna armour and his gandiva bow. Arjuna was helpless before the wrath of the old, but powerful warrior. As Bhishma was about to kill Arjuna with his arrow Lord Krishna could not tolerate his devotee’s plight and he immediately threw down the chariot rein and jumped off the chariot onto the battle field and lifted a chariot wheel and charged Bhishma. Arjuna tried to stop Lord krishna but Lord says that in order to protect my devotee I must break my own promise.

Bhishma stories

 

How Pandavas saved at Lakshagriha ( The lacquer house)

 Vidura, Pandavas and Lakshagriha

Once, Duryodhana asked his father Dhritrashtra to send the new yuvraj to Varnavat for yearly festival. Dhritrashtra could not refuse Duryodhana and he requested eldest pandava to visit the Varnavat as his representative.

All five pandavas alongwith their mother Kunti reached Varnavat. Meanwhile Duryodhana sent Purochana to build a palace which was highly inflammable which was aptly named as Lakshagriha. The palace was ready in time and pandavas stayed in the same palace.

However, the wise Vidura had sensed something wrong, so he enquired and sent a digger to dig a secret tunnel from Lakshagriha to a river. The tunnel digger reached pandavas and offered to dig a tunnel for pandavas. Thus secretly, the work to save pandavas begun in the house of Lakshagriha.

Vidura in Mahabharata

Vidura in Mahabharata

After the work of tunnel digging was complete, pandavas were looking to find an appropriate day to make their next move. The tunnel has been made carefully and Purochana was not aware that a tunnel exists at Lakshagriha.

pandavas escape from lakshagriha

pandavas escape from lakshagriha

Pandavas invited the people for a feast. The feast was grand and everyone enjoyed them. After the feast everyone left and purochana was also sleeping. Seeing an opportune moment, pandavas set the palace of lac on fire. Then they used the tunnel dug earlier to escape from the burning palace. Bhima carried his mother and all his brothers through the tunnel. Purochana, became a  victime of his own design and was burnt while sleeping.

Lakshagriha

Lakshagriha

On that fateful day, a bhil woman with her five sons also came to the banquet and somehow they also became the victim of the fire.

Thus, by the foresight of Vidura, pandavas escaped from the ill will of Duryodhana and Shakuni. When they reached the end of the tunnel, a boat was waiting for them at the banks of river ganges, thus completing the escape of Pandavas.

Read: Unknown facts about Shakuni

Dhritarashtra and Vidura

When Dhritarashtra was surprised

Dhritarashtra, the blind king

Dhritarashtra, the blind king of Hastinapur was also blind in for the love of his son Duryodhana. This is the incident from Mahabharata just after the Draupadi swayamvara. In this event, Duryodhana and all kauravas brother participated. Pandavas were not to be part of the swayamvara, as they were supposedly killed by fire in lakshagriha.

Pandavas escape from Lakshagriha

As per the designs of Duryodhana, Pandavas were subjected to extreme fire in Lakshagriha. At the last minute, Pandavas escaped, thanks to the foresight of Vidura, who could see through the evil designs of Duryodhana and Shakuni.

Vidura sent a tunnel digger and he worked tirelessly to create an escape route which connected to the river with the palace where Pandavas were staying alongwith their mother, Kunti. Also, Vidura made adequate arrangements and a boat was available, which took Pandavas to safety.

Pandavas escaping from Lakshagriha

Pandavas escaping from Lakshagriha

Swayamvara of Draupadi

When Drupad announced Draupadi’s swayamwar, Pandavas participated as Brahmins. All princes including Sisupala, Jarasandha, Salya, and Duryodhana have tried the competition, but they could not pierce the mark.

Karna successfully strung the bow, and when he was about to shoot the mark, Draupadi announced that she would not be married to a suta. Thus Karna, being the eldest of Pandavas, and equitable to the skills of Arjuna, had to resign.

Then Arjuna, taking permission from Dhristadyumnya, clad as a brahmin, tried his skills. Very serenely, he strung the bow, loaded the arrow and as others watched,  drew the cord, and the arrow flew upwards with a hissing sound; it hit the target eye, and the golden fish fell over and clashed upon the ground.

Draupadi swayamvara story

Draupadi swayamvara story

There was a fight after the swayamvara and thanks to Bhima, Arjuna could take the bride home. It is a different matter that his bride was shared by all pandavas.

Dhritrashtra and Vidura

Soon, details of above events reached Hastinapura and Vidura, duly reported this to  Dhritrashtra.  He said: “O King, our family has become stronger because the daughter of Drupada has become our daughter-in-law. We are lucky.” Dhritarashtra, blind for his son, immediately thought that Duryodhana had won the hand of Draupadi and was ecstatic.

He replied – to go and make grand preparations for welcome of Draupadi. At this point of time, Vidura interjected and broke the surprises to Dhritarashtra.

Dhritarashtra and Vidura

Dhritarashtra and Vidura

The two surprises of Dhritarashtra

1. Pandavas are not dead and they also have participated in the swayamwara.

2. It was Arjuna, and not Duryodhana, who won the hand of Draupadi.

Thus, Dhritarashtra, who was thinking that his son had married the daughter of Drupad, was deeply shaken that it was Pandavas, who not only survived but excelled where Duryodhana failed.

 

Shri Krishna did not save Draupadi from cheer haran

Who saved Draupadi from cheer haran

The statement that Krishna did not save her, may appear as untrue. When we read the following facts, we may find there are other stories regarding how Draupadi was saved on that shameful day, when Yushishthira lost everything. All gurus and sages remained silent while Dushashana was trying to disrobe Draupadi. Duryodhana, Dushashana and even Karna did not hesitate in this wrong doing.

This presents a bigger problem and this is prevalent in today as well. Everyone on that day had a reason not to interfere on that shameful day. It was good that someone was able to retrieve or save Draupadi’s modesty. But if we look at today’s scenario, we will find Bhsihma’s and Drona’s who are blind to all the evils, but we could not find “the saviour” who can do something about present day’s situation.

So, as we know that Shri Krishna, whom Draupadi summoned to save her from disrespect. But,  in Vyasa’s mahabharat, the saviour from cheer haran is someone else. This is attributed to Dharma and it is symbolic.  This means it can be the god Dharma, Krishna as the Lord of Dharma, or even Vidura or Yudhishthira. So it is not clearly stated that who was indeed the saviour of Draupadi.

Draupadi’s cheer haran at royal court of hastinapur

Story of Krishna saving Draupadi

in the famous TV serial named Mahabharat, Draupadi summons Keshav (Krishna) in her hour of peril(cheer haran) and Shri Krishna saves her. There is a story related to this. Once Shri Krishna cut his finger with sudarshan chakra. Draupadi tore her veil to put it around Krishna’s bleeding finger. Lord Krishna was very touched by the gratitude done by Draupadi. He promised her to repay the debt and to protect her from all evils.  He protected Draupadi when Draupadi prayed when her sari was being pulled after Duryodhan won her in the dice game.

Story of Durvasa saving Draupadi

There is also an interesting story of Durvasa saving Draupadi from cheer haran which is narrated below.

Shiva Purana attributes her miraculous rescue to a boon granted by Durvasa. The story goes that the sage’s loincloth was once carried away by the Ganges’s currents. Draupadi quickly tore a piece of her garment to cover him. The sage was pleased with her. He granted Draupadi a boon which caused an unending stream of cloth to cover her when Dushasana was trying to strip her in Hastinapura’s royal dice-hall.

More stories about Lord Krishna

The story of Raja Parikshit and snake sacrifice by Janmejaya

 Raja Parikshit and snake sacrifice

 

Birth and formative years

Parikshit was born to Uttara and Abhimanyu. He was the grandson of Arjuna and he was saved by Lord Krishna in the womb of his mother, when Ashwaththama directed Brahmastra on him.

Since the baby had been protected by Vishnu in his form of Krishna, the brahmanas proposed that he should be named Vishnurata, that is, protected by Vishnu.  But the baby had met Krishna inside Uttara’s womb and had become devoted to Krishna.  Whenever the child met someone, he tested to see if the person he had just met was indeed the person whom he had met inside the womb.  The word for a test is pariksha.  Thus it was that Vishnurata came to be popularly known as Parikshit.

Marriage and ascendancy to throne

He married Iravati, the daughter of Prince Uttar.  Parikshit and Iravati had four sons, the most important of whom was Janmejaya.  Parikshit also performed three ashvamedha yajnas (horse sacrifices) on the banks of the river Ganga.  Prikshit’s guru (teacher) was Kripacharya.

Parikshit became the successor of Pandavas when they decided to leave for heavens.

Sage Samika in meditation and the unfortunate snake incident

One day, while travelling through the forest, he became very exhausted and entered the hut of a sage named Samika as he was thirsty. He found the sage in deep meditation. He paid his respects several times but as there was no response. Frustrated, he took a dead snake and threw it around the sage’s neck.

Later when the sage’s son, Sringin, heard of this incident he cursed the king to die of snake bite on the seventh day.

 

Raja Parikshit , Sage and snake

Raja Parikshit , Sage and snake

 

Discourse of Bhagwata Purana

Following this incident, the king handed over throne to his son Janamejaya and spent next  seven days listening to the discourses of Sage Śuka dev (son of Ved Vyasa). This book compiled as the Bhagavata Purana.  

Having heard the Bhagavata Purana. Parikshit worshipped Shukadeva. He told the sage that he was no longer frightened of being bitten to death by a snake. He had learnt the nature of the atman and the brahman. When Shukadeva left, Parikshit sat down and began to meditate. Takshaka disguised himself as a brahman in order to get near the king. He then bit the king and Parikshit died.

Sarp yagna by Janmejaya

Parikshit’s son Janmejaya was furious. He resolved to perform a snake sacrifice (sarpa yajna) at which all the snakes would be killed. They would be consumed in the fire of the yajna. Takshaka fled to Indra for protection. Janmejaya urged his brahmins to chant the most powerful mantras, so that he could not be spared. Janmejaya finally stopped the sacrifice when Brihaspati interceded on behalf of the snakes.

Janmejaya is regarded as the first rules of kaliyuga and it is said that Mahabharata was first recited to him by Vaishampayana, a disciple of Vyasa.