In the epic Mahabharata, there are numerous facts which fascinate the reader. This is also known as pancham veda or fifth veda. Few people know that the entire epic was narrated as a flashback at the Sarpa Yagna being conducted by Janmejaya, the son of Parikshit (Abhimanyu’s son). There are interesting stories which narrate why the Sarpa Yagna had to be conducted, and who were all the people acting as catalysts for the Yagna.
Following are the 51 facts, which will surely entertain you.
Shri Krishna did not fight the Mahabharata war
Shri Krishna vowed that he will not pick a weapon in Mahabharata war. His army Narayani vahini, fought from Kaurava’s side. Duryodhan and Arjun both went to Dwarka to meet Lord Krishna to seek his support for the war. Duryodhan was first to reach Dwarka. Satyaki informed that Krishna was asleep. Both Arjun and Duryodhan entered Krishna’s room. Duryodhan who entered the room first, sat on Krishna’s bed besides his head. Arjun went to the foot of the bed and stood there with his hands folded. When Krishna woke up he saw Arjun first. But Duryodhan said that since he came first if was only fair for Krishna to support the Kauravas. However, Krishna smiled and said that since he saw Arjun first so it would only be fair if he supported both the sides. So, on one hand was his famous Narayani army and on the other hand was he alone without any weapon. Naive Duryodhana thought that Shri Krishna would not be of use and he decided to have the Narayani Army.
A Kaurava who fought from Pandavas side
Before the start of war, Yudhishthira asked if any of the kauravas wants to join Pandavas? Yuyutsu expressed this desire. So, of the 100 brothers of Kaurava, only Yuyutsu survived the Mahabharata war, as he had fought from Pandavas side. Bheema killed all 99 brother of Kauravas.
Arjuna – the eunuch
Arjuna was really a eunuch during the agyaatvaas. He was known as Brihannala. This was due to a curse from Urvashi. In Indralok, Arjun was propositioned by Urvashi, but he used to address her as ‘mother’ as she had was married to his ancestor, Pururva. Annoyed with Arjun’s rejection, Urvashi cursed him to become a eunuch. Arjuna used this curse to his advantage during the agyaatvaas.
When lord Indra came to know about the curse, he told Arjun that this curse is going to serve as a boon during the one year stay in hiding and after spending that period, he would regain his masculinity. This proved to be true in Agyaatvaas. After spending twelve years in forest, Pandavas spent the 13th year of exile in cognito, in the court of King Virat. Arjuna used his curse and lived as a eunuch named Brihannala and remain undetected as required by the condition of anonymity.
Arjuna defeated the Kauravas after the agyaatvaas, which included Drona, Karna and Bhishma. Uttar was his charioteer.
Sahadeva – The astrologer
Sahadeva (the youngest Pandava) was an excellent astrologer. He knew everything about the future. He knew that a war was going to occur, but he kept silent because he was under a curse that if he revealed anything to anybody he would die. There is also a story of him being a great astrologer. Pandu (Father of Pandavas) wished his sons must eat his flesh post death so that all the knowledge may transfer to them which he had collected after so many years. Only Sahadeva ate a piece; the moment he ate, he was able to see future but stopped by God.
Satyawati and Parashar
Satyawati smelled like a fish. Her name was Matsyagandha. By the boon of sage Parashar, she smelled like a flower. She was also a mother of Sage Vyasa. Satyavati was the daughter of a cursed apsara named Adrika. Ved Vyasa was born to Parashar and Satyawati.
Ved Vyasa was the father of Dhritrashtra, Pandu and Vidura. Before the start of Mahabharat war, he cautioned Dhritrashtra that his sons are going to die as inauspicious signs are there to see.
Drona and Drupada
Drona was born in a vessel. He was sage Bhardwaj’s son. On a river side, Bharadwaj saw an apsara named Ghritachi. He was filled with desire and his seed fell into a pot or basket. Inside it, a baby boy developed who was named Drona as he was born in a pot.
Drupada was a friend of Drona. But he did not treat Drona well because of his poorness. Drona asked Panadavas to gift him the kingdom of Drupada as Gurudakshina. Pandavas defeated and imprisoned Drupada for Drona.
Drupada desired a son who could kill Drona who had humiliated him in battle and taken half his kingdom. He was rewarded with a son and a daughter. Dhrishtdyumna was his son who eventually killed Drona in Mahabharata war. His daughter was Draupadi, who became the wife of Pandavas. Ashwaththama killed Dhristdyumna, Shikhandi and sons of Pandavas with help of Kritvarma and Kripacharya on the last night of Mahabharata war.
Gandhari was married to Dhritrashtra, who was a blind. Since her husband was blind, she also decided to remain as a blind, by tying a cloth over her eyes. This was equivalent to a penance, which gave her powers that if she sees someone, he will become impregnable.
To use her power to make Duryodhana invincible, she asked him to come to her naked. Duryodhana duly came and his body became impregnable, save for his thighs, where, he, on advice of Shri Krishna, wore a loin cloth. Bhima could only kill Duryodhana because of stroke of the genius, Shri Krishna.
Kauravas had one sister. Her name was Dushala. She was later married to Jayadratha, who was killed by Arjuna to revenge the death of his son, Abhimanyu.
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Draupadi kept her hair untied after the cheerharan. She vowed that she will tie her hair with Dushashana’s blood. Bheem did the needful.
Dhritrashtra crushed the iron statue of Bhima with bare hands. This happened when Pandavas went to meet Dhritrashtra after the war. Duryodhana used to practice with the replica of Bhima. Shri Krishna knew that he would like to kill Bhima, so he switched their places.
Pandavas hid their weapons on Sami tree during the agyaatvaas.
Bhishma’s real name was Devvrata. This is because of the vow he took so that his father can marry Satyavati, he was called Bhishma.
Abhimanyu’s wife was Uttara. His son Parikshit became the king after Pandavas left for heaven. Lord Krishna saved Uttara’s unborn son when Ashwaththama wanted to kill him with Brahmastra.
Shri Krishna forgave Shishupala hundred times before killing him.
Karna was born to Kunti but he was abandoned by her when he has an infant. Karna was born with Kavach and Kundala, which made him invincible as long as he wore them. But alas, Lord Indra went to him in the guise of an alm seeker and took Kavach and Kundal from Karna so that Arjuna could kill him on the battle field. Karna’s teacher was Parshurama. He was cursed by his teacher. Bhishma also thought very lowly of Karna. Karna and Bhishma never fought together during the Mahabharata war. This was because Bhishma treated Karna very lowly. It was only after the death of Bhishma, did Karna become the commander of Kaurava’s army.
Bhima was born when Vayuputra, son of the wind god. In this aspect, he was also a brother to Lord Hanumana. He was very strong in his childhood and Duryodhana and his uncle, Shakuni, tried to kill Bhima multiple times. One was by poisoning and throwing Bhima into a river. Bhima was rescued by Nāgas and was given a drink which made him very strong and immune to all venom. He killed Hidimb after escaping from Lakshagriha. He later married his sister, Hidimba. He also killed Vakasur, who ate large amount of grains and buffaloes everyday.
During the exile, Bhima disguised himself as a cook named Vallabha and served the Matsya kingdom, where Pandavas served in various roles. Kichak was the brother of queen Sudeshna of King Virata, the king of Matsya. He made advances towards Draupadi, who was serving to the queen which was the reason of his undoing. Kichak was slain by Bhima during one year of incognito exile spent by Pandavas at the court of king Virata. King Virata was killed by Drona during the great war.
Killing of Kichak made Duryodhana to think that Pandavas were hiding at King Virata’s place. After all, there were very few people, who were capable of killing Kichak, Bhima was one of them.
Bhima also killed Jarasandh, the king of Magadh, who was born in two halves. These two halves were fused by a rakshasi Jara, hence his name Jarasandh. Jarasandha was killed in the same way he born, in two halves. He was killed by Bhima.
19. Babhruvahana killed Arjuna, his father. Arjuna’s life was restored with the help of a gem, given by Uloopi.
20. Subhadra, Chitrangada and Uloopi were wives of Arjuna. Subhadra was the sister of Shri Krishna.
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22. Ghatotkacha was killed by Karna with ekaghni. This Ekaghni was given to Karna by Indra after Indra took his Kavach and Kundala.
27. Shri Krishna cursed Ashwaththama to be alive because of his act of cowardice.
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31. Bhishma himself told Yudhishthir that he can be defeated by a woman. Then Shikhandi came to rescue of Pandavas.
Shalya was killed by Yudhishthir.
Shalya wanted to fight the war from Panadavas side, but Duryodhana tricked him to join the war from Kauravas. He finally became the commander, but popularly known as the sarathi of Karna.
Due to a boon given by Lord Shiva, Jayadratha was able to keep Pandavas away for a day. This became the reason of Abhimanyu’s demise.
Mahabharat war lasted for 18 days.
37. Pandavas rule was followed by their grandson, Parikshit. Pandavas son were killed by Ashwaththama during the Mahabharat war.
38. Abhimanyu learnt the trick of entering Chakravyuha, in his mother, Subhadra’s womb. Arjuna realised that she was asleep. So he did not explain the method of coming out from Chakravyuha, a skill which Abhimanyu could not learn.
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41. Vidura helped Pandavas to escape from Lakshagriha.
42. Barbari was the grandson of Bhim. Krishna asked for his head as a gurudakshina, as it was feared that Pandavas would not be able to fulfill their vows, if he fought the Mahabharata war.
43. The Mahabharata has eighteen parvas or chapters.
44. Early life and Draupadi swayambar is written in Adi Parva.
45. The thirteenth parva of Mahabharat is Anushashana parva, where Bhishma tells Yushishthir how to conduct governance.
47. Kichak, in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, was the brother of queen Sudeshna of King Virata, the king of Matsya. Kichak was slain by Bhima during one year of incognito exile spent by Pandavas at the court of king Virata. King Virata was killed by Drona during the great war.
48. Killing of Kichak made Duryodhana to think that Pandavas were hiding at King Virata’s place. After all, there were very few people, who were capable of killing Kichak, Bhima was one of them.
49. After Shri Krishna’s death, Pandavas too lost their interest in life. They started their journey to heaven. All Pandavas have lost their lives during the journey. Only Yudhisthir and a dog made it to heaven. That dog was Dharmaraj.
Yudhisthira found his brothers in heaven. A surprising presence there was that of Duryodhana. Narada explained to Yudhisthira that Duryodhana never showed cowardice, he had been a just and good king, he died a brave’s death that too in the holy place. That’s why he is in heaven. Surprising indeed.
The Mahabharat war happened because of a lady. It is believed that Draupadi addressed sons of Dhritrashtra as sons of blind. This made Duryodhana to become a staunch enemy of Pandavas.