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51 facts – Mahabharata

 Mahabharata – facts

In the epic Mahabharata, there are numerous facts which fascinates us. 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.

Read 51 facts on the Ramayana

1. 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.

2. Abhimanyu’s wife was Uttara. His son Parikshit later on became the king.

3. 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.

4. Drona was born in a vessel. He was sage Bhardwaj’s son.

5. Jarasandh was born in two halves. These two halves were fused by a rakshasi Jara, hence his name Jarasandh. Jarasandh was killed by Bheema.

Jarasandh Vadha – Bheema in Mahabharat

6. Arjuna defeated the kauravas after the agyaatvaas, which included Drona, Karna and Bhishma. Uttar was his charioteer.

7.  By a boon of Gandhari, Duryodhana’s body became impregnable, save for his thighs, where, he, on advice of Shri Krishna, wore a loin cloth.

8. Bhima could only kill Duryodhana because of stroke of the genius, Shri Krishna. See this link for details. 

9. Shri Krishna did  not fight the Mahabharata war. His army Narayani vahini, was on 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.

10. 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.

Reading suggestion: Unknown facts from Mahabharata (1)

11. Draupadi kept her hair untied after the cheerharan. She vowed that she will tie her hair with Dushashana’s blood. Bheem did the needful.

12. Dhritrashtra crushed the iron statue of Bheema with bare hands. Duryodhana used to practice with the replica. Shri Krishna knew that he would like to kill Bheem, so he switched their places.

13. Pandavas hid their weapons on Sami tree during the agyaatvaas.

14. Ved Vyasa was the father of Dhritrashtra, Pandu and Vidura.

15. 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.

16. Arjuna was really a eunuch during the agyaatvaas. He was known as Brihannala. Thanks 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.

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.

17. Shri Krishna forgave Shishupala hundred times before killing him.

18. Karna’s teacher was Parshurama.

Parshurama sleeping in Karna’s lap

19. Babhruvahana killed Arjuna, his father. Arjuna’s life was restored with the help of a gem, given by Uloopi.

Uloopi reviving Arjuna after Babhruvahana defeated and killed him

20. Subhadra, Chitrangada and Uloopi were wives of Arjuna. Subhadra was the sister of Shri Krishna.

Reading suggestion: Unknown facts from Mahabharata about Karna

21. Karna and Bhishma never fought together. Because Bhishma treated Karna very lowly.

22. Ghatotkacha was killed by Karna with ekaghni.

23. Karna was born with Kavach and Kundala.

Karna born with Kavach and Kundal

24. Draupadi was the daughter of King Drupada. Drupada was a friend of Drona. Panadavas defeated and imprisoned Drupada.

25. Drupada desired a son who could kill Drona who had humiliated him in battle and taken half his kingdom. Dhristdyumna killed Drona in Mahabharata war.

26. Ashwaththama killed Dhristdyumna, Shikhandi and sons of Pandavas with help of Kritvarma and Kripacharya on the last night of Mahabharata war.

27. Shri Krishna cursed Ashwaththama  to be alive because of his act of cowardice.

28. Of the 100 brothers of kaurava, only Yuyutsu survived the Mahabharata war.

29. Yuyutsu had fought from Pandavas side.

30. Bheema killed all 99 brother of Kauravas.

Reading suggestion: Unknown facts from Mahabharata(3)

31. Bhishma himself told Yudhishthir that he can be defeated by a woman. Then Shikhandi came to rescue of Pandavas.

 

Bhishma pitamah – on bed of arrows

 

32. Drona killed Drupada.

33. Shalya was killed by Yudhishthir.

34. 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.

35. 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.

36. 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.

39. Bhim killed Hidimb after escaping from Lakshagriha. He later married his sister, Hidimba.

40. Bhim also killed Vakasur, who ate large amount of grains and buffaloes everyday.

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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.

Arjuna and Draupadi in Mahabharat

45. The thirteenth parva of Mahabharat is Anushashana parva, where Bhishma tells Yushishthir how to conduct governance.

46. Jarasandha was killed in the same way he born, in two halves. He was killed by Bhima.

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.

Kichak and Draupadi in Mahabharat

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.

50. 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.

51. 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.

Reading suggestion:  Test your knowledge on Mahabharat51 facts – The Ramayana

Books

An excellent book by none other than Anant Pai from Amar Chitra Katha. Third one is dedicated to the battle of Kurukshetra.
Read about unknown facts of Shri Krishna
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51-Facts Indian Mythology Popular Articles The Ramayana

Ramayana facts

Ramayana is one of the most riveting epics from India. This story of Lord Rama has been told and retold in several languages from ancient India and is still relevant. The Ramayana is not only the story of Rama, but this is also a story of other people. For instance, Lakshman, Bharat and Hanuman. We can’t forget Sita, Urmila, Vibheeshana alongwith Kaikeyi and Manthra.

Lord Rama with his brothers, Sita and Hanumana

Following are some of the interesting facts from this epic.

 

1. Author of The Ramayana is Sage Valmiki. There are many more versions of this epic are available by various writers. Valmiki’s version is thus also known as Valmiki Ramayana. Another famous version is by Tulsidas, known as Ramcharitmanas.

2. This great epic is composed of rhyming couplets called ‘shlokas’, employing a complex meter called ‘anustup’. These verses are grouped into individual chapters called ‘sargas’, wherein a specific event or intent is told. The ‘sargas’ are again grouped into books called ‘kands’.

3 The whole story of the Ramayana is written in seven chapters, also known as kands. These are

Bal Kand – Rama’s boyhood.

Ayodhya Kand – Rama’s life in Ayodhya until his banishment.

Aranya Kand – Rama’s life in the forest and his abduction by Ravana.

Kishkindha Kand – Rama’s stay at Kishkindha, the capital of his monkey ally Sugriva.

Sundar Kand –  Rama’s journey to Sri Lanka

Yudh Kand or Lanka Kand – Rama’s battle with Ravana, the recovery of Sita and their return to Ayodhya.

Uttar Kand – Rama’s life as king in Ayodhya, the birth of his two sons, Sita’s test of innocence and return to her mother, and Rama’s demise. This kand completes the story of the ramayana.

4 Rama ( the principal character of the ramayana), and his brothers were born as the result of putra-kameshti yagya by Dashratha. At the end of the yagya, a bowl of dessert was given to Dashratha, which was distributed among his wives. Sumitra was fed twice, so she gave birth to twins. Dasharatha was born in the line of Ikshvaku (“the first king of the Ikshvaku dynasty and founder of the Solar Dynasty of Kshatriyas in Vedic civilization in ancient India”).

5. Rama is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, a dashavatar.

6 In their childhood, Rama and Laxman helped Vishwamitra and took care of Maricha and Subahu. Rama points his bow at the two, and with one arrow kills Subahu, and with the other arrow flings Mareecha thousands of miles away into the ocean

7. Sita is considered to be an incarnation of Goddess Laxmi. She is also believed to be the daughter of Bhoomi devi (earth). Sita was also known as Vaidehi. An interesting fact about Sita is that she is also considered to be a reincarnation of Vedvati, whom Ravan had tried to molest while she was under penance, so as to become the consort of Lord Vishnu. She then cursed Ravana to become the cause of his destruction in her next birth.

Rama and Laxman

8. Laxman or Lakshman is an incarnation of Sheshnaag or Adi Shesha. He also accompanied Lord Vishnu as Balrama in the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

9. Laxman never slept during the Rama’s exile. He is also known as Gudakesh, meaning, the one who has defeated “sleep”.

10. Laxman killed three sons of Ravana. While his killing of Meghnaad is more popular, other sons of Ravana were Prahast and Atikay.

11. Lord Shiva explained that Laxman would have escaped Shakti easily, but to respect the weapon, he took this on his chest.

12. The laxmanrekha episode is not mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana. This is mentioned by Mandodri in Lanka kand in Ramcharitamanas.

Laxman draws Laxmanrekha

13. Laxman was the twin brother of Shatrughana. Their mother was Sumitra.

14. Lord Rama left this earth by taking the Jal Samadhi in Sarayu river.

15. During Sita Swayamvara, Rama broken the bow of Shiva to win her hand.

Lord Rama breaking Shiva Dhanush (bow) – The Ramayana

16. Parshurama challenged Rama to string the bow of Vishnu. Which Lord Rama easily did and asked him to tell him to where he should release the arrow. Parshuram realized that Rama is no ordinary man. This is worth noting that both of these warriors were incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

17. The shiva dhanush was easily moved by Sita during her childhood.  King Janak observed this and this incident set the condition of Sita swayamvar in the Ramayana.

18. Lord Rama helped Sugriva to get back the kingdom of Kishkindha. He helped Sugriva to defeat his brother, Vali. He later married Tara, Vali’s wife. Tara is one of the Panchkanya. Mandodari, the wife of Ravana, is also a panchkanya from the Ramayana.

Battle between Vali and Sugriva – Rama about to kill Vali

19  Rama, Laxman and Sita spent the vanvaas in Dandakaranya forests.

20 Laxman’s wife was Urmila. There is not much written about her, but she also made a supreme sacrifice while staying back in Ayodhya, while Laxman accompanied Rana and Sita for vanvaas. Urmila was Sita’s younger sister. Urmila slept both his and her shares of sleep so that Laxman remained awake protecting Rama and Sita. She slept for the whole period of exile (14 years) and only woke up when Laxmana returned to Ayodhya.

21 Tara was an apsara produced from the churning of ocean. During the churning, Vali was from gods side.

Unknown facts from Mahabharata

22. Jambavantha was created by Brahma, to assist Rama in his struggle against Ravana. During a duel with Ravana, he hit Ravana and Ravana  became unconscious. He also reminded Hanuman of his prowess, so he could cross the ocean and visit Lanka.

Jambvant praises Hanuman

23. Vali was famous for the boon that he had received, according to which anyone who came before him lost half his strength to Vali, thereby making Vali invulnerable to any enemy.

24. Vali had defeated Ravana as well. Once Ravana called Vali for a fight. He took Ravana in his tail and took him around all the world. Humbled, Ravana called for a truce.

25. Hanuman, because of boons from Surya, laghima and garima, could take various forms. He used them to defeat Sursa, Lankini, Cat in the Ramayana.

Hanuman and Sursa

26. Lord Hanuman is one of the 7 chiranjeevs. These immortals will live till the beginning of the next Satya Yuga. Hanuman slain the demon Kalanemi, while fetching sanjeevani herb. Kalanemi was sent by Ravana. Hanuman rejected a pearl necklace gifted by to him by Sita saying “I don’t accept anything that does not contain Ram.” To prove his point he ripped his chest to show the presence of Ram in his heart.

Ram, Lakshman and Hanumana

27. Hanuman also defied Sun from rising before time as it would have killed Laxman.

28. Hanuman was also shot by Bharat while flying over Ayodhya. Hanuman accepted the arrow as Lord Rama was written over it. Since he was shot on a leg, he had a limp.

29.  Shatrughan is supposed to be the incarnation of Vishnu’s conch. Shatrughna was married to Shrutakeerti, the daughter of King Kusadhbojan and his wife. Shrutakeerti was the cousin of Sita, daughter of King Janaka.

30 Shatrughana killed Lavanasura, a demon who was the son of Madhu. It is believed that Madhu is where Mathura is situated today.

31. Bharat was the husband to Mandavi, daughter of King Janaka’s brother Kushadhvaja and thus a cousin of Sita, who was wife of Rama. They had two sons, Taksha and Pushka. Thus, in the Ramayana, wives of all brothers were related.

32. Bharat is considered to be born in the aspect of the Sudarshana Chakra, the most famous of Vishnu’s Panchayudhas.

Sudarshan chakra

33. Ravana’s grandfather was Pulastya, one of the seven great sages or Saptarishis. His father was himself a great sage Vishrava. Ravana once broke his arm to construct a musical instrument to sing songs of praise for Shiva. It was called the Ravan Hatta. While Ravan lay dying Ram asked Laxmana to go up to him to learn all that Ravana had to offer since Ravan was a Brahman.

34. His mother was the princess of Daityas. Her name was Kaikesi. Kaikesi father was Sumali. Ravana was half Brahmin and half asura.

35. Kaikesi chose Vishrava as her husband in quest to mother a son who was incomparable.

36. Vishrava was the father of Kubera. Thus Ravana was the half brother of Kubera. Ravana conquered Sri Lanka from Kubera and became the King of Lanka.

37. Ravana was also an excellent veena player and the sign of his flag had a picture of veena on it.

38. Ravana had four brothers. Vibhishana, Kumbhakarna and Ahiravan and Mahiravan. Khara and Dushan are also believed to be his brothers.

39. Kumbhakarna was considered pious, intelligent and brave that Indra was jealous of him. Along with his brothers, Ravana andVibhishana, he performed a major yajnaand penance for Lord Brahma. When the time came for asking a boon (blessing) from Brahma, his tongue was tied by goddess Saraswati (acting on Indra’s request). So instead of asking “Indraasana” (seat of Indra), he asked for “Nidraasana” (bed for sleeping).

Kumbhakarna – The Ramayana

40. Kumbhakarna had two sons, Kumbha and Nikumbha, who too fought in the war against Rama and were killed.

41. Ravana also asked for absolute invulnerability from and supremacy over gods, heavenly spirits, other rakshas, serpents, and wild beasts. He did not ask for protection from mortal men, as he did not think that they would cause him any harm.

42. Rama and Laxman were abducted by Ahiravan. Ahiravan was the brother of Ravana and king of patala (netherworld).  The two brothers were saved by Hanuman.

43. Following the capture of Lanka, Ravana pleased Shiva with his penance. Shiva said to pinned Ravana with his toe, but he offered his ten heads to appease Shiva. Pleased with his resilience and devotion, Shiva gave to him the divine sword Chandrahas

44. Ravana was cursed by Nandi that Lanka would be destroyed by a monkey. Later Hanuman put Lanka into flames.

45 Hanuman defeated his son Makardhwaj when he was guarding Rama and Laxman and rescued the two brothers.

46. Hanuman killed Ahiravan and Mahiravan by taking his panchroopi form.

47. Ravana did severe penance to appease Brahma. Brahma blessed him with nectar which could keep him alive as long as it lasted.

48 Vibheeshana told this about to Rama when in the battlefield, every time Rama cut his head, another head sprang up. On his advise, Rama first dried the nectar using Prasvapana and later killed him. This is important to know that the ramayana puts importance to Vibheeshana, who left his brother and helped the cause of Dharma.

Rama using Prasavapana on Ravana

49. Sita remained with Agni when Ravana abducted her. When Ravana came to kidnap mother Sita and she saw him, she took shelter of Agni. The fire-god covered the body of mother Sita, and in this way she was protected from the hands of Ravana. The fire-god, Agni, took away the real Sita and brought her to the place of Parvati, goddess Durga. An illusory form of mother Sita was then delivered to Ravana. The original Sita went to the abode of the fire-god. During Agnipariksha, illusory Sita entered the fire. At that time Agni brought the original Sita from his abode and delivered her to Lord Ramachandra.

50. Sita summoned Bhoomi devi to take her back after completing the Agni pariksha.

51. Rama and all his brothers left their abode by taking Jal samadhi in Sarayu river. This completes the story of the Ramayana.

52. The stripes on the back of squirrels is supposed to be Ram’s caress for their dedication to help construct the bridge to Lanka.

Reading suggestion – 51 facts from Mahabharat