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Shri Krishna

21 facts of Lord Krishna

 Shri Krishna – known and unknown facts

Shri Krishna

Shri Krishna

Shri Krishna is perhaps the most written about amongst the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. His stories are magical, inspiring and sometimes they look human like. Please read on for some interesting and unknown facts about him.

Shri Krishna’s masterstrokes (1)

1. Lord was born in Rohini Nakshatra as the eighth son of Devki and Vasudeva.

Birth of Shri Krishna

Birth of Shri Krishna

2. He brought back the son of his guru (teacher), Sandipani, who was dead. Thus he paid his Gurudakshina to Sage Sandipani.

Sage Sandipani - teacher of Krishna and Balrama

Sage Sandipani – teacher of Krishna and Balrama

3. Many of us do not know that he also brought back the six sons of Devki (seventh and eighth being Balrama and himself) for a brief reunion. Names of these six sons are Smara, Udgitha, Parishvanga, Patanga, Kshudrabhrit and Ghrini.

Seven little known facts about Karna from the Mahabharata

These six sons were earlier grand sons of Hiranyakashyap and they were living under a curse.

3. Kansa or Kamsa was Kalanemi in his earlier birth.  Kalanemi was killed by Lord Vishnu.  The six sons of Devki were Kalanemi sons in his previous birth and they were cursed by Hiranykashyap that they would be killed by their father. Hence Kansa, duly kills six sons of Devki in their next birth. The six sons of Kalanemi were known by the names of Hamsa, Suvikrama, Kratha, Damana, Ripurmardana and Krodhahanta.

Killing of Kansa

Killing of Kansa

4. Gandhari’s curse to Lord served two purposes. In his earlier avatar as Lord Rama(incarnation), he killed Bali. He assured Tara (Bali’s widow) that Bali would be able to exact his revenge in his next birth.

The hunter Jara was  Bali reborn, and in this life, he ended Shri Krishna’s stay on earth with a simple arrow. Thus Gandhari’ s curse and his assurance has been fulfilled.

Death of Bali (Vali)

Death of Bali (Vali)

5. Shri Krishna had a total of 16,108 wives, of which only eight were his princely wives,also known as Ashtabharya,or patrani. There names are as following

Rukmini, SatyabhamaJambavatiNagnajitiKalindi, MitravindaBhadra and Lakshmana.

Rukmini is also considered to be an avatar of Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune. Shri Krishna married her after she sent him a letter to come and abduct her and save her relatives from a fight.

When he was eloping with Rukmini,  Rukmini’s brother Rukmi came and fought, before being defeated by Shri Krishna. His other  16,100 wives were rescued from Narakasura. They had been forcibly kept in his palace and after Krishna had killed Narakasura he rescued these 16,100 women and freed them.

Lord Krishna and Rukmini

Lord Krishna and Rukmini

6. Out of his wives, Satyabhama had some ego while Rukmini was fully devoted to Lord Krishna. There is a famous incident of Tulabharam, which has established the simplcity of Rukmini was better than the wealth of Satyabhama.

Tulabharam Shri Krishna

Tulabharam Shri Krishna

7. Shri Krishna had eighty sons from his eight queens (Ashtapatrani’s). From each of his queen, he had ten sons. Pradyumna was the son of Rukmini. Samba was the son from Jambavati, who was cursed by the sages which later became the reason of destruction of Yadu clan. Shri Krishna himself done penance of Lord Shiva to obtain a son like him. Incidentally, Lord also cursed Samba to be affected by leprosy. Courtesy of Sage Narada.

8. Shri Krishna’s sister Subhadra was born to Vasudev and Rohini. She was born after Vasudeva was freed from the prison. Balrama wanted her to be married to Duryodhana, who was his favourite disciple. But Rohini and other did not want this. To overcome this situation, Shri Krishna advised Arjuna to abduct Subhadra. He also asked Subhadra to hold the rains of the chariot, so it was technically not an abduction. Balrama was pacified later on, and the marriage was performed at Indraprastha.

Arjuna and Subhadra

Arjuna and Subhadra

9. There is no mention of Radha in scriptures. Neither Mahabharata, Nor Shrimad Bhagwat mention this. This fact is too important to missed by greats like Ved Vyasa. Probably, this was included by Jayadev and became famous from there.

10. Ekalavya was actually Krishna’s cousin. He was the son of Devashrava (brother of Vasudeva) who got lost in the forest and was found by a Nishada Hiranyadhanu. Ekalavya died protecting his father during Rukmini Swayamvar. He was killed by Krishna. For his great sacrifice of Gurudakshina Krishna blessed Ekalavya that he would be soon reincarnated and take revenge on Drona. This person was Dhristadyumna (who kiled Drona).

11. Krishna is arguably the most difficult character to understand. Once, he even started fighting with Arjuna. Lord Shiva got so perturbed that he descended to stop the fight. He asked what he was doing. Krishna’s simple reply was that Arjuna needed to fight in battle and hence he was testing Arjuna.

12. The narration of the Bhagvad Gita by Lord was heard firsthand not only by Arjuna but also Hanuman and Sanjaya. Hanuman was perched on top of Arjuna’s chariot throughout the battle of Kurukshetra and Sanjaya was blessed by Ved Vyasa with divine vision in order to narrate the events of the battle to Dhritharashtra.

Seven unknown facts about Lord Shiva

13. The narration of the Bhagvad Gita by Krishna was heard firsthand not only by Arjuna but also Hanuman and Sanjaya. Hanuman was perched on top of Arjuna’s chariot throughout the battle of Kurukshetra and Sanjaya was blessed by Veda Vyasa with divine vision in order to narrate the events of the battle to Dhritharashtra.

14. Pradyumna was  the son of Shri Krishna, was an incarnation of Kamadev. Kamadev was turned to ashes by Lord Shiva in the earlier life. In this life, he was abducted by Sambarasura and drowned in the ocean, but somehow survived and appeared in his kitchen. He was looked after by Mayavati, who was an incarnation of Rati. She told him that how Sambarasura has tried to kill him when he was ten days old, and asked him to kill Sambarasura.

Pradyumna and Sambarasur

Pradyumna and Sambarasur

Pradyumna immediately went before Sambara and challenged him to fight. Pradyumna began to address him in very strong language, so that his temper might be agitated and he would be moved to fight. Soon, a fight started and Pradyumna beat and killed Sambarasura.

15. Pandavas were related to Shri Krishna from mother’s side. Their mother, Kunti, was the sister of Vasudev, father of Shri Krishna.

16. Shri Krishna’s favourite weapon was Sudarshan Chakra. Its notable uses were in killing of Shishupala and more importantly, it was used to create the illusion of sunset which led to the killing of Jayadratha.

17. Killing of Kaalyavan: There was demon named Kaalyavan, who was summoned by Jarasandha to fight Shri Krishna. He realized that beating him would take some time, so he used a boon on Muchkund to neutralize Kaalyavan. Muchkund was sleeping in a cave and he had a boon that the first person he sees after waking up, will be turned to ashes. Lord entered the cave and hid behind a rock while Kaalyavan happened to wake up Muchkund, and soon, was left to ashes.

18. Lord was the first person who told Karna about the secret of his birth. He was trying to persuade Karna while he was in Hastinapur, desperately trying to avert the war. Karna has politely refused his offer and requested him to not to divulge this secret to Pandavas.

19. During Raas Leela, Lord danced with gopikas. While dancing, all gopis thought that the Lord was dancing with them.

Seven unknown facts from Mahabharata about Bhishma Pitamah

20. Durvasa did not spare Krishna also from his curse. One day, Durvasa was eating kheer (a sweet dish made of rice and milk),Lord was also there. Durvasa ordered Lord to apply the left over kheer on his body. He applied it on the full body but did not apply on his feet thinking of the kheer to be consecrated. Durvasa got angry at this and cursed the Lord that since you did not obey my orders and did not apply the kheer on your legs,your legs will not remain impenetrable and unbroken. It is the famous story that he left this world because an arrow by a hunter hurt his toe.

21. Duryodhana foolishly tried to imprison Lord when he came for negotiations. Shri Krishna shows all the kings his great form (Virat roopa) . Knowing this Dhritrashtra, also pleaded to allow him to see him once in this form which was granted. The poorer souls shut their eyes while the pious ones were benefited.

Read about unknown facts of Mahabharata

More stories about Lord Krishna

Draupadi cheerharan

Draupadi could have fourteen husbands instead of five

Draupadi was an ambitious lady in her previous birth. This led to a strange situation. Please read through the article for details.

Some facts about Draupadi and story of her having five husbands

Draupadi, the wife of five pandavas,  had an eventful life. She was born when Drupad performed yagya to take revenge from Drona.  She was born alongwith Dhrishtdyumna, who fought the war of Mahabharata with pandavas.

She became the wife of all Pandavas not by an accident, but by design. Shri Krishna explained to her that she prayed to Shiva to grant her a husband with fourteen desired qualities.  Shiva, pleased with her devotion, tells her that it is very difficult to get a husband with all fourteen qualities that she desired. But she sticks to her ground and asks for the same. Then Lord Shiva grants her wish saying that she would get the same in her next birth with fourteen husbands. She asked for these qualities in her previous birth. She was Nalayani – daughther of Nala and Damayanti.

Arjuna and Draupadi in Mahabharat

Arjuna and Draupadi in Mahabharat

She queried Lord Shiva was this a boon or curse? Shiva promised that she would regain her virginity each morning when she took bath, this was the Lord Shiva’s boon to her. Thus, she had the unique quality of remain virgin throughout her life because of the boon from Shiva.

The fourteen qualities which she wanted were available in five pandavas.The just Yudhisthira for his wisdom of Dharma; The powerful Bhima for his strength that exceeded that of a thousand elephants combined; The valiant Arjuna for his courage and knowledge of the battlefield; the exceedingly handsome Nakula and Sahadeva, for their love.

She also had a wooden bowl, which will always be filled with food. It was presented Draupadi when thepandavas were exiled. This bowl helped the Pandavas to survive during their exile in inhospitable forests.  It is said that Dhanyalakshmi presented Draupadi this bowl.

Draupadi refused participation of Karna in swayamvar. She refused to be the wife of a suta-putra (son of a charioteer). Though Karna could also have won the competition of pierecing the fish’s eye.

The seeds of Mahabharata war were sown by her. It is said that Draupadi said about Duryodhana that blind’s son are also blind. This happened when Duryodhan slipped in the fabulous palace of Indraprastha.

According to Narada Purana and Vayu Purana, Draupadi is the composite Avatar of Goddesses Shyamala (wife of Dharma), Bharati (Wife of Vayu), Shachi (wife of Indra), Usha (wife of Ashwins), and Parvati (wife of Shiva), and hence married their earthly counterparts in the form of the five Pandavas.

In earlier lives, she did assume important avatars. The first time was as Vedavati who cursed Ravana (who is another goddess Avatar Swaha, wife to Agni). She then came in place of Sita’s avatar, to be the cause of Ravana’s death, while Agni hid the real Sita. Her third incarnation was partial: either Damayanti (whose husband, Nala, was equivalent to Dharma, Vayu, and Indra, just like the Pandavas) or her daughter Nalayani. She married Sage Mudgala. The fifth avatar was Draupadi herself. So, we find in Draupadi, a composite avatar of Kali, Parvati, Shachi, Shyamala, Usha, Bharati, Shree, and Swaha, the eight goddesses.

She is one of the Panchkanya’s, alongwith Kunti.

21 facts of Lord Krishna

 

Drona providing knowledge of Brahmastra to Arjuna

Seven little known facts about Arjuna

Arjuna, the gifted archer of his times, has struggled and humbled few times. Being a good disciple, he had the liking of his Guru and Lord Krishna, which provided him invaluable edge. Presented here are some of the lesser knows stories of Arjuna.

Arjuna’s son sacrificed himself before Kurukshetra war

Iravan, was the son of Arjuna from princess Uloopi. Before the start of the Mahabharata war, he agreed to be sacrificed to Goddess Kali to ensure victory for Pandavas. But he had a wish to be married before he died and this created a problem.
There was no girl who would be willingly married to a person who was about to die. Enter Shri Krishna. He became Mohini and married Iravan thus fulfilling his last wish. Not only this, after the death of Iravan, Mohini wept and was sorrowful like a widow.

 

Shri Krishna and Iravan

Shri Krishna and Iravan

Uloopi’s boon

While on exile, Uloopi, a naga princess, fell in love with Arjuna. One day, while Arjuna was taking bath, he was abducted by the princess and she explained that she plans to marry her. Arjuna said that he was in exile and if it is alright to marry, then let it be. Sooner, Arjuna married her and Uloopi granted him a boon that no amphibious creature would be able to defeat him. Uloopi also restored Arjuna’s life when he was killed by Babhruvahana.

The salvation of crocodiles

When Arjuna was in exile, he reached a ashram. In those ashram, sages told him to help them for crocodiles who do not allow any living thing to bathe and perform other activities. Arjuna promised to help them as he was protected by a boon from Uloopi, his wife.
Soon, he entered the lake and took the crocodile to the surface. The crocodile turned into a woman and said that she was under a curse from a sage after she and her four friends disturbed the sage. Her name was Varga. The sage said that when brave warrior pulls them out of the water. the curse will end. She now asked him to help her friends as well. as they are also living as crocodile. Arjuna obliged and freed Saurabha, Samichi, Lata, and Budbuda.

Arjuna pulls out the crocodile

Arjuna pulls out the crocodile

 

Arjuna saves Drona from crocodile and wins Brahmastra

This is an interesting story that Arjuna came in possession of Brahmastra. One day, a crocodile caught Drona. He could have easily defended himself, but wanted to test his students. He cried for help, and seeing this situation, everyone became clueless. But Arjuna knew what to do and soon enough, he release arrows to kill the crocodile. Guru Dronacharya was extremely happy with Arjuna’s presence of mind and applying his skills in a life situation.

He soon given him the knowledge of Brahmastra, complete with the means for launching and withdrawing it , which could make him invincible. This is notable that Drona did not part this information with his own son, Ashwaththama, his son.

Drona providing knowledge of Brahmastra to Arjuna

Drona providing knowledge of Brahmastra to Arjuna

Arjuna wanted to kill Yudhishthira

Strange but true, Arjuna indeed wanted to kill Yudhishthira. This is when Karna was the commander of Kaurava’s army and he defeated Yudhishthira. The eldest pandava was ashamed of this and he hoped that Arjuna would take his revenge. But he came to knew that this did not happen, so Yudhishthira started to say ill things to Arjuna and asked him to leave his weapons as they are of no use. Arjuna was under an oath that he wpuld kill anyone who asked to part with his weapons. As his elder brother said to relinquish his weapons, Arjuna was bound to kill his brother. Lord Krishna again saved the day for Pandavas when he suggested a way out of this.

Arjuna was defeated by Kirata and wins Pashupatastra

Before the start of battle of Kurukshetra, Arjuna went for search of weapons. This was to ensure that Pandavas win the battle with the help of these weapons. Once, he encountered a wild boar on which a Kirata also lay claim. Sooner a fight broke between these two and eventually Arjuna was defeated. It was later revealed that the hunter was none other than Lord Shiva.
Lord provided him with his own weapon – pashupatastra. The whole story can be read here.

When Arjuna was humbled

Arjuna was an ace archer and naturally he became proud of the skills he possessed. Once, while on a pilgrimage, he happened to come across Hanumana. This place was Rameshwaram, where the bridge to Lanka was made by vanaras.

The challenge between Arjuna and Hanumana

Arjuna boasted before Hanumana, saying that “Lord Rama need not have asked the monkeys to build a bridge. If I were here, I would have built a bridge with arrows.” “A bridge of your arrows! Leave alone the Vanara army, it will crumble under my feet” replied Hanuman. Well, it developed into a challenge. It was decided that Arjuna should erect a bridge with his arrows and Hanuman should walk on it. If the bridge collapsed, Arjuna should jump into fire; otherwise, Hanuman must adorn Arjuna’s banner.

The Bridge was built

True to his word, Arjuna soon built a bridge with his arrows. When Hanumana tested the bridge and set a foot on it, the bridge disintegrated into thousand pieces. Arjuna got ready to jump into the fire.

Lord Krishna arrived

Arjuna and Hanumana

Arjuna and Hanumana

Just then, Shri Krishna reached the place. He asked them to repeat their performances. When Arjuna erected the arrow-bridge, Krishna touched the bridge with his divine hands as if to test it. Then when Hanuman danced on it heavily, it did not even shake. Hanuman was shocked and then realised that Krisha is none other than Rama. Hanuman kept his word and entered Arjuna’s banner.

This story is similar to Bhima and Hanumana story where Bhima was humbled by Hanumana.

Shri Krishna challenging Bhishma in the war of Kurukshetra

Eighteen days of Mahabharata war

 Mahabharata war which lasted eighteen days

In the context of Mahabharata, eighteen is an important number. Duryodhana had 11 akshouhini soldiers and Pandavas had 7, making a total of eigtheen. There are eighteen chapters in the epic and last but not the least, the war has lasted for exactly eighteen days.

 

Mahabharata war

Mahabharata war

Day One and Two – The Grandsire’s amazing skills on display

Uttara and Sweta, sons of Virata, were killed on day one of Mahabharata war. Shalya killed Uttara and Bhishma killed Sweta. This day belonged to Kauravas. Second day belonged to Pandavas and Satyaki killed Bhishma’s charioteer. Bhishma dazzled in kurukshetra and Yudhishthira was forced to thinking that how would they conquer this army which has warriors like Bhishma.

Uttara - prince of Virata

Uttara – prince of Virata

Day Three – Day Eight (Bhima kills few Kauravas)

On day three, Bhishma killed many soldiers of Pandava army.  On fourth day, Bhima killed eight brothers of Duryodhana. Day eight spelled some misery for pandavas, as Arjuna’s son Iravan was killed.

Day Ten (Bhishma’s downfall)

On ninth day, Shri Krishna lost his patience and intended to attack Bhishma. Bhishma so far was proving too much for pandavas army, but Arjuna pacified him. He devises a strategy to cause Bhishma’s downfall. Interestingly, the secret of his downfall was given by Bhishma only. This was made possible by Shikhandi facing him and Arjuna using Shikhandi as shield. (Tenth day). Pandava’s chances only improved after Bhishma was removed from the equation.

Indian mythology story from Mahabharat

Bhishma on his death bed

Bhishma downfall

Bhishma’s  downfall

Day Twelve and Thirteen – Chakravyuha formation and death of Abhimanyu

On Twelfth day, Susharma engaged Arjuna. Susharma was part of the Duryodhana’s plan to capture Yudhishthir to win the war. On thirteenth day, while Arjuna was fighting Bhagdatta and Susharma, Drona made Chakravyuha formation. Nobody in pandavas knew the key to this apart from Arjuna. Abhimanyu knew how to enter but did not know how to come out of it. Once he entered, Jayadrath ensured that no pandava could follow him. Trapped, Abhimanyu fought valiantly before dying in hands of son of Dushasana, Durmashana.

 

Abhimanyu in Mahabharata war, he was killed on thirteenth day

Abhimanyu fought valiantly

Abhimanyu killed Brihadbala. He also defeated Duryodhana but let him live because Bhima was under oath to kill him. Seeing this, Karna snaps Abhimanyu’s bow from behind while Drona kills Abhimanyu’s horses and charioteer from the front. Then all Kauravas attacked him simultaneously. Dushasana’s son crushed his skull with a mace. However, Abhimanyu killed him with his own mace before dying. He also killed more than half akshouhini’s of Kaurava’s that day.

Jayadratha killed by Arjuna

Jayadratha killed by Arjuna

Day Fourteen and Fifteen – When Arjuna was close to death and Yudhishthrira spoke a half lie

Next day (fourteenth), Arjuna kills 5 Akshouhini’s of Kauravas and Jayadrath after coming to touching distance of death. This could have doomed pandava’s chances of winning the battle had Krishna not intervened. Karna kills Ghatotkacha with Indrastra, this again ensures that one more factor of  Arjuna’s death is taken care of. Satyaki killed Bhurisravas.

on Day fifteen, Drupad and Virata were killed by Drona. This was indeed Drona’s day, as he was decimating pandava’s army with the help of brahmadanda. Bhima killed an elephant, named Ashwaththama, and claimed that Drona’s son was killed. Drona dropped his arms after Yudhishthira confirmed this and was killed by Dhristdyumna.

Dhrishtdyumna killing Drona (The Teacher) in the battle of Mahabharat

Dhrishtdyumna killing Drona (The teacher of princes) in the battle of Mahabharat on day fifteen

Day Sixteen and Seventeen

On sixteenth day, Dushashana was killed by Bhima. Bhima tore his arm and drank the blood from his heart. Draupadi could finally tie her hairs with the blood from Dushashana’s heart.

Day seventeenth saw the demise of Karna in hands of Arjuna. He was killed in the same way as Abhimanyu, helpless. Earlier that day, Karna spared Sahdev and Arjuna. Nakula, the most handsome of kuru clan, killed Shakuni’s son Uluka. He took this oath during the gambling loss of killing Uluka. Nakula also killed three of Karna sons, Chitrasena, Sushena and Satyasena. Shalya became the commander of Kaurava’s army on seventeenth day of Mahabharat war.

Karna's chariot stuck in mud

Karna’s chariot stuck in mud

Final Day – Eighteenth day of Mahabharata war

On final (eighteenth) day, Shalya,  who acted as the charioteer of Karna, was killed by Yudhishthir.  There was a strange ability to him that he would grew more stronger in a battle as the aggression of his enemies grew. Only Yudhishthir could kill the powerful warrior because the eldest Pandava was not a man of aggression. Sahdev killed Shakuni to avenge the events which followed dice game. Seeing his eminent defeat, Duryodhana sought refuge in a lake. Pandavas found him there and Yudhisthira made a mistake. He offered Duryodhana to pick any of the Pandavas for a duel. Duryodhana chose Bhima. Balrama also watched this great duel between strength and agility. Bhima finally breaks Duryodhana thighs which enrages Balrama as this was against the rules of the war. Incidentally, Bhima vowed after the dice game that he would break Duryodhana’s thighs.

Bhima and Duryodhana - Mahabharata (eighteenth day)

Bhima and Duryodhana – Mahabharata (eighteenth day)

The night of shame – Ashwaththama’s misdeeds

Later in the night, Ashwaththama slays sons of Pandavas while they were sleeping. He also kills Shikhandi and Dhrishtadyumna. Dhrishtadyumna was the commander of Pandavas that day. He also attempted to kill unborn son of Abhimanyu who was saved by Shri Krishna. Ashwaththama was later cursed by Shri Krishna. Ashwaththama was supported by Kritvarma and Kripacharya.

Draupadi’s secret longing for another man

Mahabharata  stories

Arjuna receiving Pashupata

Arjuna and Kirata

 Arjuna and Kirata

There is a humbling story about Arjuna, the world’s greatest archer, and how was he made to understand that being greatest archer did not mean he was invincible.

Mukasura and his death

Arjuna did great penance in quest of Divyastras. Just when he was completing his worship, a demon named Mukasura, came to kill him. Being an accomplished archer, took aim of the beast and killed the demon, which took the form of a boar. As he killed the demon, he noticed another arrow in the body of the boar.

Argument between Kirata and Arjuna

Surprised and thinking that who could have killed the boar, he went about to examine the kill. It happened that a kirata (hunter) has shot the arrow and claimed the boar. He became angry with him saying that he deserves the prey as the hunter has killed the boar from behind. Kirata countered that there is no rule saying that a prey cannot be killed from behind.

Kirata and Arjuna

Kirata and Arjuna

Arjuna worships Lord Shiva

After the argument, a fight broke between them and to his surprise, Kirata happened to be an equal warrior. More surprise was in store as Arjuna was losing the battle, first in archery, then as wrestlers. Hapless, he decided to worship Lord Shiva and made a shivlinga on the earth. Then he brought some flowers and worshipped Lord Shiva. When he decided to face the Kirata again, to his surprise, he found the flowers on Kirata.

Lord Shiva gives Pashupata to Arjuna

He understood that this hunter was Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva bestowed his blessings on him and he said that he wanted to test him whether he was worthy of Pashupata-astra. This weapon was the ultimate weapon to have in one’s armoury. Lord said that he was happy with Arjuna’s skills and he would bestow his blessings on him. In this way, Arjuna got his lesson and the Pashupata-astra, the great weapon.

Arjuna receiving Pashupata

Arjuna receiving Pashupata

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

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