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Indian Mythology Mahabharat

Eighteen days of Mahabharata war

Krishna and Arjuna

 Mahabharata war which lasted eighteen days has seen various great warriors in action. On one side, there were five pandavas with Krishna as their guide, another side was full of great warriors, Bhishma, Drona, Karna and many more.

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.

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.

Such was the power of Bhishma that even Lord Krishna decided to fight with him though he said that he will not fight in the war.

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.

Bhishma on his death bed

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 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

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 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

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)

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

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Draupadi Lord Krishna Mahabharat

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

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Indian Mythology

Shakuni – the real story

Shakuni

We know that Shakuni was the person who masterminded the ascendancy of Duryodhana by beating Pandavas in gambling. What we don’t know that he was imprisoned by his own nephew, Duryodhana. His father and brothers have sacrificed their life, so Shakuni could survive. Read this unknown and interesting strory.

Shakuni in Mahabharata

Shakuni – The gambler, whose wishes were obeyed by the dice was the brother of Gandhari. There is a story that the dice he used was made out of bones of his father,  Subala’s thighs.  His sister, Gandhari had some problem in her astrological chart according to that her second husband only will survive.

Shakuni the Gambler

To rectify this situation, Gandhari was first married to a goat and then the animal was killed, so strictly speaking, she became a widow before marrying Dhritharashtra.  When Duryodhana took charge of the Hastinapura, he was lambasted by Bhima that he is son of a widow.

Shakuni defeating Yudhishthira

Angered with this insult, he came to know about the story,  attacked Gandhar province and imprisoned his 100 uncles including Shakuni. He arranged to provide one handful of rice for all of them to eat everyday. It was decided by the Subala, the father that Shakuni will eat the food given and survive to destroy Kauravas.

Shakuni’s brilliance

There is also an other story about how his father assessed the intelligence of his sons to select the most brilliant one. He asked his sons who were all in the prison to insert a thread through a bone so that who is succesful can eat the fistful of rice and survive to take revenge.

All the sons attempted and failed but Shakuni emerged victorious. He managed to tie a speck of rice to one end of a thread and fed it to an ant which took the thread through the hole of the bone. Shakuni survived. He was asked to eat the flesh of his own father which he did and created set of dice from his bones. After all of them died and only Shakuni was left,he was allowed out of prison on Gandhari’s insistence.

Note: This story is not found in original Mahabharata written by Vedavyasa

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Indian Mythology

Duryodhana’s moment of greatness or Yudhishthir’s moment of madness

Weakness of Yudhishthira in mahabharata

Probably Yudhishthira had a tendency to blow it all when he was very close to achieving. He first blew it for Pandavas when he agreed to play the dice, A game which he did not know how to play. Again, there was a moment on eighteenth day of Mahabharata war, when Yudhishthira offered Duryodhana to chose any of the pandavas for one on one.

At that point of time, pandavas were the clear winners of Mahabharata, having killed all kauravas except Duryodhana. They have also succesfully neutralized Bhishma, Drona and Karna earlier. Bhima had fulfilled his vow of drinking Dushashna’s blood from his heart. Draupadi has also tied her hair after they were wet with the blood brought by Bhima.

 

Bhima with his mace

 

On the fateful day seeing the eminent defeat, Duryodhana fled from Kurukshetra. He took refuge in a lake called Dwaipayana. Yudhishthira challenged him to come out and be brave. He also offered him to chose any of the brothers for  fight and if he defeats in the duel, then the kingdom is his. Shri Krishna got worried, but luckily for pandavas,  Duryodhana chose Bhima.

Both warriors possessed exceptional physical strength and had trained under Balarama in mace fighting and wrestling to the same level of prowess. Duryodhana was more agile,nimble but Bhima had more strength. After a long and brutal battle, Duryodhana begins to exhaust Bhima.

Duryodhana and Bhima in duel

Duryodhana managed to struck Bhima, which rendered him unconscious. Bhima looked toward Shri Krishna and he pointed towards his thighs. Bhima understood and soon obliged. Balrama became furious as it was against the rules of the  war.Shri Krishna intervenes, but Mahabharata war was practically over by now.

Duryodhana and Krishna

Duryodhana dies slowly, and is cremated by the Pandavas. When Yudhisthira himself ascends to Swarga, he sees Duryodhana there upon a throne. He is angry that Duryodhana is enjoying a place in heaven despite his sins, but Indra explains to him that he had served his time in hell, and had also been a good and powerful king.

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Indian Mythology Mahabharat Series of Seven

Seven great warriors and how they died in mahabharata – in pictures

Death of various great warriors in Mahabharata war

 

Mahabharata was was fought over for eighteen days. The major part saw the prowess of Bhishma. He was on the verge of decimating pandavas army single-handedly, before Shikhandi came to the rescue of Pandavas. Following is a brief on how the great warriors were neutralized and killed.

End of Duryodhana

Bhima vowed that he would avenge Draupadi’s insult by breaking his thighs. Also, due to a boon from Gandhari, his body became invulnerable except for thighs. During his duel with Duryodhana in mahabharata war, Bhima broke Duryodhana’s thighs. Balrama fiercely protested but calmed by Krishna.

Bhima killed all the Kaurava’s, most notable of those were of Duryodhana’s and Dushashana’s.

Duel between Bhima and Duryodhana

 

Duryodhana killed by Bhima in Mahabharata

Drona’s Death

Drona was proving too much for the pandava’s army on the fifteenth day of the mahabharata war. In a desperate bid  to be saved from the onslaught, they resorted to some less than wanted tactic. On advise of Shri Krishna, Bhima claimed that his son, Ashwaththama is slain. Drona clarified this from Yudhishthira and went into meditation. He was killed by Dhrishtdyumna, son of Drupad.

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

End of Bhishma

Bhishma was the son of Shantanu and Ganges. He was the supreme commander of Kauravas in the mahabharata war. He himself let pandavas know the secret of his downfall. Otherwise, he was proving to be too much for pandavas and got Sri Krishna agitated as well.

Bhishma falling in kurukshetra battle field

 

Bhishma leaving his body in presence of Shri Krishna

Abhimanyu’s unjust killing

Abhimanyu was the son of Arjuna and Subhadra and was a great warrior. His unjust killing in mahabarata led to the killing of Kauravas.

Abhimanyu trapped in chakravyuha

Only Abhimanyu had the knowledge of penetrating a chakravyuha. Drona plans a chakravyuha to capture Yudhishthira, but Abhimanyu was there for his rescue. But the boy did not know how to come out of that and though he was surrounded by all warriors including Duryodhana, Karna and others, yet he was proving difficult to overcome. At last, against the rules of war, he was killed by son of Dushashana after a mace fight.

Abhimanyu fought valiantly

Abhimanyu killed by Dushashana’s son on thirteenth day of Mahabharata war.

Karna – a death due to curses

In the war of kurukshetra, Karna’s chariot got stuck in the mud. He was unable to fight due to a curse from his teacher, Parshurama.

Karna chariot stuck in mud

Arjuna killed him with the weapon anjalika while he was trying to retrieve the wheel. At this point of time, he was sans any weapon, which was against the rules of the war.

Arjuna kills Karna

Dushashana for his wrongdoing

During Draupadi’s cheerharan, Dushashan dragged her in the courtroom by holding her hair. Draupadi vowed that she would not tie her hair until they are wet with the blood of Dushashan heart. She asked Bhim to bring the blood of Dushashana after killing him. Bhima obliged.

Dushashan dragging Draupadi in courtroom

 

Dushashana and Bhima

Jayadratha by Arjuna – Shri Krishna’s masterstroke

Jayadrath was Duryodhana’s brother in law. He was once insulted by Pandavas when he tried to abduct Draupadi. After severe penance, he obtained a boon from Lord Shiva. Due to this, he became the reason of Abhimanyu’s death. Arjuna vowed and killed him on the next day of the war. Of course, with help of Shri Krishna.

Jayadratha killed by Arjuna