1. Bhima and python
One day while the pandavas were in exile, Bhima went in search of food for all of them. looking around in the forest, he saw a cave and entered it. A massive python was sitting near the entrance of the cave. When it saw Bhima, it attacked him and coiled itself round the body. Bhima was helpless and struggled hard to free himself from the python’s grip but his attempt to save himself seemed ineffective. Finally, he got tired and gave up.
Then he asked the python, “Who are you and why have you entangled me without any reason? I have not caused you any harm.” The python replied, “I am your ancestor. In my previous birth I had insulted a sage and was cursed to be a python now i will eat you if you will not answer my questions correctly.”
Meanwhile, back at their hut, rest of the Pandavas began to worry since Bhima had not returned and it was getting dark. Since Bhima was very strong and powerful, they had never imagined that any harm could come to him.
Anxious, they went out to search for him. On the way, they saw many dead animals and their anxiety grew. Finally they reached the mouth of the cave, they saw Bhima struggling to free himself from the python’s grip.
Yudhisthira, who was known to be very wise and answered all questions correctly and freed Bhima from his clutches. Even python was freed from his curse and he thanked Pandavas and ascended to heaven. Above is an interesting incident and not much is mentioned about this. This incident is similar to the Yaksha incident where Yamaraj took a examination of all Pandavas.
2. Pandavas saved Duryodhana
Duryodhana came to the forest where Pandavas were spending their years in exile. He put up his tent near the Pandava’s hut and made fun of them. One day Duryodhana and his companions went to lake for bathing. At that time, Chitrasen , the king of the gandharvas also came to the lake.
There was a fight between them. Chitrasen used his sammohanastra to make Duryodhan motionless and captured him. On hearing this, Yudhisthira sent Arjuna to rescue Duryodhan. Arjuna defeated Chitrasen’s soldiers and rescued Duryodhana. Duryodhana felt very humiliated because his most hated enemies , the Pandavas , saved his life. However, he owed his life to Pandavas and promised them to do whatever Pandavas asked. In the war of Mahabaharata, Arjuna used this opportunity and asked for five arrows of Bhishma which were intended to kill Pandavas.
3. Wise Yudhisthira and Yaksha
Once a strange incident occurred with pandavas. One day, a Brahmin came to them and said, ‘’I hang the sticks by which I produce fire for my yajnas on a tree. This morning a stag came and rubbed its horns against the tree. My sticks fell and got stuck in the stag’s horns and the stag ran away with them. I want you to get my sticks back.’’
The Pandavas agreed and went in search of stag. They found it but before they could shoot, it ran away. By now pandavas were very tired and thirsty. hey decided to rest in the shade of the tree. Nakula climbed up the tree to see if there was water around. He saw a pool of water. Yudhisthira asked him to bring water for all of them. Nakula went to the pool, but as he tried to take some water he heard a voice, ‘’This pool belongs to me. Before taking water you will have to answer my questions.’’ Nakula was very thirsty and ignored the warning and as soon as he touched the water he fainted.
After some time, Yudhisthir sent Sahdev to look for him Sahdev came to the pool and found Nakul unconscious. He decided to sprinkle some water on his face to awaken him. But as he tried to take water, he heard the same warning. He too ignored the warning and became unconscious. Then Arjuna came in search of his brothers. He reached the pool and was very angry to see the state of his brother. He too ignored the warning so fainted.
When Arjuna did not return Yudhisthira sent Bhima, who met with the same fate. Yudhisthira was getting worried, so went himself to look for his brothers. When he reached the pool he was very sad to see his brothers lying unconscious. He also tried to take some water from the pool and heard the same voice.
Yudhisthira said, ’’You seem to be a divine being . Please ask me the questions. I will try to answer them.’’ The strange voice asked many questions about religion and Yudhisthira answered them carefully and correctly. In the end voice said I am very pleased with your wisdom. I will bring any one of your brother back to his senses you can choose one of your brother.
Yudhisthira said we are sons of two mother Kundi and Madri. I am Kunti’s son so please bring one of Madri’s son back to his senses. Hearing this reply the voice said you have again pleased me with your impartial judgement. Suddenly, Yama the God of death appeared and brought all the four Pandavas back to their senses.
4. The magic bowl
During exile, one day. Sun god gave a bowl of plenty (Akshaypatra) and said, ‘’Give this to Draupadi. Once a day, she can take out as much food as she wants until she herself has eaten. Till then, this bowl will not run empty.
One day, sage Durvasa and his disciples were passing through the forest . they came to the hut and asked Dsraupadi fro some food. Draupadi had already eaten and she knew that the bowl would not yield any more food.
Draupadi did not want to turn away the holy sages without food and prayed to Krishna, who came and said “Give me some food.” Draupadi said, “This is no time for jokes, please help me feed the guests.” Krishna said, “That is why I asked for food.” One grain of rice was left in the bowl, which she gave to Krishna. Krishna was satisfied and surprisingly., the guests too were satisfied. They left without asking for food. Shri Krishna, among the hindu gods of mythology, have helped pandavas in every enterprise. Here , he treated Draupadi as his sister, how could he let her suffer?
5. Arjuna search
When Pandavas were in exile,sage Vyas told them, “After your exile, you will have a war with Kauravas. Arjuna should pray Shiva for divine weapons.” Arjuna went to mount Kailash and started worshiping Shiva.
Pleased, Shiva disguised himself as a hunter and came to test Arjuna. Just then a demon, Mooka, attacked Arjuna in form of wild boar. Arjuna shot an arrow and killed it, but he saw another arrow in the body of the boar. He said, ‘’who dare shoot my pray?’’. Shiva in the hunter form said,’’ I shot the arrow. This is my prey’’. A long fight followed between two and Arjuna became tired. He said, “I’ll fight after my prayers”.
Lord Shiva giving Pashupata astra to Arjuna – Mahabharata
Arjuna made a shivling and put a garland around it, but to his dismay, he found the garland around the hunter’s neck. he understood that the hunter was Shiva. Shiva came to his real form and gave him Pashupatastra. After this other gods also blessed Arjuna with many more divine weapons. Varuna , god of wind gave him varunapash; Yama, god of death gave him dandastra; Kuber gave him antardhyanastra; Indra gave him vajrastra. Here we see that various gods of mythology have helped Arjuna, which helped Pandavas. This teaches us that we should follow the advise of those who are respectful.
6. Arjuna and the Crocodile
During exile Arjun went to an ashram where the sages told him,’’There are five pools of water nere by, where we bathed. But now there is one crocodile in each. The crocodile eats whoever goes in the pools.’’ Arjuna has received a boon from Ulupi, the daughter of king of snakes, that no creature of water could defeat him. Arjuna fearlessly went to the pool and pulled the crocodile to the shore.Immediately it turned into a beautiful women and said,’’I am Varga, a fairy in Kuber’s court. One day along with four other fairies tried to disturb a sage who was meditating. He cursed us to become crocodiles. He said when a brave warrior will pulled us out of water, the curse would end. Thus all fairies were freed by Arjuna and they thanked him.
7 Arjuna and Angaparna
During exile, once pandavas were crossing the river, a warrior came riding in his chariot and shouted,’’ I am Angarparna, a heavenly being. This part of the forest belong to me. You can’t cross the river here.’’ Arjuna said, ‘’Sacred river Ganga is nobody’s property.’’ After this Arjuna and Angarparna had a great fight, and then Arjuna threw a burning torch on Angarparna’s chariot. Angarparna jumped out of his chariot and fainted. When he came to his senses he begged for forgiveness. He then presented Chakshushi, a divine sight by which pandavas could see any thing at any place at any time.