Tag Archives: Shalya

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

Lord Krishna

Seven unknown facts from Mahabharata

Even Lord Krishna was once rendered helpless. This was not with force, but with love. The youngest Pandava, Sahadev once tied him with love and affection. People do not know that Sahadeva was a great astrologer as well.

Untold, Unknown facts from Mahabharata

The epic Mahabharata has many instances which reveal various aspects of human struggles. Shri Krishna, even being an incarnation of god, was deemed helpless few times. This was not because he was not capable, this was because that anyone who liked him or had a pure intent, was blessed by him in that way. Here some interesting stories are on offer, how Shri Krishna goes to any length to help his disciples and how Draupadi had a boon of virginity from Lord Shiva. These stories also tell about the powers and knowledge of youngest Panadava , Sahadeva.

When Shri Krishna was helpless

Sahadeva, the youngest of Pandavas was a very wise person. He was a great astrologer who could predict things in advance.  Once Shri Krishna asked him that what should be done to prevent Mahabharata war.

Sahadeva replied that Krishna himself must be tied down and imprisoned. He said that all Pandavas along with Duryodhana must be sent to forest and Karna must be made the king.

In response, Krishna challenged him to tie him down, Sahadeva started meditating and envisioned Krishna as a small baby and tied him down.
Shri Krishna

Shri Krishna

Since Krishna could not move out of the bondage created by Sahadeva in his meditative trance, he blessed him with divine vision and then only Sahadeva released Krishna from the bondage.

Draupadi’s virginity

Draupadi was wife of five brothers. She had a boon from Lord Shiva which she got from doing great penance. As a reward, she would get certain qualities in her husbands. This also resulted in she being the wife of five husbands.

Lord Shiva and Draupadi

Lord Shiva and Draupadi

When she complained about this to Lord Shiva, she was given another boon that she would become a virgin every morning, after taking bath. Thus she was able to become the wife of all pandavas at the same time. This is an another unknown fact from Mahabharata.

Draupadi could have fourteen husbands instead of five

Bhagwad Gita was delivered on Ekadashi

It was Mokshada Ekadashi, when Krishna gave the holy sermon of the Bhagvad Gita to the third Pandava Arjuna, as per the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The 700-verse Bhagavad Gita told at the beginning of the climactic Mahabharata war between the Pandavas and their cousins, the Kauravas at Kurukshetra.

When Duryodhana was outsmarted  – another Shri Krishna masterstroke

Sahadeva, the great astrologer was also an upright person.  Duryodhana requested Sahadeva to find him a suitable auspicious date to offer ‘Kalabali’ – a ritualistic sacrifice before war that would ensure victory for the performer.
And following the path of Dharma, Sahadeva told the recipe of pandavas downfall.
Enter Shri Krishna, when he came to know about this, he devised a way out of this. A day before the new moon, Krishna calmly went down to the banks of river Yamuna and with the help of two brahmin priests, started performing Tarpana, a ritual submitting offerings to ancestors and divine entities which is usually done only on new moon day (amavasya).
Duryodhana and Drona

Duryodhana and Drona

Brahmins nearby watched Krishna performing Tarpana on a non new moon day with surprise.  They were puzzled as to why Krishna, the all knowing supreme Lord would perform the ritual of tarpana on a non new moon day.
They thought that no way Krishna would do tarpana on the wrong day and that their own prediction of new moon day as the next day was wrong.  They were convinced that since Krishna was doing tarpana that day, then that day would indeed be new moon day as great Shri Krishna would never be wrong.

The sun god Surya and moon god Chandra who were watching the activities of Lord Krishna and other brahmins giving Tarpana on earth were intrigued as even they knew it was the next day they would align and come together to form new moon day.  They thought that there would have been a mistake somewhere and that they should bring it to the notice of Lord Krishna.

Both, Surya and Chandra descended to earth and met with Lord Krishna to enquire about the ongoing activity and explained him that it was chaturdashi, not the new moon day to perform tarpana.

Lord Krishna greeted them both and responded that it was indeed new moon that day.  The puzzled deities questioned Him how was it possible.  Krishna asked them what exactly happens on a new moon day.  The two stellar deities explained that the day when the Sun and Moon align and appear together, the lunar eclipse takes place and that day is the new moon day.

Shri Krishna on hearing that said that since that very day, Sun God Surya and Moon God Chandra came appearing together before him, it was indeed the new moon day (amavasya) and that was the reason He was performing tarpana on that day.

The Sun and Moon gods could not argue against Lord Krishna who so tactfully elaborated the reason for his strange activity and accepted His verdict and thus the entire world changed the new moon day, a day in advance to its usual occurrence at that point.

Krishna, once accomplishing this superhuman feat, at once ordered the Pandavas to perform the Kalabali from their end the very same day.  Since it was accepted by the sun and moon gods that it was indeed the new moon day, the Pandavas performed the Kalabali ritual on the newly established auspicious date which brought them victory in the Mahabharata war at Kurukshetra.  Duryodhana, on the other hand, performed the ritual on the next day (the usual new moon day) all in vain.

Shalya and Yudhishthira

In the war of Mahabharata,  Arjuna slayed all the great archers, including Karna, Bhishma and Bhima killed all Kauravas. We sometimes wonder that what other Pandavas did. This goes for Yudhisthira also. But the elder Pandava had killed a very important warrior from Kauravas side, who have been very difficult to tame.

Yudhishthira

Yudhishthira

There is an interesting story how Shalya was tricked by Duryodhana and he had to side with Kauravas against his wishes.

Yudhisthira knew this and  he extracted a promise from Shalya that he would demoralise Karna in the Mahabharata war.

Shalya had a unique quality that his opponent’s aggression would work in his favour. Due to this, it was very difficult to conquer him for any warrior. But Yudhisthira was not a man of aggression and in the war of Mahabharata, Yudhisthira could kill him with help of others.

Akshaypatra

while the Pandavas were exiled into the forest, they had a great help in form of akshaypatra. Contrary to the belief, this was provided to Yudhishthira and not Draupadi from Lord Surya.

Akshaypatra

Akshaypatra

Yudhisthira prayed Lord Surya. Pleased with Yudhishtira’s prayers, Lord Surya blessed him with the Akshaya Patra, a vessel that would give unlimited food every day till Draupadi finished eating.

Duryodhana was in heaven

While Yudhisthira was in the heaven he saw Duryodhana in an elevated seat in bright attire with all ornaments. Yudhisthira was displeased with this event and said that he was not interested the comforts at heaven along with Duryodhana.

Yudhishthira and Dog to heaven

Yudhishthira and Dog to heaven

He further added that it was for his sake all the relatives and friends were all killed in the great war of Mahabharata. It was because of him Draupadi in the presence of all noble people was utterly insulted in the royal assembly. Hence he decided that he wouldn’t like to stay in the heaven where Duryodhana was enjoying.

Yudhisthira could not see his brothers and his wife Draupadi, in heaven. This made him curious that how Pandavas were not in heaven while Duryodhana was. He was escorted to hell where he saw his brothers and wife suffering.

He was very much displeased, but soon discovered that gods have visited them there and all the pains have vanished. He was then said that all Pandavas deserved heaven and they have to spent some time in hell, because of few sins they have done.

21 facts of Lord Krishna

 

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