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Satyavati’s first son Vyăsa was born when she was a virgin. Subsequently she married to Shantanu, the king of Kuru race of Hastinăpura. Shantanu had Gangă as his first wife who had left him on breaking a certain promise leaving behind her eighth son Devavrata who later became famous as Bhishma. In order to fulfil his father’s desire to marry Satyavati called by another name Matsyagandha, Bhishma had taken a serious vow not to accept kingdom or get himself married to fulfil Satyavati’s condition that only her sons would claim the throne of Hastinăpura.

Satyavati got two sons. Chitrăngada and Vichitravěrya. Chitrangada died in the battle and Vichitravěrya died of sickness. Vichitravirya had two wives by name Ambikă and Ambălikă but he died issueless. In order to continue the race Satyavati requested her first son Vyăsa to beget progeny from Ambikă and Ambălikă. It was considered legitimate to have progeny from husband’s brother if the husband died without an issue. This custom was then known as ‘Niyoga’. Vyăsa begot Dhritarashtra and Pandu respectively on Ambikă and Ambălikă. Dhritarăshtra was born blind and Pandu was born pale.

Dhritarăshtra being born blind the younger brother Pandu became the king of Hastinăpura. Having committed an offence Pandu had to resort to the forest. His wives Kunti and Mădri also accompanied him. There he practised penance. From Kunti and Mădri, he got five sons who became famous as five Păndavas. Dharma, Bhima, and Arjuna from Kunti and Nakula and Sahadeva from Madri. Pandu died when they were still living in the forest. The sages looked after the Păndavas in their childhood.

When Yudhishtira attained the age of sixteen the sages brought them all to Hastinăpura and handed them over to their grandsire Bhishma for future care.

After Pandu’s death, Dhritarăshtra had succeeded to the throne of Hastinapura. He arranged for Păndava education along with his own hundred sons. In addition to mastering Vedas and other arts they became expert in military science but at the same time they acquired great virtues. The great military genius Drona was their common teacher.

The young Pandavas’ glory and fame made Duryodhana and other Kauravas so jealous that they started injuring them in various ways. Duryodhana’s plan to burn the Păndavas and their mother Kunti alive by inviting them to stay in a palace specially built out of inflammable material failed as the Păndavas got the news before hand. They escaped but Duryodhana considered them dead.

Heroically facing hardships and dangers, the Păndavas lived in the forest disguised as Brăhmins. When one day they heard neighbouring king Drupad announcing the marriage of his daughter Draupadi to a man who would lift a heavy bow and hit the eye of the rotating fish. Out of the skilled aspirants who tried and failed only Arjuna could perform the difficult feat. When informed Kunti unknowingly asked her sons to share the award won by Arjuna. Honouring the mother’s words Draupadi became the wife of five Pandavas.

On their return to Hastinăpura Bhishma advised Dhritarashtra to offer half of the kingdom to Păndavas. Yudhishtira received his share but of a barren land which was soon converted into prosperous place with fine city of Indaprastha built by the Păndavas toiling day and night.

Duryodana’s jealousy had no limits. He was obsessed with the idea of wining the Păndavas. Knowing Yudhishtira’s weakness for gambling, he planned a game of dice and invited Yidhishtira for a game. As a true Kshatriya king Yudhishtira accepted the challenge and attended the play. Falling pray to Shakuni’s deceitful tactics he lost the entire kingdom with all his wealth. Finally he staked his brothers, Draupadi and himself and lost everything. Thus enslaved, the Păndavas received the most humiliating treatment when Draupadi was dragged to the royal court by Dushasan catching hold of her hair and her clothes stripped off in the most indecent way in front of the royal gathering. Lord Krishna with his divine intervention protected Draupadi from this ugly scene. However the bad omens that followed made Dhitarashtra to realize the danger ahead and he freed Yudhishtira and others. Totally dejected Yudhishtira went back to his kingdom.

Duryodhana enraged at his father’s untimely intervention compelled him to permit second game of dice and invited Yudhishtira to come back and play again. Yudhishtira obeying the Kshatriya’s code of conduct again played the game and lost only to accept twelve year’s exile to the forest with the thirteenth year living incognito.

While suffering manifold miseries of forest life in exile the Păndavas practised hard austerities and enriched their life and personality through good and pious deeds.

After completing all the thirteen years silently suffering but blaming no one except their own fate the Păndavas returned back and demanded their share of parental heritage along with their own kingdom that Duryodhana had usurped in their absence. Duryodhana refused to give anything, even the space equal to the tip of the pin. Elders like Bhishma, Vidura etc. negotiated but their advice fell on deaf ears. Duryodhana, wickedly adamant closed all doors including Krishna’s peaceful mediation. Thus no alternative was left except war. Neighbouring kings were dragged into two warring groups. When Krishna’s help was sought by both he offered the option; he himself alone or the services of his kinsmen, Vrishnis. He declared that he would not fight in the battle.

Duryodhana asked for the army of the Vrishnis and Arjuna happily chose Krishna to accompany him as his charioteer. A day was fixed. The war was to be fought on the battle field of Kurukshetra, a Holi land of their ancestral touch.

Here, on this battleground arose the occasion that gave birth to Divine Gospel called Gită, a nectar flow coming from the lotuslips of Lord Krishna, the God incarnate!

 

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