Some important references from
1. Dharmakshetre Kurukshetre : The place
named after Kuru, the ancient king, the ancestor of Kauravas and păndavas. He first
ploughed this land when king of gods Indra blessed, one who dies here performing
penance or fighting battle would go to heaven. Since then regarded as holi. The
great Bharat war took place here on this extensive plain which situated near Delhi then
known as Hastinapura. The field of battle is referred to as the field of religion to
suggest the conflict between the good and the evil. Many battles were fought on this
battlefield in medieval period. Presently Kurukshetra is a railway station 100 miles north
of Delhi. Still it is a famous pilgrim place.
2. Duryodhana : The eldest son of the blind
Dhritarashtra who had one hundred sons known as Kauravas. He was wicked by nature and used
crooked means to destroy Păndavas who were his cousins. He tried to harm them even when
they were too young. After the division of the kingdom he managed to win the
Păndavas kingdom by deceitfully winning the game of dice. As a condition he sent
them to the forest to stay in exile for twelve years and to live incognito in the
thirteenth year. After completing thirteen years long ordeal when Păndavas returned
and asked for their kingdom, Duryodhana rudely refused their rightful claim. As a
consequence the great Bhărat war was declared which continued for eighteen days, killing
almost all the warriors on both the sides. In the end Duryodhana hid in water but was
chased and compelled to come out. In a single combat with Bhima he was killed mercilessly.
He was expert in club fighting and exhibited his skill even if he died in the combat. At
the commencement of the war after inspecting the army alignment, he is seen talking to his
teacher-warrior Drona .
3. a) Pănduputra (Pandavas) : Five sons of
king Pandu known as Păndavas. Pandu ascended the throne of Hastinăpura after his father
Vichitravirya. The elder brother Dhritarashtra being born blind Pandu became the king.
Pandu secured five sons from two wives Kunti and Madri. Kunti is the mother of Yudhistira
also known as Dharma, Bhima and Arjuna. Madri is the mother of Nakula and Sahadeva.
b) Achărya Drona : The great teacher who
taught military science to Kauravas as well as Păndavas. A warrior of extraordinary
calibre, was a master of archery. He is a son of Bharadwaja and a disciple of Parashurăm
who taught him secret mantras of archery. He remained loyal to his king Duryodhana and
became the general of Kauravass army after Bhishmas death. He was a school
friend of Drupada, the king of Panchal. Being offended by Drupada, Drona got him captured
by Pandavas but afterwards released him. Dhrishtadyumna, the son of Drupad avenged Drona
by treacherously killing him in the great Bharat war.
c) Drupadputra (Dhrishtadyumna) : Son of
Drupad, a Panchal king and the father of Draupadi. He was born through the sacrificial
fire. He was appointed the commander in chief of Pandavas army. He killed Drona
treacherously and was subsequently butchered in retaliation by Dronas son
Ashwatthămă, when he was asleep.
4. a) Bhima : The second of five Păndavas.
He was born of Kunti by the favour of wind god Văyu. He had enormous strength. He was
expert in wrestling and club-fighting which he learnt from Balarăm, the elder brother of
ShriKrishna. He killed many wicked demons like Bakasura and Hidimbă. He also killed
Jarăsandha, Kichaka and all the hundred Kauravas. He avenged Draupadis humiliation
by breaking open the chest of Dusshasana who had dragged her in the royal court and had
tried to strip her. In the end he killed Duryodhana, the villain of the war in a fierceful
club-fighting by mercilessly smashing his thigh. He is referred here as the chief of
b) Arjuna : The third of the Pandavas.
Kunti begot him by the grace of Indra. He was unrivalled in archery and had won Draupadi
by hitting the eye of the rotating fish. The most favourite student of Drona and the close
friend and disciple of ShriKrishna. His despondency at the commencement of the great war
motivated Lord Krishna to teach him and the worlds great spiritual science got
enshrined in Gita.
c) Virăt : The King of Matsya Desha. The
Păndavas stayed incognito in his palace in their thirteenth year of exile. His daughter,
Uttara was married to Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna and Subhadră who was Krishnas
d) Saubhadra (Abhimanyu) : Son of Arjuna
and Subhadră. Though very young, he was famous for his bravery and valour. He actively
participated in the great Bharata war and had exhibited extraordinary military skill by
killing renowned warriors of Kaurava army. On the thirteenth day of the war he drove his
chariot into the Chakravyuha and performed unequaled valour but at last was overpowered
and killed by six warriors. His wife Uttară was pregnant. At the end of the war
Dronas son Ashwatthamă blinded by his revengeful madness hurled his dreadful mystic
weapon called Brahmăstra to kill Uttaras child in her womb. But Lord Krishna used
his divine disc to nullify the weapon and protected the child, which was the only survivor
of the Pandava`s race, known as Parikshita. He was later crowned by Yudhishtira when
Pandavas decided to retire to the forest after war. He died of snake-bite and his son
Janamejaya, the great grand son of Arjuna performed a serpent sacrifice in order to
destroy the whole serpent-race. All the serpents were burnt except Takshaka, who was saved
by the intervention of a sage Astika at whose request the sacrifice was closed.
8. a) Bhishma (Devavrata) : Son of Shantanu
and Gangă hence also known as Gangeya. To fulfil his fathers desire to marry
Matsyagandha (Satyavati) he accepted on oath her condition not to accept the kingdom and
not to get himself married. Being happy with his sons sacrifice his father conferred
on him a boon that death would not touch him unless he himself wished so. His real name
was Devavrata but his terrible vow gave him this name Bhishma. He was the
grand uncle of the Păndavas and Kauravas. He was appointed the commander in chief of
Kauravas army and fought valiantly for ten long days. He fell down on the bed of
arrows on the tenth day. He layed on the bed till the sun had crossed the vernal equinox
and then breathed his last.
Bhishma was known for his statesmanship and
valour. He was considered to be the royal councillor and was responsible for bringing up
Dhritarashtra and Pandu and their children too. Arjuna could defeat Bhisma by taking
shelter behind Shikhandi against whom Bhisma did not fight since he had avowed so.
Otherwise he was not conquerable.
b) Karna : First son of Kunti born in her
virginhood through the favour of the Sun. He was thrown into river by Kunti but the
charioteer by name Adhiratha found him. He was brought up by his wife Rădhă who became
his foster mother. As he was known for his bravery so also for his charity. He had gifted
his life-saving protective armour to Indra on his deceitful demand fully knowing the
consequence of the act. He was favourite of Duryodhana who made him the king of Angadesha.
He was killed by Arjuna when he was lifting the wheel of his chariot. Except Kunti and
Krishna, the secret of his birth was not known to anybody. One day before his death Kunti
disclosed this secret to Karna to save Păndavas lives.
c) Ashwatthămă (see 3(b)(c) and 5(a)
16 a) Yudhishthira (Dharma) : Eldest of the
Pandavas born through the favour of Yama, the god of death. He was a magnanimous
personality, kind-hearted, just, humane and truthful man of wisdom never lost the peace of
his mind. He was as great to perform Rajsuya sacrifice. But also lost everything in a
gambling match with Duryodhana. He was a man of sublime character who never lost his
b) Nakul-Sahadeva : Fourth and fifth son of Pandu born from
Mădri. Nakul was very handsome and skilled in horsemanship. Sahadeva worked as the
principal cowherd in the kingdom of Virăt when Pandavas stayed there incognito.