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Some important references from first Adhyaya

Verses

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 Păndava’s 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 Kauravas’s army after Bhishma’s 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 Drona’s 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 Draupadi’s 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 Pandavas’ army.

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 world’s 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 Krishna’s sister

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 Drona’s son Ashwatthamă blinded by his revengeful madness hurled his dreadful mystic weapon called Brahmăstra to kill Uttara’s 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 father’s 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 son’s 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 Kaurava’s 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 Păndava’s 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 temper.

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.

 

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