What is Mahabharata? Mahabharata Story in English!
Mahabharata is a very famous epic of Hinduism. In this article, I will discuss about Mahabharat story in English.
While Ramayana is related to Lord Rama, Mahabharata is related to Lord Krishna. Both were the incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
The Mahabharata is the largest epic of this world. It has over 1,00,000 verses in total!! It is roughly ten times larger than Iliad and Odyssey (the famous greek epics) and also four times larger than Ramayana.
Mahabharata is a 5000 years old book which was composed by one of the greatest saints of India; Rishi Ved Vyasa. He Himself was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
This epic is based on a war which was fought around 5000 years ago on the fields of Kurukshetra (modern-day Haryana). This war was fought between two groups of cousin brothers.
One was the Kauravas and the other was Pandavas. It is said, the intent of the battle was so huge that even today the soil of land is found to be dark red in color due to the blood of the warriors.
This war symbolized the victory of truth over evil. The Kauravas were evil and when they were defeated by Pandavas, the evils were eradicated from this world.
AUTHOR OF MAHABHARATA
Like many other texts, this epic was also written by Sage Vyasa. But he only composed this poem. However, the real credit of writing it goes to Lord Ganesha as he wrote all the verses which were narrated by Rishi Vyasa.
The most sacred text of this world, the Srimad Bhagavad Gita comes from this epic only. Many Puranas such as Bhagavad Purana, Vishnu Purana and Padma Purana mention Mahabharata as great source of knowledge.
This poem was read the first time by Vaishampayan in the court of King Janamejaya, who was the great grandson of Arjun.
IMPORTANCE OF MAHABHARATA
The Mahabharata is the most important epic of India. It is said that one time all the Demi-Gods kept this epic on either side of a weight and kept the Vedas on the another side of the weight.
To their surprise, both were found to be equal and the weight was balanced. From this incident we can understand how much this epic is important.
Due to the great knowledge of Mahabharata, it is sometimes referred to as the fifth Veda. The epic contains folks, stories, accounts, genealogies of Gods and different places.
It also contains debates and discourses on different philosophies, ideologies etc. It contains knowledge on lifestyle, life situations, God, rules and regulations, manners and self-discipline. The best example of this is the Bhagavad Gita.
Now while for saints and sages this book is a treasure of knowledge; for historians it’s a great source of records and accounts of people in those times.
Many Historians find it a great book to know about the history of India and records of ancient India.
As I told you that this epic revolves around a war between two groups of paternal cousin brothers. One were Kauravas and the other were Pandavas.
There are two princes; the elder is Dhritarashtra and the younger is Pandu. Dhritarastra due to his blindness is not given the throne, but Pandu is made the king.
Later Both the Princes have marriage and have sons. Dhritarashtra has 100 sons while Pandu has only 5 sons. The sons of Dhritarashtra came to be known as Kauravas and became very wicked and cruel.
While the sons of Pandu came to be known as Pandavas, and they are very kind and good. Now Kauravas always had hatred towards Pandavas, and they tried to do every possible injustice to them.
After the death Pandu, they illegally usurp the kingdom and force the Pandavas to leave
It. They also try to make Draupadi (wife of Pandavas) naked in the court. These evil deeds caused Pandavas to fight with Kauravas.
In the war, Pandavas defeated the Kauravas despite being in small numbers. After the war the Pandavas regain their kingdom and live happily forever.
MAHABHARATA FULL STORY
The story begins with the kingdom of Hastinapura. The kingdom is ruled by a very prosperous and kind ruler named Shantanu who was a descendant of the Kuru dynasty.
Shantanu marries river goddess Ganga.
They have a son named Bhishma. After the birth of Bhishma, Ganga leaves the kingdom to perform her godly duties. Now Shantanu marries a beautiful girl named Satyavati. Now they have a son named Vichitravirya.
Further Vichitravirya had three sons named Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidur. Dhritarashtra marries Gandhari while Pandu marries Kunti. As I told you, due to his blindness, Dhritarashtra is not given the throne despite being older.
Now Dhritarashtra becomes the father of 100 sons. While due to some curse, Pandu could not make intimate relations with his wife Kunti. Now Kunti has a magical power from which she can ask for a son from the gods.
First she asks for Karna, from the Sun god. She also gets a son, but at the time, she was unmarried. To prevent the problems, she threw the child in the river. After marriage, she gets five sons from different gods.
After a few years, Duryodhana (the main Kaurava) meets Karna and befriends him. Kauravas become very wicked, cruel and evil. While on the other hand, Pandavas become very kind, helpful and good.
Kauravas are always jealous of Pandavas. When the king Pandu dies, the Kauravas force the Pandavas to leave the kingdom. The Pandavas live in forests and that’s when they jointly marry Draupadi.
After one year, they again arrived in their kingdom. This time the Kauravas invite the Pandavas to play Chaupad with them. The Chaupad was an ancient-Indian board game which is much similar to Ludo.
The dice which they were using was a magical dice which always came in favour of the Kauravas. As a result whatever the Pandavas bet on, was lost. At last, Yuddhisthira bet on Draupadi and she was also lost to the Kauravas.
Now Duryodhana ordered Dusashana to make Draupadi naked in front of all the people who were present in the court. But Lord Krishna saved her from this insult by his magic.
Now these injustices made the Pandavas angry and caused all of them to fight.
A very huge war raged between them which was fought for 18 days and on the last day, The Pandavas won the war.
After that they lived for many years happily and ruled their kingdom prosperously. But after years of prosperity, they decided to leave the worldy desires and renunciate.
On the advice of Sage Vyasa, they decided to travel to the Himalayas along with Draupadi and a dog. But on their journey one by one, all of them died except the eldest Pandava, Yuddhisthira.
He reached the peak of the mountains where Lord Indra was ascending to heaven. He also ascended with Lord Indra to heaven.