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Mahabharat

Mahabharat Chapter 11- The escape of the Pandavs

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With the utmost difficulty, the Pandavas crossed through the tunnel and entered the dense forest. With the exception of the powerful Bhima, all the others were exhausted by their nightly vigils as well as by fear and anxiety. He therefore carried his mother on his shoulders and took Nakula and Sahadeva on his hips, supporting Yudhishthira and Arjuna with his two hands and reached the Ganges. There was a boat ready for them in charge of a boatman who knew their secret. Vidura had arranged a boat for them. They crossed the river in the darkness, and entering a mighty forest they went on at night in darkness that wrapped them like a shroud and in a silence broken hideously by the frightful noises of wild animals.

At last, they sat down unable to bear the pangs of thirst and overcome by the drowsiness of sheer fatigue. Kuntidevi said: "I do not care even if the sons of Dhritarashtra are here to seize me, but I must stretch my legs." She forthwith laid herself down and was sunk in sleep. Bhima forced his way about the tangled forest in search of water in the darkness. And finding a pool, he wetted his upper garment, made cups of lotus leaves and brought water to his mother and brothers who were perishing with thirst.
 
Then, while the others slept in merciful forgetfulness of their woes, Bhima alone sat thinking how wicked  Dhritarashtra and Duryodhana tried to injure them in these ways.  Sinless himself, Bhima could not understand the springs of sinfulness in others.
The Pandavas marched on, suffering many hardships and overcoming many dangers, eating the forest produce and sleeping by turns. They were ever vigilant and ever confident that justice would be theirs sooner or later.
They met Bhagavan Vyasa on the way. All of them bowed before him and received encouragement and wise counsel from him.
When Kunti told him of the sorrows that had befallen them, Vyasa consoled her with his kind words: "No virtuous man is strong enough to live in virtue at all times, nor is any sinner bad enough to exist in one welter of sin. Life is a tangled web and there is no one in the world who has not done both good and evil. Each and everyone has to bear the consequence of his actions. Do not give way to sorrow.”
Hidimbi, a domoness, ruled over the forest where Pandavas had sought refuge. Hidimbi's brother, Hidimba, an alleged cannibal, had sent her to bring him manflesh, but when she saw the handsome prince Bhima sitting in the glade she fell in love with him and could not bring herself to kill him. She transformed into a tall, dark-skinned and immensely beautiful woman dressed in ornaments and garlands and approached him. When Hidimbi was late, Hidimba came to kill Bhima himself. He tried to attack Hidimbi but she was protected by Bhima, who killed Hidimba after a good fight. Hidimbi then asked Bhima to marry her, at which he was reluctant initially but finally ensued after being repeatedly insisted. He agreed to spend the time from dawn to dusk with her on the condition that during the dark hours he would remain with his brothers, and this would continue till they had a son. She eventually bore Bhima a son, Ghatotkacha. When the Pandavas left the forest, Bhima had to leave her as they were on a war campaign.

Meanwhile, the Pandavas reached the city of Ekachakra. Then they put on the garb of Brahmans, as advised by Vyasa, went to the city of Ekachakra and stayed there in a Brahman's house, waiting for better days. They brought home food and Kunti always divided it into two poetions- one portion for Bhima alone and the other portion for the rest of them. None could imagine or recognize them as the princes of Hastinapur!

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Mahabharat Chapter 1 - Ganapathi the scribe

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Rishi Ved Vyasa wrote the Mahabharata. He was the son of Rishi Parshar. Vyasa also wrote the Vedas.Mahabharat is written in Sanskrit in poetry form. When Vyasa conceived Mahabharata, he knew he needed a good scribe to take down his dictations.

He asked Lord Brahma who would be the ideal scribe for Mahabharata? It is an epic and the scribe should be up to the task of matching Vyasa’s creations. Brahma suggested that only Ganapathi was up to this task. There is no one superior to him in intellect.

Ved Vyasa approached Ganapathi with his request to be his scribe for the epic composition of Mahabharata. Ganapathi did not appreciate very much being asked to be a scribe. But he did not want to offend Brahma by saying no. So he put forward a condition. “I will be your scribe, and I will take down your dictations. You say you want a scribe of superior intellect who can take down your dicatations non stop, so be it. My pen must not stop; you must not pause while dictating.” Rishi Vyasa thought long and hard. He knew it was impossible for anyone to compose the epic non stop. So he countered Ganapathi’s offer. “I will not let your pen to stop from writing. However, I have a condition too. You must grasp the meaning of what I dictate before you write it down.”

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Mahabharat Chapter 2 - Devavrata

You might also like...the stories of Bhishma's Vow and Birth of Kauravas & Pandavas

King Santanu was hunting for deer in the jungle when he separated from his group. His horse was thirsty and so was he. He led the horse to the river for a drink. He saw a beautiful damsel by the banks of the river Ganga. “Are you thirsty?” she asked the King. She then offered him some water. Santanu was taken in by her beauty and decided right there that she would be his queen. “Marry me”, the King said simply. “You do not know anything about me and yet you want to marry me? I have one condition. You should not question what I do or stop me from doing what I want to do. You should love me no less. If you can give me your word on it, I will marry you. However, if you ever break your vow, I will go away from your life for ever,” said the girl. “You have my word. It is a Kshatriya’s(warrior’s) promise,” said King Santanu.

King Santanu and the girl got married and she became the queen. Soon the queen gave birth to a son. The king was very happy at the birth of his first child. The queen, however, took the child and drowned him in the river Ganga. The King was very sad, but because of his vow he did not stop or ask her. The queen gave birth to a second son and promptly drowned him in Ganga. The King was very sad, but kept his word for he loved his queen dearly. And so it went on for seven times, the queen would give birth to a son and promptly drown him. The King grew sadder with the death of his every child. The queen gave birth to their eighth son. The King foresaw what the queen would do. He could bear it no longer. As the queen carried the child to the river, King Santanu stopped her. “O Queen, I love you dearly but please stop. What kind of mother are you? You have drowned seven children of ours. I know I have broken my vow, but it was the vow that kept me from saving my other children. I cannot let this child die too.”

“O King Santanu, you have broken your vow and I will have to go away from your life. Please do not judge me so harsh, hear my story. I am goddess Ganga. The eight sons that I bore were the eight Vasus. Once they were having a picnic when they saw the sacred cow Nandini belonging to Rishi Vasishtha. The youngest of the Vasus, Prabhasa, wanted to play a prank on the Rishi. He took the cow and her calf and hid them. When Nandini and her calf did not return from the pastures in the evening, Rishi Vasishtha became concerned about them. Through his divine powers, the Rishi saw what had happened. He grew very angry and cursed all the eight Vasus that they are born on earth as mere mortals and go through the wheel of life (Chakra) until they attain moksha. The Vasus pleaded the Rishi to calm down and take back his curse. An arrow that leaves the bow and words that leave the tongue cannot be taken back. The Rishi gave them a way out. If Ganga were to be their mother on earth and take them into her when they were born, they will be liberated from their curse. I was doing a service to the Vasus. However, Prabhasa the youngest one has to live one life and suffer the sorrows of this earth. This eighth child is Prabhasa. I will take him with me, but will return him to you once he reaches the age of sixteen. You will attain higher regions of Moksha for your service” And goddess Ganga disappeared along with the little baby.

Years passed by, the King led a very austere life. He missed his wife Ganga and his son. Every time the sorrow became too much to bear, he would stroll by the river. One day, while he was walking the banks of Ganga, Santanu came upon a very handsome boy building dams with arrows and altering the flow of the river at his whim. It seemed like a child playing with his indulgent mother. King Santanu was impressed by the boy’s skill. Just then goddess Ganga appeared before him. “Santanu, this is your son Devavrata. He has learned the Vedas and Vendata from Rishi Vasishtha and arts and sciences from Rishi Sukra. He is skilled archer and well versed in the craft of state. Devavratha this is your father King Santanu.” She blessed the boy and handed him over to his father and disappeared.

You might also like.....

Bhishma's Vow  - King Santanu was very happy at the arrival of Devavratha who was soon crowned the yuvaraj (crown prince). The King had given up hunting after meeting and loosing goddess Ganga. Click here to read more....

Birth of Kauravas & Pandavas - When Kunti was a young girl, Rishi Durvasa came to live with them as guest for a year. Rishi Durvasa was well known for his quick temper. Kunti was given the immense responsibility to taking care of Rishi Durvasa. Click here to read more....

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