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The Mahabharata,Originally Called Jaya - (victory)

Mahabharata The Mahabharata, perhaps with some justification, is said to be the longest poem in the world. 100,000 stanzas strong, the epic has a story which is as relevant to the world today as it was then. and if the Greek Epics -  Iliad and the Odyssey are considered to be long, then it wouldn’t be amiss to mention that the Mahabharata is eight times longer than Homer’s two epics – combined!

Tradition has it that the Ramayana (see Ramayana) was written at the date much earlier than the Mahabharata. History, however, tells another tale. Polyandry was an early Aryan concept. Further, the Ramayana talks about the southern peninsula, which had not been penetrated into in the time of the Mahabharata. 

The Legendary Tale of Mahabharata

The story of the Mahabharata revolves around two families, the Pandavas and the Kauravas who were cousins. They were children of Dhritrashtra and Pandu, the sons of Shantanu. The Pandavas were: Yudhishtra the righteous, Bhima of prodigious strength, Arjuna the warrior and Nakula and Sahdev, the twins who were known for their good looks. There were a hundred Kaurava children, of whom the eldest was Duryodhana who along with his uncle Shakuni are the main villains of the epic.

The whole rigmarole starts when Dhritrashtra, though being the elder son, does not succeed to the throne because he is blind. Pandu does, and that makes fertile ground for future rivalries to gain ground especially when Pandu dies and Dhritrashtra becomes the regent of his children and the throne.

The bitterness between the two families starts taking shape early even in school days. and as the children grow, things get progressively worse as the Kauravas repeatedly attempt to assassinate their more popular and accomplished cousins. However, that was nothing compared to the trouble that starts when the Pandavas demand their kingdom back from their uncle.

This request is turned down by Duryodhana and just as things seem to be headed for a colossal clash, Krishna the suave master strategist and statesman, intervenes and resolves the crisis. The Pandavas are given the area of the present Delhi (called Indraprastha) to rule. Tales are told of the fabulous city that Indraprastha grew into under the Pandavas. Came the day when the Kauravas decided to pay their cousins a visit, and dazzled by the city decided to get that back too.

What happened next is one of the Mahabharata's most well-known and oft-played episodes which has moved many pious hearts. The Pandavas were invited to capital of the Kauravas where Yudhishtra (the head of the Pandavas) is tricked into gambling with them. Duryodhana well knew that with Shakuni, his clever uncle who was an expert at gambling, at the helm things were bound to go his way. After having lost everything in the game – including his brothers – Yudhishtra, in a bid to get back everything he has lost, bids his wife Draupadi. and loses.

In a very emotion-charged scene, Draupadi is dragged into the court by Dhushashan, Duryodhana's younger brother, and an attempt is made to strip her. Which fails. For Lord Krishna performs a miracle – her sari goes on for yards and refuses to come off. Following this, Pandavas are forced into exile and are told to wait thirteen years before they can reclaim their kingdom.

Thirteen years and many adventures later, the Pandavas return and are again refused access to their kingdom. Upon which the Pandavas decide that enough is enough and a terrible war ensues. The Bhagwad Gita (see Bhagwad Gita) was expounded by Lord Krishna at the beginning of this war. In the end only one survivor, Manu, remains to keep the dynasty going.
Mahabharata A Wondrous Tale Full of Twist and Curves

The Mahabharata is an amazing tale full of drama, scheming, jealousy, human foibles and failings. The legendary author of the epic is called Vyasa, which means the compiler so we don’t really know the real name of the writer; although it has been suggested that a whole team of Brahmins composed it under the alias of Vyasa.

About his tale Vyasa is supposed to have said, 'that which cannot be found exists nowhere.'

Well, as Brahma (of the Hindu Trinity of Gods) would say, tathastu (so be it).

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