Mahabharata is one of the best two epics from Hindu mythology. This epic is of so much cultural and religious influence that it is said that what can’t be found in Mahabharata won’t be found in Bharat (India)!
When I say Mahabharata, some historical characters come to mind immediately. The Mahabharata story consists of the life struggles of the Pandavas, the influential Kuru lineage, and the greatest battle ever, with philosophical and devotional material regarding lord Krishna and lord Shiva!
Essentially, the storyline seeks to ensure that every type of human being has a purpose, from the lowest caste to the noblest. You might see yourself taking on various roles if you become invested in the narrative.
On every page of the Mahabharata, we find history, culture, and literature. The epic is created with many small or big events. However, some stories remain relatively unknown. So, today, I will share some short Mahabharata stories that are relatively unknown.
The Boon of Duryodhana
When the Pandavas were hiding, Duryodhana indulged in battle with the Gandharvas. The Gandharvas kept him hostage there. Then, Arjuna went there and fought to free Duryodhana. As Duryodhana was a Kshatriya (warrior caste), he wanted to give a boon to Arjun. So, they decided that Arjun could ask for anything whenever he wanted.
The grandfather Vishma was the general in the Mahabharata war or the Kurukshetra war. Duryodhana complained that he was not taking enough measures to kill the Pandavas.
Then, Vishma took five magical arrows to kill the five brothers. Knowing this, Krishna told Arjuna to ask for the five arrows as the boon he deserved.
As a Kshatriya never backs out of his words, Duryodhana gave the arrows to Arjuna. However, Vishma had no more magical arrows left; this saved the Pandavas!
The Sacrifice of Iravan
Before the war or Kurukshetra, someone had to sacrifice their life in front of goddess Kali so that Kali would bless them to win the war. Iravan, the son of Arjuna, sacrificed his life for this reason.
Sahadeva, as the expert astrologer, set a date for the offering. The Pandava camp prepared arrangements for the special Sacrifice to Goddess Kali on the vast Kurukshetra battleground. The Pandavas’ artillery and weapons were positioned in front of the idol of Goddess Kali in the weapon room.
Although his last wish was to get married before this sacrifice, watch the entire Kurukshetra war, and die fighting like a Kshatriya! These wishes were very hard to fulfill because no woman wanted to lose their husband just after getting married, or how could he be alive to see the war after the sacrifice?
That’s why Lord Krishna took the shape of Mohini and married Iravan. Also, only the head of Iravan was to be alive even after his sacrifice so that he could watch the entire war!
Iravan festival is celebrated every year in the Koovagam village, Tamilnadu. The festival is 18 days long, and the followers of Krishna come together and marry God!
The Udupi King
During the great war, every king joined one side of the war. However, only the Udupi king kept his neutrality. He announced that he would deliver food to both camps!
When the war started, everyone noticed that the food management was great. There was no food shortage or surplus, even though many soldiers died daily!
When the Udupi king was asked about this, he said he offered Lord Krishna a bowl of nuts each night! If Krishna accepted ten nuts, Udupi interpreted this as 10,000 soldiers dying the next day!
That’s how the food management was so impeccable!
The Generous Karna
The great warrior and eldest son Karna was also the Generous Karna. His generosity was very well-known and praised highly in the great epic Mahabharata. Karna gifted his supreme armor and earrings.
Although most people don’t know that when Karna was breathing his last breaths in the Kurukshetra war, Lord Krishna came to him as a Brahmin, and Krishna asked for some gold to Karna. Then, Karna offered him his gold teeth!
However, Krishna, as a brahmin, refused to break his teeth. So, Karna broke his teeth with a stone. But Krishna refused to take the golden teeth because blood was all over them. Then, Karna shot a magical arrow into the sky to create rainfall!
With this rainfall, Karna washed the blood on the golden teeth and gifted it to Krishna. Then, Krishna lost his Brahmin costume and returned to his original self. Krishna wanted to give a boon to Karna. But Karna replied that what boon could be better than meeting Lord Krishna at his last breath!
He died after saying this.
The Belief of Duryodhana
Duryodhana’s wife Bhanumati and Karna played a game of dice (or Shataranj in some accounts) in her room. Karna was winning this game. Suddenly, Bhanumati saw that Duryodhana was coming into the room. So, Bhanumati stood up immediately to go away from the room.
However, as Karna was sitting back in the room, he didn’t know that Duryodhana was behind him. He thought Bhanumati was leaving the room because she lost the game. So, he tried to grab her hand. However, he couldn’t grab her hand. Rather he grabbed one of her garlands.
The garland broke into pieces. Duryodhana arrived at the room at this instance. It was almost a sin to talk to any other man or woman during that time. So, both Karna and Bhanumati feared that Duryodhana might take this behavior wrongly.
However, Duryodhana had faith in his wife and friend so much that he laughed at Karna, saying that he should pick up the shattered garland, and kept talking about the purpose he came into the room, completely ignoring this fact.
This teaches us that even though Duryodhana was unrighteous and sinful, he had faith!
The great epic Mahabharata can’t be explained in a few stories. There are many stories left unsaid here. Like the stories of king Pandu and king Virat, the two sons of Shantanu, Draupadi-the shared wife of the five Pandavas, the story of Narada-the avatar of Lord Vishnu, Kunti’s boon to bear children, etc.
All these stories teach us to respect women, and the values of truthfulness, courage, etc. The Mahabharata is essentially a war epic between the Kauravas and Pandavas, the descendants of two brothers!
So, it is very important to know and share our knowledge about this amazing culture and religious epic. That’s why I shared some of my favorite stories with you today!
Until next time!