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12 common characters from Ramayana and Mahabharata

Jayadratha was the son of Vridhakshtra, king of Sindhu (present day Pakistan) and was the brother in law of the Kaurava prince, Duryodhana. He had married Dushshala, the only daughter of Dhritarastra and Gandhari.
One day when the Pandavas were in their vanavaas, the brothers went into the forest to collect fruits,wood, roots etc. Seeing Draupadi alone and enamored by her beauty, Jayadratha approached her and proposed to marry her even after coming to know that she was the wife of the Pandavas. When she refused to comply, he took the hasty decision of abducting her and started moving towards Sindhu. The Pandavas in the meantime learnt of this ghastly act and came in for Draupadi’s rescue. Bhima thrashes down Jayadratha but Draupadi prevents Bhima from killing him as she doesn’t want Dushshala to become a widow. Instead she requests that his head be shaved and he be set free so that he doesn’t dare ever commit an act of transgression against another woman.


To avenge his humiliation, Jayadratha conducts severe penance in order to please Lord Shiva, who granted him a boon in the form of a garland which will hold all the Pandavas at bay for one day. While this was not the boon that Jayadratha wanted, he accepted it nevertheless. Not satisfied, he went and prayed to his father Vridhakshtra who blesses him that whoever causes the head of Jayadratha to fall on the ground will be immediately killed by having his own head burst into a hundred pieces.

With these boons, Jayadratha was an able ally to the Kauravas when the Kurukshetra war began. Using the powers of his first boon, he managed to keep all the Pandavas at bay, except for Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna who were battling Trigartas elsewhere on the battlefield. On this day, Jayadratha waited for Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu to enter the Chakravyuha and then blocked the exit knowing fully well that the young warrior did not know how to exit the formation. He also prevented mighty Bhima along with his other brothers from entering the Chakravyuha for Abhimanyu’s rescue. After being brutally and treacherously killed by the Kauravas, Jayadratha then goes on to kick the dead body of Abhimanyu and rejoices by dancing around it.

When Arjuna returns to the camp that evening and hears of his son’s death and the circumstances surrounding it, he becomes unconcious. Even Krishna could not check his tears, hearing about the death of his favourite Nephew. After gaining conciousness Arjuna vows to kill Jayadratha the very next day before sunset, failing which he would kill himself by entering into blazing fire along with his Gandiva. Hearing of this vow of Arjuna, Dronacharya arranges a complicated battle formation the next day to achieve two objectives, one was to protect Jayadratha and two was to enable Arjuna’s death which so far none of the Kaurava warriors had even gotten close to achieving in normal battle.

The next day, despite a full day of fierce fighting when Arjuna is unable to get to Jaydratha, Krishna realizes that he would need to resort to unconventional tactics to achieve this objective. Using his divine powers, Krishna masks the sun thus creating a solar eclipse in order to create the illusion of sunset. The entire Kaurava army rejoiced at the fact that they had managed to keep Jayadratha safe from Arjuna and also at the fact that Arjuna now would be forced to kill himself to follow his vow.

Elated, Jayadratha also appears in front of Arjuna and laughs at his defeat and starts dancing around joyously. At this moment, Krishna unmasks the sun and sun appears in the sky. Krishna points Jayadratha to Arjuna and reminds him of his vow. In order to prevent his head from falling to the ground, Krishna asks Arjuna to shoot cascading arrows in a sustained manner so that Jayadratha’s head is carried over from the battlefield in Kurukshetra and travels all over to the Himalyas such that it falls on the lap of his father Vridhakshtra who was meditating there.

Disturbed by the head falling on his lap, Jayadratha’s father gets up, the head drops to the ground and immediately Vridhakshtra’s head bursts into a hundred pieces thus fulfilling the boon that he had given his son years ago.

Also Read:

The Complete Story Of Jayadratha (जयद्रथ) The King Of Sindhu Kingdom

Credits:
Image Credits: to the original Artist
Post Credits: Varun Hrishikesh Sharma

Jaya and Vijaya are the two gatekeepers (dwarapalakas) of the abode of Vishnu (Vaikuntha Lok). According to the Bhagavata Purana, the Four Kumaras, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanatkumara, who are the manasaputras of Brahma (sons born from the mind or thought power of Brahma), were wandering across the worlds, and one day decide to pay a visit to Narayana – the form of Vishnu that rests on Shesh naga.
The Sanat Kumaras approach Jaya and Vijaya and ask to be let in. Now due to the strength of their tapas, the four Kumaras appear to be mere children, though they are of great age. Jaya and Vijaya, the gate keepers of the Vaikuntha stop the Kumaras at the gate mistaking them as children. They also tell the Kumaras that Sri Vishnu is resting and that they cannot see him now. The enraged Kumaras tell Jaya and Vijaya that Vishnu is available for his devotees any time, and cursed both of them that they would have to give up their divinity, be born as mortals on Earth and live like normal human beings.
jaya and vijaya
When Vishnu wakes up, he learns what has happened and is sorry for his two dwarapalakas, who are cursed by the great Sanat Kumaras just for doing their duty. He apologizes to the Sanat Kumaras and promises to his doorkeepers that he will do his best to help them go through the cycle of Life and Death. He cannot lift the curse of the Sanat Kumaras directly, but he puts in front of them two options:

The first option is that they could either be born seven times on Earth as devotees of Vishnu, while the second options is that they could be born three times as His enemy. After serving either of these sentences, they can re-attain their stature at Vaikuntha and be with Him permanently.

Jaya-Vijaya cannot bear the thought of staying away from Vishnu for seven lives, even as his devotees. As a result, they choose to be born three times on Earth even though it would have to be as enemies of Vishnu. Vishnu then takes Avatars and releases them from their lives.

In the first birth as enemy to Vishnu, Jaya and Vijaya were born as Hiranyaksha and Hiraeyakasipu in Satya Yuga. Hiranyaksha was an Asura the son of Diti and Kashyapa. He was slain by the god Vishnu after he (Hiranyaksha) took the Earth to the bottom of what has been described as the “Cosmic Ocean”. Vishnu assumed the Avatar of a boar (Varaha Avatar) and dove into the ocean to lift the Earth, in the process slaying Hiranyaksha who was obstructing Him. The battle lasted one thousand years. He had an elder brother named Hiranyakashipu, who after having undertaken penances which made him incredibly powerful and invincible unless several conditions were met, was later slain by the lion-headed Narasimha, another avatar of Vishnu.

In the next Treta yuga, Jaya and Vijaya were born as Ravana and Kumbhakarna, and were killed by Lord Vishnu in His form as Ram.

At the end of the Dwapara Yuga, Jaya and Vijaya were born their third birth as Sisupala and Dantavakra and Vishnu appeared as Krishna and again killed them.

So as they move from one life to another, they move more and more closer to God … (Asuras being the worst, then rakshasa, then humans and then devas) finally going back to Vaikuntha.

More on each yug and each incarnation of Vishnu in comming posts.

Credits:Post credit: Vishwanath Sarang
Image Credit: to the original Artist

karna from Mahabharata

Once Krishna and Arjuna were walking towards a village. Arjuna was pestering Krishna, asking him why Karna should be considered a role model for all Danas (donations) and not himself. Krishna, wanting to teach him a lesson snapped his fingers. The mountains beside the path they were walking on turned into gold. Krishna said “Arjuna, distribute these two mountains of gold among the villagers, but you must donate every last bit of gold”. Arjuna went into the village, and proclaimed he was going to donate gold to every villager, and asked them to gather near the mountain. The villagers sang his praises and Arjuna walked towards the mountain with a huffed up chest. For two days and two continuous nights Arjuna shovelled gold from the mountain and donated to each villager. The mountains did not diminish in their slightest.

karna from Mahabharata
karna



Most villagers came back and stood in queue within minutes. After a while, Arjuna, started feeling exhausted, but not ready to let go of his ego just yet, told Krishna he couldn’t go on any longer without rest. Krishna called Karna. “You must donate every last bit of this mountain, Karna” he told him. Karna called two villagers. “You see those two mountains?” Karna asked, “those two mountains of gold are yours to do with as you please” he said,  and walked away.

Arjuna sat dumbfounded. Why hadn’t this thought occurred to him? Krishna smiled mischievously and told him “Arjuna, subconsciously,  you yourself were attracted to the gold, you regretfully gave it away to each villager, giving them what you thought was a generous amount. Thus the size of your donation to each villager depended only on your imagination. Karna holds no such reservations. Look at him walking away after giving away a fortune, he doesn’t expect people to sing his praises, he doesn’t even care if people talk good or bad about him behind his back. That is the sign of a man already on the path of enlightenment”

Source: Karan Jaiswani

Barbarik was the grandson of Bhima and the son of Ghatotkacha. Barbarik was supposed to be a brave warrior having learnt the art of warfare from his mother. Lord Shiva pleased with Barbarik’s talent as a warrior granted him a Three special arrows. He also got a special bow from Lord Agni (God of Fire).

It is said that Barbarik was so powerful that according to him the war of Mahabharata could end in 1 minute if he alone was to fight it. The story goes like this:

Before the war started, Lord Krishna asked everyone how long would it take for them to finish the war alone. Bhisma replied it would take 20 days. Dronacharya said it would take 25 days. Karna said it would take 24 days whereas Arjuna said it would take him 28 days.

Barbarik had expressed his desire to watch the war of Mahabharata to his mother. His mother agreed to let him go watch it, but asked him before leaving as to which side he would join if he felt the urge to take part in the war. Barbarik promised his mother that he would join the side that was weaker. Saying this he set up on the journey to visit the battlefield.

Barbarika Krishna having heard of Barbarik and wanting to examine Barbarik’s strength disguised himself as a Brahmin came in front of Barbarik. Krishna asked him the same question about how many days would it take to finish the war if he were to fight it alone. Barbarik replied it would take him only 1 minute to finish the battle if he was to fight it alone. Krishna was surprised at this answer of Barbarik considering the fact that Barbarik was walking towards the battlefield with just 3 arrows and a bow. To this Barbarik explained the power of the 3 arrows.

  • The first arrow was supposed to mark all the objects that Barbarik wanted to be destroyed.
  • The second arrow was supposed to mark all the objects that Barbarik wanted to be saved.
  • The third arrow was supposed to destroy all the objects marked by the first arrow OR destroy all the objects not marked by the second arrow.


And at the end of this all the arrows would come return to the quiver. Krishna eager to test this out asked Barbarik to tie all the leaves of the tree that he was standing under. As Barbarik started meditating to perform the task, Krishna took one leaf from the tree and placed it under his foot without Barbarik’s knowledge. When Barbarik releases the first arrow, the arrow marks all the leaves from the tree and eventually starts revolving around Lord Krishna’s feet. Krishna asks Barbarik as to why the arrow is doing this. To this Barbarik replies that there must be a leaf under your feet and asks Krishna to lift his leg. As soon as Krishna lifts his leg, the arrow goes ahead and marks the remaining leaf too.

This incident scares Lord Krishna about the phenomenal power of Barbarik. He concludes that the arrows are truly infallible. Krishna also realizes that in the real battlefield in case Krishna wants to isolate someone (for eg the 5 Pandavas) from Barbarik’s attack, then he would not be able to do so, since even without the knowledge of Barbarik, the arrow would go ahead and destroy the target if Barbarik intended so.

To this Krishna asks Barbarik about which side he was planning to fight for in the war of Mahabharata. Barbarik explains that since the Kaurava Army is bigger than the Pandava Army and because of the condition he had agreed to with his mother, he would fight for the Pandavas. But to this Lord Krishna explains the paradox of the condition he had agreed with his mother. Krishna explains that since he was the greatest warrior on the battlefield, which ever side he joins would make the other side weaker. So eventually he would end up oscillating between the two sides and destroy everyone except himself. Thus Krishna reveals the actual consequence of the word that he had given to his mother. Thus Krishna(still disguised as a Brahmin) asks for Barbarik’s head in charity to avoid his involvement in the war.

After this Krishna explains that it was necessary to sacrifice the head of the greatest Kshatriya in order to worship the battlefield and that he regarded Barbarik as the greatest Kshatriya of that time.

Before actually giving his head, Barbarik expresses his desire to view the forthcoming battle. To this Krishna agreed to place Barbarik’s head on top of the mountain that overlooked the battlefield. At the end of the war, the Pandavas argued amongst themselves about whose was the greatest contribution to their victory. To this Krishna suggests that Barbarik’s head should be allowed to judge this since it has watched the entire war. Barbarik’s head suggests it was Krishna alone who was responsible for the victory in the war. His advice, his strategy and his presence was crucial in the victory.

Post Courtsy: Vikram Bhat
Image courtesy : Zayplay

hindufaqs.com Most Badass Hindu Gods- Krishna

Most Badass hindu God which I would love to mention about is Lord Krishna. Starting right from his childhood. As a kid growing up in Brindavan, he sent a whole lot of  Asuras sent by Kamsa to their death. Then he dances on the hood of  the mighty serpent Kaliya, forcing him to leave the Yamuna.

Krishna Conquers the Serpent Kaliya

And if that is not enough, he advises the villagers to worship Govardhana mountain, since that is the real life giver, instead of Indra.  And when Indra unleashes his anger, sending a huge thunderstorm, he lifts up the entire mountain on his finger, protecting all the villagers, making Indra eat humble pie there.

When he goes to meet Kamsa, his maternal uncle who had been trying to kill him from long, he  first gets rid of the wrestlers Chanura and Mushtika, along with brother Balaram. And then throwing down Kamsa from the throne, strangles him to death.

He cleverly gets rid of Shishupal, making him exhuast the “100 mistakes I spare his life”  promise he had given to the latter’s mother. And earlier he had eloped with Rukmini who was betrothed to Shishupal, but  had her heart on Krishna.
Krishna lifts Govardhan Parvat

He did not lift a single weapon during the Kurukshetra war, yet he managed to outsmart the entire Kaurava army, though he only was Arjun’s charioteer. He knew the weak points of  Bheeshma, Drona, Duryodhan,Karna and smartly used it against them. He was the reason why the Pandavasa managed to win against a vastly larger and superior Kaurava Army.
Krishna as saarthi in mahabharata

He Stole clothes of Gopis and asked them to come out of water one by one to get cloths back

Made sure Bhishma won’t kill the Pandavas by asking Draupati to go to his camp in disguise of a common woman. Bhishma blessed her “deerga sumangali bhava” (long marriage). She then revealed her true identity and demanded that Bhishma cannot kill her 5 husbands (the pandavas) because he cannot break his own blessing. (Simply brilliant ahh?)

Engineered killing of Drona. He knew no one can kill Drona as long as he holds a weapon, and only way to make him drop it is to emotionally break him down by telling that his son died. There is no way anyone would disbelieve Yudhishtira as he is the “king of dharma”. So Krishna named an elephant as “ashwtthama” (name of Drona’s son) and asked Bhima to kill it, and then asked Yudhishthira to shout “Ashwatthama, the elephant is dead..” but “the elephant” part of the sentence in a low voice. So Drona, who was at a distance could hear only “Ashwatthama is dead“. As expected, Drona dropped weapons heart broken and Pandavas killed him with ease. (So technically, Yudhishthira the “king of dharma” didn’t lie. Hmmm..)

Made sure Bhima could kill Duryodana. Here is the story. When the war was around the corner, Duryodana was once asked by his mother Gandhari to come to her room fully naked. Duryodana didn’t know why but to carry out his mothers order, he decided to do as asked. But Krishna brain washed him to cover at least the private parts (including thigh).
Duryodhan
In her room, Gandhari (who blindfolded herself forever after marrying blind Dritarashtra), opened her eyes to see her son for the first time. She transferred all her powers into Duryodana’s visible part of the body, making them as strong as iron. During the final duel, Krishna instructed Bhima to hit Duryodana on thighs to kill him

Engineered killing of Jarasandha: Here is the story from wiki
Bheema did not know how to defeat Jarasandha. Since, Jarasandha was brought to life when the two lifeless halves joined together, conversely, he can be killed only when these his body was torn into two halves and find a way as how these two don’t merge. Krishna took a stick, he broke it into two and threw them in both directions. Bheema got the hint. He tore Jarasandha’s body into two and threw the pieces in two directions. But, these two pieces came together and Jarasandha was able to attack Bheema again. Bheema got tired after several such futile attempts. He again sought the help of Krishna. This time, Lord Krishna took a stick, broke it into two and threw the left piece on right side and the right piece on the left side. Bheema precisely followed the same. Now, he tore Jarasandha’s body into two and threw them in opposite directions. Thus, Jarasandha was killed as the two pieces could not merge into one.


Saved Bhima fom Dritarashtra’s hug: Yeah literally! Here is the story:
Dritarashtra was blessing Pandavas after war. He hugged them one by one. When it was Bhima’s turn he remembered that Bhima killed most of his 100 sons. He was furious and wanted to kill Bhima. Krishna knew this and pushed a metal statue to blind Dritarashtra instead of Bhima. Dritarashtra crushed that metal statue into powder with his hug (what a sweet embrace)

He took Pandavas away the night Ashwatthama destroyed Pandava camp after they won the war. He knew it was going to happen. Ashwatthama, with KalBhairav entered into his body, burned the Pandava camp into ashes killing every single person.. But Krishna saved just the Pandavas & Draupati.. Why didn’t he save others? No idea! Might be that he wanted to do a balancing act.
Some more stories of Shri Krishna in short:

1. Putana

She disguised herself as an angelic woman and offered Yashoda a brief respite by volunteering to nurse baby Krishna (with her poisonous milk).  Can we say Krishna “sucked the life out of her?”

2. Trinavarta

the Tornado Demon!  Trinavarta is probably the most unique rakshasa-form – ruthlessly sabatoging everything in his path.  He whisked Krishna off his feet…but Krishna blew him (and his pride) away.

3. Bakasura

Bakasura – the Crane Demon – simply got greedy.  Lured by Kamsa’s promises of rich and swanky rewards, Bakasura “tricked” Krishna to come close – only to betray the boy by swallowing him.  Krishna forced his way out of course and put an end to him.

4. Aghasura

This giant Serpent Demon slithered his way to the outskirts of Gokul, opened his mouth wide and had all the kids squealing in delight by thinking they had discovered a brand new “cave.”  They all hopped inside – only to be trapped.  Some versions of the story explain Aghasura to have once been a handsome king who was cursed by a crippled sage for laughing at the poor man’s disability.

5. Dhenukasura

This Donkey Demon was a real pain-in-the-Ass.  Even Mother Earth trembled under Dhenukasura’s stampede.  This was a true joint venture between Balaram and Krishna – with Balaram taking the credit for the final blow.

6. Aristasura

A true bull-y in every sense of the word.  Aristasur the Bull Demon stormed into town and challenged Krishna to a bull fight that all the heavens watched.

7. Vatsasura

Another story of deception:  Vatsasura disguised himself as a Calf, mixed himself into Krishna’s herd and tricked him into a duel.

8. Keshi

This Horse Demon was apparently mourning the loss of so many of his fellow rakshasa friends, so he approached Kamsa to sponsor his battle against Krishna.

Credits:
Ratnakar Sadasyula
Gireesh Puthumana
Image credit to the original Uploader
Short stories credit : Gnaana.com

Hindufaqs.com - What was the relationship between Draupadi and the Pandavas like

Draupadi’s relationship with the Pandavas is complex and at the heart of the Mahabharat.

1. Draupadi and Arjuna:

Let’s jump right in with the most important relationship: Draupadi’s and Arjuna’s.

Of the five Pandavas, Draupadi favors Arjuna the most. She is in love with him, whereas the others are in love with her. Arjuna has won her in the Swayamvar, Arjuna is her husband.

Also Read:
How did Hanuman end up on Arjuna’s chariot in Mahabharata?

On the other hand, she is not Arjuna’s favorite wife. Arjuna does not like sharing her with 4 other men (conjecture on my part). Arjuna’s favorite wife is Subadhra, Krishna‘s half-sister. He also dotes on Abhimanyu (his son with Subadhra) over and above his sons from Draupadi and Chitrangada. All of Draupadi’s husbands married other women, but the only time Draupadi gets upset and distraught is when she learns of Arjuna‘s marriage to Subadhra. Subadhra has to go to Draupadi dressed as a maid, just to assure her that she (Subadhra) will always be beneath Draupadi in status.

2. Draupadi and Yudhisthir:

Now let’s see the reason why Draupadi’s life is a shambles, why she is the most cursed woman of her time, and one of the most important reasons behind the Mahabharat war: Draupadi’s marriage to Yudhisthir.

Here is something we need to understand first: Yudhisthir is a bastardnot as saintly as he is portrayed to be. This is not to be held against him – all Mahabharat characters are gray – but people tend to forget this bit. Yudhisthir does not win Draupadi in the Swayamvar, he has no right to her.

He lusts for her, he cannot bear seeing her everyday and not be able to have her. So he takes a small chance that fate throws his way, when Kunti says, “Share whatever you have between yourselves”, and bullies Draupadi and his brothers into the weird “Lets all marry her” situation. Bhima does not like this, he claims that it is not right and that people will laugh at them. Yudhisthir tells him of Rishis who have done this before, and that it is accepted in Dharma.  He then rushes forward and says that since he is the eldest, he must get first with Draupadi. The brothers marry her according to age, eldest to youngest.

Then, Yudhisthir calls an assembly with his brothers and tells them the story of 2 powerful rakshasas, Sunda and Upasunda , whose love for the same woman led them to destroy each other. He says that the lesson to learn here is that the brothers must be careful when sharing Draupadi. She must be with one brother for a set period of time, and during this period the other brothers cannot touch her (carnally, that is). Yudhisthir decides that Draupadi will live for 1 year with each brother and that since he is the eldest, she will start the cycle with him. And the brother who breaks this rule will have to go into exile for 12 years. Further, the same punishment will apply if any brother happens to disturb another when he is carnally engaged with Draupadi.

This punishment actually comes into play when Arjuna disturbs Yudhisthir and Draupadi. Arjuna has to retrieve his weapons from the armory, in order to help a poor Brahmin whose cows have been stolen by thieves.

Arjuna departs on exile for 12 years, where he visits his father Indra, gets cursed by Urvashi, learns a lot of new skills from multiple teachers (Shiva, Indra etc), meets and marries Subadhra, followed by Chitrangada, etc. However, what happens to the year that he is to spend with Draupadi? It reverts back to Yudhisthir, who promises to care for Draupadi on Arjuna’s behalf. Naturally.

3. Draupadi and Bhima:

Bhima is silly putty in Draupadi’s hands. Of all her husbands, he is the one who loves her the most. He fulfills her every request, he cannot bear to see her hurt.

He use to bring her flowers from Kuber’s garden. Bhima cried because his beautiful wife will have to serve as a Sairandhri (maid) to Queen Sudeshna of Matsya. Bhima kills a 100 Kauravas to avenge the insult to Draupadi. Bhima was the one whom Draupadi run to when she is molested by Keechak in Matsya kingdom.

The other Pandavas are not under Draupadi’s thumb. She is prone to outbursts of rage, she makes unreasonable, unwise demands. When she wants Keechak killed for molesting her, Yudhisthir tells her that it would expose their presence in Matsya kingdom, and advises her to “live with it”. Bhima simply walks up to Keechak in the middle of the night and tears him limb from limb. No questions asked.

Draupadi shows us Bhima’s human side. He is a savage monster with others, but he is always and only tender when it comes to Draupadi.

4. Draupadi with Nakul and Sahadev:

As with most of the Mahabharat, Nakul and Sahadev don’t really matter here. Not many version of the Mahabharat where Nakul and Sahadev have any role of substance. In reality, Nakul and Sahadev are more loyal to Yudhisthir than anyone else. They don’t share father or mother with Yudhisthir, yet they follow him everywhere and do exactly as he asks. They could have gone and ruled over Madradesh, and lived a life of luxury and ease, but they stuck with their brother through thick and thin. Makes one appreciate them a little bit more.

In summary, Draupadi’s curse is the curse of beauty. She is the object of every man’s lust, but no one cares much for what she desires or feels. Her husbands gamble her away as if she were property. When Dusshasana strips her in view of a full court, she has to beg Krishna to save her. Her husbands don’t lift a finger.

Even at the end of their 13 year exile, the Pandavas are not intent on war. They worry that the losses in the Kurukshetra war will be too big to warrant it. Draupadi has to turn to her friend, Krishna, to heal her soul. Krishna promises her: “Soon wilt thou, O Draupadi, behold the ladies of Bharata’s race weep as thou dost. Even they, O timid one, will weep like thee, their kinsmen and friends being slain. They with whom, O lady, thou art angry, have their kinsmen and warriors already slain…. I will accomplish all this.”

And thus comes about the Mahabharat war.

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