There are many characters who appears both in Ramayana and mahabharata. Here it the list of 12 such characters who appears in both Ramayana and Mahabharata.
1) Jambavanth: who was in Rama’s army wants to fight with Rama in Tretha yuga, fought with Krishna and asked Krishna to marry his daughter Jambhavathi. the king of bears in Ramayan, who plays a major role, during the building of the bridge, appears in the Mahabharat, technically speaking the Bhagavatam I would say. Apparently, during Ramayan, Lord Ram, was pleased with Jambavanth’s devotion and told him to ask for a boon. Jambavan being of slow understanding, wished for a duel with Lord Ram, which he granted, saying that it would be done in his next avatar. And that is the entire story of Symanthaka Mani, where Krishna goes in search of it, meets Jambavan, and they have a duel, before Jambavan finally recognizes the truth.
2) Maharishi Durvasa: who predicted the separation of Rama and Sita was the son of Maharishi Atri and Anasuya, visited the Pandavas in exile.. Durvasha gave a mantra to Kunti, the mother of eldest 3 Pandavas for getting children .
3) Narad Muni:Comes in many occasions in both stories. In Mahabharata he was one of the Rishis attended to Krishna’s peace talks in Hastinapur.
4) Vayu Dev: Vayu is father of both Hanuman and Bheema.
5) Vasishtha’s son Shakthi: had a son called Parasara and Parasara’s son was Veda Vyasa, who wrote the Mahabharata . So this means Vasishtha was the great grandfather of Vyasa. Brahmarshi Vasishtha lived from the time of Satyavrata Manu, to the time of Sri Rama. Sri Rama was Vasistha’s student.
6) Mayasura:the father of Mandodari and Ravan’s father in law, appears in the Mahabharat too, during the Khandava Dahana incident. Mayasura was the only one to survive the burning of the Khandava forest, and when Krishna finds this out, he lifts his Sudarshan Chakra to kill him. Mayasura however rushes to Arjun, who gives him refuge and tells Krishna, that he is now sworn to protect him. And so as a deal, Mayasura, himself an architect, designs the entire Maya Sabha for the Pandavas.
7) Maharishi Bharadwaja: Drona’s father was the Maharishi Bharadwaja, who was the pupil of Valmiki, who wrote Ramayana.
8) Kubera: Kubera, who is the elder half brother of Ravana, is also in Mahabharata.
9) Parshuram: Parushuram, who appeared in Ram and Sita marriage, is also Guru to Bhishma and Karna. Parshuram was in the Ramayan, when he challenged Lord Ram to break the Vishnu Dhanush, which also in a way, quelled his anger. In the Mahabharat he initially has a duel with Bhishma, when Amba seeks his help in taking revenge, but loses to him. Karna later poses as a Brahmin in order to learn about weapons from Parashuram, before exposing himself, and being cursed by him, that his weapons would fail him when he needed them the most.
10) Hanuman:Hanumanbeing the Chiranjivi( blessed with eternal life), appears in the Mahabharat, he also happens to be Bhim’s brother, both of them son of Vayu. The tale of Hanuman quelling Bhim’s pride, by appearing as an old monkey, when he was on the journey to get the Kadamba flower. Also another tale in the Mahabharat, of Hanuman and Arjun having a bet of who was stronger, and Hanuman losing the wager thanks to help of Lord Krishna, due to which he appears on Arjun’s flag during the Kurukshetra war.
11) Vibheeshana: Mahabharata mentions that Vibheeshana sent Jewell and Gems to Yudhisthira’s Rajasuya sacrifice. That is the only mention about Vibheeshana in Mahabharata.
12) Agastya Rishi: Agastya Rishi Met Rama before the war with Ravana. Mahabharata mentions that Agastya was the one who gave the weapon “Brahmashira” to Drona. (Arjuna and Aswatama had obtained this weapon from Drona)
Image credits to the Original artists and Google Images. The hindu FAQs does not own any Images.
Story of Arjuna and Ulupi
While on exile, (As he broke the rule of not entering any brother’s room (When that brothers with draupadi) by anyone, a solution suggested by Devarshi Narad) for 12 years, he decided to spent first few days on the GANGA GHAAT, on Ganga Ghat, he used to go bath daily deep in the water, deeper than a normal person can go, (Being son of a god, he might be having that capability), Naag Kanya Ulupi (Who was living in the ganga itself having her father’s (Adi-Shesha) RAJMAHAL there.) seen that daily for few days and fall for him (purely lust).
One fine day, she dragged arjuna inside the water, to her private chamber and ask for love, to which, arjuna declines, He says, “You are too beautiful to deny, but I am on my celibacy in this pilgrimage and can’t do that to you”, to which she argues that “celibacy of your promise is limited to Draupadi, not to anyone else”, and by such arguments, she convinces arjuna, as he was also attracted, but was bound by promise, so by bending DHARMA, according to own requirement, with the help of Ulupi’s word, he agrees to stay there for a night, and fulfills her lust (His own too).
She later restored Arjuna to the lamenting Chitrangada, Arjuna’s other wives. She played a major part in the upbringing of Arjuna and Chitrangada’s son, Babruvahana. She was also able to restore Arjuna to life after he was slain in battle by Babruvahana. When Arjuna was given a curse by the Vasus, Bhishma’s brothers, after he killed Bhishma in the Kurukshetra war, she redeemed Arjuna from the curse.
Story of Arjuna and Chitrangada
After the stay of one night with ulupi, as a result of which, IRAVAN, was born, who later dies in battle of Mahabharata on 8th day by Alambusha a-demon, Arjuna travels to west of the bank & reaches Manipur.
While he was resting in jungle, he saw Chitrangadha, daughter of king of manipur, Chitrabahana, and fall for her at the first sight as she was on hunting (Here, it is direct lust, nothing else), and asks for hand directly from her father giving his original identity. Her Father agreed only on condition that, her offspring will born and brought up in Manipur only. (In manipur it was a tradition to have one child only, and so, chitrangada was the only child of king). So that he/she can continue the kingdom. Arjuna stayed there for approx three years and after the birth of their son, BRAHUBHUVAN, he left manipur and continued his exile.
Jarasandha (Sanskrit: जरासंध) was A badass villain from Hindu Mythology. He was the king of Magadha. He was the son of a Vedic king named Brihadratha. He was also a great devotee of Lord Shiva. But he is generally held in negative light owing to his enmity with the Yadava clan in the Mahabaratha.
Brihadratha was the king of Magadha. His wives were the twin princesses of Benares. While he led a content life and was a famed king, he was unable to have children for a very long time. Frustrated over his inability to have children, he retreated to the forest and eventually ended up serving a sage named Chandakaushika. The sage took pity on him and on finding the actual cause for his sorrow, gave him a fruit and told him to give it to his wife who in turn will soon become pregnant. But the sage did not know that he had two wives. Not wishing to displease either wife, Brihadratha cut the fruit in half and gave it to both of them. Soon both the wives became pregnant and gave birth to two halves of a human body. These two lifeless halves were very horrifying to view. So, Brihadratha ordered these to be thrown in the forest. A demoness (Rakshasi) named “Jara” (orBarmata) found these two pieces and held each of these in her two palms. Incidentally when she brought both of her palms together,the two pieces joined together giving rise to a living child. The Child cried loudly which created panic for Jara. Not having the heart to eat a living child, the demoness gave it to the king and explained him all that happened. The father named the boy as Jarasandha (literally meaning “joined by Jara”).
Chandakaushika arrived at the court and saw the child. He prophesied to Brihadratha that his son will be specially gifted and would be a great devotee of Lord Shiva.
In India, descendants of Jarasandh still exist and use Joriya (which means piece of flesh named after their ancestor, “jarasandha”) as their suffix while naming themselves.
Jarasandha became a famed and powerful king, extending his empire far and wide. He prevailed over many kings, and was crowned emperor of Magadha. Even while Jarasandha’s power continued to grow, he had concerns over his future & that of the empires, as he had no heirs. Therefore, on the advice of his close friend kingBanasura, Jarasandh decided to get his two daughters ‘Asti and Prapti’ married to the heir apparent of Mathura, Kansa. Jarasandha had also lent his army and his personal advise to Kansa to create a coup d’état in Mathura.
When Krishna killed Kansa in Mathura, Jarasandha become enraged because of Krishna and the entire Yadavas clan on seeing his two daughters being widowed. So, Jarasandha attacked Mathura repeatedly. He attacked Mathura 17 times. Sensing danger over the repeated attack on Mathura by Jarasandha, Krishna relocated his capital city to Dwaraka. Dwaraka was an island and it was not possible for anyone to attack it at all. Hence, Jarasandha could not attack the Yadavas anymore.
Yudhisthira was planning to make a Rajasuya yagna or Ashwamedha Yagna in order to become the emperor. Krishnaconvinced him that Jarasandha was the only obstacle to oppose Yudhisthira from becoming an emperor. Jarasandha raidedMathura (Krishna’s ancestral capital) and got defeated by Krishna every time. At one stage to avoid unnecessary loss of lives, Krishna moved his capital to Dwaraka, in one stroke. Since Dwaraka was an island city guarded heavily by Yadava Army, Jarasandha was not able to invadeDwaraka anymore. To attain the capacity to invade Dwaraka, Jarasandha planned to conduct a Yagna to please Lord Shiva. For this Yagna, He had imprisoned 95 kings and was in need of 5 more kings, after which he was planning to perform the Yagna, sacrificing all the 100 kings. Jarasandha thought that this Yagna will make him win the powerful Yadava Army.
The kings captured by Jarasandha wrote a secret missive to Krishna to rescue them from Jarasandha. Krishna, not wanting to go for an all out war with Jarasandha to rescue the captured kings, in order to avoid a major loss of lives, devised a plan to eliminate Jarasandha. Krishna advised Yudhisthira that Jarasandha was a major obstacle and must be killed before Yudhisthira starts performing the Rajasuya yagna. Krishna planned a clever scheme to eliminate Jarasandha by making Bheemawrestle with the Jarasandha in a dual fight, who killed Jarasandha after a fierce battle (Dwandwa yudha), which lasted for 27 days.
Like Karna, Jarasandha was also very good in giving charity donations. After performing his Shiva pooja, he used to give whatever the Brahmins asked for. On one such occasion Krishna, Arjuna and Bheema in the guise of Brahmins met Jarasandha. Krishna asked Jarasandha to choose any one of them for a wrestling match. Jarasandha chose Bheema, the strongman, to wrestle. Both of them fought for 27 days. Bheema did not know how to defeat Jarasandha. So, he sought the help of Krishna. Krishna knew the secret by which Jarasandha could be killed. 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.
6. Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu Rameswaram is the closest point to reach Sri Lanka and geological evidence suggests that the Ram Setu or Adam’s Bridge was a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka.
Rameswara means “Lord of Rama” in Sanskrit, an epithet of Shiva, the presiding deity of the Ramanathaswamy Temple.According to Ramayana, Rama prayed to Shiva here to absolve any sins that he might have committed during his war against the demon-king Ravana in Sri Lanka. According to the Puranas (Hindu scriptures), upon the advice of sages, Rama along with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana, installed and worshipped the lingam (an iconic symbol of Shiva) here to expiate the sin of Brahmahatya incurred while killing of the Brahmin Ravana. To worship Shiva, Rama wanted to have the largest lingam and directed his monkey lieutenant Hanuman to bring it from Himalayas. Since it took longer to bring the lingam, Sita built a small lingam, which is believed to be the one in the sanctum of the temple. Support for this account is found in some of the later versions of the Ramayana, such as the one penned by Tulasidas (15th century). Sethu Karai is a place 22 km before the island of Rameswaram from where Rama built Ram Setu, the Adam’s bridge, that further continued to Dhanushkodi in Rameswaram till Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. According to another version, as quoted in Adhyatma Ramayana, Rama installed the lingam before the construction of the bridge to Lanka.
7. Panchavati, Nashik
Panchavati is the place in the forest of Dandakaranya (Danda Kingdom), where Rama built his home along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman during their period of exile in the wilderness. Panchavati literally means “a garden of five banyan trees”. These trees are said to have been there during the exile of Lord Rama.
There is a place called Tapovan where Lakshmana, the brother of Rama, cut off the nose of Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana, when she attempted to kill Sita. The entire Aranya Kanda (book of the forest) of Ramayana is set in Panchavati.
Sita Gumpha (Sita Cave) is located near the five Banyan trees in Panchavati. The cave is So narrow that only one person can enter at a time. The cave has the idol of Shree Ram, Laxman and Sita. To the left, one can enter into the cave having the Shiva Linga. It’s believe that Ravan kidnapped Sita from the same place.
Ramkund near panchavati called so because Lord Rama is believed to have taken bath there. It is also called Asthi Vilaya Tirtha (bone immersion tank) because bones dropped here dissolve. Lord Rama is said to have performed funeral rites in memory of His father, King Dasaratha.
Here are some images that tell us Ramayana might have actually happened.
1. Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh
When Sita was abducted by Raavan the Mighty ten headed demon, they bumped into Jatayu, a demi-god in vulture form, who tried his best to stop Raavan.
Jatayu was a great devotee of Rama. He could not keep quiet at the Jatayu fights with Ravanaplight of Sita, although the wise bird knew that he was no match for the mighty Ravana. But he was not afraid of Ravana’s strength even though he knew that he would get killed by obstructing the path of Ravana. Jatayu decided to save Sita from the clutches of Ravana at any cost. He stopped Ravana and ordered him to leave Sita, but Ravana threatened to kill him he interfered. Chanting Rama’s name, Jatayu attacked Ravana with his sharp claws and hooked beak.
His sharp nails and the beak tore flesh from the body of Ravana. Ravana took out his diamond-studded arrow and fired at Jatayu’s wings. As the arrow hit, the frail wing tore off and fell, but the brave bird continued fighting. With his other wing he bruised Ravana’s face and tried to pull Sita from the chariot. The fight went on for quite some time. Soon, Jatayu was bleeding from the wounds all over his body.
Finally, Ravana took out one huge arrow and shot Jatayu’s other wing as well. As it hit, the bird fell on the ground, bruised and battered.
Lepakshi, in Andhra Pradesh, is said to be the place where Jatayu fell.
2. Ram Sethu/ Ram Setu The bridge’s unique curvature and composition by age reveals that it is man made. The legends as well as Archeological studies reveal that the first signs of human inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to the a primitive age, about 1,750,000 years ago and the bridge’s age is also almost equivalent.
This information is a crucial aspect for an insight into the mysterious legend called Ramayana, which was supposed to have taken place in treta yuga (more than 1,700,000 years ago).
In this epic, there is a mentioning about a bridge, which was built between Rameshwaram (India) and Srilankan coast under the supervision of a dynamic and invincible figure called Rama who is supposed to be the incarnation of the supreme.
This information may not be of much importance to the archeologists who are interested in exploring the origins of man, but it is sure to open the spiritual gates of the people of the world to have come to know an ancient history linked to the Indian mythology.
One of a rock from ram setu, its still floats on water.
3. Koneswaram Temple in Sri Lanka
Koneswaram temple of Trincomalee or Thirukonamalai Konesar Temple AKA The Temple of the Thousand Pillars and Dakshina-Then Kailasam is a classical-medieval Hindu temple complex in Trincomalee, a Hindu religious pilgrimage centre in Eastern Province, Sri Lanka.
According to one Hindu legend, Shiva at Koneswaram was worshipped by Indra, king of the gods.
King Ravana of the epic Ramayana and his mother are believed to have worshiped Lord Shiva in the sacred lingam form at Koneswaram circa 2000 BCE; the cleft of Swami Rock is attributed to Ravana’s great strength. According to this tradition, his father-in-law Maya built the Ketheeswaram temple in Mannar. Ravana is believed to have brought the swayambhu lingam in the temple to Koneswaram, one of 69 such lingams he carried from Mount Kailash.
4. Sita Kotua and Ashoka Vatika, Sri Lanka
Sitadevi was kept in queen Mandothari’s palace until she was moved to Sita Kotua and then on to Ashoka Vatika. The remains that are found are the remnants of later civilizations. This place is now called Sita Kotuwa which means ‘Sita’s Fort’ and got its name because of Sitadevi’s stay here.
5. Divurumpola in Sri Lanka
Legend says This is the place where Seetha Devi underwent “Agni Pariksha” (test). It is a popular place of worship among locals in this area. Divurumpola means place of oath in Sinhala. The legal system permits and accepts the swearing done at this temple while settling disputes between parties.
Karna attaches an arrow to his bow, pulls back and releases – the arrow is aimed at Arjun’s heart. Krishna, Arjun’s Charioteer, drives by sheer force the chariot into the ground several feet. The arrow hits Arjun’s headgear and knocks it off. Missing its target – Arjuna’s heart.
Krishna yells, “Wow! Nice shot, Karna.”
Arjuna asks Krishna, ‘Why are you praising Karna?’
Krishna tells Arjun, ‘Look at you! You have Lord Hanuman on the flag of this chariot. You have me as your charioteer. You received the blessings of Ma Durga and your Guru, Dronacharya before the battle, have a loving Mother and an aristocratic heritage. This Karna has nobody, his own charioteer, Salya belittles him, his own Guru (Parusurama) cursed him, his Mother abandoned him when he was born and he has no known heritage. Yet, look at the battle he’s giving you. Without me and Lord Hanuman on this chariot, where would you be?’
Comparison between Krishna and Karna on various occasions. Some of them are Myths while some are pure facts.
1. Immediately after Krishna’s birth, he was transported across the river by his father, Vasudeva to be brought up by his step-parents – Nanda & Yasoda
Immediately after Karna’s birth, his Mother – Kunti placed him in a basket on the river. He was transported to his step-parents – Adhiratha & Radha – by the watchful eye of his father, Surya Dev
2. Karna’s given name was – Vasusena
– Krishna was also called – Vasudeva
3. Krishna’s mother was Devaki, his Step-Mother – Yasoda, His Chief Wife – Rukmini, yet he is remembered mostly for his lila with Radha. ‘Radha-Krishna’
– Karna’s birth mother was Kunti, and even after finding out she was his mother – He told Krishna that he will not be called – Kaunteya – son of Kunti, but will be remembered as Radheya – Son of Radha. Till date, the Mahabharata refers to Karna as ‘Radheya’
4. Krishna was asked by his people – Yadavas- to become, King. Krishna refused and Ugrasena was King of the Yadavas.
– Krishna asked Karna to become Emperor of India (BharataVarsha- Extending to Pakistan, Bangladesh & Afghanistan at the time), thereby preventing the MahaBharat War. Krishna argued that Karna being elder to both Yudhisthira & Duryodhana – he would be the rightful heir to the throne. Karna refused the Kingdom on account of principle
5. Krishna broke his vow of not picking up a weapon during the War, when he impulsively rushed at Bhishma Dev with his Chakra.
Krishna rushing towards Bhishma with his Chakra
6. Krishna vowed to Kunti that all 5 Pandavas were under his protection
– Karna vowed to Kunti that he would spare the lives of 4 Pandavas and battle Arjuna (In the War, Karna had a chance to kill – Yudhisthira, Bhima, Nakula & Sahadeva at different intervals. Yet, he spared their lives)
7. Krishna was born in the Kshatriya caste, yet he played the role of Arjuna’s charioteer in the War
– Karna was raised in the Suta (Charioteer) caste, yet he played the role of a Kshatriya in the War
8. Karna was cursed to his Death by his Guru – Rishi Parusharam for deceiving him for being a Brahmin (In actuality, Parusharam knew about Karna’s true heritage – however, he also knew the big picture that was to be played out later. Aside from that – along w/ Bhishma Dev, Karna was his favorite disciple)
– Krishna was cursed to his Death by Gandhari as she felt he allowed the War to unfold and could have done more to prevent it.
9. Draupadi called Krishna her Sakha (Brother) & loved him openly. (Krishna cut his finger from the Sudarshan Chakra and Draupadi immediately tore a piece of cloth from her favorite sari that she was wearing, soaked it in water and rapidly wrapped it around his finger to stop the bleeding. When Krishna said, ‘That is your favorite Sari!’. Draupadi smiled and shrugged her shoulders as if it was no big deal. Krishna was touched by this – hence when she was being stripped by Dushashana in the Assembly Hall – Krishna by his maya supplied Draupadi with never ending Saris.)
– Draupadi loved Karna secretly. He was her hidden crush. When Dushashana strips Draupadi of her sari in the Assembly Hall. Which Krishna replenished one by one (Bhima had once told Yudhisthira, ‘Brother, do not give Krishna your sins. He multiplies everything.’)
10. Prior to the War, Krishna was looked upon with great respect and reverence. Even among the Yadavas, they knew Krishna was great, nay The Greatest…yet, they didn’t know his Divinity. Very few knew for sure who Krishna was. After the War, many Rishis and people were angry with Krishna as they felt he could have prevented the atrocity and millions of deaths.
– Prior to the War, Karna was looked upon as an instigator and right-hand man of Duryodhana – jealous of the Pandavas. After the war, Karna was looked upon with reverence by the Pandavas, Dhritarashtra & Gandhari. For his endless sacrifice & they were all sad that Karna had to face such ignonimity his whole life
11. Krishna/Karna had an enormous amount of respect for each other. Karna somehow knew about Krishna’s divinity and surrendered himself to his Lila. Whereas, Karna surrendered to Krishna & gained glory – Ashwattama could not accept the manner in which his father, Dronacharya was slayed and unleashed a vicious guerrilla warfare against the Panchalas – men, women & children. Ending up being a bigger villain than Duryodhana.
12. Krishna asked Karna how he knew the Pandavas would Win the MahaBharat War. To which Karna responded, ‘Kurukshethra is a sacrificial field. Arjuna is the Head Priest, You-Krishna are the presiding deity. Myself (Karna), Bhishma Dev, Dronacharya and Duryodhana are the sacrifice.’
Krishna ended their conversation by telling Karna, ‘You are the best of the Pandavas.’
13. KARNA is the creation of Krishna to show the world the true meaning of sacrifice and to accept your fate. And in spite of all the bad luck or bad times you come across maintain: Your Spirituality, Your Generosity, Your Nobility, Your Dignity and Your Self- Respect and Respect for others.
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.
So here is another story about Karna and his DaanVeerta. He was one of the greatest Daanshur (the one who Donates) ever witnessed by humanbeings.
Karna was lying on the battlefield gasping for breath in his last moments. Krishna assumed the form of an indigent Brahmin and approached him wanting to test his generosity and proving it to Arjun. Krishna exclaimed: “Karna! Karna!” Karna asked him: “Who are you, Sir?” Krishna (as the poor Brahmin) replied: “For a long time I have been hearing about your reputation as a charitable person. Today I came to ask you for a gift. You must give me a donation.” “Certainly, I shall give you whatever you want”, replied Karna. “I have to perform the marriage of my son. I want a small quantity of gold”, said Krishna. “Oh what a pity! Please go to my wife, she will give you as much as gold as you need”, said Karna. The “Brahmin” broke into laughter. He said: “For the sake of a little gold have I to go all the way to Hastinapura? If you say, you are not in a position to give me what I ask I shall leave you.” Karna declared: “As long as breath remains in me, I will not say ‘no’ to anyone.” Karna opened his mouth, showed the gold fillings for his teeth and said: “I shall give this to you. You can take them”.
Assuming a tone of revulsion, Krishna said: “What is it you suggest? Do you expect me to break your teeth and take the gold from them? How can I do such a wicked deed? I am a Brahmin.” Immediately, Karna picked up a stone nearby, knocked out his teeth and offered them to the “Brahmin”.
Krishna in his guise as Brahmin wanted to test Karna further. “What? Are you giving me as gift teeth dripping with blood? I cannot accept this. I am leaving”, he said. Karna pleaded: “Swami, please wait for a moment.” Even while he was unable to move, Karna took out his arrow and aimed it at the sky. Immediately rain dropped from the clouds. Cleaning the teeth with the rainwater, Karna offered the teeth with both his hands.
Krishna then revealed his original form. Karna asked: “Who are you, Sir”? Krishna said: “I am Krishna. I admire your spirit of sacrifice. In any circumstance you have never given up your spirit of sacrifice. Ask me what you want.” Beholding Krishna’s beauteous form, Karna said with folded hands: “Krishna! To have the vision of the Lord before one’s passing is the goal of human existence. You came to me and blessed me with your form. This is enough for me. I offer my salutations to you.” In this way, Karna stayed DAANVEER till the very end.
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.
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.
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.
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”