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HINDUISM MYTHOLOGY
 
 

Mahabharata ( Incarnation of lord Krishna )

Mahabharata

Mahabharata Period - By hindu mythology text belongs to dvapara yuga. Dvapara yuga period are back us to date near to 5000 (just start of Kaliyuga) year back from today. (to understand yuga period time please refer to yuga section.)

 

Start Your Mahabharat Journey .

 

The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Ramayana. Besides its epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kauravas and the Pandava princes, the Mahabharata contains much philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or purusharthas. Among the principal works and stories that are a part of the Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahabharata is attributed to Vyasa. There have been many attempts to unravel its historical growth and compositional layers. The oldest preserved parts of the text are not thought to be appreciably older than around 400 BCE, though the origins of the story probably fall between the 8th and 9th centuries BCE or near to 3200 B.C.(according to different sources). The text probably reached its final form by the early Gupta period (4th century).The title may be translated as "the great tale of the Bharata dynasty". According to the Mahabharata itself, the tale is extended from a shorter version of 24,000 verses called simply Bharata. The Mahabharata is the longest Sanskrit epic. Its longest version consists of over 100,000 shloka or over 200,000 individual verse lines (each shloka is a couplet), and long prose passages. About 1.8 million words in total, the Mahabharata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Ramayana.

The earliest known references to the Mahabharata and its core Bharata date back to the Ashtadhyayi (sutra 6.2.38) of Panini (fl. 4th century BCE), and in the Ashvalayana Grhyasutra (3.4.4). This may suggest that the core 24,000 verses, known as the Bharata, as well as an early version of the extended Mahabharata, were composed by the 4th century BCE.

The Date of the Mahabharata

Let’s consider the epoch for the Mahabharata War. By popular tradition, the Kali Age started with the death of Krishna, 35 years after the War. The Kali calendar has a beginning of 3102 BC, therefore it is thought that the Mahabharata War took place in 3137 BC. The Kali age is supposed to have begun with a grand planetary conjunction.

 

The first mention of the Kali calendar is by the astronomer Aryabhata in his treatise on astronomy with an internal date of 500 AD. The earliest epigraphical reference is in the 5th century inscription of King Devasena where it is alluded to indirectly, and in the Aihole inscription of 3735 Kali (634 AD). Because of these late references, some scholars have suggested that the Kali calendar was started at a late period with an assumed conjunction at the beginning of the era for convenience of calculations, and, therefore, the Aihole inscription cannot be taken as proof of the date of the War.

 

Modern studies using powerful software that can reconstruct the ancient skies indicates that there was actually an approximate conjunction of the planets on Feb 17, 3102 BC as taken by Aryabhata. This may only be a coincidence. Even if the Kali calendar is as old as its starting date, its connections with the Mahabharata War do not appear to be equally ancient. There are also other traditions related to the War. Some of them are old, some new. The most prominent competing theories may be gathered into the following four classes:

 

1. The date of around 1000 BC. This is the date popularized by Western Indologists as being most “reasonable” based on archaeological data. Repeated in numerous school texts, it has achieved a certain kind of canonicity. This date was first proposed within the framework of the Aryan invasion theory. Although that theory has been discredited, this date has taken independent life of its own.

 

2. The date of 1924 BC. Based on Puranic genealogies that see a gap of 1000 years or so between the War and the rule of the Nandas (424 BC) we get the date of 1424 BC. But Pargiter, while editing these accounts from the various Puranas, suggested that the original number was 1,500 which was wrongly copied in various texts as 1000, 1015, or 1050. I accept the arguments of Pargiter and, therefore, consider the Puranic tradition to support the date of 1924 BC. Furthermore, the date of 1424 BC sits in the middle of an obscure period, and it is hard to see how the events of that age would not have left markers in the archaeological record.

 

3. The date of 2449 BC. This is based on a statement by Varahamihira in 505 AD in chapter 13 of the Brihat Samhita, where it is claimed that the commencement of the Saka era took place 2,526 years after the rule of the king Yudhisthira. If the Saka era meant here is the Salivahana era (78 AD), then the date follows. Some scholars have suggested that this Saka era refers to the one started by an earlier Saka king in Central Asia and that this date is not at variance with the Kali date of Aryabhata.

 

4. The date of 3137 BC. The traditional value, mentioned by Aryabhata and in the Aihole inscription of 634 AD.

 

I shall examine these three different dates while considering the evidence from the Mahabharata, the Puranas, archaeology and astronomy.

Mahabharata Divided into 18 book or parvas

The division into 18 parvas is as follows:

1 Adi Parva (The Book of the Beginning)  
How the Mahabharata came to be narrated by Sauti to the assembled rishis at Naimisharanya , after having been recited at the sarpasattra of Janamejaya by Vaishampayana at Takasila . The history and genealogy of the Bharata and Bhrigu races is recalled, as is the birth and early life of the Kuru princes . ( adi means first)
2 Sabha Parva (The Book of the Assembly Hall)  
Maya Danava erects the palace and court ( sabha ), at Indraprastha . Life at the court, Yudhishthira's Rajasuya Yajna, the game of dice, and the eventual exile of the Pandavas.
3 Vana Parva also Aranyaka-parva, Aranya-parva (The Book of the Forest)   The twelve years of exile in the forest ( aranya ).
4 Virata Parva (The Book of Virata)   The year spent incognito at the court of Virata .
5 Udyoga Parva (The Book of the Effort)  
Preparations for war and efforts to bring about peace between the Kurus and the Pandavas which eventually fail ( udyoga means effort or work).
6 Bhishma Parva (The Book of Bhishma)  
The first part of the great battle, with Bhishma as commander for the Kauravas and his fall on the bed of arrows. (Includes the Bhagavad Gita in chapters 25
7 Drona Parva (The Book of Drona)  
The battle continues, with Drona as commander. This is the major book of the war. Most of the great warriors on both sides are dead by the end of this book.
8 Karna Parva (The Book of Karna)   The battle again, with Karna as commander.
9 Shalya Parva (The Book of Shalya)  
The last day of the battle, with Shalya as commander. Also told in detail is the pilgrimage of Balarama to the fords of the river Saraswati and the mace fight between Bhima and Duryodhana which ends the war, since Bhima kills Duryodhana by smashing him on the thighs with a mace.
10 Sauptika Parva (The Book of the Sleeping Warriors)  
Ashvattama , Kripa and Kritavarma kill the remaining Pandava army in their sleep. Only 7 warriors remain on the Pandava side and 3 on the Kaurava side.
11 Stri Parva (The Book of the Women)   Gandhari , Kunti and the women ( stri ) of the Kurus and Pandavas lament the dead.
12 Shanti Parva (The Book of Peace)  
The crowning of Yudhisthira as king of Hastinapura, and instructions from Bhishma for the newly anointed king on society, economics and politics. This is the longest book of the Mahabharata ( shanti means peace).
13 Anushasana Parva (The Book of the Instructions)   The final instructions ( anushasana ) from Bhishma.
14 Ashvamedhika Parva (The Book of the Horse Sacrifice)  
The royal ceremony of the Ashvamedha (Horse sacrifice) conducted by Yudhisthira. The world conquest by Arjuna. The Anugita is told by Krishna to Arjuna.
15 Ashramavasika Parva (The Book of the Hermitage)  
The eventual deaths of Dhritarashtra, Gandhari and Kunti in a forest fire when they are living in a hermitage in the Himalayas. Vidura predeceases them and Sanjaya on Dhritarashtra's bidding goes to live in the higher Himalayas.
16 Mausala Parva (The Book of the Clubs)   The infighting between the Yadavas with maces ( mausala ) and the eventual destruction of the Yadavas.
17 Mahaprasthanika Parva (The Book of the Great Journey)  
The great journey of Yudhisthira and his brothers across the whole country and finally their ascent of the great Himalayas where each Pandava falls except for Yudhisthira.
18 Svargarohana Parva (The Book of the Ascent to Heaven)   Yudhisthira's final test and the return of the Pandavas to the spiritual world ( svarga ).
khila Harivamsa Parva (The Book of the Genealogy of Hari)  
This is an addendum to the 18 books, and covers those parts of the life of Krishna which is not covered in the 18 parvas of the Mahabharata.

 

 

Characters of Mahabharat

Abhimanyu Son of Arjuna, who died in the war

Adhirath King Shantanu's sarathi, who found child Karna in a box flowed by Karna's mother Kunti. He named the boy Radhey and brought him up.

Amba Daughter of Kashiraj (King of Kashi); sister of Ambika & Ambalika; wife of Shalva

Ambika & Ambalika , Daughter of Kashiraj (King of Kashi); sisters of Amba; wives of Vichitravirya

Aniruddha Grandson of Krishna and Rukmani; Son of Pradyuman and Rukmavati Arjuna Fourth son of Kunti, sired by Indra; Inimitable archer

Ashwatthama Son of Dronacharya and Krupi; defeated by Arjuna in the great battle of Mahabharata Bhagiratha King of solar dynasty who brought sacred river Ganga on earth

Bhima Third son of Kunti, sired by wind God; Known for his food and strength; Father of Ghatotkatcha

Bhishma Eighth son of Shantanu and Ganga; Counselor of Dhritarastra; celibate by vow; had a boon to choose the time of his death; aka Debvrata

Brihaspati Spiritual head of Deities; Father of Kach Chitrangad Son of Shantanu & Satyavati; Brother of Vichitravirya Devyani Sukracharya's daughter, who married to King Yayati Dhristadhyumna Son of King Drupada; Brother of Draupadi; He was born of a sacrificial fire along with Draupadi

Dhritarastra Elder brother of Pandu; Father of hundered Kauravas (Duryodhan, Dushashan ..etc); husband of Gandhari

Drona Teacher who served dynasty of Hastinapur; Taught weaponry to both Pandavas and Kauravas but ended up fighting for Kaurvas; Son of Bhardwaj; He was married to Kripi and had a son named Aswatthama.

Drupada Father of Draupadi and Dhristadhyumna; King of Panchal; father of Shikhandi; Childhood friend of Drona

Draupadi Wife of five pandavas; daughter of Kind Drupad; She was won in swayamvar (groom chosing) by Arjuna

Duryodhana First son of Gandhari and eldest of hundred Kauravas

Dushashana Brother of Duryodhana and son of Gandhari; He humiliated and dragged Draupadi by hair

Dushala Daughter of Gandhari and Dhritarastra; Lone sister of hundred Kauravas

Eklavya Inimitable archer and student of Drona who learned archery without direct teaching; he gave his thumb as Guru-dakshina

Gandhari Wife of Dhritarastra, who blindfold herself after the marriage; Mother of hundred Kauravas; Sister of Shakuni; Daughter of the King of Gandhar

Ganga Married to Shantanu; Mother of Bhishma; Goddess of the sacred river, Ganga who was brought to earth by Bhagirath Ghatotkatcha Son of Bhima

Jayadratha Son-in-law of Dritarastra and King of Sindhu kingdom; Married to Dushala, sister of Kauravas

Kach Son of Brihaspati, who went to Sukracharya's place to learn the art of immortality

Kapil Sage whose wrath killed sixty thousand sons of King Sagar Karna Eldest son of Kunti, sired by sun God (hence surya-putra); Friend of Duryodhana; Raised by charioteer (hence sut-putra)

Kripacharya Teacher of Pandavas and Kauravas but ended up fighting for kauravas

Krishna Incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who delivered Bhagavad Gita; cousin of Kunti; Friend and Charioteer of Arjuna; Chief councelor for Pandavas in the war

Kunti Wife of Pandu; Mother of Karna, Yudhisthir, Arjuna and Bhima

Madri Second wife of Pandu; Mother of Nakul and Sahdeva; daughter of King Shalya Nakula Son of Madri and Pandu, known for patience

Pratip Father of Shantanu & Father-in-law of Ganga Pandu Younger brother of Dhritarastra; husband of Kunti

Sahdeva Son of Madri and Pandu, known for wisdom; He could see future

Sandipani Teacher of Krishna and Sudama

Satyavati Daughter of a fisherman (Dasraj); wife of King Shantanu; mother of Chitrangad & Vichitravirya Shalya Madri's father

Shakuni Younger brother of Gandhari; maternal uncle of Duryodhana; An expert dice player

Shakuntala Raised by Sage Kanva; Wife of King Dushyant; Mother of Sarvadaman

Shantanu Married to Ganga and father of Bhishma; also married to Satyavati, daughter of a fisherman.

Sharmistha Daughter of King Vrishparva; friend of Devyani

Sukracharya Spiritual head of Demons

Ved Vyas Son of Sage Parashar and Matsyagandha; creator of Mahabharat, Bhagavad Gita and many Puranas; Born on a dwip (island) so also known as 'Dwaipayan'

Yayati Son of King Nahush; Father of Puru; when Yayati became old because of a curse of Sukracharya, his son Puru gave him his youth Yudhisthir Second son of Kunti, sired by Dharma

Yuyutsu Son of Dhritarastra from vaishya maid, who fought for Pandavas in Mahabharat war; He was installed as a king of Indraprastha by Yudhisthir

Vaishampayan Disciple of Ved Vyas, who gave discourse of Mahabharat to Janmejaya.

Vaichitravirya Son of Shantanu & Satyavati; Brother of Chitrangad; he married to Ambika & Ambalika



 
 


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