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Birthplace: Panchal, Bankura, West Bengal, India
Death: Died in Kurukshetra, Kurukshetra, Haryana, India
Cause of death: MAHABHARATA WAR
Managed by: Krishnan s g
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KARNA IN MAHABHARATA Karna (Sanskrit: कर्ण written Karṇa in IAST transliteration) is one of the central characters in the epic Mahābhārata from ancient India. He was the King of Anga (present day Bhagalpur). Karna is considered to be one of the greatest warrior of Mahābhārata by authorities including Krishna and Bhishma, as stated in the original text by Maharishi Ved Vyasa.[1][2][3][4] He was the son of Surya (the Sun god) and Kunti. He was born to Kunti, before her marriage with Pandu. He is described as the closest friend of Duryodhana. Karna fought on his behalf against the Pandavas (his brothers) at the Kurukshetra war. Karna fought against misfortune throughout his life and kept his word under all circumstances. Many admire him for this courage and generosity. It is believed that Karna founded the city of Karnal.

Mahabharata:Karna Karna or Radheya is one of the central characters in the epic Mahābhārata, from ancient India. He was made the King of Anga by Duryodhana . Karna was one of the greatest warriors whose martial exploits are recorded in the Mahābhārata, an admiration expressed by Krishna and Bhishma within the body of this work. Contents [hide] 1 Childhood and Education 2 Curse from Parashurama 3 Karna's coronation 4 Karna's encounter with krishna 5 Karna's charitable nature - Vaikartana 6 The fall of Karna Childhood and Education Karna was the son of Surya (a solar deity) and Kunti. He was born to Kunti before her marriage with Pandu.The baby was wearing armour ('Kavacha') and a pair of earrings ('Kundala'). Though Kunti had not physically given birth to the baby, she was unwilling to be accused of being an unmarried mother and so with the help of her maid Dhatri, she placed the baby Karna in a basket and set him afloat on a tributary of the holy river Ganges, the Ashwanadi, in the hope that he would be taken in by another family. A charioteer named Adiratha found this baby afloat in the river and decided to foster him, with the help of his wife Radha (Hence Karna is also known as Radheya, the son of Radha) . They named him Vasusena . Karna happily performed his duties as their son, but as he grew up, he became more interested in the art of warfare than in merely being a charioteer like his father Adhirata. Karna met Dronacharya, who was an established teacher in the art of warfare. Dronacharya taught the Kuru princes, but refused to take Karna as his student, since Karna was a son of a charioteer and Dronacharya only taught Kshatriyas, or warriors. After being refused by Dronacharya, Karna sought his brother Shona's help. But according to Indian culture, to learn an art you must have a guru (teacher), so Karna appointed the sun god as his guru, learned to wield his weapons during the day by gathering information about the various ayudhas (weapons) and practiced with them after sundown. He became extremely skilled with his weapons. He was a quick learner and was able to learn various martial arts in a very short time . After being refused by Dronacharya, Karna decided to learn from Parashurama, Dronacharya's own guru, who was known to teach only Brahmins. He appeared before Parashurama as a Brahmin and requested that he be taken on as his student. Parashurama accepted him and trained him to such a point that he declared Karna to be equal to himself in the art of warfare and archery. Curse from Parashurama Parashurama later found out that he was deceived by karna into teaching him although he was not a brahmin. This incident happened when Parashurama deduced that Karna was a kshatriya when he was able to endure extreme pain and bleeding after being stung by a bee when he was one day resting on his lap . Parashurama got enraged and cursed Karna that that he would forget all the mantras required to wield the divine weapon Brahmastra, the most destructive weapon in archery, at the moment of his greatest need. Karna pleaded that any student would have acted in the same way and that he was the son of Vasusena, a mere charioteer and not a Kshatriya. But while Parashurama regretted cursing Karna in a moment of anger, his curse was irrevocable. So he gifted Karna the celestial weapon called Bhargavastra, along with his personal bow called Vijaya, for being such a diligent student. Throughout his life, Karna faced a lot of misfortune and was subject to many curses which eventually acted together resulting in his downfall. Departing from Parashurama's ashram, Karna wandered for some time. On his way, he slayed a cow that was rushing at him by shooting an arrow. Incensed by this incident, the Brahmin who owned the cow cursed him, stating that as he had killed a helpless animal, Karna too would be killed in the same way when he was most helpless with his concentration being diverted away from his enemy at a crucial moment.

Karna's coronation The guru Dronacharya held a tournament at Hastinapur, to display the skills of the Kuru princes. His student Arjuna was shown to be a particularly gifted archer. Karna arrived at this tournament, however, and after surpassing Arjuna's feats, challenged him to a duel. He was however refused the dual since he was not a prince. Duryodhana, the oldest of the one-hundred sons of the blind king Dhritarashtra, knew that the Pandavas, the five sons of King Pandu, younger brother of King Dhritarashtra, were better than he and his brothers at warfare and saw Karna as a chance to get on even terms with them. He immediately offered Karna the throne of the kingdom of Anga, making him a king and hence eligible to fight a duel with Arjuna. When Karna asked him what he could do to repay him, Duryodhana told him that all he wanted was his friendship. This established a strong bond between Karna and Duryodhana and Karna remained loyal to his friend Duryodhana until the war. Karna was a loyal and true comrade to Duryodhana. He helped him to marry the princess of Chitragandha. Following his accession to the throne of Anga, Karna took an oath that anyone who approached him with a request at midday, when he worshiped the sun, would not leave empty-handed. This practice contributed to Karna's fame as well as to his downfall, as Indra took advantage of it. Ultimately, Karna's unfailing generosity resulted in his death on the Kurukshetra battlefield. Karna , however faced wide criticism from historians on his act of "deceiving" Duryodhana in the Mahabharata war. Karna faced many opportunities to kill four of the pandavas but could not do so on account of a promise made to his mother Kunti. This resulted in the kaurava side being put at a huge disadvantage .

Karna developed intense hostile feelings against Arjuna throughout the Mahabharata story. Karna's encounter with krishna Karna successfully built a military camp during the war and reduced many strong enemies to submission. He was acknowledged as Duryodhana's finest warrior. He was met by Krishna after the failure of peace talks between krishna and Duryodhana during which he was revealed his true identity and asked to change sides. This created a lot of psychological turmoil in Karna who was forced to fight at the kaurava's side since he pledged loyalty to Duryodhana. This revelation was kept secret from the pandavas and hence did not impact their motivation to fight in the battle. Karna's charitable nature - Vaikartana Though Karna was shown in a subtle negative light throughout the story and developing hostile feelings against the pandavas ( esp. Arjuna ) , he was a person of noble character and would not reject any request for charity. This was tested by Indra on one occasion when he went to weaken the kaurava side. Indra disguised in the form of a brahmin asked him for his armor ,which was a natural attachment of his body. He gave it away by tearing it from his body without flinching ,fully knowing that it would bring a lot of problems later and after a previous warning from the sun god. Indra, shamed into generosity by Karna's gesture, reciprocated by giving Karna the boon to use his most powerful weapon, the Vasavi shakti, but only once. It was then that Karna earned the name Vaikartana. The fall of Karna Karna met his end in the hands of arjuna on the 17th day of the war. Although the duel was evenly-fought for a long while, Karna was suddenly stricken by the playing-out of the curses that had been thrown at him and which would now put him in grave danger. Hampered as his chariot wheel sank into the ground in loose, wet soil, he found himself unable to remember the incantations for his divine weapons, as cursed by Parashurama. He requested Arjuna to wait until he restores his wheel and Arjuna was postive. Arjuna , however was instigated by krishna to kill Karna . Lord Krishna told Arjuna that it was not adharma to kill a man who had supported evil all his life, and urged Arjuna to kill Karna while he could. Lord Krishna reminded Arjuna of all the adharmic acts done by Karna towards the pandavas and Draupadi. He also added that it would become impossible for Arjuna to win if Karna got restored to full strength. Thus incited, furious Arjuna complied with Lord Krishna's suggesstion and killed Karna. Thus ending the final chapter in a brave warrior's life. According to Karna's dying wish, Karna's Antim Sanskar was performed by none other than Lord Krishna himself. This was the honour given to him by Lord Krishna. Karna is the only person in the Mahābhārata epic who receives this great honour. Karna became famous throughout history as an epitome of generosity , struggling humanity and courage.

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Panchal, Bankura, West Bengal, India
- -3081
Age 36
Hastinapur, Uttar Pradesh, India

Military academy of Drona
Hastinapura the capital of Kuru kingdom was the center of military education during the period ofMahabharata. Drona was the foremost of the preceptors in all modes of warfare. Drona himself learned the science of warfare from his father Bharadwaja and the great warrior of the age viz Bhargava Rama.Bhishma, who was the foremost of the Kuru warriors, also was a disciple of Bhargava Rama. Kripawas another preceptor of arms. Under the guidance of all these scions of military science, the Pandavas and Kauravas became highly skilled in warfare. This military academy was the reason for the dominance of Kauravas and Pandavas among the kingdoms of ancient India. In the academy, Drona taught his disciples skills such as archery, mace fighting, sword fighting, and javelin fighting, among other weaponry skills, and these in permutation with the modes of warfare on foot, on horse, on a chariot, and on a war-elephant. He also taught his students how to form military formations, how to strategize the military moves and how to ride chariots. Drona's specialty was archery, particularly in the situation where the bowman was moving in a chariot. Arjuna was the foremost among his disciples as a bowman. Bhima and Duryodhana excelled in mace-fight; Dhristadyumna, Nakula and Sahadeva excelled in sword-fight.
Even Dhristadyumna, the prince from the Panchala Kingdom who was closest competitor of the Kurus for dominance in Aryavarta, came to study the science of warfare under Drona, in his military academy at Hastinapura, the capital of Kurus (1,169). Others who came to Hastinapura seeking military science were Ekalavya the prince of Nishada Kingdom (1,134) and Karna the prince from Anga Kingdom, ruled by Suta tribes.

- -3093
Age 36
Hastinapur, Uttar Pradesh, India




April, -3091
Age 39
Panchal, Bankura, West Bengal, India

WHILE the Pandavas were living in disguise as brahmanas at Ekachakrapura, news of the Swayamvara of Draupadi, the daughter of Drupada, King of Panchala, reached them.
Many brahmanas of Ekachakrapura planned to go to Panchala in the hope of receiving the customary gifts and to see the festivities and pageant of a royal wedding. Kunti, with her motherly instinct, read her sons' desire to go to Panchala and win Draupadi.
So she told Yudhishthira: "We have been in this city so long that it is time to think of going somewhere else. We have seen these hills and dales till we are tired of them.
The alms doled out to us are diminishing and it is not good to outstay your entertain- ment. Let us therefore go to Drupada's kingdom which is reputed to be fair and prosperous." Kunti was second to none in worldly wisdom and sagacity and could gracefully divine her sons' thoughts and spare them the awkwardness of expressing them.

Age 39
Hastinapur, Uttar Pradesh, India

Positive traits in DURYODHANA;
1) FRIENDSHIP:It is said that, Duryodhana never shed a single tear for any of his real brothers who were killed in the bttleafield, but when his beloved friend Karna was slain, he was inconsolable.

VAJRA BODY, MOTHER'S GIFT:-ON this day he gets an super power from his mother gandhari, she told him to come in naked befor him, so that she would see him for once by opening her long tied band,the rays from her eyes would make his full body vajra (Diamond),but krishna confuse him and makes to cover his laps area.so when Gandhari saw Duroyodhan his whole body except his laps area became hard like a diamond.

BRAVE TILL LAST:-_HE cools his body by entering a lake, all hope of winning lost, yet he prepares for his final battle; for a death befitting a warrior on the battle field and hoping to reunite with his friends and relations in the afterlife. He re-emerges from the lake afterAshwathama and Kripa counsel him to face his destiny with courage.

WE may remember that in spite of the fact that he was a personification of evil in the 'Mahabharata', Duryodhana did have some positive traits.
1) Loyal friend and trusting[3]
Duryodhana's wife Bhanumathi and his close friend Karna were playing a game of dice. The stake between them was substantial. As the game progressed, it was evident that Karna was winning and Bhanumathi was losing. Karna could not suppress his delight. Just then Duryodhana entered his queen's chamber. Karna had his back to the door while Bhanumathi was facing it. Seeing her husband coming, she was about to stand up out of respect as was the custom then.. As she was just rising, Karna, thinking that she was trying to get away from the embarrassment of certain defeat in the game, snatched at her drape, studded with pearls.
Tugged at by Karna's powerful hands, the thread snapped and all the pearls rolled on the floor. Queen Bhanumathi was stunned and did not know what to say or do. She was afraid that, for no fault of hers, she would be misunderstood by her husband because of Karna's offensive and insensitive behavior. Bhanumathi was immeasurably upset. Seeing her shocked state and sensing that something was wrong, Karna turned round and saw his friend Duryodhana. He was also deeply shocked and distressed beyond words. Here he was, in the royal chamber, playing a game of dice with his friend's wife and, as if this was not enough, he had the audacity to catch her at the drape, thus embarrassing and endangering her chaste reputation. He stood dumbfounded and transfixed. Surely, Duryodhana would not tolerate such immodesty. He readied himself for the inevitable punishment.
As both she and Karna look down sheepishly, unable to meet Duryodhana's eyes, the Kaurava scion only asks:
"Should I just collect the beads, or string them as well."
Both Bhanumathi and Karna had misjudged him. He had implicit faith and great love for his queen and greater was his faith on his friend Karna. He does not suspect, does not get angry on Karna but helps him in picking up the pearls.
When Karna is killed in the war, Duryodhana mourns his death intensely, even more than the death of his brothers. A translation of one of the many poems that celebrate this shade of the Kaurava prince

October, -3081
Age 49
Hastinapur, Uttar Pradesh, India

Draupadi's Vow
This episode is from [Maha:2.66-2.72].
The climax of Draupadi’s story is “when the Kaurava brother. DUHSASANA, had DRAUPADI dragged by her long hair into the men’s court and tried to strip off her sari” . Fortunately, through her prayer to SRIKRISHNA, a miracle occurs and she becomes the “visible recipient of divine grace in the form of endlessly descending sarees” (. This event is followed by Draupadi’s vow for vengeance and the beginning of an insatiable desire for justice that is only quenched upon her enemy’s blood running through her hair. The innate qualities with which Draupadi’s character is imbued are truly the basis on which her significance within the Mahabharata is centred.



As her robe was being peeled off her body, Draupadi thought off Hari (Krishna), and cried aloud saying, "O Govinda, O thou who dwells in Dwaraka, O Krishna, are you not seeing that the Kauravas are humiliating me. O Lord, the husband of Laxmi, O grinder of foes, rescue me! Save my honor! I have five husbands rivalling the prowess of the celestials, but they are powerless to prevent my humiliation. This assembly is filled with men of great fame, invincible warriors and Brahmanas learned in the scriptures, but none has shown the power to prevent this injustice. I am the most unfortunate of women, for I am being insulted in a public court, by those who ought to be the defenders of my honor. I am the daughter-in-law of the Kurus, and they, for reasons best known to them, have chosen to insult me in this reprehensible manner! O Naryana! you are my sole refuge. You are the only one who can save my honor!"

By his divine insight, Krishna heard the prayer of the Panchala princess, and was deeply moved. By his grace, a miracle took place. As Dushasana pulled off the sole garment of Draupadi, another appeared in place, covering her body from prying eyes! Stunned, but determined, Dushasana pulled the new garment off, and another appeared in its place! In this manner, many hundred times did the wicked Kaurava attempt to disrobe her, only to have a new cloth in a different, brilliant color cover the beautiful form of Yajnaseni! The assembly roared their approval of this miracle, that had saved the Kurus' honor, and applauded the resplendent Draupadi. At last, exhausted and defeated, Dushasana fell down in a swoon to the ground.

Bheema could contain himself no longer. With lips quivering in rage, he strode to the center of the assembly and in a loud voice, swore a terrible oath: "Hear these words of mine, O Kshatriyas of the world. Words such as these have never before been uttered, nor shall ever be uttered in the future. Lords of the earth, having spoken these words, if I do not match them with deeds, let me not attain the blessed regions of my deceased ancestors. Tearing open in battle by sheer force, the breast of this wretch, this wicked minded scoundrel Dushasana, I shall drink his life-blood. If I fail in my quest, let the regions of the blessed dead be ever barred to me!"

Everyone in the assembly was stunned. The body hair of everyone hearing this terrible vow stood on end. A roar from the crowd signified their appreciation of the second Pandava's vow and their censure of the wicked Dushasana.

Once again, Vidura got up and said, "All of you here! Draupadi is weeping helplessly, having posed a question to this assembly. No one save Vikarna has answered her question, and he regards her as a free woman, not the slave of the Kauravas. He has spoken his mind. It is now your turn. One, who despite knowing the rules of morality, does not answer a query put forth, incurs at least half the sin that would have accrued on having spoken a lie. If, despite knowing the truth, he answers falsely, he would incur the sin of a lie. It is time you all spoke up!"

Despite Vidura's pleas, none of the Kings in the assembly dared to answer Draupadi's question. Fear of Duryodhana held them silent. Smiling triumphantly, Karna said to Dushasana, "Take away this serving-woman Draupadi to the abode of your slaves!"

Dushasana began to drag Draupadi out of the assembly, even as she was trembling and crying. She cried, "Wait a little, wretch! I have not saluted the Kuru elders. It is by no fault of mine that I have not paid them their due respects, so busy I have been with saving my honor. Alas! fate is cruel! Only once before, on the occasion of my Swayamvara, I was beheld by the assembled kings in a full court. I, whom even the sun had never before seen in her palace, is today dragged to this assembly and exposed to the gawking crowd. Alas, she, whom her husbands would not suffer to be touched even by the wind, has been dragged to the court by this wretch! How is that the illustrious Kurus have let their daughter-in-law to be insulted thus in a public assembly!"

She continued, "O Kurus, I, the wedded wife of king Yudhishtra the just, ask you one last time! Tell me now if I am a serving-maid or otherwise. I will accept your verdict whatever it be."

"I have already said, O blessed one, that the course of morality is subtle.", said Bhishma. "Even the wise ancients could not fathom all its nuances. It is no wonder that in this instance, I am unable to answer your question. One thing is certain however, as the Kurus have become slaves to covetousness and folly, the destruction of this race shall occur at no distant date. It seems to me, that only Yudhishtra the just can answer your question with certitude."

Duryodhana was getting happier by the minute. He smiled at the thought of the fear that was holding the assembly silent. He said, "O Yajnaseni, your question can be answered only by your husbands. Panchali, let them for your sake declare in the midst of these Kings that Yudhishtra is not their lord, and proclaim him a liar. You will then be freed from the condition of slavery. Or, let the illustrious son of Dharma himself declare that he is not your lord, that he had no right to stake you. If he says these words, you will be a free woman."

A murmur went through the assembly. All were curious to hear what the Pandavas would say. At last, Bheema said, "If the high-souled Yudhishtra were not our lord, we would not have kept quiet so long while Draupadi was being insulted. He is our master, and our lives are his. If he regards himself as won, we too have all been won. Behold these mighty, well-formed arms of mine, like maces of iron. Having once come in their grip, not even he of a hundred sacrifices (Indra) can escape. I have been held silent by the promise given by my elder brother. Let him but give the word, I would slay these wretched sons of Dhritharashtra in the manner of a lion slaying small animals in the forest."

Once again, Karna got up and said, "Of all the persons in this assembly, only Bhishma, Vidura and Drona appear to be independent, for they are always censuring their master as wicked, and do not wish for his prosperity. Everyone else is well disposed towards Duryodhana. The slave, the son, and the wife are always dependent. They may not earn wealth for themselves, for whatever they earn belongs to their master. You are the wife of slaves, incapable of possessing anything on their own. Repair to the inner apartments of King Dhritharashtra and serve there. The sons of Pandu are no longer your masters. It is well known that slaves are not censurable if they proceed with freedom in electing husbands. Proceed to select a new husband, and forsake the worthless Pandavas."

Hearing these words, Bheema's wrath was further inflamed. With burning eyes, and a voice choked with anger, he turned towards his elder brother and said, "O King, I cannot blame this son of a Suta (Shudra), for we have truly become slaves. The root cause of this shame is your staking of the Panchala princess at dice. How could you have done such a vile deed?"

Meanwhile, Duryodhana, with the intention of encouraging his friend Karna, and of further enraging Bheema, quickly removed the robe that covered his thigh, and showed his thigh as a mark of disrespect to Draupadi.

When Bheema saw this, he let out a terrible roar and shouted an oath, "Let me not attain the regions obtained by my blessed ancestors, if I do not break the thigh of this Duryodhana in battle." As he uttered his vow, sparkles of fire began emanating from his pores, and his body shone like a burning tree.

Vidura was alarmed. He said, "O Kurus, behold the great danger that has arisen. Our race is in danger of extermination. The Kauravas have organized this wicked game of dice and, by deceit, have obtained ascendancy over the Pandavas. And here they are, disputing in an open assembly about a lady of the royal household. The prosperity of our kingdom is at an end. O Kauravas, do you not know that if virtue is persecuted, the whole kingdom becomes polluted? It is obvious that Draupadi is not a slave, for Yudhishtra became a slave first himself, and thus lost any right to stake her."

Duryodhana repeated his previous words. "As soon as Yudhishtra admits that he had no right over Draupadi, I shall make her a free woman."

At this moment, a jackal started braying loudly in the sacrificial chamber of the Kurus. The asses in the city started braying in response to that jackal. Birds of ill omen started answering these noises with their cries. All those in the assembly, especially Vidura and Shakuni, who were skilled in the art of interpretting such signs, understood the meaning of these terrible omens.

Dhritharashtra was frightened. He had been in two minds since the gambling began, and these ill omens decided the issue. It was not his sense of justice, but his instinct for self preservation that made him intervene at this point. He said to his son, "O wicked minded Duryodhana, you wretch, you will be the ruin of our race. How could you insult the wife of the great Pandavas?"

He then tried to console the bitterly weeping Draupadi. "Dear daughter, do not grieve. Try to forgive and forget all that has happened here. Ask of me any boon, O princess of Panchala. Chaste and devoted to the path of virtue, you are the first among my daughters-in-law. Ask, and it shall be yours."

Draupadi said, "O King, I ask that the handsome Yudhishtra, the glorious son of Dharma, be freed from slavery. I ask this, so that my son Prativindhya be not called the son of a slave."

Dhritharashtra said, "So be it. The eldest Pandava is now a free man. Ask another boon of me, I am wishful of doing you good."

Draupadi said, "I ask, O King, that Bheema, Arjuna and the twins, with their weapons, be free of bondage."

The king said, "Dear daughter, it shall be as you desire. Ask a third boon, for you are deserving of the greatest honor. Two boons are not enough to honor your virtue."

Draupadi replied, "Father, I do not deserve a third boon. Covetousness always brings loss of virtue. It has been said in the scriptures that a Vaishya lady may ask one boon, a Kshatriya woman, two, a Kshatriya male, three, and a Brahmana, one hundred. O King, with my husbands free from the wretched state of bondage, we will be able to achieve prosperity by their own efforts."

Vexed by the turn of events, Karna said in an aside, "I have never before heard of such a thing. The Pandavas have been saved by their wife! When they would have had to spend an eternity in bondage, Draupadi has secured their freedom by begging Dhritharashtra! How can they ever erase this shame?"

Although the words were spoken a low voice, Bheema heard them, and was sorely afflicted. He turned to Arjuna and said, "O Dhananjaya, it has been said that three lights reside in every person, namely, offspring, virtuous acts and knowledge. When life becomes extinct and the body becomes impure and is cast of by relatives, these three are the means of salvation for every person. How, O Arjuna, can a son born from this insulted wife of ours be our salvation?"

Arjuna replied, "A person becomes impure, loses respect, by the bad deeds committed, not by insults heaped by others. Draupadi is as virtuous as ever, as none of what happened here was her fault. Do not grieve, do not be angry. Ignore the words of Karna, for they have been spoken out of chagrin, and have no basis in truth."

Bheema was still not satisfied. He said to his elder brother, "Shall I, O King, slay without loss of time all these foes here? Or shall I take them outside and kill without mercy? Give but the word, and it shall be done."

Yudhishtra, however, signalled his brother to remain calm. With folded hands, he approached Dhritharashtra and said, "Dear uncle, you are our master. Command us as to what we should do. O King, we will always be obedient to you."

Dhritharashtra replied, "O best of men, go in peace and safety. Go back to your kingdom and rule with justice. You are aware of the subtle path of morality. Not only are you possessed of great wisdom, you are also humble, and respectful unto your elders. The truly wise practice forbearance. Follow the counsels of peace. Forgive and forget the injustice done to you by my sons. Control your anger and that of your brothers, by recollecting the love shown to you by myself and your aunt Gandhari. Let there be peace between your brothers and my sons."

Yudhishtra saluted his uncle and the other elders of the court and took his leave. Soon, the Pandavas, accompanied by Draupadi, mounted their chariots and left for Indraprastha, not wanting to stay in Hastinapura, with which many painful memories were now associated.

November, -3081
Age 49
Hastinapur, Uttar Pradesh, India








November 22, -3067
- November 22, -3067
Age 63
Kurukshetra, Kurukshetra, Haryana, India




Shalya kills Uttara
When the battle commenced, Bhishma went through the Pandava army wreaking havoc wherever he went. Abhimanyu, Arjuna's son, seeing this went straight at Bhishma, defeated his bodyguards and directly attacked the commander of the Kaurava forces. The Pandavas suffered numerous losses and were defeated at the end of the first day. Virata's sons, Uttaraand Sweta, were slain by Shalya and Bhishma. Krishna consoled the distraught Yudhisthira saying that eventually victory would be his.

Kurukshetra War
(Details given are according to the epic Mahabharata)

The position of the Kuru kingdom in Iron Age Vedic India
Date Various dates (6000 BCE – 500 BCE[1])- fought for 18 days.
Location Kurukshetra, modern-day Haryana, India
Result Victory for Pandavas and allies, fall of Kauravas.
Dhritarashtra abdicated the throne of Hastinapura and Yudhisthira succeeded him.
Yuyutsu was appointed as Yudhisthira's subordinate king in Indraprastha.
Various succession took place due to many kings and rulers' deaths in the war: Anga, Chedi, Gandhara, Kalinga, Kosala, Madra, Magadha, Matsya, Panchala, Sindhu, Virata.
The center of power in the Gangetic basin shifted from the Kurus to the Panchalas.
changes Reunification of the Kuru states of Hastinapura and Indraprastha under the Pandavas.
Return of Panchala lands held by Drona to the original Panchala state.
Truce and status quo ante bellum in elsewhere.
Territory-less Pandavas of the Kurus with the support of the mighty Panchala tribe and others. Kauravas (Kuru tribe) with capital at Hastinapura and their allies
Commanders and leaders
Shweta (day 1) †
Dhrishtadyumna (day 2-18) †
Krishna Overlord
Duryodhana †
Bhishma (day 1-10) †
Drona (day 11-15) †
Karna (day 16-17) †
Shalya (day 18) †
Ashwatthama (night raid)
Shakuni †
7 Akshauhinis
(1,530,900 soldiers) 11 Akshauhinis
(2,405,700 soldiers)
Casualties and losses
Almost total,
only 8 known survivors - the five Pandavas, Krishna, Satyaki, Yuyutsu. Normally 7 are recognized, with Yuyutsu excluded. Almost total,
only 4 known survivors - Ashwatthama, Sage Kripa, Kritavarma, Vrishakethu (son of Karna). Normally 3 are recognized, with Vrishakethu excluded.
The Kurukshetra War was, according to the Indian epic poem Mahābhārata, a conflict that arose from a dynastic succession struggle between two groups of cousins of an Indo-Aryan kingdom called Kuru, the Kauravas and Pandavas, for the throne of Hastinapura. It involved a number of ancient kingdoms participating as allies of the rival groups.
The location of the battle was Kurukshetra in the modern state of Haryana in India. The conflict is believed to form an essential component of an ancient work called Jaya and hence the epic Mahābhārata.
Mahābhārata states that the war lasted only eighteen days during which vast armies from all over the Indian Subcontinent fought alongside the two rivals. Despite only referring to these eighteen days, the war narrative forms more than a quarter of the book, suggesting its relative importance within the epic, which overall spans decades of the warring families.
The narrative describes individual battles of various heroes of both sides, battle-field deaths of some of the prominent heroes, military formations employed on each day by both armies, war diplomacy, meetings and discussions among the heroes and commanders before commencement of war on each day and the weapons used. The chapters (parvas) dealing with the war (from chapter six to ten) are considered amongst the oldest in the entire Mahābhārata.[citation needed]
The Kurukshetra War is believed to date variously from 6000 BCE to 500 BCE,[1] based on the astronomical and literary information from Mahābhārata. The history of the Kurukshetra War is also traced to the Battle of the Ten Kings mentioned in Rigveda.[2]
Contents [hide]
1 Historical context
2 Background
3 Combatants
4 Krishna's peace mission
5 War preparations
5.1 Pandava army
5.2 Kaurava army
5.3 Neutral parties
5.4 Army divisions and weaponry
5.5 Military formations
5.6 Rules of engagement
6 Course of war
6.1 Before the battle
6.2 Bhagavad Gita
6.3 Day 1
6.4 Day 2
6.5 Day 3
6.6 Day 4
6.7 Days 5-9
6.8 Day 10
6.9 Day 11
6.10 Day 12
6.11 Day 13
6.12 Day 14
6.13 Day 15
6.14 Day 16
6.15 Day 17
6.16 Day 18
6.17 Aftermath
7 Gallery
8 References
9 External links

Mahabharata: The Great War and World History
By Jahnava Nitai Das | Published on 11-11-2011 in Spiritual Articles

The topic of this issue is the Mahabharata war in relation to world history and culture. We will begin the topic with a question we received sometime back:

"In the Mahabharata, the war seemed to have affected the whole world. We don’t find so many references to such of a huge event in other cultures. Why are there no references to a great world event?"

There is reference to a great war both in the Mayan culture and in old Chinese traditions. They speak about a huge war that happened long, long ago; but they give no details. They only knew that such a war had occurred.

After any war two things happen. In certain regions, nothing develops for a long time; and in certain other regions everything expands very rapidly. The same thing has happened after the Kurukshetra war. In some places everything just stopped; there was no communication. These places became completely isolated from the rest of the world.

You can imagine the situation of those other kingdoms which were working under the fifty-four kingdoms, the Aryan empire. When a huge war like this is waged on the other side of the globe, and none of the kings ever returned, and their armies also didn’t come back, what would be the state of communication?

These kingdoms would have become completely alien to everything. No one would have known what happened. The king with his entire army went to fight in the great war, and that's it. They just disappeared, never to be heard from again. The agents from the ruling kingdoms no longer came to collect taxes, no information was being sent from the world capital. Suddenly these former colonies are isolated and free. They don't have to pay taxes anymore, nor do they have to be subservient.

Naturally the new king would try to make a lot of indigenous effort to put forth their own culture. And if there were any texts left that said his grand father was a slave of Kaikeya, he would just burn it. They wouldn't want to keep such information.

The same thing happened in the modern World War, which was actually just a war around the world. But the Mahabharata war was one massacre at one single place, and nobody went back. None of the kings or soldiers returned to tell what happened.

It is described that the cremations were done there and the rituals were also done there. Even the widows of the other kings were adopted there by the capital, Hastinapura. Seven different types of cremations were done, like mass cremations, individual cremations, etc. After the cremations, the widows were all adopted by Hastinapura there itself. There was practically no one going back to their own countries, hardly a single channel of communication.

We can imagine if we were a distant country ruling under one of these fifty-four kings, the Aryan empire, and we see no one is returning from the battle, no communication is coming from the battle; what would we do? Immediately we would destroy the old information, that showed us as slaves to these Aryan kings, and emerge as a great self-manifesting empire like Egypt. This is exactly what they did.

The destruction caused by the war was not only external. The destruction of the war was also in the minds of the people. After those heavy astras were used, in the minds of the people anything subtle, anything delicate, anything perfectional was completely burnt out. It is just like in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, till today you find the children are disabled. How many years has it been? It was only two primitive bombs. They were so gross and physical, but the radioactivity of that is still being seen today.

Then we can understand, according to the descriptions within the Mahabharata, what was the destruction of the Brahmastras used in the war. What was the Agni-astras they were using? What was the power of the wind in the Vayu-astra? It was not only blowing in Kurukshetra, it was blowing all over the planet. What would have happened to the people’s minds because of the diffusion of all these energies?

Everything became lost. Naturally people would not even be able to think that they were serving, or they had been paying tax to the Aryan kings of such and such countries. The whole thing had no meaning any more.

This is known as the "dark period" after the Mahabharata war. Kathacharit-sagara has stories about this dark time. In the Tamil literature also it discusses this period. There was a dark period in between where no one knew what happened. Only the thieves, either through ship or through land, were ruling the world. In Tamil it is known as "kalapirar kalam" which means the time of the unknown kings, unknown rulers. The Tamil literature gives 3,000 years for it. And then the Cheras, Cholas and Pandiyas came to power. In between it was completely dark. And these Cheras, Cholas and Pandiyas were actually descendants of the original Cheras, Cholas and Pandiyas who took part in the Mahabharata war.

The Chola king was the one who ran the kitchen for the Pandavas. That is there in the Tamil literature. Those people who ran the kitchen, they were not just cooks; they were all soldiers. They went to help in the war and when the division of work was given, they were given the kitchen. So they were cooking. There are hundreds of Tamil verses glorifying that king who cooked for the Pandavas during the Mahabharata war. It is there in the Tamil literature.

If this war never happened, if Kurushetra was only symbolic of the body, mind and senses; why would this Aryan king have spent twenty years of his ruling time in the North cooking for someone else. These are clear proofs. There was a dark time in between. The dark time was nothing but the reactions of the war. After the dark time, those who emerged powerful were not all the authentic rulers. Some were descendants, but most were just those who utilized this opportunity to gain power. This is why it is not mentioned in other cultures, it is not recorded. A great war is mentioned, but no details are given.

Even in the mythology of the Greeks it is there, only the time is looking different. The time frame does not look like it is the Mahabharata war, but the great Achilles fighting and other such stories of Greek mythology have a very close similarity to stories from the Kurushetra war. In Greek mythology some of these stories are internally dated much before the time of the Kurushetra war. The reason is because they wanted to have a separate identity, therefore they told it as though it happened at a much more ancient time. It may sound like mythology, but its just the histories which have been handed down from the Kurushetra war by the bards and entertainers.

The bards and entertainers were not killed. This is an important point in understanding how this history has spread. At that time, war meant that during every evening they had theater, they had dance, they had jokers, etc. They had all varieties of entertainment, and none of these entertainers were killed. That was the rule according to dharma-shastra, they were not supposed to be killed. Everyone died on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, but all of these bards, poets and entertainers lived. This is how the stories were spread.

The people who did street dances and folk dances, poetry and songs, they all went back. But because the armies and kings were not there, they did not reach as far as they had come from. These entertainers had traveled along with the armies and kings, from distant lands. When the battle was finished, they had no king or army to take them back to their homeland, which in some cases was on the other side of the world. They traveled on their own, alone, and managed to reach some distance, somewhere. They did not make it home to their own countries, but they traveled as far as they could go alone. And when they stopped, unable to go any further, there they would have searched for some patron to perform for.

They must have been highly impressed with this war. Whatever had happened, whatever they saw, the battles between the heroes on both sides; it had impressed them so much. Naturally they would dramatize this and make stories of wars, of great battles, of what they had just witnessed.

In this Great war, who would have come back? Only the entertainers; the nandis, vandis and mahatis; those people who woke up the king’s everyday. They are the one's who lived to spread these stories. When their kings died they would leave. This was the tradition. The king goes to the battle with a full entourage . If the king is killed in the second day of the battle, the king who killed him takes his army. This was the system in those days. This was not the case for those who made a pact; like Dhristadyumna was in a pact with the Pandavas. His army would not go to Duryodhana. But those individual kings who came to the help the Pandavas, if the king is killed then everything that he has, including his ornaments, dress and animals, belongs to the king who killed him. Actually his country also belongs to that king. That was how the war was fought. Everything including the ornaments he was wearing, his armor, they belong to the winner. Only his astras won't be taken, because astras won’t serve one unless you have done the proper upasana. The astras will go back to the rishi or the deva who has given them. This was the rule of war.

Once their king was killed, what would the entertainers do? They would not continue sitting there glorifying their dead king while the war was still continuing. As soon as their king died, they would leave the battle field. So for them, the outcome of the war was not even known. But when they left they had nothing, no escort, no entourage; they were alone. So they would travel as far as they could and as quickly as they could, until they reached whatever place they could find. They would be looking for a new patron. And if they found one, the first thing they will say is, "Have you heard? There was a war!" Once they have found a patron they will start performing. But the war was still running, and they would not want to be involved in politics, so to protect themselves they will begin, "Long, long ago..." And that would begin the dramatization of the Great War. This is how the information spread. You can find in every ethnic culture in the world, without fail, there is discussion of a Great War. How does that come about? It may not go by the name Mahabharata, but the great war is there, everywhere.

There is an entire culture whose literature is based around crying, the Sumerian culture. All of their ancient writings are the cries of women who have lost their husbands in the war. Those who can read ancient Tamil will see that their script is almost identical, it is similar to the Dravida alphabets; and even the meanings of the sentences can be understood, it is so similar.

Their texts are saying the same thing as the Mahabharata. A city was built, there was gambling, another city was burnt, a lady was insulted, and because of that there was fire. The order may not be the same, but the elements are identical. After the war, there was crying by the widows. And this crying is the substance of the Sumerian writings. Each song is a cry. It is the same thing as found in the Mahabharata. There is a chapter in the Mahabharata, "the crying of the queens in the war after the kings died". It is identical. Everyone is talking about this same great war.

Even in regards to geography, the ancient cultures are speaking the same thing. There is always mention of a river that is running on four sides of a mountain. They may make the map based on their own idea of how the river is coming down from the mountain, but the substance is the same. They may not understand that it is referring to the four branches of the Ganga which go to the four different levels of the universe, but they have the basic concept. In China it is there. In the Maya culture it is there. This is the same concept as found in the Bhagavatam and other Vedic texts.

There are many other parallels between the world cultures, pointing to a common source. Symbolically the Swastika is found all over the world - in Native American tribes, in Europe, in ancient India. Hitler was trying to revive the old Germanic and Norse tales of the Aryan kings, but he failed to understand the entire tradition. The Swastika represents life, but he chose to reverse it, thus signifying death. Even linguistically, the Indo-European languages, such as Sanskrit, Latin, Greek and their many derivatives, have countless similarities. This all points out that there was originally one culture, one civilization. The Great War described throughout the world is the Mahabharata war.

One may ask, "Why don't the other countries present it in the exact same way?" It is because they were countries working under the fifty-four kings. They were subservient to the Aryan empire, and this war made them free. It was their chance to rewrite the history, to make their civilization the center of time.

The rulers in Hastinapura allowed it to happen by their negligence. Parikshit Maharaja did not function as an emperor of the world for a long time, and as a result there was no unification of the countries done under him. And after him, Janamejaya spent his whole life trying to kill the snakes, until finally he became sick of everything and left the kingdom. Because of this the Aryan kings became weak.

According to Kathacharit-sagara, after the dark period it was Bhima’s grandsons who sprung to power from Ujjain and other places. It was in their line that Vikramaditya later came. In Arjuna's line there was no powerful descendant, although there were some in Kundinapura. But their line quickly became diffused. The Indonesian city, Yogyakarta, previously known as Yajna-karta, was ruled by Bhima’s grandson. It was there that he performed one thousand yajnas, and that is how the city was named. That was much after the war.

In some places the remnants of Vedic culture are more powerful. Their presence is felt more directly. But in other places the remnants are faint and more difficult to perceive. Just like the Sun worshippers of Japan. Previously it was part of a huge land mass in the pacific, but by the movement of the land and the sea it has become a tiny island. In that ancient land, they were worshippers of the Sun god. It was the same with the Lemurian land mass that was between Africa and India. The Tamil literatures describe a massive land going towards the west from the present Indian coast.

After every Yuga there is a change of land and sea. There is one chapter on this in the pratisarga parva of the Bhavishya Purana. It speaks about how the land and sea change by the influence of time. This is how the flood of Noah described in the bible occurred. It was taken as a big dissolution, as a pralaya, but it was just the change of yugas. When Noah built the Arc, He was under the mountain Tuhinachala. Today the Tuhinachala is now a desert. It is no longer a mountain.

There is another case from Bhima’s time, when he went for collection for the Rajasuya sacrifice. He went from Puri to Burma by chariot by crossing two mountains. There was no Bay of Bengal. And now that there is a bay of Bengal, we see two tiny islands, Andaman and Nicobar. They were the mountains that Bhima crossed, today they are just small islands.

It is the same situation with New Zealand. They were not islands, but the peaks of mountains. They belonged to a giant land mass that connected to what was the Kimpurusha Varsha. But today they are also islands because of the land changes that occurred when the yugas changed.

So, with all this - the Great War followed by massive changes in the earth's geography - the civilizations were heavily affected. Vyasadeva describes this war by saying, “There had not been a war as heavy as this at any time in all the lands.” He describes it this way because all of the demons and all of the devas took part in this war at one place - Kurukshetra. It was the heaviest war in the history, fought between universal powers. Thus its effects were felt in all places throughout the world.

December 2, -3067
Age 63
Kurukshetra, Kurukshetra, Haryana, India


On the tenth day the Pandavas, unable to withstand Bhishma's prowess, decided to put Shikhandi, who had been a woman in a prior life in front of Bhishma, as Bhishma has taken a vow not to attack a woman. Shikhandi's arrows fell on Bhishma without hindrance. Arjuna positioned himself behind Shikhandi, protecting himself from Bhishma's attack, and aimed his arrows at the weak points in Bhishma's armour. Soon, with arrows sticking from every part of his body, the great warrior fell from his chariot. His body did not touch the ground as it was held aloft by the arrows protruding from his body.
The Kauravas and Pandavas gathered around Bhishma and, at his request, Arjuna placed three arrows under Bhisma's head to support it. Bhishma had promised his father, King Shantanu, that he would live until Hastinapur were secured from all directions. To keep this promise, Bhishma used the boon of "Ichcha Mrityu" (self wished death)given to him by his father. After the war was over, when Hastinapur had become safe from all sides and after giving lessons on politics and Vishnu Sahasranama to the Pandavas, Bhishma died on the first day of Uttarayana.

December 3, -3067
- December 3, -3067
Age 63
Kurukshetra, Kurukshetra, Haryana, India

DAY--12th-dec. 3rd, -3067.