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Birthplace: Himachal Pradesh, India
Death: Died in Himalayas
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Maharaja Yudhisthira

Yudhisthira on the throne with Draupadi, surrounded by the other Pandavas Titles Dharmaraja Predecessor Pandu

Successor Parikshit

Consort Draupadi

Royal House Kuru

Father Pandu

Mother Kunti

Children Prativindya

Religious beliefs Hindu Kshatriya

In the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Yudhisthira (Sanskrit: युधिष्ठिर, yudhiṣṭhira meaning "steady in war", from yudhmeaning war, and sthira meaning steady, also Bharata[1](descendant of the line of Bharata) and Ajatashatru[2](one without enemies)), the eldest son of King Pandu and Queen Kunti, was king of Indraprastha and later ofHastinapura (Kuru). For his piety, he was known asDharmaraja (which may be translated as either 'righteous king' or 'king of dharma'). He was the leader of the successful Pandava side in the Kurukshetra War. At the end of the epic, he ascended to heaven along with his five brothers. Contents


• 1 Birth and upbringing • 2 Coronation and Marriage • 3 Performing the Rajasuya • 4 Losing kingdom and exile • 5 Return to Indraprastha and Kurukshetra War • 6 Retirement and Ascent to Heaven • 7 Virtues of Yudhistra o 7.1 Son of Dharma o 7.2 Astute politician o 7.3 Piety and Dharma o 7.4 Test of patience at Hell • 8 Citations • 9 External links

Birth and upbringing

• •

Pandu Shoots the Ascetic Kindama Once a Brahmin rishi, Kindama and his wife were making love in the forest when Yudhisthira's father Panduaccidentally shot at them, mistaking them for deer. Before dying, Kindama cursed the king to die when he engages in intercourse with any woman. Due to this curse, Pandu was unable to father children. As an additional penance for the murder, Pandu abdicated the throne of Hastinapura, and his blind brother Dhritarashtra took over the reins of the kingdom.[3] After Pandu's disability, Yudhisthira was conceived in an unusual way. His mother, Queen Kunti, had in her youth been granted the power to invoke the Devas by Rishi Durvasa. Each Deva, when invoked, would bless her with a child. Urged by Pandu to use her boons, Kunti gave birth to Yudhisthira by invoking the Lord of Judgement, Dharma(also known as Yama). Being Pandu's eldest son, Yudhisthira was the rightful heir to the throne, but this claim was contested by the Dhritarashtra's son, Duryodhana. Yudhisthira's four younger brothers were Bhima, (born by invoking Vayu); Arjuna, (born by invokingIndra); and the twins Nakula and Sahadeva, (born to Pandu's second wife Madri by invoking theAshwini Gods). If Karna, the son of Kunti born before her marriage by invoking Surya is counted, Yudhisthira would be the second-eldest of Kunti's children. Yudhisthira was trained in religion, science, administration and military arts by the Kuru preceptors,Kripa and Drona. Specifically, he became a master in using the spear.[4] Coronation and Marriage

MayaSabha Under the advice of Bhishma, Dhritrashtra decided to divide the Hastinapura kingdom between Kauravas and Pandavas. Yudhisthira gracefully accepted the arid and fallow region of Khandavaprastha that was offered to him. With the help of Yudhisthira's cousin, Krishna and the Devaarchitect Viswakarma, Yudhisthira constructed a new city,Indraprastha in the area offered to him. The Asura architectMayasura constructed the Mayasabha, which was the largest regal assembly hall in the world. Yudhisthira was crowned king of Khandavaprastha and Indraprastha. As he governed with absolute piousness, with a strict adherence to duty and service to this people, his kingdom grew prosperous, and people from all over were attracted to it. Yudhisthira married the Panchali princess Draupadi, who bore him a son, Prativindya.[5] Another wife of Yudhisthira was Devika, the daughter of Govasana of the Saivya tribe, who bore him a son named Yaudheya.[6] Performing the Rajasuya

King Yudhisthira Performs the Rajasuya Sacrifice After the coronation at Indraprastha, Yudhisthira set out to perform the Rajasuyayagna to become the Emperor of the World. His motives were not to obtain power for himself, but to establish dharma and defend religion all over the world by suppressing the enemies of Krishna and sinful kings. Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva led armies across the four corners of the world to obtain tributes from all kingdoms for Yudhisthira's sacrifice. The non-compliantMagadha king, Jarasandha was defeated byBhima and Krishna. At his sacrifice, Yudhisthira honoured Krishna in the Rajasuya for his slaying of Jarasandha. ]Losing kingdom and exile

Krishna and the Pandavas water their horses Yudhisthira succumbed to Shakuni's challenge in the game of dice, while being a novice in it. He lost all his kingdom in the game and was forced into exile for 13 years, which included one year in anonymity. Main article: Yaksha Prashna During exile, once four other Pandavas happened to drink water from a lake, which was haunted by a Yaksha. Yudhisthira went in last, answered many questions put forth to him by the Yaksha and released his brothers. This story is often cited as an example of Yudhisthira's upright principles.[7] The Yaksha later identified himself as Yudhisthira's father, Dharma and pointed them to the kingdom of Virata to spend their last year in exile anonymously. Along with his brothers, Yudhisthira spent his last year of exile in the kingdom of Virata. He disguised himself as a Brahmin named Kanka (within themselves Pandavas called him Jaya) and taught the game of dice to the king.[8] Return to Indraprastha and Kurukshetra War

Yudhishthira and Bhishma in discussion-- another version by Da'ud, 1598 When the period of exile was completed, Duryodhana and Shakuni refused to return Yudhisthira's kingdom. Yudhisthira made numerous diplomatic efforts to retrieve his kingdom peacefully but in vain. He was convinced by Krishna to wage war. The flag of Yudhisthira's chariot bore the image of a golden moon with planets around it. Two large and beautiful kettle-drums, called Nanda and Upananda, were tied to it.[9][10][11] Yudhisthira had to bend numerous rules of Dharma during the course of the war. Krishna made him trick Drona about the news of the death of Ashwathama. Yudhisthira also had to slay a number of warriors, including his own uncle,Shalya. At the end of the war, Yudhisthira performed theAshwamedha Yagna and crowned himself as the Emperor of Hastinapura. Retirement and Ascent to Heaven

Yudhisthira and His Dog, Ascending Upon the onset of the Kali yuga and the departure ofKrishna, Yudhisthira and his brothers retired, leaving the throne to their only descendant to survive the war of Kurukshetra, Arjuna's grandson Parikshit. Giving up all their belongings and ties, the Pandavas, accompanied by a dog, made their final journey of pilgrimage to the Himalayas. While climbing the peaks, Draupadi and four of the Pandavas fell to their deaths, dragged down by the weight of their guilt for their sins. Yudhisthira was the only one to reach the mountain peak, because he was unblemished by sin or untruth. On reaching the top, Indra asked him to abandon the dog before entering the Heaven. But Yudhisthira refused to do so, citing the dog's unflinching loyalty as a reason. Once again it turned out that the dog was his father, Dharma.[12] Virtues of Yudhistra Son of Dharma

Yudhistira loss in dice game Yudhisthira's true prowess was shown in his unflinching adherence to Satya (truth) andDharma (righteousness to fulfill one's moral duty), which were more precious to him than royal ambitions, material pursuits and family relations. Yudhisthira rescued Bhima fromNahusha. He also rescued his four brothers from Yaksha by exemplifying not only his immense knowledge of Dharma, but also understanding its finer implications. Yudhisthira's understanding of Dharma was distinct from that of other righteous kings. He married Draupadi along with his four brothers, he had Bhima marry an outcast Rakshasi, he denounced casteism, saying a Brahmin is known by his actions and not his birth or education, thus portraying a changeable Dharma that modifies itself to suit the times. Due to his piety, Yudhisthira's chariot did not touch the ground (until his deception of Drona), to symbolize his purity. This means he was well regarded as a wise and pious man even by his enemies. Yudhisthira was unable to refuse when Duryodhana's maternal uncle, Shakuni, challenged him to a game of dice. Thanks to Shakuni's mastery of gambling, Yudhisthira lost each game, eventually gambling away his kingdom, his wealth, his brothers and finally his wife. Yudhisthira was criticized by Draupadi and Bhima for succumbing to temptation and playing dice, an art he was absolutely unskilled at, making the Pandavas prey to Shakuni and Duryodhana's designs. Yudhisthira reproached himself for weakness of mind, but at the time he argued that it was impossible to refuse a challenge of any nature, as he was a Kshatriya and obliged to stand by the Kshatriya code of honour. During the thirteen years, his adherence to religious values in face of adversity was repeatedly tested. Astute politician

Death of Karna Yudishtira was also skilled in the art of political manoeuvering. Despite all the taunts from his wife and his brothers, he would not rashly make war upon Kauravas. He waited for right moment when Kauravas were at their weakest; that is, when their chief warrior Karna was deprived of his invincible powers. He also was a better war general than Duryodhana. Though Duryodhana's army outnumbered Yudishtira's, Duryodhan lost because of a lack of knowledge in war tactics. He also cursed the entire womenhood of not being able hide any secrets with themseleves after he was made aware that Karna was his elder brother after the holy war of "Mahabharata".[13] Piety and Dharma He was considered so pious that some sources say his ratha (chariot) used to fly four fingers above the ground in the battle of Kurukshetra. His chariot came down when he was economical with the truth to guru Drona about Ashwatthama being killed by Bhima. He did this on instruction from Lord Krishna. He was cheated multiple times by the Kauravas. But he as a king and protector of Dharma always felt for his subjects. He tried to avert the war between the Pandavas and Kauravas as far as possible. But since sins of Duryodhana kept piling he was forced to fight against Duryodhana. He was never greedy about the throne and always cared for the benefit of all beings. Even at the last battle between Bhima and Duryodhan he promised Duryodhana that he will give Duryodhana the throne if Duryodhana wins the mace fight. He was a deserving person and became the king after Duryodhan's death. This symbolises the victory of dharma over evil. He was an adept warrior with the spear and ratha. Test of patience at Hell

angel showing the pseudo hell to Yudhisthira Yudhisthira was carried away on Indra's chariot. On reaching Heaven he did not find either his virtuous brothers or his wife Draupadi. Instead he saw Duryodhana and his allies. The Gods told him that his brothers were in Narakaatoning their sins, while Duryodhana was in heaven since he died at the blessed place of Kurukshetra. Yudhisthira loyally went to Naraka (hell) to meet his brothers, but the sight and sound of gore and blood horrified him. Though initially he was tempted to flee, he mastered himself and remained after hearing the voices of his beloved brothers and Draupadi calling out to him, asking him to stay with them in their misery. Yudhisthira decided to remain, ordering the divine charioteer to return. He preferred to live in hell with good people than in a heaven of his enemies. Eventually this turned out to be another illusion to test him and also to enable him to atone for his sin of complying with Krishna in plotting Drona's fall and for risking women's (draupadi/wife) honor during game of dice. Thereafter Indra and Krishna appeared before him and told him that his brothers were already in Heaven, while his enemies suffered from Hell's torment in due time for earthly virtues.

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August 31, -3114
Himachal Pradesh, India
- -3093
Age 20
Hastinapur, Uttar Pradesh, India




- -3081
Age 20
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.

- -3092
Age 21
Hastinapur, Uttar Pradesh, India






- -3091
Age 21
Ekachakra, Birbhum, West Bengal, India


The ministers began to praise the beauty of Varanavata in the hearing of the Pandavas and made mention of the fact that a great festival in honor of Siva would be conducted there with all pomp and splendor.
The unsuspecting Pandavas were easily persuaded, especially when Dhritarashtra also told them in tones of great affection that they should certainly go and witness the festivities, not only because they were worth seeing but because the people of the place were eager to welcome them.
The Pandavas took leave of Bhishma and other elders and went to Varanavata. Duryodhana was elated. He plotted with Karna and Sakuni to kill Kunti and her sons at Varanavata. They sent for Purochana, a minister, and gave him secret instructions which he bound himself to carry out faithfully.
Every convenience was furnished for the Pandavas to dwell in the city without fear, until the palace was built. When the Pandavas had settled down in the wax house, the idea was to set fire to it at night when they were sound asleep.
This was meant to indicate to Yudhishthira and to him alone, Duryodhana's hideous plot and the means of escape from danger. Yudhishthira answered that he had grasped Vidura's meaning, and later he communicated it to Kuntidevi.
Henceforward the miner worked for many days in secret, unknown to Purochana, and completed a subterranean egress from the wax house right under and across the walls and the moat, which ran round the precincts.
The Pandavas marched on, suffering many hardships and overcoming many dangers. Part of the way, they would carry their mother to make better speed. Sometimes, tired beyond even heroic endurance, they would pause and rest. Sometimes, full of life and the glorious strength of youth, they would race with each other.
They met Bhagavan Vyasa on the way. All of them bowed before him and received encouragement and wise counsel from him.
Then they put on the garb of brahmanas, as advised by Vyasa, went to the city of Ekachakra and stayed there in a brahmana's house, waiting for better days.
Then they put on the garb of brahmanas, as advised by Vyasa, went to the city of Ekachakra and stayed there in a brahmana's house, waiting for better days.
Kuntidevi replied: "Dear sons, we have lived happily for many years in the house of this brahmana. Duty, nay, man's highest virtue, is to repay the benefit he has enjoyed by doing good in his turn. I know the heroism of Bhima and have no fears. Remember who carried us from Varanavata and who killed the demon Hidimba. It is our duty to be of service to this brahmana family."
After a fierce battle, the Rakshasa Bakasura was slain by Bhima who pretended to bring him a cartload of food.

Mahabharata - Part 2
The Conspiracy

The Pandavas were superior to the Kauravas in every respect, both in strength and intelligence. They were greatly appreciated for their innate noble qualities. Bheeshma advised Dhritarashtra to declare Yudishthira as the crown prince of Hastinapur since he was the eldest and was endowed with fine qualities of a king.
Duryodhan's jealousy for the Pandavas increased after hearing that Yudishthira would be declared the crown prince. Out of anger, Duryodhan planned to kill the Pandavas so that he can ascend the throne of Hastinapur. One day Duryodhan approached his father, Dhritarashtra, and requested him to send the Pandavas to the annual Pashupati fair in Varnavat, a place far away from Hastinapur. Ignorant of any foul play, Dhritarashtra asked the Pandavas to attend the fair.
Duryodhan, on the other hand, secretly ordered his trusted partner Purochana, to make a special palace, with highly inflammable materials, for the Pandavas. His heinous plan was to burn the Pandavas alive while sleeping. According to the palace and would put it on fire on the following dark night.
However, Vidur, uncle of the Pandavas, and their well wisher, came to know of Duryodhan’s heinous plan and alerted Yudishthira. Yudishthira did not want to make a big deal out of this matter, since the Pandavas were not yet ready to fight back. So he decided to handle this in a clandestine manner. In order to allow the Pandavas to gain time, Vidur sent a miner to Varnavat to secretly dig an escape tunnel from the palace. The tunnel would lead into a nearby dense forest, an area easy enough for the Pandavas to hide.
On the night when the heinous deed was about to be performed, Bheema bolted Purochana’s room from outside and set the house on fire. Then the Pandavas escaped through the tunnel into the forest. At the site of the massive conflagration, the people of Varnavat came rushing to extinguish the fire. However, the highly flammable palace burnt to ashes quickly. Everyone thought that the Pandavas were burnt in the fire. Soon, the news reached Hastinapur. Dhritarashtra and Bheeshma were shocked to hear the news. Duryodhan was elated to hear it, but outwardly acted to be sad .
After many miles of walk through the forest, the Pandava brothers and mother Kunti laid down under a banyan tree, hungry and thirsty. Bheema went to get the water but when he came back, he saw everyone in deep sleep. Bheema stayed awake to guard them.
The forest was a hunting reserve of a fearful demon called Hidimb. He lived with his sister Hidimba on a huge tree, near the place where the Pandavas were resting. As soon as Hidimb smelled the presence of humans, he asked his sister Hidimba to kill them for their dinner. Hidimba reached the place and saw Bheema guarding the Pandavas. After seeing the muscular body of Bheema, she instantaneously fell in love with him. So she transformed herself into a beautiful maiden and approached Bheema. Bheema also fell in love with Hidimba at the first sight. On Hidimba's inquiry Bheema explained the reason for his family to hide in the forest. Hidimba sympathized and promised to help them. In the meantime, Hidimb got impatient and came down from the tree in search of his sister. When he saw his sister making love to his intended prey, he became furious. He attacked Bheema instantly. Bheema pulled him away to a distance so that his family could rest. A terrible fight ensued. Finally Hidimb was killed by Bheema.
When the family of Pandavas got up, Kunti noticed a beautiful maiden standing near Bheema. She inquired and Hidimba explained what had just happened. She further requested Kunti to permit her son Bheema to marry her. Hidimba promised to return Bheema to the Pandavas after the birth of a child. Kunti and her four sons were impressed by Hidimba and agreed to accept her as Bheema’s wife.
Following a short ceremony, Hidimba and Bheema left for the land of beauty. In course of time, a child was born who was named Ghatotkacha. Ghatotkacha grew up in no time and, like his father, became a great warrior. Bheema returned to his family with his son and wife. As promised, Hidimba left with her son after a short visit and Ghatotkacha promised to return to the Pandavas whenever called.
After some time of hiding in the forest, the Pandavas began to plan to leave the forest when Veda Vyas arrived. He consoled the Pandavas and assured them that justice will finally avail. He advised them to have patience and to endure their current hardship. On the advise of Veda Vyas, Kunti and her five sons went to a nearby town, called Ekachakra. They stayed with a Brahmin family, disguised as Brahmins. The Pandavas lived on begging alms and chanting prayers.
One day, while Kunti was resting at noon, she heard wailings inside the Brahmin's house where they were staying. Considering it to be a part of their duty to stand beside their host at the time of adversity, Kunti went to inquire of their misery.
The Brahmin told the horror story that this village was cursed by a demon called Bakasur. When he came into the town of Ekachakra from no where, he was killing people at random and destroying the village. Finally the leader of the town made a deal with Bakasur asking him to stay in the nearby forest. Every day the town will send to him a cartload of food drawn by two buffaloes, driven by a person drawn by lot. Bakasur will eat the food, the buffaloes and the driver. Kunti immediately guessed that it must be the turn of the host-family that day to send a driver. To the surprise of all, Kunti offered her help.
"I have five children and I will send Bheema to meet the demon. He is strong enough to kill the demon and free the town from his clutch forever. The only request that I will make is to keep it a secret and not to reveal our identity."
Bheema met Bakasur and ignoring him began to eat his food in front of him. Bakasur got furious and attacked Bheema. A fearful fight soon ensued and Bakasur was killed. Bheema secretly dragged his body at night to the entrance of the town and left it there for the people to witness.
Next morning, the citizens were surprised to see the dead body of Bakasur. They rejoiced to their heart's content. When they asked the Brahmin, the host of the Pandavas, he only said, "It is all God's will. Let us thank Him for removing the menace for good."
Later on, while at Ekachakra, the Pandavas heard from a traveler that Drupad, the king of Panchal, was holding a swyambara for getting his beautiful daughter Draupadi married to the best of the princes. In those days, swyambara was a royal ceremony where the suitors competed in certain events and the winner got the hand of the princess. The Pandavas knew Drupad whom they humbled before their guru Dronacharya. Drupad did not have any child. He performed a Yagna (fire worship) so devotedly that a boy and a girl sprung out of the fire. The boy was named Dhritasthadyumna and the girl, Draupadi. Draupadi was well known for her stunning beauty and many princes aspired to win her hand. Pandava brothers also decided to attend the swyambara ceremony, disguised as Brahmins.

April -3091
Age 22
Panchala, Junagadh, Gujarat, India







Arjuna Wins Draupadi Translated from Sanskrit
by Hridayananda Dasa Goswami
Disguised as a brahmana,
Arjuna steps forward to meet the challenge
that has humiliated the powerful young kings.

The sage Vaisampayana is telling the history of the Pandavas to their great-grandson, King Janamejaya. As the Mahabharata continues, the Pandavas, disguised as brahmanas, are attending a ceremony in which Princess Draupadi will choose a husband from among many young kings. Draupadi's father set up a challenge for her suitors: They must string a mighty bow and pierce a difficult target. The other kings having failed, the Pandava Arjuna now steps forward.

THEREUPON, WHEN ALL the kings had given up their attempt to string the bow, the wise Arjuna rose up from the midst of the brahmanas. Seeing that Arjuna, Prtha's son, shining like the flag of Indra, had set out for the center of the arena, the leading brahmanas cried out and shook their deerskins. Some were unhappy to see a brahmana going to compete with warriors, and others were filled with joy.

The sages were considered experts, and they lived by their intelligence. Some of them said to one another, "The kings of the earth, led by Karna and Salya, mighty monarchs renowned in all the world as masters of the military science, could not bend the bow. How then can a mere brahminical student, frail, lacking stamina, and untrained in weapons, string the bow? The kings will ridicule us brahmanas when this whimsical and thoughtless act comes to nothing.

"Whether out of pride or impulsiveness or unsteadiness in his life as a religious student, he has gone out to string the bow. He must be stopped! For God's sake, don't let him go! We shall not be ridiculed in public so that we are no longer taken seriously. And we shall not risk a conflict with all the kings of the world."

But others disagreed.

"This young man looks very good. He's built like the trunk of the king of elephants. His thighs, arms, and shoulders are bulging with muscles, and he seems as steady and hard to move as the Himalayan mountains.

"We can infer from his bold confidence that the task of stringing the bow and piercing the target is actually possible for him. He has power and great daring. A weak man could not go out there alone as he is doing. And after all, whether among gods, human beings, or lower life the brahmanas can accomplish any task. Eating only water or living on air or collecting fruits in the forest, brahmanas are fixed in their vows. And though apparently weak, by their spiritual power they are very strong. Abrahmana should never be scorned, whether he behaves properly or has committed some fault, whether his work in this world is great or small, and whether his work brings apparent joy or sorrow."

An Easy Task For Arjuna

Coming to the center of the arena, Arjuna, as unmoving as a mountain, simply stood by the bow. Then he respectfully walked around the bow, keeping it to his right, and bowed down, touching his head to the ground.

Then that fiery warrior happily took the bow in his hands. In the wink of an eye Arjuna fastened the cord, took the five arrows in his hands, and shot the target. Pierced by Arjuna's shafts, the target fell suddenly onto the earth.

The heavens burst into sound, and a great roar filled the stadium. Indra, the lord of heaven, showered flowers on the head of Arjuna, the slayer of the wicked. Throughout the stadium people waved their cloths in jubilation. Some cried out in wonder, and others shouted their disapproval, while showers of flowers fell from the sky, covering the land with celestial blossoms. Hundred-piece bands broke into song, reciters began to recite, and bards and historical chroniclers praised the astonishing event with elegant voices and language.

Seeing Arjuna's feat, Drupada, destroyer of the enemy, was well pleased, and he stood ready with his army to help Arjuna.

As the great uproar continued unabated, the most virtuous Yudhisthira quickly returned to his residence with his twin brothers, Nakula and Sahadeva, the finest of men.

Seeing the target pierced, and seeing Arjuna shining with the brilliance of Indra, Draupadi took the white garland meant for the groom and went broadly smiling to Arjuna, the son of Kunti. As the brahmanas praised and honored Arjuna for he had performed an inconceivable deed he took the woman he had won in the arena of heroes. Followed by his new wife, he walked out of the stadium.

The Kings Protest

When King Drupada desired to give his daughter to the great-spirited brahmana who had won her, fury rose among the assembled kings, and they began to look at one another.

"This king passes over all of us, treating the assembled warriors like straw in the gutter, and instead he wants to give Draupadi, the best of women, to a simple brahmana. Let us kill this wicked king who thinks so little of us. He shows by his qualities that he is unworthy of respect or the consideration offered to the elderly. Let us kill this evil-doer and hater of kings, along with his son. First he calls all the rulers to his city and honors them and feeds them sumptuously, and finally he humiliates them.

"Are we to believe that in this gathering of royalty, like unto a council of the gods, he has not found a single ruler worthy of his family? Sages are not entitled to the privilege of choosing a princess. The Vedas declare that a svayamvara is for men of the royal order. On the other hand, if this fair maiden finds not a single one of us worthy of her, then, fellow kings, let us throw her into the fire and go back to our kingdoms.

"Even though the brahmana, out of immaturity or greed, has so displeased us, in no way is he to be killed. Indeed, we rule our kingdoms, spend our wealth, raise our sons and grandsons,' and live our very lives for the sake of the saintly brahmanas. Still, we must avoid the danger that kings henceforth be regularly insulted. We must protect the sacred principles of warriors so that other svayamvaras do not end like this one."

Bhima And Arjuna Protect Drupada

Having thus spoken, those tigerlike kings, bludgeons in hand and bristling with anger, rushed upon Drupada to arrest him. Seeing the furious kings rushing to attack him with bows and arrows at the ready, Drupada fled in terror and sought shelter of thebrahmanas. The kings charged forward in pursuit like maddened elephants. But then two greatly powerful sons of Pandu Bhima and Arjuna, subduers of enemies went forward against them.

The kings could tolerate no more. Weapons raised with armored hands, their only aim now to kill, they flew forward upon Arjuna and Bhimasena, the two sons of the old Kuru king. Bhima, however, was a warrior of astonishing power and deeds. With his great strength he struck with the shock of a thunderbolt. With his bare arms that unique fighter jerked a large tree out of the ground, and like a lordly elephant he clipped off its leaves [so that the foliage would not soften his blow]. Staying close to Arjuna and brandishing his new weapon in his long, wide arms, Bhima, pain of his enemies, stood like the fearsome lord of death wielding his death-dealing rod.

Having first witnessed Arjuna's feat, which required more than human intelligence, and seeing now the inconceivable prowess of Arjuna's brother Bhima, Lord Krsna, known as Damodara, turned and spoke to His fiercely potent brother, Balarama, who was armed with His plow weapon. Lord Krsna said: "My dear Sankarsana, My brother, that one there who moves with the bearing of a maddened bull and who bent the mighty bow that stood as tall as a palm tree he is Arjuna, as indisputably as I am all-pervading Vasudeva. And that one who returned at once when the kings became wild and who so easily tore out a tree he is Bhimasena, playing the part of a human being, for no man on earth has the power to do what he just did here.

"That other one who left earlier fair-skinned, with large eyes like lotus petals, a more slender physique, the gait of a great lion yet a humble demeanor, and a prominent and handsome nose that enhances his face he, O infallible one, is surely the king of virtue, Yudhisthira.

"Those twins who seem like two young gods of war I reckon to be the sons of the Asvin gods. I have heard that the sons of Pandu and their mother Prtha were saved from the burning house of lac."

Trusting in the words of His younger brother Krsna, Lord Balarama, whose complexion is as white as the purest cloud, said to Him, "I am so happy that by the grace of Providence Our father's sister Prtha and her sons, the best of the Kurus, have all been saved."

The powerful brahmanas, shaking their deerskins and water vessels, said to King Drupada, "You have nothing to fear! We shall fight the enemy!"

When the sages spoke thus, Arjuna smiled and said to them, "Please, be spectators and stand to the side. Just as one can ward off poisonous snakes with mantras, so I shall stop these furious ksatriyas, dispersing them with hundreds of straight-shooting arrows."

Taking his prize bow, Arjuna stood with his brother Bhima like an unmoving mountain, for he was a maharatha, one who can fight alone against thousands of soldiers. Like fearless bull elephants rushing against a hostile herd, the two courageous brothers flew at the angry warriors, headed by Karna, who had now been roused to full fury.

The monarchs and their men declared, "Even a brahmana may be killed in battle if he desires to fight. So says the law."

Karna Fights With Arjuna

Karna went after Arjuna with tremendous power, like a battle-hungry elephant fighting another bull for the sake of his mate. Salya, the mighty lord of the Madras, attacked Bhimasena. Duryodhana and other kings battled the brahmanas, but gently and without effort.

Strongly bending his bow, Arjuna struck the attacking Karna with three arrows. Radheya [Karna] was stunned by the force of the sharp, sizzling arrows and approached with much caution. As Arjuna and Karna furiously battled each other, the skill and speed of the two fighters was incomparable, and each fought hard for victory. They addressed each other in words meaningful to heroes: "Just see how I countered your move!" and "See the strength of my arms!"

Realizing that the power of Arjuna's bow-wielding arms was unmatched on earth prompted Karna to fight with even greater fury. Counteracting the swift shafts fired off by Arjuna, he roared his battle sound, and his fellow warriors shouted with admiration.

Karna said, "I am satisfied by your performance in battle, O brahmana chief. There is great prowess in your arms, you have learned all the weapons, and you do not become discouraged. O noble sage, are you Dhanur Veda himself, or perhaps even Lord Parasurama? Are you Lord Indra, or possibly the infallible Visnu? To disguise yourself you have assumed the appearance of a brahmana, and using the might of your arms you now fight with me. Once I become angry, no one save Indra himself or the Pandava Arjuna can fight me."

Hearing Karna speak to him thus, Phalguna Arjuna replied, "I am not Dhanur Veda, O Karna, nor am I the powerful Parasurama. Quite simply, I am the best of fighting brahmanas, and I am the most skillful in the use of weapons. By the instructions of my guru I am expert in the brahma weapon and in the device of Purandara Indra. I therefore stand here in battle to conquer you, O heroic warrior. Be resolved!"

At these words Radheya Karna, the great chariot fighter, withdrew from the battle, having decided that the power of a brahmana could not be defeated.

At that very moment, O king, the two mighty warriors Salya and Vrkodara Bhima began to fight one another, each maddened with strength and hungry for victory. Like huge enraged bull elephants they taunted one another. With fist colliding against fist, knee smashing against knee, they dragged each other around the fighting ring. Then, in the midst of their battle, Bhima seized Salya in his arms, lifted him high, and slammed him against the ground. The brahmanas broke into smiles. Having brought down powerful Salya, the mighty Bhimasena, best among men, astonished everyone, for he did not strike and kill his foe.

With Salya now brought down and Karna hesitant, the ksatriyas grew doubtful and surrounded Bhimasena.

"These bull-like brahmanas have done very well indeed!" they said. "We should learn where they were born and where they reside, for who has the power to oppose Karna in battle if not Parasurama or Drona or Krpa, the son of Saradvan? Who has the power to meet Duryodhana in battle but Krsna, the son of Devaki, or the fiery Phalguna Arjuna? Salya, king of the Madras, is the strongest of men. Who could fight him but the heroic Lord Baladeva or the Pandava Vrkodara Bhima? Let us forge a truce and suspend fighting with these brahmanas. After we discover who they are, we shall fight again later."

Carefully watching the activities of Bhima, Sri Krsna believed that Bhima and Arjuna were the sons of Kunti. He therefore convinced all the warriors that Draupadi had indeed been fairly won, and thus He restrained them from fighting on. The noble kings were experienced warriors, and on hearing Lord Krsna's remarks they desisted from battle and returned to their kingdoms in utter amazement.

"The competition was dominated by brahmanas. The princess of Pancala now lives with the brahmanas, for they have chosen her." Thus spoke the kings who had gathered for the festival as they journeyed to their homes.

Meanwhile, surrounded by brahmanas clad in deerskins, Bhimasena and Arjuna could hardly move. Those two heroes of mankind at last broke free of the pressing crowd. While their enemies studied and stared at them, and as Draupadi faithfully followed them, they shone beautifully amid the tumultuous scene.

April -3091
Age 22
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 22
Age 22
Panchal, Banswara, Rajasthan, India
Age 22
New Delhi, New Delhi, Delhi, India


The Burning of the Khandava Forest
While Krishna was staying in Indraprastha, a Brahmana came to meet Arjuna. This man presented a wondrous appearance. His body glowed like molten gold, his beard was tawny and fire seemed to be emanating from his bright eyes. He addressed both the friends and said, "No matter what I do, my hunger does not get quenched. I feel that only you two will be able to give me food befitting me, whereby I may be satiated."
Arjuna said, "I have sworn to help anyone who approaches me with a legitimate request. It is not right that you should go hungry, when there is so much food in the world. If you tell me what sort of food you like, I shall arrange to have it brought to you. I promise that you shall not go hungry any longer."
The Brahmana then revealed himself to be Agni. He said, "It is my nature to burn. I have been longing to burn this Khandava forest, which has been apportioned to me by food. However, Indra's friendTakshaka, the king of snakes resides there with his friends. The lives of all in that forest is forfeit to me, but out of affection for his friend, Indra is preventing me from consuming this forest. Whenever I begin to burn it, he orders his thunder clouds to cause pouring rain, dousing my flames. This hunger has started consuming my very self, I cannot bear it any longer. I ask you to protect me while I burn the Khandava forest."
[NOTE: The real reason why Agni wants to burn this forest is to cure his stomach ailment. The story of how he got sick is narrated here.]
Arjuna said, "Since I have promised to help you, so I shall protect you. You do not need to worry about anyone as long as myself and Madhava (Krishna) are on your side. We possess knowledge of many divine Astras that can prevent the rain from reaching the forest. But, if we have to contend with the might of Indra, I would need a bow that can withstand the speed at which I shall be dispatching the arrows. I will also need a suitable chariot, which will move as swift as my thoughts.Krishna shall also need suitable weapons to assist you. If these things can be arranged, there will be no problem."
Agni thought over this and said, "Varuna possess a divine bow given to him by Soma. He owes me a favor, so I can get you this bow. I have a chariot that moves as swift as thoughts, so you shall get this also. As for Krishna, what more suitable a weapon than the Sudarsana--Chakra (discus), with which he used to slay the Daithya's (Asuras) of old as Vishnu? Now that you are suitably armed, let us go to forest and let me burn it."
Arjuna's heart was filled with joy when he beheld his divine bow, which was named Gandiva. It rivalled Pinaka, the bow of Lord Shiva himself. The chariot was made of solid gold and had thoroughbred horses yoked to it. Krishna assumed charge of his Sudarsana-Chakra. There was also a mace named Kaumodaki for Krishna. All three of them proceeded to the edge of the forest.
Agni transformed into his primeval form, of the raging elemental fire. The whole forest was ablaze. The various creatures which were residing in the forest began to run here and there. The birds tried to rise high above the flames and escape the fire. However, the two friends were more than equal to the task. As the birds tried to flee, Arjuna pierced them with his arrows, causing them to fall back dead onto the flames. Krishna took care of any creature that tried to flee the forest on foot. It was a gory sight.
News reached Indra that the Khandava forest was ablaze. Indra knew that his friend Takshaka was away, but his family was still trapped in the fire. He summoned his favorite storm clouds named Pushkala and Avartaka, and commanded them to put out the fire. They tried their level best, the rain descended upon the forest like the primordial flood that had immersed the world. However, Arjunabuilt a barrier of arrows in the sky, which made sure that not even a single drop of this water could reach the forest. Indra was furious. He came out of his palace, armed for battle, accompanied byYama with his mace, Varuna with his noose, Kubera with a club, and Rudra with his trident came to assist the ruler of heaven.
The battle began in dead earnest. Arjuna and Krishna held their own, and sorely harassed the Gods with their arrows. Indra launched various Astras at Arjuna, but to no avail as his son knew the counter Astras for whatever his father could throw at him. As for Krishna, who can stand against the Lord of the Universe in battle? Meanwhile, the son of Takshaka named Asvasena escaped from the forest, assisted by his mother. But Arjuna was furious at this event and slew the wife of Takshakawith three well placed arrows. The fight between the two friends and the Gods went on for a long time.
A disembodied voice boomed from the sky, "Indra, you have already done enough. Thanks to your assistance, you have saved Asvasena, the son of your friend. Know that Arjuna is Nara and Krishna is an incarnation of Naryana. There is no force in the universe that can defeat them. Desist from your futile efforts."
Indra stopped his attempts to save the forest. Meanwhile, Maya, the architect of the Asuras was trapped in the forest. He managed to run out from there and was spotted by Krishna, who lifted his arm to hurl the discus at him. In desperation, Maya sought the protection of Arjuna, who granted him asylum. Since his friend had taken Maya under the wing, Krishna refrained from killing the Asura.
Slowly the flames started to die out. The entire forest had been burnt to ashes. Agni resumed his form as the Brahmana and said, "You two have helped me satisfy my hunger. You have performed a feat that was impossible for even the Gods. As a token of my appreciation, you may keep the weapons and chariot that I gave you. I will always be on your side." After this Agni vanished. Maya who had been saved by Arjuna promised to build a palace for the Pandavas, the likes of which had not been seen till now.
Apart from Asvasena and Maya, the only creatures that escaped alive were some young Saranga birds. The reason for their survival was as follows: In the past, there was a great sage named Mandapala, who had amassed a lot of good Karma, by his penances. One day when he happened to meet some sages, the discussion turned to the concept of salvation and heaven. He was amazed to learn from them that a man without an issue is not eligible for either. He had not married, so immersed had he been in his austerities. So he transformed himself into a Saranga bird and married a she-bird named Jaritha. He had a bunch of young birds as his children. Since he wanted to produce as many descendants as possible, he also married a bird named Lapitha. This caused a great deal of grief to his first-wife, who sent him away from her nest. When the fire started burning the forest, the chicks said to their mother (they could talk, as they were sons of a great sage), "Mother, We cannot fly away from this fire, for our wings are still immature. You however, can escape. You should abandon us to our fate and save yourself. You can have more children in the future, so to safeguard their interests you must save yourself."
When the mother-bird heard this, it was touched. It however was adamant that life had no meaning to it without its children. However, after a lengthy argument it acceded to the wishes of its children and saved itself by flying away. Meanwhile, Mandapala had sensed that his children were in danger. When his other wife Lapitha accused him of caring more for his first wife and children than her, he realized what a fool he had been. He rushed to save his children from the fire.
It would have been too late but for one fact. As the young birds felt the fire approaching them, they started meditating upon Agni, beseeching him to spare their lives. They sang many praises, extolling the glory of Agni in verse. Impressed by the clear thinking and devotion of these birds, Agni spared their lives. This was how the young Saranga birds escaped from the burning of the Khandava forest.

Indraprastha was the capital city of the kingdom of the Pandavas. The Pandava kingdom was the western half of the Kuru kingdom. This territory lied to the west of river Yamuna and to the east of river Saraswati. The city of Indraprastha lied to the western bank of Yamuna. It was all forest and bush land when the Pandava king Yudhishthira got this territory. With the help of Krishna, he made it into a prosperous city. Krishna himself had the experience of building the city of Dwaraka in the ruins of the old city of Kusasthali in an island in the western sea shore close to the mouth of river Saraswati (in Gujarat). The Indraprastha of the Pandavas roughly coincides with the Indraprast sector in Delhi, the capital of India. The Pandavas also built other cities like Panaprastha (modern day Panipat) and Swarnaprastha (Sonipat) in their territory.

There was a large forest and bush land called Khandava surrounding the city of Indraprastha inhabited by Nagas, Rakshasas and Asuras. It was under the rule of the Naga chief Takshaka. Krishna and Arjuna cleared this forest by burning, since it posed a threat to the city. The tribes of Nagas, Rakshasas and Asuras who inhabited the area were either killed in the encounter or were forced to move out to the west. Some of them settled in the Salwa kingdom in the west and some other eventually settled in Gandhara in the far west. Takshaka later dewelled in Takshasila and revenged Arjuna by slaying Arjuna's grandson Parikshit by poisoning him with snake venom.
During the Khandava fire ,Arjuna and Krishna saved Maya an architect belonging to the Asura tribe. As a tribute for saving his life Asura Maya built the famous Maya-Sabha (the Assembly Hall of Maya) for Yudhishthira the king. The city of Indraprastha was often compared to Bhogavati the capital city of the Naga territories in Tibet. The city was however named after Indra the king of the Devas, whose territory also lied in Tibet.

Location of Hastinapura & Indraprastha, near Delhi old or new?
Hastinapur is some 35 kms from Meerut, a satellite city 60 Kms from Delhi. Hastinapur was the capital of Kauravas and latest diggings there have given evidences of a city there app 5000 years ago. The ruins have houses and lanes exactly as mentioned in mahabharata. Hastinapur was a prosperous village during the Mahabharat era. According to Vayu Purana, Hastinapur had to confront a severe flood of the Ganges, during which the whole area was swept away. The capital was then transferred to Kaushambi, about 50 km from Allahabad. The ruins of the ancient city scattered around the village is divided into two parts, namely, Patti Pandavan and Patti Kauravan. Excursions in the vicinity include Vidura ka Tila, Draupadi ki Rasoi and Draupadi Ghat. All these were revealed during the excavations made here in 1952. Several iron, copper and gold articles such as arrows, spearheads, utensils and ornaments were also excavated. Another attraction is the main temple of Jambudeep. A major draw is a fair held here during Katik Purnima. Mawana to the south-west, Bahsuma to the north-west and Phalanda to the west are the major surrounding places. Indira Gandhi International Airport at New Delhi is the nearest airbase and Meerut City Railway Station is the nearest railhead. Indraprastha is actually the old name of Delhi and the fort which was constructed there by Pandavas is still there and is called Purana Quila by locals. There was also excavations by archaeologists and many old items were found there. There is a museum in Purana Quila, where these old articles can be seen. Also Kurukshetra where the great Mahabharat war was fought is some 160 North of Delhi. This place also has evidences of Mahabharat war. MANY, had personally visited there many times and seen the excavations and old articles, thus proving that our epic Mahabharata is actually a fact and not just a story.