Prologue & Epilogue to the
EIGHTEEN-DAY MAHABHARATA WAR
By- Sri Aiyerr RS
Disclaimer The Prologue and Epilogue chapters in this book are only products of my fertile imagination as I thought Mahabharata of Sri Veda Vyasa has to have a different kind of ending which is more satisfying to an impartial mind. I didn’t want the Pandavas to remain intact with the help of Sri Krishna’s guile, while the Kauravas got decimated. I simply didn’t like the idea of Dhirtarashtra playing goody-goody big daddy to the Pandavas in general and Bhimaa in particular who had slaughtered his 100 sons; barring one – Duryodhana – none of them were a match for Bhimaa, yet he killed them all – not even sparing the righteous Vikarna!
How can a Kshatriya like Dhritarashtra be so very forgiving and generous without aching for revenge!? I give a free-hand, a free-flow of Kshatriya energy into the body and soul of Dhirtarashtra which pines for revenge, and he gets it in style!
Right from my childhood, I used to wonder as to how Mahabharata can be called a fight between Dharma and Adharma. Much as I tried, I couldn’t pinpoint Adharma anywhere. This ran counter to the general belief that Pandavas constituted Dharma and the Kauravas Adharma! When pressed for proof, they’d mention all that Duryodhana did to the Pandavas right from their childhood, to Laaksha Griha [lacquer palace] to Dyut Kreeda, as Adharma! But whenever Dirtharashtra/Duryodhana ruled over Hastinapura, there was no complaint from any quarter that their governance was unjust! When the subjects who are ruled, do not have any complaint, how can anyone call them or their rule as adharmic?
Practicising Dharma is like walking on sword’s edge. Slightest deviation results in course-correction. For e.g., on the 15th day of the 18-day Kurukshetra War, Yudhistra finding it impossible to kill Dronacharya and anxious to win by whatever means, lies to him that Ashwathama [his son] is dead saying Ashwathama hatha: Kunjara: which means “Ashwathama is dead, the elephant”. In the din of the battle Dronacharya heard only the first half and not the “Kunjara:” part. We all know what happened subsequently. Until then, Yudhistir’s chariot was plying about six inches above the ground. The moment he acted smart resulting in the murder of Dronacharya, his chariot hit the ground – plying like that of anybody else’s. Course-correction was firm and swift – making Pandavas’ godfather in Sri Krishna irrelevant! It essentially means, there is zero-tolerance when it comes to applying dharmic yardstick – not a notch either way!
Similarly, at the end of the War, Sri Krishna and Bhima stand around the fallen Duryodhana recounting all the evil mechanisms he adopted to deny the Pandavas their “rightful share”. They were in a way justifying their illegitimate conduct in defeating him. At this Duryodhana derides Sri Krishna saying:
“O son of Kansa’s slave, thou hast, it seems, no shame, for hast thou forgotten that I have been struck down most unfairly, judged by the rules that prevail in encounters with the mace? It was thou who unfairly caused this act by reminding Bhima with a hint about the breaking of my thighs! Dost thou think I did not mark it when Arjuna (acting under thy advice) hinted it to Bhima? Having caused thousands of kings, who always fought fairly, to be slain through diverse kinds of unfair means, feelest thou no shame or no abhorrence for those acts? Day after day having caused a great carnage of heroic warriors, thou causedst the grandsire to be slain by placing Shikhandi to the fore! Having again caused an elephant of the name of Ashvatthama to be slain, O thou of wicked understanding, thou causedst the preceptor to lay aside his weapons. Thinkest thou that this is not known to me! While again that valiant hero was about to be slain by this cruel Dhrishtadyumna, thou didst not dissuade the latter! The dart that had been begged (of Shakra as a boon) by Karna for the slaughter of Arjuna was baffled by thee through Ghatotkacha! Who is there that is more sinful than thou? Similarly, the mighty Bhurishrava, with one of his arms lopped off and while observant of the Praya vow, was caused to be slain by thee through the agency of the high-souled Satyaki. Karna had done a great feat for vanquishing Partha. Thou, however, causedst Aswasena, the son of that prince of snakes (Takshaka), to be baffled in achieving his purpose! When again the wheel of Karna’s car sank in mire and Karna was afflicted with calamity and almost vanquished on that account, when, indeed, that foremost of men became anxious to liberate his wheel, thou causedst that Karna to be then slain! If ye had fought me and Karna and Bhishma and Drona by fair means, victory then, without doubt, would never have been yours. By adopting the most crooked and unrighteous of means thou hast caused many kings observant of the duties of their order and ourselves also to be slain!”
“I have studied, made presents according to the ordinance, governed the wide Earth with her seas, and stood over the heads of my foes! Who is there so fortunate as myself! That end again which is courted by Kshatriyas observant of the duties of their own order, death in battle, hath become mine. Who, therefore, is so fortunate as myself? Human enjoyments such as were worthy of the very gods and such as could with difficulty be obtained by other kings, had been mine. Prosperity of the very highest kind had been attained by me! Who then is so fortunate as myself? With all my well-wishers, and my younger brothers, I am going to heaven, O thou of unfading glory! As regards yourselves, with your purposes unachieved and torn by grief, live ye in this unhappy world!”’
At these words of Duryodhana,
“…a thick shower of fragrant flowers fell from the sky. The Gandharvas played upon many charming musical instruments. The Apsaras in a chorus sang the glory of king Duryodhana. The Siddhas uttered loud sound to the effect, “Praise be to king Duryodhana!” Fragrant and delicious breezes mildly blew on every side. All the quarters became clear and the firmament looked blue as the lapis lazuli. Beholding these exceedingly wonderful things and this worship offered to Duryodhana, the Pandavas headed by Vasudeva became ashamed. Hearing (invisible beings cry out) that Bhishma and Drona and Karna and Bhurishrava were slain unrighteously, they became afflicted with grief and wept in sorrow. [Emphasis added]
Sri Krishna, when he sees the sunken face of the Pandavas at the celestial appreciation of Duryodhana and their denunciation, addresses them saying,
“All of them were great car-warriors and exceedingly quick in the use of weapons! If ye had put forth all your prowess, even then ye could never have slain them in battle by fighting fairly! King Duryodhana also could never be slain in a fair encounter! The same is the case with all those mighty car-warriors headed by Bhishma! From desire of doing good to you, I repeatedly applied my powers of illusion and caused them to be slain by diverse means in battle. If I had not adopted such deceitful ways in battle, victory would never have been yours, nor kingdom, nor wealth! Those four were very high-souled warriors and regarded as Atirathas in the world. The very Regents of the Earth could not slay them in fair fight! Similarly, the son of Dhritarashtra, though fatigued when armed with the mace, could not be slain in fair fight by Yama himself armed with his bludgeon! [Emphasis added]
This again emphasizes my point that the Kurukshetra War is no Dharma Vs. Adharma struggle. It is only a property dispute between two branches of the same tree – one a original branch led by the Kauravas, and the other, a patched branch led by the Pandavas.
I call Pandavas a patched branch because, we all know how they came into being. They were all demi-gods being born to Yama [God of death], Vayu [God of wind], Indra [King of Gods] and Ashwini Kumars [Gods of Medicine] through Kunti, wife of an impotent Pandu. Now, I believe gods or demi-gods have no business to lay claim to any portion of earth which is mrityu lok [world of death]. The job of the gods is to receive argyam, padhyam, aachamaniyam, snanam, alankaaram, naivedhyam etc. when they are called during homam, yagnyam, pooja. Their job is not to stay behind and lord over us. But here, the bastard sons of an impotent Pandu not only enter into the Royal household of Hastinapura but also lay claim to half the Kingdom! Now tell me, which Kshatriya will yield half his Kingdom to rank outsiders?
That’s the reason why Duryodhana discouraged the Pandavas from having any design on what is his in his own Kshatriya way [like trying to get them killed, exiled etc]. Gradually it gained in malfeasance under the able guidance of Sakuni mama [who had secretly sworn unto himself that he would destroy the entire Kuru clan to its roots because Bheeshma had the Khandaara princess Khandhari married to a blind Dirtharashtra].
Champions of Dharma throw on your face the Laaksha Grah [Wax palace] and disrobing of Draupadi in the dyut kreeda bhavan as manifestation of Adharma. Agreed. But you need to look into why it happened?
Laaksha Grah was entirely Sakuni’s plot right from its construction and it being set on fire and surreptitiously bringing it to Vidura’s knowledge about the impending disaster. Remember, Sakuni was moving his coins cleverly so that it reaches a breaking point in the relationship twixt the Pandava and Kaurava cousins from where there’s no looking back and no one on earth can stop the entire Kuru clan from destroying itself. And there lay his revenge!
Coming to staking of Draupadi and her disrobing. It was Sakuni’s suggestion to Yudhishtir who had lost everything in his gamble. Yudhistir couldn’t resist the temptation of winning back all that he had lost with just one last roll of the dice. This is easily understandable from a losing gambler’s perspective. Once Yudhishtir did the unthinkable of pledging his wife, and the moment she is lost in the gambit, her status immediately comes down to the rank of a slut from that of a Queen, and the winner can do anything with her the way he pleases. [If perhaps I were in Duryodhana’s place then, I would have given Yudhishtir a piece of my mind and told him he is unfit to be a Kshatriya and what to talk of being a King! I would have returned his wife back to him with due honour befitting her rank and stature! That would have been my ultimate revenge for everything vis-à-vis the Pandavas! And of course I would have retained the Kingdom which I had won and shown him and his usurper brothers the door with a warning that they should lead a very normal indistinct lives as they were all my slaves who were gambled away by their elder brother Yudhistir and must be available to my every beck and call].
However, Duryodhana being Duryodhana and egged on by his Sakuni mama did what he did leading to disrobing of Draupadi.
Fast forwarding now to the end of the 18-day Kurukshetra War, and Dirtharashtra meekly resigning his fate vis-à-vis the Pandavas when they returned to Hastinapura straight from Kurukshetra after massacring his 100 sons: It is very un-Kshatriya-like to say the least. If I were Dirtharashtra, I would have challenged Bhima to single-combat, telling them the Crown of Hastinapur is still at stake, and that he can kill me as the 101st and be done with it. I will ask them to shut up their jyesht pithasri pretence, and tell them we are enemies at war, and that the war is not over till I am alive!
This is what has led me to writing this fiction after pondering over it for many decades.
My objection in Mahabharata is related to only this “Dharma–Adharma” concoction and nothing else! In reality, the 18 day war is a fight between Adharma vs. Adharma. No amount of perfuming it with glib talk of Dharma is going to suppress its foul odour.
To say that Dirtharashtra was in an agitated frame of mind is an understatement. Having seen what is in store for him and his sons at the end of the Mahabharatha War, he was resigned to his fate. His wily mind was plotting an unsuspected twist to the end result. Pacing up and down and round and round the arena he has specifically built for a purpose, his mind was giving finishing touches to the “end” – which was his revenge on the Pandavas and Sri Krishna who were instrumental in getting all his hundred sons killed mercilessly – including the righteous Vikarna who was the only one who stood up for the Pandavas in the Dhyut Kreeda bhavan on that fateful day when Draupadi was disrobed. Bhima single-handedly killed everyone of them. The remaining Pandavas – Yudhishtir, Arjun, Nakul and Sahadev – connived in such a way that they did not kill any of the 100 Kuru brothers even when they had a chance. They spared them because Bhima had vowed that he would kill them all by himself!
This merciless sadism was the one that was at the bottom of Dirtharashtra’s thirst for revenge. After everything was over, he wanted single combat with Bhima to decide who would wear the Crown of Hastinapura – whether him, or Yudhishtir! His vengeful heart justified such a thirst that when all relatives can kill each other, why not father and son?
Just yesterday sage Sri Veda Vyasa had given him celestial vision through which he could see the carnage of the Kurukshetra war – of the slaughter of his own relatives on both sides. Sri Veda Vyasa gave him the power to see the past, present and the future. This was gladly accepted by him. He also made an additional request that his consort Kaandhaari also be given similar vision as she is also an equal partner in the fortunes of their clan. Dirtharashtra also said that this vision should now remain permanently with him and Kaandhaari, till their very end. Since Sri Veda Vyasa is in a way Dirtharashtra’s father, he was mercy personified and said “so be it”.
Dirtharashtra thanks Sri Veda Vyasa profusely and sees him off with due ceremony and respect. But before that, he extracts one other promise from him that he should turn up the next day morning too as he and Kaandhaari would love to offer him Paada pooja. [Showing special respect to a holyman’s feet].
Now that he can see, he doesn’t waste time. He walks into his chamber and there he sees his Queen Kaandhaari for the first time with his real eyes. He calls her out, “O Kaandhaari, my Queen, here, look at me. Remove your blindfold. Sri Veda Vyasa has given us divine vision through which we can see the past, present and the future. He wants us to witness the Kurukshetra war which is about to commence.” Kaandhaari is stunned. She is rendered speechless for a while. Then Dhritharaashtra suggests to his Queen, “Okay, let us first try this divine vision on our own people starting from our children, Duryodhan, Dusshaashan, Vikarna down to the last of our 100th son! Let us see where they are now, and see what they are doing. Let us follow it up with our Taat Sri – Bheeshma Pitamaha, Dronacharya, Ashwathama, Kripaacharya, Karna, Sakuni, Pandavas Yudhistir, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva, Sri Krishna, Sri Balarama and everybody else.”
Queen Kaandhaari puts a break to Dirtharashtra’s enthusiasm saying, first let us together offer pooja to pratham poojaniya Sri Mahaganapati and Sri Mahadeva before we try out this divine vision! Dirtharashtra immediately agrees to this proposal. Clapping his hands, both the King and his Queen have a ceremonial bath, sport fresh clothes, make-up, ornaments and enter the Pooja room. Even though Kaandhaari had blind-folded herself, her pooja room was meticulous and self-sufficient in everything. The blind-couple who can now see, start by thanking Sri Veda Vyasa for the vision, follow it up with proper devotion to Sri Mahaganapati and Sri Mahadeva. Once done, they are at peace, and they have coaxed their mind to accept whatever is in store for them – a few days thence.
They see their children for the first time and they are impressed by their majestic eldest son Duryodhan. They are all marching at the head of their respective armies towards Kurukshetra – the battlefield. They follow it up with every one of their relatives, friends and acquaintances including sudhputr Karna’s parents and the King’s Charioteer Sanjay.
After their curiosity of the identity of their near and dear ones, the past and present is quenched, their hearts thirst for what’s in the future, especially, the end-result of the Mahabharata war. They see how Bheeshma is felled by Arjuna hiding behind eunuch Shikandi. They see every one of the goary end to their gladiators one after another. They also see how Dushshashan is killed by Bhima and how he quaffs his blood ripping open his chest with bare hands. They also see how Duryodhana is defeated by Bhima. Bhima did not even spare the righteous Vikarna – he killed everyone of their 100 sons with his mace ripping their heart out. That Bhima did not even spare Vikarna, ate into the vitals of Dirtharashtra and Kaandhaari.
They couldn’t sleep the entire night, they kept thinking over again and over again of what’s in store for them ultimately at the end of 18 days! But by then Dirtharashtra had made up his mind for revenge. Dawn was about to break. Determinedly they get up, finish their oblusions and get ready for receiving Sri Veda Vyasa.
Sri Veda Vyasa does not disappoint, he turns up at the promised hour. Dhritaraashtra and his queen show their respect to him and express their gratitude for his blessing them with divine vision.
Once all the rituals are over, Sri Veda Vyasa asks Dhritharaashtra about his sullen look, his swollen eyes! He asks him, what’s the matter? Speak up. At this Dhritharaashtra breaks out wailing, “I want revenge. I want single combat with Bhima at the end of the war. It would be a fight-to-the-finish with the winner having the right over his opponent’s dead body. No rules. No mercy. If brothers can kill brothers, if disciples can kill their preceptors, if uncles can kill their nephews, what’s the harm if Bhima kills me or I kill Bhima? If you can grant me this wish, please grant me the following wishes too:
- Ask Vishwakarma to build a small arena with appropriate seating arrangements for about 200 people. It should also encompass a small lake, and 105 readymade pyres!
- All my 100 dead sons and important generals from both sides [For e.g., Samasaptakas, Bhurisravas, Drona, Karna, Shalya, Jayadratha etc. from our side, to Abhimanyu, Dhrupad, Dhrishtatyumna, Shikandi, Vrata, Uttara etc. from Pandavas’ side], should come alive purely for witnessing my revenge.
- Pandavas should not have any inkling of what is in store for them at the end of the war, from my side. It should be a surprise package when they arrive victoriously from Kurukshetra.
- I don’t want any special boon to defeat Bhima. Similarly, he should not be accorded any secret aid/boon by anyone.
- This father’s heart only aches for a soothing balm which is either Bhima’s death at his hands or his death at Bhima’s in trying to avenge!
- Either way the Crown will go to Yudhistra – whether I win or die. Because even if I should win, I would not like to rule over a nation which does not have my dear Duryodhana and his brothers, Bheeshma Pitamaha, Dronacharya, and Karna.
Sri Veda Vyasa looked deep into Dhritharaashtra’s eyes. So you have seen what is in store for you. I am not surprised. I should have known better. Well. Now that you know, it cannot be undone. And your desire for revenge is perfectly okay from a Kshatriya’s point of view.
You will have your revenge.
THE EIGHTEEN-DAY KURUKSHETRA WAR
Out and out, it was Sri Krishna’s show although he claimed he would not take arms in the War, he did everything with his mayaajaal tricks of making the sun play hide-and-seek in enabling Jayadratha’s death and persuading Arjuna to allow another Maharathi Shikandi, a eunuch, in his Rath so that he can hide behind him and defeat Bheeshma. And jugglery of words in Ashwathama hatha: kunjara: in Dronacharya’s murder by rank coward Dhrishtadyumna, to Duryodhana’s death by pointing to his thighs to Bhima. He had an “unarmed” role in slaying many a Kaurava Maharathi.
There is no point in going through the entire sequence of the 18-day War which has already been elaborately written by many a great authors.
Now, let us fast-forward to destruction of Pandavas’ remaining army along with its Commander-in-Chief Dhrushtatyumna, the panchalas, Draupadi’s sons etc. on the night of the 18th day. On the 19th morning, the sole survivor, Charioteer of Dhrushtatyumna catches up with the Pandavas and informs them about the total annihilation of their camp by Ashwathama, Kripacharya and Kritavarma. Pandavas then set out in search of Ashwathama, once he is dealt with, they now come to Hastinapura to meet Dritharashtra and Kaandhaari.
They are in for a surprise.
Dhirtharashtra comes direct to the point. He asks the Pandavas why they couldn’t spare even one of his 100 sons at least for the purpose of doing his last rites? Why they had to kill even Vikarna who spoke for them in the Dyut Kreeda Bhavan? He asked Kunti, you had the presence of mind to ask Karna to spare four of your sons, you had the presence of mind to ask Karna not to use the Naagastra more than once, but why couldn’t you ask your sons to spare at least Vikarna? Why couldn’t you ask your sons to spare Karna? It means, you had written him off from the moment of his birth, but the heartless selfish woman in you wanted to see that your Pandavas are preserved while Karna is killed. If there is a reward for a cruel mother, then you should walk away with that prize.
This pulverized them into stoic silence for a long time. Even there apologist and mouthpiece Sri Krishna couldn’t say anything. Then Yudhishtir opened his mouth to explain away their conduct. At this, Dhirthrashtra simply raised his hand to stop him from his ramble, hearing which the Pandavas in general, Kunti and Sri Krishna in particular were stunned. Kunti swooned and fell down like a chopped tree. Dhirthrashtra simply said, “I want single-combat with Bhima, the Kurukshetra War is not yet over”. You people boast that you are Kshatriyas which you are not. You are demi-Gods who can walk in and out of Devalok at any time. Yet, you wanted to pitch your tents here within the Royal Hastinapur’s household and you wanted a share in our Kingdom to which you are/were never entitled. If you were brought into this world by Kunti, that’s her problem. How is Dhrithrashtra’s family concerned with that? It was a huge favour that Kunti and children were taken-in after my brother Pandu’s death. She has already paid her gratitude for that by having my 100 sons, Bheeshma Pitamaha, Dronacharya, Karna and other Maharathis who fought on our side killed in the most cowardly manner. Not one was killed adopting the dharmic way! Well. There’s no point in talking about that which has been done and cannot be undone. But, I want my revenge for the savage killing of my 100 sons who, except for one Duryodhana, were no match for Bhima. Yet he killed them all with his mace cracking open their chest. I am discounting Dushashana here for obvious reasons. Bhima did not even have the heart to spare one of those 98! Therefore, I want my revenge. I would like all of you to witness and experience as to how it feels when someone who is near and dear to you has his heart pulled out and his blood drunk! I want you also to suffer a loss which is at par with my loss on account of my 100 sons. Once Bhima has the courage to accept my challenge, let me tell you, my choice of weapon would be mace – Duryodhan and Bhima’s favourite. In fact, I will be using the very same mace which Duryodhan used in his fight. For your kind information, and perhaps, as you can see, Sri Veda Vyas has given me divine vision. So much so, I could see the entire 18 day war as though I was seated in a stadium. I could also witness what Ashwathama accomplished which Bheeshma Pitamaha, Dronacharya, Karna couldn’t. Therefore, I need no cock-and-bull story about why something happened the way it happened. Because I know it first-hand. If you want to rest and have the fight tomorrow morning, it is okay with me. But remember, my Duryodhan was denied that rest and recuperation which he badly needed. But since we are true Kshatriyas we grant it to the pseudo ones the privilege to rest and recover. Or else, I will be waiting for Bhima in the stadium which has been built by Vishwakarma just for this purpose. Among the audience we will have all my 100 sons, Karna, Bhurisrava, Dronacharya, Shalya, Ashwathama, Kripacharya, Kritavarma, Dhrushtathyumna, Dhrupad, Abhimanyu, Shikandi, Samasaspatas to witness my revenge.
Best part is there is no rules for this duel. Because with you people having the rules and not having them is one and the same. That’s why I have done away with them. It would be a free for all. And the winner will have the right over the loser’s body. That is, it would be his prerogative as to how the body is disposed off. If I emerge victorious, let me assure you Yudhistir, I am not wee bit interested in remaining the King. What is this Hastinapur in the absence of Bheeshma Pitamaha, Dronacharya, Karna and my dear Duryodhana and my 99 other sons? I win, you will be the King, I lose, you will of course be the King. But I guess after you witness what I do to your dear Bhima, either you may like to avenge his death, or you may decide to go to the forest for pursuing Tapasya in which you are good making Arjuna the King. If I were you, I will make Nakula and Sahadeva the Kings of Hastinapura and Indraprastha respectively. Who knows, if you and Arjun decide to avenge dear Bhima’s goary death at my hands, perhaps I may dispatch both of you too to where Bhima is!
Therefore all those tears, niceties and courtesies of “pranaam, Jyeshtpitashri” etc. can wait. For the present, I am eagerly waiting for Bhima in the arena. Please do not tarry.
Dirtharashtra is impatiently walking around the stadium. There is pin-drop silence among the audience comprising his 100 sons and the dead Maharathis on both sides. Dirtharashtra was anxious that even Bheeshma Pitamaha must be among the audience. He had a slope constructed at about 20° angle so that he can also watch the mace duel between him and Bhima; he was transported in a special cart on a specially built road to the stadium which wouldn’t jerk and be painful for the Pitamaha! Dirtharashtra was very considerate. Among audience were Maharani Khaandaari, Kunti, Draupadi, Yudhistir, Arjun, Nakul, Sahadev and of course their shadow Sri Krishna! Ashwathama was seated at a distance as the curse of Sri Krishna had caught up with him. Kripacharya and Kritavarma were seated next to Dronacharya.
Suddenly the Pandavas and Sri Krishna rose up in their seats clapping, and a pensive Bhima made his appearance, fully armoured.
The waiting Dirtharashtra mocked him for his armour. He said, you coward, why do you need an armour which is in no way going to help you? Look at me, I am bare-chested. Let me remind you, this duel has no rules. We can hit the other adopting any which way. There is no need for Sri Krishna to communicate with you in sign language. If he is so inclined, he can guide you on your moves. As my sons’ murderer, I give you the first strike. Make best use of it! Because you may never get to strike next!
On hearing this taunt, an infuriated Bhima rushed at his JyeshtPita [Big Daddy] with his mace raised above with the intent to hit Dirtharashtra on his head – firm and square. But Dirtharashtra was too brilliant for him. He simply stepped aside and hit Bhima’s mace as one would hit a baseball out of the stadium. Even as people were watching the mace going up in the sky and beyond the boundary, Dirtharashtra turned 360° on his left heel, and connected his mace to Bhima’s left knee breaking his leg. Dirtharashtra then turned 360° on his right heel and crushed Bhima’s right knee with his mace even before he could hit the ground from the first knock.
He looked around, and said that’s his revenge for his dear Duryodhana who was killed by Bhima in such savage manner going against the very basics of mace-combat. The atmosphere was dead silent because of the shock and awe of what they have just witnessed before Dirtharashtra’s sons led by Duryodhana burst out in applause.
Now, poor Bhima was lying on the ground trying to get up, but in vain.
He turned his attention to Bhima again, and smashed his left and right shoulders one by one. Ripped out his armour plates and flung them away. Caught hold of his left hand, and tore it away from his body with Bhima sending a huge pitiable cry into the shell-shocked audience. With his bare hands punched his heart tearing it open and pulled it out. He started quaffing blood from it just as Bhimaa did on the fallen Dusshashan.
His 100 sons entered the arena jangling their swords and shields and dancing literally a macabre dance of death. They danced forward and backward, and side to side!
Carrying Bhima’s lifeless body and bathed in his blood, Dirtharashtra stood up and said, my revenge is complete. He performed the last rites of his 100 sons one by one by giving fire to their respective body.
He bowed towards the audience and bade them good-bye.
He called out Maharani Khaandaari to accompany him and together walked into the pyre [carrying Bhima’s body on his left shoulder and Khaandaari in his right arm] leaving the shell-shocked remaining pseudo-dharmi Pandavas behind.
Yudhistir and Arjuna leave for Dwaraka with Sri Krishna after anointing Nakula and Sahadeva as respective Kings of Hastinapura and Indraprastha.
2 I’d like to recall here a story from Tamil movie Thiruvilayadal [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thiruvilaiyadal]. Shenbaga-pandian was ruling over Madurai. He was also the de jure Chief of Tamil Sangam. His Maharani had a doubt whether women’s hair is naturally fragrant or is it fragrant because of application of perfumed oil etc. Shenbagapandian, eager to please his consort, announces anyone who can clear the Maharani’s doubt will get 1000 gold sovereigns. Dharumi, a poor, budding poet hears this. He starts ranting in the Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple before Lord Shiva’s sanctum [he is called Sokkanathar], as to what all he will do if only he can write a poem which will win him 1000 gold coins! First thing he says, he will clear the debt to his milk vendor, and so on. Lord Shiva wants to play pranks with him. He emerges on the scene as a Poet, and tells Dharumi that he heard his prayer and that he is willing to help him out with a Poem which should get him the prize. Dharumi grabs the offer and rushes off to the Tamil Sangam where Shenbagapandian is holding Court, and presents it before him. The King is mighty pleased and orders Dharumi be given the prize money. But here, Nakkeerar the Poet Laureate of the Tamil Sangam says the poem is not eligible for prize because there is a factual error in it. Since it is Tamil Sangam the King cannot overrule his Poet Laureate.
Dharumi returns to the Meenakshi Amman Temple rambling that he shouldn’t have trusted the credentials of a total stranger who called himself a Poet! Hearing this, Lord Shiva is terribly angry and drags a reluctant Dharumi back to the Tamil Sangam and asks in a threatening voice as to who dared to find fault with his Poem. Nakkeerar explains as to why he feels the Poem is faulty. At this Lord Shiva shows him his third-eye. Witnessing which Nakeerar is alarmed, but he goes on to say “even if you are Lord Shiva, and even if you threaten to burn me down with your third-eye, mistake is a mistake and “even if the third-eye is opened, fault is a fault” at which he is burnt to ashes. Those of the readers who are interested in watching the sequence of events given above can follow the links given below:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpsGAxZyGXQ AND
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzo8PTLz0wA Here, Nakkeeran is revived by Lord Shiva at 1:00:24 of the video.
Therefore, the eighteen-day Kurukshetra War is only a war over ownership of territory. It has got nothing to do with Dharma or Adharma. And whatever Duryodhana did to the Pandavas, it was in line with the character of a Kshatriya including the fallout of Dyut kreeda.
Veda Vyasa, Mahabharata. Complete Volumes 1-18, Kindle Edition, Translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli. Location: 64356-64396 of 109791. [There’s no page numbering. Instead they use “Location”].
4 MAHABHARATA Written by Vyasa Translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli, Complete Volumes 1-18 . Kindle Edition, Location 64353 to 64400 of 109791.
. I don’t find a more appropriate word to describe a son born to a different father than the wedded one when he is alive and kicking and when the marriage is still intact! I don’t wish to go into the niyoga practice of yore, but would rather stick to present-day logic in this regard that it is bastardry.
. Just prior to the Pandavas leaving for Laaksha Graha, Varnavrat, Sakuni arranged for someone to throw a piece of smoking lacquer into Vidhura’s room. Vidhura examining it notices that it is lac. Since it was smoking, he knew that the new palace that has been built for Pandavas’ stay at Varnavrat is made of lac and that it could be set on fire killing them all. Immediately, Vidhura informs Yudhistir in coded language about the danger awaiting them in Varnavrat. He also arranges for an expert in building tunnels to dig one for the Pandavas to escape from the Laaksha Graha.
This meant, Sakuni wanted the Pandavas to be alive than killed as their presence was required for the building up of a crescendo leading to the destruction of the Kuru clan in its entirety.
. In the original Mahabharata of Sri Veda Vyasa, Dhritharashtra declines this offer saying he would not like to witness his people meet their goary end as he had not even seen them in their real life and would not be able to recognize who is what. So instead he requested Sri Veda Vyasa to give this celestial vision to his Charioteer Sanjay through whom he would hear a running commentary of what went on or what’s going on or what’s in store. This was granted by Vyasa saying “as you wish”.
. Sri Krishna cursed Ashwathama that he would carry on his back his own foul smelling body oozing pus and blood for 3000 years for killing Uthara’s child Parikshit in the womb. [Of course, we all know Sri Krishna revived that dead child]
- And the 101st was a daughter named Duhsala.