Mahabharat is one of many historical accounts of Hindu History, it is the longest historical account of ancient Bharatiya History which has every possible aspect of life, its complication, love, affection, war of thrones, and involvement of Bhagwan himself in a human form. It is the longest historical text that has ever been created, it is fifteen times the combined length of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.
We will be talking about this in brief so that our readers will get a good hold of the entire account. To draw an analogy from modern times, we can say that just like the Game of Thrones (GOT) TV series, the Mahabharat is somewhere similar where the final war was fought between two massive armies because of the family dispute in the Kingdom. There was a Kingdom of Hastinapur and many other Kingdom in Bharat around 5000 years back like the King’s Landing in GOT where every story revolves around it and somewhere culminates into the King’s Landing, similarly the different stories of around 42 Kingdoms in Bharat of times culminated to add to the story of Hastinapur. Let’s take a look at the Map of Mahabharat times.
Mahabharat Family tree
To get an overview of Mahabharat we need to have some sense of the family tree of the Hastinapur, we need to focus on Pandav and Kaurav. Dhritrashtra in Kaurava was the eldest son of Vyas but because of his blindness right from childhood, the throne was handed over to his younger brother Pandu, since in Bharat there was a tradition of Primogeniture, it was changed considering this special case. Pandu killed a Yogi in the forest, he then handed over the kingdom to his elder brother and went to jungles to do penance with his two wives.
Further, the story of the birth of the children of Pandu and Dhritrashtra is itself a different chapter altogether, cutting the story short. The eldest son was born to Pandu named “Yudhisthir” followed by other children of both Kaurav and Pandav. The point of conflict after the death of Pandu was, who would sit on the throne, the eldest son among all who was the son of Pandu who made his elder brother act as an acting King or the son of current acting king Dhritarashtra?
Story of Mahabharat
The King arranged Gurukul education for all the princes when they all came to an age where it was mandatory to start their studies. Right from the beginning Duryodhan, the eldest son of Dhritarashtra or Kaurav knew that at one point in time, he would have to step down for Yudhisthir the eldest son of Pandu or Pandav because his father was an acting King. He conspired many times to kill Pandavas but failed in all his attempts, as the time passes enmity from Duryodhan’s side started to multiply many a fold which was promoted by the maternal uncle of Duryodhan because he also wanted to see his nephew become a King one day.
After completing their education all the princes become warriors of their own class, Arjun the 3rd eldest of Pandav became the most skilled archer, and Bheem the 2nd eldest became the strongest among all Pandav and Kaurav. When all the princes were in their capital the attempts to kill Pandav from Duryodhan’s side never came to a halt this led to internal conflicts which made the entire kingdom weak. The eldest member of the family tree “Bheeshma” was still alive because he had a boon from his father to die when he was willing to die interjected and it was decided that the kingdom would be parted between Kaurav and Pandav. Hastinapur was kept for Kaurav and “Indraprastha” was given to Pandav, they made a marvelous capital of Pandav out of “Indraprastha” which was again envied by Duryodhan because he never wanted to see his kingdom parted with Pandav because this time he started hating the mere existence of Pandav.
The uncle of Duryodhan “Shakuni” made an extensive and foolproof plan to usurp everything from Pandav and make them beggars from the king. Shakuni had magical dice which were used to play “Chausar”, a kind of game like ludo, where every player has to gamble something on every dice throw. So, Duryodhan invited Yudhisthir to play Chausar with him and at that time kings never used to deny the offers of war and Chausar. All the brothers gathered in the Hastinapur court to play “Chausar”. Pandav came with a friendly mindset of refreshing the sour relationship between two families and easing tensions between two kingdoms that were recently parted.
As the game proceeded, Pandav started to lose things like some money, some soldiers, etc. because they never had any clue that the dice were spelled and were following the commands of Shakuni. It was considered to be shameful if a player stopped the game before losing everything or gaining everything he lost. Eventually, Yudhisthir lost everything, his money, his kingdom, and his recently founded capital “Indraprastha”, then Duryodhan asked him to gamble his brothers and he would return his kingdom if he won this time. Yudhisthir played and lost all his brothers, then he asked Yudhisthir to gamble his wife and he would return his kingdom and all his brothers if he won.
Everyone was looking at the game as mute spectators, even the wisest of the wise gentlemen who were sitting in the court were not allowed to stop the game because the entire court was hijacked by Duryodhan, some tried to oppose the game saying it was not a game it is immorality but Duryodhan silenced everyone. Eventually, Yudhisthir lost his wife as well because the dice were all in the control of Shakuni the uncle of Duryodhan. Duryodhan commanded his younger brother to drag the wife of Pandavs by the hair and bring her to the court because he had won her and he would make her his slave now. When Draupadi, the wife of Pandav was brought to the court in a state where she was not properly dressed and attempted to get undressed on the command of Duryodhan, she looked at everyone and felt that everyone in this court was responsible for this kind of indecency. She was about to curse everyone but was stopped by the king who requested that he will return everything to Pandav and if you do not give any curse to anyone in the court.
Pandavas were given 12 years of exile followed by 1 year of incognito exile as a punishment to gamble brothers and their wife. Pandavas accepted the punishment peacefully and went for 13 years of exile in the forest. Pandavas started preparing for war right from day one to avenge the kind of humiliation that they endured at the hands of Kaurav. Arjuna gained a lot of weapons from Demi-Gods and Mahadev during their exile and as time passed they completed their 13 years of exile. Now the time has arrived when Pandavas came to claim their lost Kingdom from Hastinapur.
Krishna in Mahabharat
Bhagwan Shri Krishna is one of the critical elements of Mahabharat because without him Pandavas would be in big trouble, he has saved Pandavas many number of times from troubles that could have destroyed them long ago. Meanwhile, the story of Pandavas and Kauravas was proceeding, Krishna was also living his part of life in other parts of Bharat. He also went to Gurukul to gain an education and later founded his city Dwarka on the shores of the sea of present-day Gujrat. He was the one who saved Draupadi in the court of Kaurav where she was being undressed by Duryodhan’s younger brother considering he had won her and now he will treat her the way he like.
When Pandavas came from the long 13-year period of exile, they sent Krishna to Hastinapur as their messenger to ask the King to return to their kingdom as promised 13 years ago. When Shri Krishna went to Hastinapur to prevent war by returning the Pandavas what the King owed to them, Duryodhan denied even an inch of land saying that he broke their 1 year of incognito exile and now they should voyage for another 12 years of exile followed by 1 year incognito exile. He tried to capture Shri Krishna instead to demoralize Pandav, but Shri Krishna showed his Virat form to everyone in the court and warned the entire court of Kaurav that each and every person whoever will take part in the war to come would be slaughtered without mercy because the kind of warriors that were on the side of Pandavas were unparalleled and could not be matched by any kingdom on the planet. He prophesied that all the Maha warriors of Bharat would be killed in this war hence it would be called a Mahabharat and Maharaj Dhritrashtra would be the sole responsible person for this one and only war that would be fought on the face of the planet.
Preparation of Mahabharat
When Shri Krishna returned from Hastinapur, he asked Maharaja Yudhisthir to assemble the army on their side, the place of Kurukshetra was chosen for war because in ancient times wars used to be fought on empty land, and common civility was never disturbed from it. Only soldiers fought against soldiers and the one who won would take over the civility and used to rule them, unlike the wars of modern times where barbarians from the north-western borders of Bharat used to rape, plunder, killed innocents. The same thing we see gets repeated in every corner of the world, wherever the army is fighting with another army, the war is being fought in cities and not in open bare grounds.
Kaurav also started preparing for the war and assembled their side of the army, when both armies assembled in the field of Kurukshetra, it was a sea of army. The total count of soldiers from both sides combined was roughly 40 Lakhs (3.9 Million). It is a number that even today’s world cannot match despite the immense number of people on the planet. Both sides had the bravest of soldiers, both sides possessed magical weapons, and both sides had their advantages and disadvantages. But the Pandavas side had the biggest advantage, which was Bhagwan Shri Krishna himself was driving the chariot of Arjun.
Mahabharat Originated Bhagwatgeeta
When both sides are in front of each other it is an ocean of soldiers, elephants, cavalry, and infantry. When the couches from both sides are about to be blown, suddenly Arjun asks Shri Krishna to drive the chariot in between both of the armies so that he might take a look evenly to both the armies and analyze the situation and its seriousness. Shri Krishna did the same and placed the chariot in between both the armies, then Arjun suddenly started shivering from the fear of killing his own family members from his own hands and started talking gibberish about taking sanyas (renunciation) and becoming a saint. He couldn’t able to convince himself that he was here to kill his own people just because of a piece of land and started showing his back to Shri Krishna.
Shri Krishna got infuriated and reprimanded Arjuna, saying how dare he let the thoughts of cowardice come to his head, then he started giving Arjuna the knowledge which is universal and liberating and later called Bhagwat Geeta. Each and every word of Shri Krishna was documented in Bhagwat Geeta, when Shri Krishna finished his talk with Arjun, his eyes were burning to burn the entire war field. He was ready to kill each and every one in front of him as if it became his duty to finish people like Kaurav and even Bhagwan was looking at him to finish the divine job to be done.
When the war started soldiers from both sides started falling, the war continued for 18 days and Bheeshma the eldest of Kaurav stood for 10 days alone and killed Lakhs of soldiers, but when Shri Krishna saw that the war was going on the side of Kaurav, he started influencing the war using his skills and wit. Eventually, he made every pillar of the Kaurav army fall down count by count, and eventually, on the 18th day, Duryodhan was killed and the war came to an end. Except for the 5 brothers in the Pandava camp every other person was killed, there was no one left on the side of the Kauravs and Pandav.
Now all 5 brothers of Pandava camp came to Hastinapur got the entire Kingdom under one roof and started their campaign to unify the entire Bharat once again after it was broken in Mahabharat.