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baby

Posts: 26 Member Since: 10/20/09

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Nov 5 09 11:37 PM

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The Mahabharata is the great battle of Kurukshetra. It took place between two families - the Pandavas and the Kauravas for the sovereignty of Northern India and the throne of Hastinapur. The Pandavas were the 5 sons of Pandu and the Kauravas were their cousins, the 100 sons of King Dhritashtra, Pandu's blind younger brother who was now king as Pandu was no more. After Dhritashtra, the throne rightly belonged to Yudhisthir, the oldest son of Pandu. But of course, the Kauravas would have none of that.
Duryodhan, the oldest of the Kauravas, was an extremely wicked man and had cheated the Pandavas out of their kingdom in a game of dice. He had also tried to strip Draupadi, who was the common wife of the Pandavas, in front of all at the palace after the Pandavas had lost the game. And were it not for the timely intervention of Lord Krishna, he would have succeeded in this dastardly deed. Therefore it was on the advice of the Lord that the Pandavas were ready to battle for their rights.
The Pandavas were also first cousins of Lord Krishna as their mother was the sister of his father. But as Lord Krishna did not wish to be impartial, he offered himself to one party and his entire army, of a hundred million soldiers, to the other. Arjuna of the Pandavas, chose the Lord himself and the Kauravas were only too pleased to have his whole army, little realising that the blessings of God would definitely be stronger than an entire army.
 Lord Krishna participated as a friend and advisor and rode Arjuna's chariot into battle. He had pledged that he would not take part in the actual combat. A pledge that he found almost difficult to keep when he found his cousins losing. 
His main role in the battle as Arjuna's charioteer was to inspire and encourage Arjuna when the latter wanted to give it all up. He did not want to fight his kinsmen and revered teachers who had taught him all he knew, just for the sake of a kingdom. And this is the moment when Lord Krishna recited the Bhagvad Gita, the epic poem that forms the basis of Hinduism. Through this poem he encouraged Arjuna to pick up his weapon and fight for justice as that is his 'dharma' or sacred duty.
Arjuna said that he did not want to be responsible for killing so many people. And Lord Krishna replied that the soul is immortal and cannot be destroyed so it is not really possible to kill anyone. He then revealed his 'viraat roop' or real divine form to Arjuna. When Arjuna realised that he had the lord himself (the incarnation of Lord Vishnu) on his side he was filled with a deep sense of awe and was greatly encouraged to carry on. 
The battle proved long and hard and carried on for 18 days. The Pandavas knew that it was impossible to win as long as their great 'guru' or teacher Dronacharya continued to battle. This great 'brahmin' was highly skilled in the art of warfare and could not be defeated. The Pandavas would have to come up with a plan.

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baby

Posts: 26 Member Since:10/20/09

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Nov 5 09 11:37 PM

The Slaying Of Dronacharya
The great guru had just one weakness and that was his son Ashwatthama, whom he loved dearly. So Lord Krishna suggested that they somehow manage to convince him that his son was dead. Once he was unnerved it would only be a matter of time before he was out of the running. Neither Arjuna nor Yudhisthir were happy about this and only agreed to go through with this after realising that the battle would otherwise be a lost cause. They then decided to kill an elephant by the same name and then go to Dronacharya with the news so they would not be lying.
Bhima, the second and strongest of the brothers went ahead and killed an elephant by the name of Ashwatthama and then went up to Dronacharya and said, "Ashwatthama is dead." Dronacharya was shaken to the core of his being and was absolutely heartbroken at first. And then on second thought he realised that his son was almost as strong, skilled and powerful as he was and could not easily be defeated. He also knew that Yudhisthir was an extremely truthful man and so he decided to ask him if Ashwatthama was really dead.
Yudhisthir, knowing that everything depended on his word, truthfully said that Ashwatthama was dead, as the elephant really was dead. Dronacharya fainted. He recovered enough to fight once again but his spirit was broken and he was slain in battle that day.
Legend has it that as Yudhisthir was so morally upright, his chariot always travelled two inches above the earth, but after that day his wheels touched the ground. He might not have said an outright lie but it was a white lie nevertheless, even though it was for the greater good. So according to the laws of the universe he had to pay for it.

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baby

Posts: 26 Member Since:10/20/09

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Nov 5 09 11:39 PM

Bishmapitamah's Last Days
Bhishma, was the grand old man of both the Kauravas and the Pandavas. He was the oldest member of the house as he had been granted the boon of dying at will and therefore could have been hundreds of years old.
In his younger days he had promised his prospective step-mother that he would never marry and bear children and it would be her sons who would rule after his father. He promised to lay no claim to the throne as she was refusing to marry his father, the king of Hastinapur, as her sons might not have much of a position in the royal family. She was the beautiful and ambitious daughter of a lowly fisherman and the king was madly in love with her. So Bhishma made this supreme sacrifice for the sake of his father and so earned the respect of the three worlds. 
He had promised to look after the descendants of his father and to protect the throne of Hastinapur. And so he had to take an active part in the battle of Kurukshetra and fight on the side of the Kauravas even though his heart belonged to the Pandavas. He had always been morally upright and was forced to live up to his word.
During the great battle he had been badly wounded by hundreds of arrows that had pierced his back. When he fell to the ground, these arrows formed a bed for him to lie on. But he did not die because of the boon. He lay on this painful bed of arrows for fifty-six days as many rishis and gods surrounded him offering their love and moral support. And he finally left his body only after he knew he could protect the throne no longer.
Lord Krishna was worried that the entire race would lose out on all the wisdom that this great man had collected down the ages. And so Yudhisthir and a few others surrounded him trying to absorb as much knowledge as they could.

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baby

Posts: 26 Member Since:10/20/09

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Nov 5 09 11:40 PM

Battle With Duryodhan
After a couple of days of fighting, most of the Kauravas had been destroyed with the exception of Duryodhan and a few others. The Pandavas set out in search of Duryodhan but could not locate him as he was hiding in the waters of a lake.
On finding him, the brothers stood at the banks, taunting him and challenging him to come out and fight like a man. Duryodhan said that it was wrong for them to challenge him all together as he had no weapon and was all alone. He said that he would be willing to fight as long as they provided him with a weapon and fought him one by one. 
Upright, kind-hearted and generous Yudhisthir agreed to give him the weapon of his choice as well as the combatant of his choice and the entire kingdom back were he to win. Lord Krishna was furious at this foolish offer and another game of chance. He also knew that Duryodhan was the first among equals in the use of the mace and Bhima might not have much of a chance. So he advised him to strike Duryodhan below the navel. Even though this was against the rules, lord Krishna explained that even the gods had to resort to trickery when they fought the demons to ensure that good won over evil. In this way Bhima was able to secure a resounding victory over Duryodhan.

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baby

Posts: 26 Member Since:10/20/09

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Nov 5 09 11:40 PM

Ashwatthama's Revenge
There were now just three Kauravas left and foremost amongst them was Ashwatthama, the son that Guru Dronacharya thought he had lost to the enemy. As was expected he was thirsting for revenge.
So one night when he knew that everyone in the enemy camp must be asleep, he took hold of his weapons and approached the entrance. Here he was met by a great being who was spitting fire. He tried to destroy this being but just couldn't succeed as this creature swallowed whatever was being thrown at him. He then remembered everything he had been taughtand the folly of his ways and retreated.
He sat down to pray to Lord Shiva for help. He sang his praises and prayed with all his heart until a golden altar appeared in the sky. This was accompanied by a host of fearful creatures that normally accompanied Lord Shiva, the god of destruction. They knew that kind-hearted Shiva was going to respond to his prayers. And that they would have a feast after the forthcoming slaughter. 
But in truth Shiva had not yet responded to Ashwatthama's prayers and the sacrificial altar was still awaiting a live sacrifice. Now there was just one thing to do and so he decided to sacrifice himself. He prayed to Shiva saying that as he could not defeat his enemies alone he was coming to the lord. 
He then began his ascent towards the altar and took a step towards the fire. And suddenly Lord Shiva appeared before him saying that he dearly loved Lord Krishna and had therefore cast his protective hand over the Pandavan army and ensured their victory. But now he would protect them no more and their time on earth was over. Saying this the Lord entered Ashwatthama's body and handed him a shining silver sword.
Fortunately the five Pandavas, Lord Krishna and another man were missing from the camp that fateful night and were saved from the ensuing slaughter.
Ashwatthama marched in followed by Shiva's faithful followers and wreaked havoc in the camp. Not a soul was allowed to escape and not a person was left alive.
The next morning the Pandavas were shocked to hear the news and asked Krishna how it was possible for Ashwatthama and his two companions to destroy a whole army. Lord Krishna explained that the great Lord Shiva himself, who was not only easily offended but easily pleased as well, had aided him. Which is what the smart Ashwatthama had done through his prayers to secure the great god's favour. 
In this way Ashwatthama was able to avenge his esteemed father, Dronacharya's death.

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baby

Posts: 26 Member Since:10/20/09

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Nov 5 09 11:40 PM

The Passing on of Lord Krishna
Dwarka was the hometown of Lord Krishna and his brother Balram as well as the entire Yadu race. One day, three great sages paid a visit to this city as Krishna's guests. And one day, during their stay, the youngsters of the Royal family got into a state of intoxication and dressed up Krishna's son Shamva as a woman who needed to be blessed with a son. 
They took him to the three sages and asked them to predict the birth and future of the son of the disguised Shamva. But truly holy men are seldom deceived. And these wise men at once realised the joke that was being played on them. Needless to say they were furious and angrily predicted that within twenty - four hours this man would go into labour and deliver, not a son but an iron thunder bolt which would be the cause of destruction of the entire Yadu race.
They then went to the palace to inform Krishna of their curse. Now Krishna being the Lord of the universe could easily have nullified or withdrawn their curse but he had too much respect for the words of holy men.  So he quietly accepted the news.
The following day as was predicted, Shamva gave birth to an iron thunder bolt which was promptly ground to a powder and thrown into the sea in an attempt to avert the tragedy. Thereafter intoxicating substances and drinks were completely banned from this territory, as everyone knew that this was the real cause of such unruly, irresponsible behaviour and their oncoming fate.
 But still the curse of the holy men hung over the heads of the Yadavas as a dark cloud and ominous signs were noticed everywhere. The whole city was infested by a troublesome group of rats and mice and the sun would set in the middle of the day. The freshest of food would spoil easily and cows gave birth to asses and asses to elephants. 
 A blanket of frustration and despair spread over the Yadavas as they indulged themselves in unruly behaviour. Brahmins and elders were being treated with utmost disrespect and couples started indulging in adulterous behaviour. 
 Krishna realised that complete destruction was inevitable and so decided to hasten the process. He advised the men to take their entire families to the seashore to bathe in the sea. As they headed out they were witness to a few more ominous signs. First Lord Krishna's discus was swallowed by the sky and then his chariot and horses sped away over the ocean. 
On reaching the seashore, the families were all provided with food and drink and once again indulged themselves to the point of destruction. A fight ensued in which Krishna's son was killed. At this point, the Lord picked out a few blades of grass and turned them into weapons that destroyed quite a number of the tribe. Seeing him do this many others also picked out the grass that turned into weapons made out of iron and began killing each other in their fit of intoxication. All in all, five- hundred thousand people were killed and only four survived. One was the Lord himself and the other was his brother Balram.
After this Balram retired to the forest to practice meditation and yoga and Krishna returned to Dwarka to say good-bye to his father as he knew that he was not going to survive much longer. He also sent one of the survivors to the Pandavas to come and take charge of the widows and children of those who had been killed. He then went on to join Balram in the forest.
On reaching the forest, he witnessed Balram's ascension into the higher realms of heaven where he was being received by the gods. After this he wandered about immersed in deep thought while he finally began to accept his destiny. In his younger days, Sage Durvasa had cursed him saying that would die of a wound in his left foot. The sage had been offended for some reason and had cursed young Krishna in a fit of anger.
Lord Krishna now decided that it was time for the curse to take effect and so sat down to meditate while exposing his left foot.
A hunter soon approached and mistook the Lord for a deer. And as was predicted he shot him in his left foot. On realising his grave error he was filled with remorse and grief. But Lord Krishna consoled him and asked him not to be scared or sorry as these were the ways of destiny.  These were the great Lord's last words on earth.

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lala1

Posts: 20 Member Since:04/17/10

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Apr 17 10 4:48 PM

Bishmapitamah's Last DaysBhishma, was the grand old man of both the Kauravas and the Pandavas. He was the oldest member of the house as he had been granted the boon of dying at will and therefore could have been hundreds of years old. In his younger days he had promised his prospective step-mother that he would never marry and bear children and it would be her sons who would rule after his father. He promised to lay no claim to the throne as she was refusing to marry his father, the king of Hastinapur, as her sons might not have much of a position in the royal family. She was the beautiful and ambitious daughter of a lowly fisherman and the king was madly in love with her. So Bhishma made this supreme sacrifice for the sake of his father and so earned the respect of the three worlds.  He had promised to look after the descendants of his father and to protect the throne of Hastinapur. And so he had to take an active part in the battle of Kurukshetra and fight on the side of the Kauravas even though his heart belonged to the Pandavas. He had always been morally upright and was forced to live up to his word. 

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