The Inspirational Mahabharat Story

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The Mahabharat

The Epic of Maha bharat

The Mahabharata is one of India’s most popular epics. The Kurukshetra war is depicted in the epic as a historical battle between two groups of cousins. It was the most horrific battle ever fought. The Mahabharata is the world’s most influential literary work.

mahabharata story

Image credit- Wikipedia

The Mahabharata's plot centres around a power battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The Mahabharata discusses the 'Kurukshetra War' and its 'dharma' and 'itihas.'

What is Mahabharata?

The Mahabharata, the world’s longest epic, is thought to contain a mix of Hindu mythology and philosophy. According to the legend, the epic was composed by the Hindu Lord Ganesh, as told by the renowned sage Ved Vyas. It is one of two Indian epics that illustrate the importance of morals and virtues.

It is one of India’s two most important Hindu mythological Sanskrit epics. It tells the story of the eighteen-day Kurukshetra war between the hundred Kauravas and the five Pandavas.

Mahabharat Story Overview

Mahabharat narrated the story of never-ending cycle of hatred and vengeance between cousins that results the Kurukshetra’s war. Here is a brief summary of this great epic between Pandavas and Kauravas.

Shantanu, the king of Hastinapura, marries Ganga, the river goddess, and they have Bhishma, a learned and powerful prince. Shantanu later marries Satyavati and have two sons. One of his sons, Vichitravirya, succeeded him as king. Dhritarashtra, Pandu, and Vidur were his three sons. Dhritarashtra married Gandhari and had the Kauravas, a family of a hundred sons. Pandu had the five Pandavas after marrying Kunti and Madri. Kunti was already an unwed mother to Karna, unknown to everyone.

Pandu chose to retire to the forest, leaving Dhritarashtra in charge of the kingdom. Kunti and the five sons returned to Hastinapur. The Kauravas and Pandavas were never friendly. The Kauravas attempted to kill them but were unsuccessful. The Pandavas and their mother fled into hiding after one of these conspiracies. Arjun married Draupadi during this time, and they all returned to Hastinapur. 

But after loosing a game of dice, Pandavas were exiled to the forest for thirteen years. Duryodhana refused to handover the part of the kingdom back to the Pandavas, which was rightfully theirs, upon their return resulting in the greatest war ever. With Lord Krishna’s help, Pandavas defeated Kauravas at the end of the eighteen-day war and Yudhishthir was crowned King. But this success came at a huge expense of the life of their mentors, teachers, and loved ones.

Mahabharata Story for Kids

List of stories from the Mahabharata

The Mahabharat Story | Chapter 1

Sage Vyasa is known for writing this epic. The Pandavas- Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadev, the five brothers, and the Kauravas are the main characters in the Mahabharata. It’s almost like a family feud over land and property. Pandu, the king of Hastinapur, chose to live in the forest with his two wives, Kunti and Madri, and his sons. Therefore he gave up his throne to his brother Dhritrashtra and went into the forest to live. 

In the kingdom of Hastinapur, Dhritrashtra’s wife, Gandhari, gave birth to a hundred sons. Duryodhana was the eldest of them all. Bhisma assigned Dhronacharya to teach the Pandavas all the skills of warfare when they returned to Hastinapur. Dhronacharya taught both the Pandavas and the Kauravas.

Once  the Pandavas entered the Kingdom of Panchala. The king of Panchala had a beautiful daughter Draupadi, who was the subject of a competition. The competition was based on archery skills, and Arjuna, who was an unrivalled archer, entered and won. At the Swayamvara, the Pandavas encountered Krishna, Kunti’s nephew.

When they all came back to Hastinapur, Dhritarashtra gave the Pandavas, a small piece of barren land, far away from Hastinapur. The Pandavas built a beautiful city there named Indraprastha. Soon again, Duryodhana along with his evil uncle Shakuni started plotting and invited Yudisthira to play a dice game with the Kauravas. Yudhishthira not only lost his kingdom and wealth in this game but also his brothers and wife. 

After the game when Draupadi was humiliated in the open palace, Dhritrashtra out of fear and consequences returned everything to the Pandavas. But the game did not stop there. In the next round when the Pandavas lost again, they had to go on an exile for 12 years and spend another year in disguise.

Read or listen to the next episode of the Maha Bharat story on “Indian Epics & Puranas: Mythological Stories For Kids”  podcast below. Also available on free Chimes Radio App, available on Google and Apple App stores.

The Mahabharat Story | Chapter 2

As the story progressed, all of the sages wished to accompany Yudhishthira as the Pandavas left the kingdom. He was concerned since he lacked the wealth to feed anyone. One of the sages approached him and urged him to pray to Lord Surya, the Sun God, while he was profoundly frightened and disturbed.

Yudhishthira prayed to Lord Surya with all his devotion and sincerity. The Lord arrived, pleased with his prayers, and bestowed upon him the Akshaya Patra, a mystical bowl. The patra, according to Hindu mythology, was a magical jar that held an endless supply of food until Draupadi had eaten for the day.

They came upon a demon named Kirmira, Bakasura’s brother, on their way to the forest. Bhima defeated the Kirmira monster and rid the jungle of the evil spirit. In the wilderness, the Pandavas felt helpless, and even Draupadi felt led down. Draupadi is consoled by Lord Krishna, who assures her that it will pass as well. Many storytellers visited the Pandavas frequently during their exile and told them various stories.  

Once, the Pandavas were visited by Sage Markandeya. He told the tale of Lord Rama, Lord Vishnu’s seventh avatar. Yudhistira’s heart and mind calmed after hearing the story, and he was filled with bravery. While Yudisthira was fascinated by the stories, Draupadi and Bhima never failed to feed Yudisthira’s mind with vengeance against the Kauravas.

But he kept his cool and told Draupadi and Bhim to wait for the appropriate moment because defeating the Kauravas in a fight without superpowers and divine weapons would be difficult. But guess which among the Pandavas could obtain these celestial weapons? Yes, Arjuna! Was he however able to obtain the celestial weapons?

Read or listen to the next episode of the Mahabharata story for kids on “Indian Epics & Puranas: Mythological Stories For Kids”  podcast below. Also available on free Chimes Radio App, available on Google and Apple App stores.

The Mahabharat Story | Chapter 3

Disclaimer: Some of the dialogues in the narration have been inspired by C Rajagopalachari’s Mahabharata.

As the story continues, Arjuna reached the Himalayas and started to pursue penance. One day, a wild boar surge towards him and was about to attack. Arjuna being alert, pulled his bow and shot the boar. At the same time, another bow also hit the boar. Surprised Arjuna saw a hunter standing with a bow. Both of them started arguing about who hit the prey first. Arjuna wondered who the hunter was, so he decided to pray to Lord Shiva. He then noticed that all the flowers which Arjuna offered to Lord Shiva were around the hunter’s neck.

The Hunter, indeed, was Lord Shiva in disguise to test Arjuna’s strength. Lord Shiva blessed Arjuna with one of the most powerful weapons, the Pashupatastra. He also got several other celestial weapons from Lord Shiva. Arjuna had become invincible after obtaining all the divine and celestial weapons.

Arjuna was then invited by Indra, the King of gods and also Arjuna’s Divine father. Urvasi, one of the apsars cursed Arjuna to become a eunuch, that is neither I nor a woman for dismissing her and not paying attention to her. But Lord Indra explained to Arjuna that this curse was a boon that would help him during the year.

While Arjuna enjoyed his stay in Indraloka, his brother and wife Draupadi were missing him. They spent many years without Arjuna. One day a sage called Brihadaswa visited them and narrated a story of King Nala, who also lost everything in a game of dice just like the Pandavas. but in the end, he emerges victorious, regaining his kingdom, his wife, and also his health. This story helped Yudhishthira to gain his confidence and look forward to better days.

Indra once sent a sage to the Pandavas to set them up on a pilgrimage. They all visited many sacred places and heard many mystical stories. During their travel, Bheema had an encounter with a huge monkey. He tried to frighten the monkey by shouting but instead, the monkey warned Bheema not to go any further since it was the path of the gods. Angry Bheema demanded the monkey to move out of his way.

Bheema thought to pull the monkey out of the way by pulling its tail but to his amazement, he could not move it, even an inch. He tried his best, exerted himself, put all his strength, strained every muscle, but still could not move the monkey. It was then when the monkey revealed who it was. 

The huge monkey was none other than the great Hanuman- Son of the wind god. He asked Bheema to return to his brothers and gave his parting blessing to his brother that he would be present on the flag of the chariot of Arjuna. He blessed Bema and assured him that they would be victorious. What happens next, wait for the next episode of this series of Mahabharata, one of the most popular mythological stories for kids.

Read or listen to the next episode of the Mahabharat story on “Indian Epics & Puranas: Mythological Stories For Kids”  podcast below. Also available on free Chimes Radio App, available on Google and Apple App stores.

The Mahabharat Story | Chapter 4

Disclaimer: Some of the dialogues in the narration have been inspired by C Rajagopalachari’s Mahabharata.

As the story continues, Pandavas are ready to go into their secret year of exile after completing the 12 years of normal exile. As they are wandering through the forests, they end up in a deep forest while chasing a deer.

When the brothers and Draupadi are thirsty, the brothers start to look for some water source and end up at an enchanted lake. And this turned out to be one of their scariest and fascinating experience of their exile.

The lake was controlled by divine power and when the brothers, one at a time, come over with the intention to drink water from the lake, a divine voice called out and asked them to answer a few questions before drinking a drop of water. When the brothers kept ignoring this warning, they immediately fell on the ground lifeless. 

Finally, when Yudhistra reached there, he paid heed to the divine voice and decide to answer the questions before drinking any water. Eventually, he was able to convince the divine power, who not only allowed him to drink water but also brought all of his brothers back to life. The divine power also blessed the Pandava brothers that they will go on to win back what was rightfully theirs and win the battle with Kauravas.

Read or listen to the next episode of the story of Pandavas and Kauravas on “Indian Epics & Puranas: Mythological Stories For Kids”  podcast below. Also available on free Chimes Radio App, available on Google and Apple App stores.

The Mahabharat Story | Chapter 5

As the story continues, it was the 13th year of their exile and they had to decide where they would stay. They had many kingdoms in mind that would give them shelter agreeing to keep it a secret but unanimously, there all agreed to Matsya Kingdom.

The Pandavas changed their complete appearance in order to stay hidden. Yudishthira decided to be an advisor to the King by the name of Kanka. Bhima disguised himself as a cook and wrestler, Vallaba, Arjuna as a neuter Brihannala, Nakula as a keeper of horses, Granthika, Sahadeva as a keeper of cattle,Tantipala, and Draupadi as female artist, Sairandhri. Thus they were all set to enter the city of Virata. They hid there weapons under a  Shami tree near a creamatorian so that people won’t touch it. They went to the Kingdom and served the king as his workers. 

Once there was a huge fest in the Kingdom where the King sent Vallaba (disguise of Bheema) to wrestle with Jimuta. He realized that Vallaba was not an ordinary man but in the process he got killed. Do you think Duryodhana’s spies were able to track this incident and report back to him? Well, after the completion of first year, the Pandavas on the day of Dusshera worshipped this tree and took back their weapons. 

Read or listen to the next episode of the Mahabharat Story on “Indian Epics & Puranas: Mythological Stories For Kids”  podcast below. Also available on free Chimes Radio App, available on Google and Apple App stores.

The Mahabharat Story | Chapter 6

After the match, Bima became the most favorite wrestler in the A Kingdom. Days passed and the Pandavas had completed almost ten months in the Matsya Kingdom. Queen Sudeshna had a brother, Kichaka, the commander in chief of the Virata’s Army. King Virata actually was powerless without him. The real ruler was actually Kichaka. Kichaka was proud and vain. He once saw Draupadi and was smitten by her beauty, obviously, and sure enough, he wanted her as his Queen.

While Drapadi had clearly mentioned to Queen Sudhishna that she was already married to five Gandharas of the celestial beings, and whoever tried to trouble her would themselves be in trouble, but Kichaka wouldn’t listen. He insisted on having Draupadi as his Queen. One day when Draupati went near Kijaka’s dwelling to perform her duty, Kichaka tried pulling and troubling. She ran from there but cold Kichaka pushed her down to the ground and insulted her.

No one came to her help, angry and fuming; Draupadi went to Bima and insisted that Kichakapi should be taught a lesson for his abusive behavior. He came up with a clever plan for Kichaka. They put off all the lights and kept the hall dark. Bhima wrapped a sari around him and sat there like a woman. Kichaka thought it was Draupadi. As he came near, Bima bounced on him and there was a fierce fight. Bhima with all his anger and disgust crushed Kichaka and turned him into a ball of flesh.

He quickly went back to his kitchen, washed himself, changed, and got back to his cooking. Draupadi went out and announced to the guards that her Gandharva husbands were angry with Kichaka and they killed him. They clearly knew how powerful Kichaka was, and no one other than Balarama and Bima had the ability to kill Kichaka in the manner he was killed. They thought Draupadi was no doubt a beautiful woman but also was dangerous as she is protected by the Gandharvas. The news spread far and wide and reached Duryodhana, who was waiting for a chance who had not left any stone unturned in trying to find the Pandavas.

As soon as King Virata heard this, he was shaken. He had always depended on Ki Chaka and without him he didn’t know what to do. Yudishira as Kanka, the advisor reassured him that he was also a good warrior and could help him. Duryodana’s army attacked the Kingdom from a different direction.

King Virata’s Son Uttera and Arjuna reached the battlefield.  In the battle, Uttera couldn’t believe what he saw. Divine weapons shone like the sun. The moment he touched them he felt courageous, fearless. He looked up and he knew that it wasn’t a eunuch. He was none other than Arjuna himself.  

Arjuna revealed himself to Uttera. He told him about the other Pandavas who were at the palace and also the reason why they had hidden themselves there. Uttera folded his hands and bowed down to Arjuna. He felt fortunate to meet Arjuna and said that the very sight of him filled him with courage.

They quickly got onto the chariot and approached the army. Arjuna’s Teacher Rona and his great grandfather could immediately make out that the one riding in the chariot was none other than Arjuna himself. Why did the Panda reveal themselves like this? What is mistake? Was this a trap? Are they deceived and tricked again?

Read or listen to the next episode of the Mahabharata Story on “Indian Epics & Puranas: Mythological Stories For Kids”  podcast below. Also available on free Chimes Radio App, available on Google and Apple App stores.

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