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6 Facts About The Mahabharata You Might Not Know About

Mahabharata is one of the major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. It has been retold in various locales, and in many histories. Devdutt Pattanaik in The Boys Who Fought retells the story of Mahabharata, the significant Kurukshetra War, and fates of Pandava and Kaurava princes in a charmingly illustrated form.
Here are a few significant facts on the Mahabharata and its episodes






How many of these facts did you already know?

The Interesting Story of the Pandavas’ Forefather: ‘The Serpent’s Revenge’ — An Excerpt

The great war of Kurukshetra is synonymous with the epic ‘Mahabharata’, a war fought between brothers and sons — stories that have lived on through generations. But have you ever wondered about where it all began for the Pandavas?
Sudha Murty’s ‘The Serpent’s Revenge: Unusual Tales From the Mahabharata’ brings to life hidden gems from the pages of the ‘Mahabharata’ that are sure to leave your little one enthralled and asking for more.
Here’s a snippet from the book.
The Man Who Became a Woman
According to the Mahabharata, the lunar dynasty (also called Chandravansha or Somavansha) is one of the most prominent warrior houses in India. As the name suggests, it is believed that this dynasty descended from the moon.
A long time ago, there lived a man named Vaivasvata Manu, considered to be the first man on Earth, and his wife, Shraddha. The couple didn’t have a child for many years, so they decided to perform a yagna in the hope of pleasing the gods. However, Shraddha secretly hoped for a daughter, while Manu wanted a son. In time, their prayers were answered and a son was born to them, whom they named Sudyumna.
Years passed and Sudyumna grew up to be a fine young man. One day, he went hunting with his friends to the beautiful forest of Sharavana (the forest of reeds). No sooner had the all-male troupe entered an enchanted portion of the forest than they were magically transformed into young women. None of them had any idea how it had happened or what they were to do.
As the troupe began wandering deeper into the forest as women, Sudyumna decided to reinvent himself according to the body he now had, and called himself Ila. When Ila and her friends became desperate to leave their beautiful surroundings and return to their homes, Goddess Parvati appeared in front of them. ‘You and your friends have entered my garden,’ she said. ‘Look around you—this is no ordinary place. In fact, no men are allowed to come here. If they do, they turn into women immediately and permanently.’
Seeing Ila’s dismayed face, Parvati smiled. ‘I know you came here by accident,’ she said gently. ‘So I will bless you, child. May you lead a happy life irrespective of your gender. From this day on, you will be able to choose what you want to be—male or female—whenever you want.’
To everyone’s surprise, beautiful Ila chose to remain a girl, and embraced her new identity with her heart and soul. Meanwhile, Budha, the god of the planet Mercury and the son of the moon-god, Chandra, noticed Ila’s exquisite beauty and fell hopelessly in love with her. Ila reciprocated his feelings and the two were wed. In due course, Ila gave birth to a son called Pururava.
Time passed and Ila chose to revert to her male form, Sudyumna. He returned to his kingdom and ruled it wisely. As was expected of a king, Sudyumna got married and had many children of his own. He continued taking care of his subjects until he was old, after which he handed over the kingdom to his first son, Pururava, and retired to the forest to live out the remainder of his days.
Pururava, the grandson of Chandra, thus introduced the lunar dynasty. He ruled from his kingdom’s capital, Pratishthana (today’s Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh).
The great Pandavas of the Mahabharata are a part of this dynasty. King Yayati, one of the ancestors of the Pandavas, was succeeded by his youngest son, Puru. His dynasty came to be known as the Puru dynasty.
Another one of Puru’s descendants was Emperor Bharata, the son of King Dushyanta and Shakuntala. Bharata was such a great king that our country was named after him and called Bharat or Bharatvarsha.
King Kuru was born after twenty-five generations of the Puru dynasty, and gave rise to the Kuru dynasty. After fifteen more generations, the Pandavas and the Kauravas were born. In theory, both the Pandavas and the Kauravas are descendants of King Kuru, but the Pandavas, who were the sons of Pandu, chose to carry their father’s name and not the identity of the clan.
How fascinating is this story! Get a copy of this charming book for your little one and dive right into those corners of ‘Mahabharata’ you missed out on before!
And oh, while you’re at it, don’t forget to pre-order your copy of ‘The Man from the Egg: Unusual Tales about the Trinity’ by Sudha Murty. The second in this series of a Pandora’s box of stories is just about to open up!
 

 

The Simple Messages Hidden in ‘Mahabharata’: ‘The Boys Who Fought’

The story of Mahabharata has been retold countless times through generations and one instinctively comes to identify it with the great battle of Kurukshetra.
But going beyond all the animosity and rivalry that overarches the epic, Mahabharata espouses some important messages for life, an aspect Devdutt Pattanaik has brought forth for us in The Boys Who Fought.
Here are a few times we were reminded of the simple but impactful messages from the Mahabharata that transcend time and remain equally relevant even today.
When Vyasa wondered about the progress humankind had truly made.

When Ekalavya showed us the meaning of control, as opposed to destruction.
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When we were reminded of the true meaning of ‘life’.
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When we were told about the vicious cycles humankind gets trapped in.
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Know more about the timeless messages of the Mahabharata with Devdutt Pattanaik’s beautifully illustrated book today!
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The Great Animal Kingdom of Hindu Mythology: ‘Pashu’ — An Excerpt

Hindu mythology not only has some of the most interesting human characters ever, but a huge kingdom of animals too. From fish that save the world to horses that fly higher than birds, every animal in Hindu mythology has a story to tell and a lesson to teach.
Devdutt Pattanaik’s ‘Pashu’ dives into this bizarre, wonderful world of mythological animals and unravels a secret or two about it.
Here’s a snippet from ‘Pashu’ that is sure to make you want to find out more!
Brahma, the creator, had a son called Kashyapa. Kashyapa had many wives who bore him different types of children. Aditi gave birth to the devas—gods who live in the sky. Diti gave birth to the asuras— demons who live under the earth. Kadru gave birth to the nagas, slithering serpents and worms that crawl on trees and on earth. Vinata gave birth to garudas, birds and insects that fly in the air. Sarama gave birth to all the wild creatures with claws and Surabhi gave birth to all the gentle animals with hooves. Timi gave birth to all the fishes and Surasa gave birth to monsters. Thus, all gods, demons, animals and even humans have a common ancestor in Kashyapa. They call him Prajapati, father of all creatures. His story is found in the Puranas, books that are at least two thousand years old.
There are also other theories of how animals came into being. Some can be found in earlier books, while some have never been written but passed down orally by stargazers and storytellers.
Brahma and Shatarupa: The first man, Brahma, saw the first woman, Shatarupa, and fell in love with her. He tried to touch her. She laughed and ran away. He followed her. To avoid getting caught, she turned into a doe. To catch up with her, he turned into a stag. She then became a mare. He became a stallion. She transformed into a cow. He turned into a bull. She became a goose and flew up into the air. He followed her, taking the form of a gander. Every time she took a female form, he took the corresponding male form. This went on for millions of years. Thus, over time, all kinds of beasts came into being, from ants and elephants to dogs and cats. So say the Upanishads, conversations that took place nearly three thousand years ago.
Yogasanas: Shiva, the great yogi, was at peace with himself. In his joy, he assumed many poses, known as asanas. Many of these poses resembled animals. For example, the ustra-asana resembled a camel. When Shiva took this pose, camels came into being. From the matsya-asana, fishes came into being. From the bhujang-asana, snakes came into being. From the salabh-asana, locusts came into being. From the go-mukha-asana, cows came into being. Shiva thus stood in millions of poses, giving rise to millions of different kinds of animals. So says the lore of yogis.
Avatars: From time to time, Vishnu, who resides on the ocean of milk, descends to walk on the earth. He takes the form, or avatar, of different animals when he does so. Sometimes he is a fish, sometimes a turtle, sometimes a wild boar, sometimes a swan . . . In memory of the many forms he took, various animals came into being. So the next time you see a fish, remember that it was once a form of Vishnu. And when you see a swan, remember that, too, was once a form of Vishnu.
Rashi: A cluster of stars is known as a constellation. Ancient rishis divided the sky into twelve equal parts, each occupied by a constellation. The constellations are called zodiacs in English and rashis in Sanskrit. Some of the rashis take the form of animals. There is the Mesha or ram constellation that the sun passes through in early summer. Then there is Mina, the fish; Vrishchika, the scorpion; Simha, the lion; and Vrishabha, the bull. After the sun passes the Makara constellation, whose tail is like a fish and head is like an elephant, the days grow longer and warmer, heralding the approach of summer. After the sun passes the Karka or crab constellation, the days become shorter and colder, indicating the approach of winter. This information comes from Jyotisha Shastra, or the books of astrology. Poets often wonder what came first: the constellations or the animals. Did the design of the stars inspire the gods to create the animals?
Yoni: Many Hindus believe that a being gets a human life only after passing through 84,00,000 animal wombs. Astrologers say that one can find out which was the last animal’s womb or yoni one was born in from one’s time of birth. That yoni determines an aspect of one’s personality. Some of the yonis are: elephant, cow, mare, snake, cat, dog, rat, monkey, tiger, goat, buffalo and deer. Which yoni came first—that of man or that of an animal? Are humans the ancestors of animals or is it the other way around? There is no escaping the fact that we are related to the birds and beasts of the forest. They may be our ancestors or they may be our descendants.
Have more questions on the origins of the mythological animal kingdom? Get your copy of ‘Pashu’ now!
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Behind the Scenes of ‘Vyasa’: From the Sketchbook of Illustrator Sankha Banerjee

Vyasa by Sibaji Bandopadhyay, is a stunning rendition of the beginning of the Mahabharata, the first of a trilogy that sets the stage for the grand battle of Kurukshetra.
Breathing life into the story is illustrator Sankha Banerjee, whose stunning artwork almost gives a cinematic edge to a story that has been retold through generations.
Here’s taking a peek into the sketchbook of Sankha Banejee, the magician at work.
The Epilogue
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The servant girl who loved Vyasa
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‘City of elephants’ — Hastinapura
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Bhishma
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Sauti is a dancer story-teller
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Another one from the sketchbook
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Stunning, don’t you think? Don’t wait to grab your copy now!
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'A Very Long Epic': 'The Boys Who Fought' — An Excerpt

When an army of five fights against a battalion of a hundred, what happens? Devdutt Pattanaik’s ‘The Boys Who Fought’ looks at the Mahabharata not as an epic war for revenge, but one for the cause of dharma.
Here’s an excerpt from Pattanaik’s Mahabharata with a twist.
Once upon a time, there was a man called Vyasa. His father was a sage. His mother was a fisherwoman. He was born on a river island, and had a dark complexion.
Vyasa grew up watching animals fight. Then he saw humans fight. And he wondered, what was the difference?
In the forest, the mighty eat the meek. In human society, the mighty can take care of the meek. This is dharma, realized Vyasa. It creates a decent human society.
Inspired, Vyasa wrote an incredible story in 1,00,000 verses, split into eighteen chapters, about the fight between a hundred brothers and their five cousins.
Ganesha, who has the head of an elephant, wrote down Vyasa’s story, which became renowned as the Mahabharata, the great Indian epic, for Bharata is another name for India.
Others called it Bharata Kavya, the song of the Bharatas, for the hundred brothers and their five cousins belonged to the Bharata clan, also known as the Kuru clan, which once ruled over India.
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Some people called the story Vijaya, the story of victory, for it describes how the Pandava five, with just seven armies, defeated the Kaurava hundred, with eleven armies, in an eighteen-day-long war.
Vyasa, however, insisted that his epic should be called Jaya, a victory in which no one was defeated. For, in the story, Krishna of the Yadu clan, cousin to both the Pandavas and the Kauravas, reveals a different kind of fight—a greater fight that takes place before weapons are raised on the battlefield, a fight of thoughts and emotions that arises inside our minds and hearts.
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Can’t wait to read more? ‘The Boys Who Fought’ is coming soon!
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Have You Introduced Your Child to Devdutt Pattanaik’s Mythological Stories with a Twist?

Hailed as one of India’s favourite mythologists, Devdutt Pattanaik’s books introduce us to the world of Indian mythologies and epics with a fun and interesting twist.
Before you wonder how you’ll take on the difficult task of getting your child to remember the countless stories from our epics, let’s look at the wonderful world of some of Devdutt Pattanaik’s books.

Fun in Devlok Omnibus

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Do you know the name of the demon with poor memory? Do you know the story of the time Lord Krishna landed at the airport? Have you heard of the big fight between Kama and Yama? Dive right into the amazing world of Devlok with this beautifully illustrated book!

Pashu

Pashu cover
In Indian mythology, a fish rescues the world from destruction and a horse can fly high. But where do these animals come from? Why are some of them looked upon with dread, while the rest are worshipped with the Gods and Goddesses? Devdutt Pattanaik unravels the mysteries of the interesting animal world in Indian mythologies in this delightfully illustrated book!

The Girl Who Chose

The Girl Who Chose cover
The epic of Ramayana has been told and retold through generations from the points of view of Ram and Ravana. But little did we notice that the pivot always was Sita and her five choices. What were they? Find out with Devdutt Pattanaik’s beautiful book with stunning illustrations!
If you’ve plunged right into the fascinating world of Devdutt Pattanaik’s books, here’s one more about the Mahabharata waiting for your collection!
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Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Vyasa’ Illustrator Sankha Banerjee

The first in the series that retells the story of the epic Mahabharata, Vyasa sets the stage for the battle of Kurukshetra. This brilliantly illustrated graphic novel is authored by Sibaji Bandopadhyay.
Bringing this epic to life is artist Sankha Banerjee, who enthralls the readers with the many illustrations in the graphic novel.
Here’s taking a sneak peek into the interesting life of Sankha Banerjee.






We bet you’re as dazzled by his art work as we are!
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