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Mahabharata through the Reader's Eye
Transcript of Mahabharata through the Reader's Eye
There are few women in Hindu mythology who were aggressive and who spoke their mind in a world of men. Draupadi was one of them. She is considered by many as the first feminist of Indian mythology.
In ancient India, women occupied a very important position, in fact a superior position to men. It is a culture whose only words for strength and power are feminine - "Shakti" means "power" and "strength".
All male power comes from the feminine. Literary evidence suggests that kings and towns were destroyed because a single woman was wronged by the state.
Throughout the epic the true character of Draupadi
emanates, displaying her individuality, strength, and unyielding determination for both justice and vengeance.
Through these characteristics the figure of Draupadi has come
to be a symbol of empowerment for women and has gained the worship of many followers.
Not only is Draupadi an empowering character, but she was a devoted wife, chaste, religious minded and adhering to duty and thus a remarkable role model for Hindu women
Any one who desired the hand of Draupadi in marriage had to lift the huge bow bring down the rotating fish.
Arjuna announced to his mother that he had brought home a prize that he so skillfully won.
When Kunti (mother of Pandavas) heard this without seeing them, she asked them to share whatever they had brought among themselves. This was how she daily greeted them in order to ensure they remain united. Keeping their mother's word, they divided Draupadi amongst themselves as if she were an object.
Vyasa in the Mahabharata
The Game of Dice
Krishna and Draupadi
he Mahabharata is where Draupadi’s history begins… A history that is strongly imprinted on the sands of time, as in Hindu mythology, few women standout as significantly as the character of Draupadi, the wife of the five Pandava princes in the Mahabharata.
Draupadi was a heroic princess of the Hindu epic of Mahabharata. One who was firm and a woman with an unbending will
Draupadi was the daughter of Drupada, the king of Panchala, and the wife and queen of the five great Pandavas. The Proud and angry heroine of the epic Mahabharata, Draupadi has remained an enigmatic woman of substance.
Her story is a saga of suffering and disgrace but she took everything in her stride and vanquished each one of the perpetrators of her humiliation and agony.
Arjuna was known by different names in The Mahabharata , such as:-
Phalguna - one born under the star named 'Uttara Phalguni'.
Jishnu - triumphant.
Kiritin - one who wears the celestial diadem, Kiriti, presented by .
Shwetavahana - one with white horses mounted to his chariot.
Kunti O Nishadi
Prelude to war
Kunti’s Role in the Mahabharat
The Story of Kunti
Kunti, also known as Pritha, was the biological daughter of of Shurasena, the sister of Vasudeva, the wife of King Pandu of Hastinapur. Kunti’s sons were Karna of Anga, Yudhisthira, Bhima and Arjuna of Indraprastha.
Vyasa as The Compiler
Vyasa’s Life History
The Tale of the Mahabharata
This project aims to delve into the glorious text that is the Mahabharata. A dramatic moving epic with important moral values embedded in it.
• Its purpose to engage and inform about the important events that took place within the saga Mahabharata
• The Mahabharata as we know is a dynamic text. From one of 10,000 verses, it has grown to an epic with more than a 100,000 verses.
• This composition was traditionally attributed to a sage named Vyasa.
We shall be focusing on four of the main characters that played a pivotal role in the epic and their stories. They will be represented by the following:
a) Apoorvaa- Vyasa, the compiler of the Mahabharata
b) Sophia- Kunti the mother of Pandavas
c) Anam- Arjuna, the bravest among the Pandavas
d) Caren – Draupadi,Wife of the Pandavas
The Mahabharata is a dynamic text which continues to be considered a grand epic even today
with vivid descriptions of battles, forests, palaces and settlements.
The central story of the epic is often retold in different ways and stories from the Mahabharata are frequently depicted in sculpture, painting, dance and drama.
From the stories of Vyasa, we learn about religious devotion and perseverance, from Kunti, love for offspring, from Draupadi, the lesson of feminism and from Arjuna, the fight of courage and valor.
The Mahabharata is thus an important source of information on the development of Hinduism between 400 bce and 200 ce and is regarded by Hindus as both a text about dharma (Hindu moral law) and a history (itihasa, literally “that’s what happened”).
Duryodhana orders Dushasana to disrobe Draupadi , seeing her husband's passivity , she prays to Krishna to protect her..
A miracle occurs henceforward, as The Panadavas and the court looks away , Dushasana unwraps layers and layers of her saree but as her saree keeps getting extended, everyone looks in awe and Dushasana is himself forced to stop due exhaustion..
Just as Draupadi is about to curse the Kuru Dynasty, she is interrupted by the Queen mother, Gandhari.
Gandhari consulted Dhritarashtra intervenes and grants draupadi three boons.
As the game proceeded, Yudhishthira lost everything one-by-one.
Having lost all material wealth, he went on to put his brothers at stake, and lost them too. Ultimately he put himself at stake, and lost again. Duryodhan prods Yudhishthira that he has not lost everything yet; Yudhishthira still has Draupadi with him and if he wishes he can win everything back by putting Draupadi at stake.
Inebriated by the game, Yudhishthira, to the horror of everybody present, puts Draupadi up as a bet for the next round.
Now in an emotional appeal to the elders present in the forum, Draupadi repeatedly questions the legality of the right of Yudhishthira to place her at stake. Everybody remains dumbfounded
Of all the parts in the Mahabharata that include Draupadi, the story of The Game Of Dice that remains the most vivid.
This is an important event because it is one of the main reasons for the Mahabharata or Kurukshetra war.
The catalyst of the incident was believed to be Duryodhana's desire to reunite Hastinapur, wrestle power from the Pandavas, and avenge the insults made against him by the Pandavas and Draupadi.
The plan's architect, Shakuni had a dice that was made from his father-king subala's bone and it would never disobey his will. The idea was that Shakuni would play against Yudhishthira and win at the gambling table what was impossible to win on the battlefield.
It was the Swayamvara (a ritual in which the princess was allowed to choose her groom from amongst a group of contenders) of Draupadi.
King Drupada, father of Draupadi arranged a contest. At the center of the hall a mechanical device was erected; on it was placed a revolving object in the shape of a fish.
To Draupadi, Krishna is a close confidant, protector and alot of times a guide.
After the rise of Vaishnavism, this unique friendship has been tuned into that of a deity and devotee.
Draupadi is the instrument of Lord Krishna. Using her, he realized his mega-plan of annihilating the evil Kauravas. The choice of Draupadi as the instrument, which caused his actions, explains the special place she had in his scheme of things, Draupadi was put through severe tests in her life.
The only true friend, who vcame to her rescue each time she found herself in dire circumstances, was Krishna, whose divine presence she experienced constantly in her life.
Drona , A Brahmana who taught archery, told his favourite student Arjuna that he would never be rivaled amongst the pupils.
He made Eklavya cut his thumb as a fee and Eklavya cut his thumb unhesitatingly and offered it.
Thus, Drona kept his word. No one was better than Arjuna.
Therefore, Arjuna played a very significant role in the Mahabharata
He was married four times to Draupadi, Subhadra(Krishna’s sister), Ulupi and Chitrangada.
His children included Srutukarma, Iravan, Babruvahana and Abhimanyu.
Arjuna was the third of the Pandava Brothers.He is considered as the protagonist of The Mahabharata with Krishna and plays a key role in The Bhagavad Gita.
After the death of her husband, Kunti did not commit sati, but his other wife Madri did. She instead took care of Nakula and Sahadeva, the sons of Madri, as her own sons.
Kunti prevented Bhima from killing the demoness Hidimba and advised him to marry her and beget Ghatotkacha.
She also instructed her children to take care of the common people and ordered Bhima to kill the demon Bakasura.
Kunti’s story is told within the Bhagavata Purana, wherein she speaks on the philosophy of devotion to her nephew Krishna known as Bhakti yoga.
Before Kunti married Pandu, She bore Karna to Surya, the solar deity. Afraid of being an unwed mother, She placed the baby in a basket and set him afloat on a river.
This child was later found and adopted by a chariot driver and his wife, and was named Karna. He went on to become a central character in the Mahabharata.
The ambiguous emotions Karna felt about his mother play an important role in the Mahabharata. She later married Pandu and bore Yudhisthira, Bhima and Arjuna. They came to known as Pandavas.
the Mahabharata, Vyasa fathered two sons Dhritarashtra, who was born blind, a curse due to his mother Ambika’s lack of virtue and Pandu, who was born pale as his mother had paled on seeing Vyasa’s ugliness.
Still not satisfied that a qualified prince had been born to the dynasty, Satyavati prevailed upon her son to try a third time and Vidura was born, the son of a servant woman.
Over time, Dritarashtra had 100 sons, the Kauravas and Pandu had 5 sons the Pandavas. Vidura, became the wise counselor to the Kaurava court, and is said to be incarnation of the god Dharma.
Vyasa is depicted as the spiritual preceptor of five Brahmins who learned from him the Vedas and the Mahabharat, and whom he instructed in religion.
He also gave spiritual counsel to members of the Bharat family, both Pandavas and Kauravas, exercising control over their lives
One day, when Vyasa was meditating in the Himalayas, Brahma appeared in all his glory.
It was after the great battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas had ended. He asked Vyasa to compile the story of the Mahabharata.
However, Vyasa was perturbed to compose and write such a huge saga was no easy feat.
Vyasa meditated and got the help of the elephant god Ganesha to help write the story on the condition that once Vyasa started narrating the story, he would not stop narrating till the story was over. Vyasa acceded to the condition by composing difficult stanzas in-between.
This allowed him to take breaks while Ganesh pondered upon the meaning. The story was composed in the period of 3 years!
The life history of Ved Vyas is an interesting one. The author of the great epic Mahabharata, Ved Vyas was the first and greatest acharya of Sanatan Dharma.
He is responsible for classifying the four Vedas, wrote the 18 Puranas and recited the great Mahabharata. In fact, the Mahabharata is often called as the fifth Veda.
It is said that Ved Vyas is immortal and he never died. Seeing the widespread violence in today's times, he is said to have retreated into some remote village in Northern India.
The life of Ved Vyas is an example to all in the modern times on how to be selfless and devote oneself entirely to Lord.
The saga Vyasa narrates is of a long long time ago. It is about the submissive attention of Kunti to her superiors, about the courage of Arjuna, the transcendant beauty of Draupadi!
The Mahabharata is a story of a feud over land and power between the 2 groups of cousins- the Kauravas and the Pandavas.
A conflict arose among the 100 Kauravas, sons of the mighty Kurus lineage and the Pandavas.
It is the story of this conflict in which the Pandavas emerged victorious, that Vyasa, the compiler, one of the seven Chiranjeevans (immortals) authored as witnessed it unfold with his own eyes, on request of the great lord Brahma
Drona and Arjuna
Arjuna as an archer
1.Vyasa’s Draupadi: A Feminist Representation Saptorshi Das
2.Bhaskar A Shukla. Women On Women: A Feminist Study. Saroop & Sons, 2006
Vyasa’s Draupadi: A Feminist Representation Saptorshi Das
Bhaskar A Shukla. Women On Women: A Feminist Study. Saroop & Sons, 2006
Our Own English High School Sharjah (Main Branch)
Through the Reader's Eye
Apoorvaa Bichu as Vyasa the Compiler
Sophia Pervez as Kunti, mother of the Pandavas
Anam as Arjuna the bravest of the Pandavas
Caren Thomas as Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas