106. Yudhishthira's Final Trial
To Hastinapura came the sad
tidings of the death of Vasudeva and the destruction of the Yadavas. When the
Pandavas received the news, they lost all remaining attachment to life on
They crowned Parikshit, son
ofAbhimanyu, as emperor and the five brothers left the city with Draupadi. They
went out on a pilgrimage, visiting holy places and finally reached the
A dog joined them somewhere and
kept them company all along. And the seven of them climbed the mountain on
their last pilgrimage. As they toiled up the mountain path one by one fell
exhausted and died.
The youngest succumbed first.
Draupadi, Sahadeva and Nakula were released from the burden of the flesh one
after another. Then followed Arjuna and then great Bhima too.
Yudhishthira saw his dear ones
fall and die. Yet, serenely he went on not giving way to grief, for the light
of Truth burned bright before him. Yudhishthira knew what was shadow and what
The dog still followed
Yudhishthira. The lesson enforced by the poet in this episode of the dog is
that dharma is the only constant companion in life's journey.
It was dharma who, in the shape
of the dog, followed Yudhishthira up the wearisome mountain path, when his
brothers and wife had gone leaving him alone.
Finally, when he reached a great
height, Indra appeared in his chariot.
"Your brothers and Draupadi
have arrived before you. You have lagged behind, burdened with your body.
Ascend my chariot and go with me in the flesh. I have come to take you,"
said Indra. But when Yudhishthira went up to take his seat in Indra's chariot,
the dog also climbed up.
"No, no," said Indra.
"There is no place for dogs in swarga," and pushed the dog away.
"Then there is no room for
me either," said Yudhishthira, and refused to enter the heavenly chariot
if he had to leave his faithful companion behind.
Dharma had come to test
Yudhishthira's loyalty and he was pleased with his son's conduct. The dog
vanished from sight. Yudhishthira reached swarga. There, he saw Duryodhana.
The Kuru prince was seated on a
beautiful throne and he shone with the splendor of the sun and around him stood
in attendance the goddess of heroism and other angels. He did not see his
brothers or anyone else. Yudhishthira was astonished.
"Where are my brothers, ye
denizens of swarga?" asked Yudhishthira. "This man of greed, of
limited vision, is here. I do not care to spend my time in his company. We were
driven by this man's envy and spite to kill friends and relatives. We stood
tied by dharma to inaction when, before our eyes, innocent Panchali, united to
us in sacred wedlock, was dragged to the Hall of the Assembly and insulted
under the orders of this wicked man. I cannot bear the sight of this man. Tell
me, where are my brothers? I wish to go where they are." Saying this
Yudhishthira averted his eyes from where Duryodhana was seated in glory.
Then Narada, the heavenly rishi
of encyclopedic knowledge, smiled disapprovingly at Yudhishthira and said:
"Renowned prince, this is not right. In swarga, we harbor no ill will. Do
not speak in this manner about Duryodhana. The brave Duryodhana has attained
his present state by force of kshatriya dharma. It is not right to let the
things of the flesh stay in the mind and breed ill will. Do follow the law and
stay here with king Duryodhana. There is no place in swarga for hatred. You
have arrived here with your human body; so it is that you have these
inappropriate feelings. Discard them, son!"
"O sage, Duryodhana, who did
not know right from wrong, who was a sinner, who caused suffering to good men,
who fed enmity and anger and who brought death to countless men, has attained
this swarga of warriors. Where is that region of greater glory, which must be
the abode of my brave and good brothers and Draupadi? I am eager to see them
and Karna, and also all the friends and princes who gave up their lives in
battle for me. I do not see them here. I desire to meet again Virata, Drupada,
Dhrishtaketu and Sikhandin, the Panchala prince. I long to see the dear sons of
Draupadi and Abhimanyu. I do not see them here. Where are they, who threw their
bodies into the blazing fire of battle for my sake, like ghee in the sacrifice?
I do not see any of them here. Where are they all? My place must be among them.
At the close of the battle, my mother Kunti wanted me to offer libations for
Karna also. When I think of it, even now, grief overwhelms me. In ignorance of
his being my own blood brother, I caused Karna to be slain. I am eager to see
him. Bhima, dearer to me than life, Arjuna, who was like Indra him self, the
twins Nakula and Sahadeva and our dear Panchali, steadfast in dharma, I long to
see and be with them all. I do not wish to be in heaven, for what good is it
for me to be here, away from my brothers? Wherever they may be, that me is
swarga; not this place!"
The angels, who heard this,
"O Yudhishthira, if you
indeed desire to be with them, by all means, you may go at once. There is no
need to delay," and they ordered an attendant to take Yudhishthira.
So, the messenger proceeded in
front and Yudhishthira followed him. As they went along, it soon became dark
and in the gathering gloom could be dimly seen things weird and revolting.
He waded through slippery slime
of blood and offal. The path was strewn with carrion and bones and dead men's
hair. Worms were wriggling everywhere and there was an insufferable stench in
the air. He saw mutilated human bodies everywhere.
Yudhishthira was horrified and
confused. A thousand thoughts tortured his mind as he proceeded.
"How far have we to go yet
on this road? Where indeed are my brothers? Tell me, my friend," he
enquired of the messenger in deep anguish.
The messenger quietly replied:
"If you so desire, we may turn back." The foul odors of the place
were so sickening that for a moment Yudhishthira was minded to go back.
But just then, as if divining his
intention, vaguely familiar voices rose all around in loud lamentation. "O
Dharmaputra, do not go back! Stay here for a few minutes at least. Your
presence has given us momentary relief from torture. As you came, you have
brought with you a whiff of air so sweet and pure that we have found a little
relief in our agony. Son of Kunti, the very sight of you gives us comfort and
mitigates our suffering. O stay, be it for ever so short a time. Do not go back. While you are here, we
enjoy a respite in our torture." Thus the voices pleaded.
Hearing the loud lamentations
that thus came from all around him, Yudhishthira stood in painful bewilderment.
Overwhelmed with pity at the poignant anguish in faintly remembered voices, he
"Alas wretched souls! Who
are ye that lament like this? Why are you here?"
"Lord, I am Karna,"
said a voice.
"I am Bhima," said
"I am Arjuna," cried a
another voice in piteous tone.
"I am Nakula," "I am
Sahadeva," "We are Draupadi's sons," and so on, came mournful
voices from all around, till the accumulated pain was more that Yudhishthira
"What sin indeed have these
been guilty of?" cried he. "Dhritarashtra's son Duryodhana, what good
deeds did he do to sit like Mahendra in heaven, while these are in hell? Am I
dreaming or am I awake? Is my mind deranged? Have I gone crazy?"
Overwhelmed by anger,
Yudhishthira cursed the gods and denounced dharma. He turned to the angel
attendant and said sharply: "Go back to your masters. I shall stay here
where my dear brothers, for no other sin than devotion to me, are consigned to
the tortures of hell. Let me be with them."
The messenger went back and
conveyed to Indra what Yudhishthira had said.
Thus passed the thirteenth part
of a day. Then Indra and Yama appeared before Yudhishthira where he stood in
anguish. When they came, the darkness rolled away and the horrid sights
disappeared. The sinners and their suffering were no more to be seen. A
fragrant breeze blew as Yama, the god of dharma, smiled on his son
"Wisest of men, this is the
third time I have tested you. You chose to remain in hell for the sake of your
brothers. It is inevitable that kings and rulers must go through hell if only
for a while. So it was that for the thirtieth part of a day you too were doomed
to suffer the pangs of hell. Neither the illustrious Savyasachi (Arjuna) nor
your beloved brother Bhima is really in hell. Nor Karna the just, nor anyone
else who you thought had been consigned to suffering. It was an illusion
designed to test you. This is not hell, but swarga. Do you not see there Narada
whose travels cover the three worlds? Cease grieving."
Thus said Yama to Dharmaputra,
who, thereupon, was transfigured. The mortal frame was gone and he was a god.
With the disappearance of the human body, also disappeared all trace of anger
Then Yudhishthira saw their Karna
and all his brothers and the sons of Dhritarashtra also, serene and free from
anger, all having attained the state of the gods. In this reunion, Yudhishthira
at last found peace and real happiness.
Abhimanyu : Son of
Arjuna and Subhadra who was married to Uttara, daughter of King Virata.
Acharya : Teacher or
Achuta : A synonym of
Adhiratha : Karna's foster-father.
Agastya : A great sage whose life-story the Pandavas
learnt while on pilgrimage to holy places is wife Lopamudra was equally a great
sage in her own right.
Agnihotra : A sacrifice
to God Agni.
Airavata : Indra's elephant.
Ajatasatru : Having no enemy, friend of all born
things, an epithet of Yudhishthira.
Akshayapatra : A wonderful vessel given to Yudhishthira by
the Sun god which held a never-failing supply of food.
Alambasa : A Rakshasa friend of Duryodhana who had
joined his forces but Satyaki compelled him to flee from the battlefield.
Amrit : Ambrosia, the food of the gods, which makes
the partaker immortal.
Anga : Mlechchha kings, a Kaurava supporter.
Arani : An upper and a lower piece of wood used for
producing fire by attrition.
Artha (Wealth) : one of
the objects of human life, the others being Dharma, (righteous- ness), Kama
(satisfaction of desires), Moksha (spiritual salvation).
Arundhati : Wife of sage Vasishtha.
Ashtavakra : A towering
scholar while still in his teens.
Asita : A sage who held that gambling was ruinous
and should be avoided by all wise people.
Asmaka : A Kaurava warrior who attacked Abhimanyu.
Astra : A missile charged with power by a holy
Aswamedha Yajna : A horse sacrifice.
Aswathama : Son of Dronacharya and last supreme
commander of the Kaurava force.
Bahlika, Dasharna, :
States the kings of which were Kalinga, Magadha, friendly to the Pandavas,
Matsya, Panchala, Salva
Baladev : Balarama, elder brother of Sri Krishna.
Balarama : Elder brother of Sri Krishna.
Balarama : An avatar or incarnation of Adisesha the
thousand-hooded serpent on which Lord Mahavishnu reclines in Vaikuntha.
Bakasura : A voracious, cruel and terribly strong
Rakshasa or demon who lived in a cave near the city of Ekachakrapura whom Bhima killed to the great relief of the
Bhagadatta : King of Pragjyotisha, a Kaurava ally.
Bhagawan : Form of address to Gods and great rishis,
example- Bhagawan Sri Krishna, Narada,
Bharata : Son of
Kaikeyi and King Dashratha, stepbrother of Rama, who was exceptionally devoted
to and loved Rama.
Bharadwaja : A rishi, father of Yavakrida.
Brahma : Creator of the universe.
Brahmastra : A divine weapon, irresistible, one given by
Lord Brahma himself.
Brahmacharin : A religious student, unmarried, who lives
with his spiritual guide, devoted to study and service.
Celibacy, chastity; the stage of life of Vedic study in which chastity and
service are essential.
Brihadaswa : A great sage who visited the Pandavas in
their forest hermitage and reminded them of King Nala of Nishadha who also lost
his kingdom in the game of dice and who deserted his wife Damayanti because of
a curse but ultimately regained both,
Brihadratha : Commander
of three regiments reigned over Magadha and attained celebrity as a great hero,
married the twin daughters of the Raja of Kasi. His two wives ate each half of
a mango given by sage Kausika and begot half a child each. A Rakshasi recovered
the two portions from a dustbin wherein they were thrown and when they
accidentally came together, they became a chubby baby, which she presented to
the king, saying it was his child, which later became known as Jarasandha.
Brihadyumna : A King, a disciple of sage Raibhya.
Brihannola : Name assumed by Arjuna while living at
Virata's court in incognito.
Brihatbala : A daring warrior who charged at Abhimanyu
caught in the Kaurava army's net.
Bhima : The second
Pandava brother who excelled in physical prowess as he was born of the
Bhishmaka : King of
Vidarbha, father of Rukmini and Rukma.
Bhishma : The old grandsire to whose care were
committed the five Pandavas by the rishis when the eldest Yudhishthira attained
the age of sixteen for their proper upbringing including mastery of the Vedas,
Vedanta and various arts especially those pertaining to the Kshatriyas. Later
he intervened but without success to
bring about peace and understanding between the Kauravas and the Pandavas who
ruled separately from Hastinapura and Indraprastha respectively. He was the
eighth child of King Santanu and Ganga. Appointed supreme commander of the
Bhojas : A branch of
the Yadava clan belonging to Krishna's tribe.
Bhuminjaya : Another name of prince Uttara son of Virata
who had proceeded to fight the Kaurava armies, with Brihannala as his
Burisrwas : One of the powerful kings on the side of the
Bibhatsu : One of Arjuna's name meaning a hater of
Chala : A Kaurava warrior.
Chandala : A person of a degraded caste, whose conduct
was much below standard and whose cause pollution.
Charachitra : A son of King Dhritarashtra who perished in
Chavadi : Place of public assembly of the village.
It is the property of the entire community. In it all public business is transacted, and it serves also as the village
club the headquarters of the village police and guest house for travellers.
Chekitana : Head of one division of the Pandava army.
Chitra : A son of
Dhritarashtra killed in the war.
Chitraksha : One of the many sons of King Dhritarashtra
who fell in the war
Chitrasena : King of the Gandharvas who prevented the
Kauravas from putting up their camp near
the pond where he himself had encamped.
Chitrayudha : A Kaurava prince who laid down his life in
Chitravarma : A brother of Duryodhana who was killed in
Chitrangada : Elder son of Santanu born of Matsyagandhi
(Satyavati) who succeeded his father on the throne of Hastinapura.
Chitrasena : A Kaurava warrior.
Daruka : Sri Krishna's charioteer.
Dasaratha : King of Ayodhya and Rama's father.
Darshana : A country whose king attacked Bhagadatta's
elephant in an effort to save Bhima.
Devadatta : Name of
Devaki : Mother of Sri Krishna.
Devata : A sage who condemned the game of dice as
an evil form of gambling and declared it unfit as entertainment for good
people, as it usually offered scope for deceit and dishonesty.
Devavrata : The eighth child of Santanu and Ganga who in
time mastered the art yielding arms and learned the Vedas and Vedanta as also
the sciences known to Sukra was crowned Yuvaraja (heir apparent), but later vowed to celibacy and was known as
Devayani : The beautiful daughter of Sukracharaya,
preceptor of the demons, who fell in love with
Kacha, son of Brihaspati, preceptor of the Devas.
Devendra : King of the Gods.
Dharma : Righteous
course of conduct.
Dharmagranthi : Assumed
named of Nakula at Virata's court.
delighted of Dharma, a name of Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma or Yama.
Dharmavyadha : He possessed the secret of good life and
lived in the city of Mithila. He was a meat-seller.
Dhananjaya : One of the names of Arjuna.
Dhanusaksha : A great sage whom Medhavi, son of sage
Baladhi, once insulted. He took the form of a bull and butted at that mountain
and broke it to pieces. Then Medhavi fell down dead.
Dhaumya : Preceptor of the Pandavas, who accompanied
them during their exile to the Kurijangala forest, singing Sama hymns addressed
to Yama, Lord of Death.
Supreme commander of the Pandava forces eldest brother of Draupadi.
Dhrishtaketu : A kinsman of the Pandavas.
Dhritarashtra : Elder son of Vichitravirya and Ambika,
born blind, father of Duryodhana.
Dharmaputra : The son of Yama, epithet of Yudhishthira.
Dhartarashtras : Sons
Draupadi : Daughter of
King Drupada, King of Panchala, who married all the five Pandavas though Arjuna had won her in the Swayamvara,
because of the vow that they would share everything in common.
Drona : Son of a
Brahmana named Bharadwaja; married a sister of Kripa and a son Aswathama was
born to them; learnt military art from Parasurama, the maser. Later he became
the instructor to of the Kaurava and Pandava princes in the use of arms.
Drupada : King of
Panchala, father of Draupadi who became the wife of the Pandavas
Duhsasana : Duryodhana's brother who dragged Draupadi
to the hall of assembly pulling her by her hair.
Durdhara : A son of Dhritarashtra killed by Bhima in the
Durjaya : A brother of Duryodhana who was sent to
attack Bhima, to save Karna's life but lost his own.
Durmarsha : A son of Dhritarashtra killed by Bhima.
Durmata : A son of Dhritarashtra who got killed by
Durmukha : A chariot-borne warrior on the Kaurava
Durvasa : A sage known for his anger who visited the
Durvishaha : A warrior fighting on the Kaurava side.
Dushkarma : A warrior belonging to the Kaurava side.
Dussaha : A son of Dhritarashtra killed by Bhima.
Dwaitayana : A forest where the Kaurava, cows were
being bred and housed.
Ganapati : Amanuensis of Vvasa who agreed to write
down without pause or hesitation the story of
the Mahabharata dictated by Vyasa.
Gandhari : Dhritarashtra's wife and queen mother of the
Gandharvas : A class of celestial beings regarded as
specialists in music.
Gandiva : Arjuna's most
Gangadwara : A place
where sage Agastya and his wife performed penance.
Ghalotkacha : Son of Bhima from demoness Hidimba.
Govinda : One of the
epithets of Sri Krishna and Vishnu; it means a cow-keeper and refers to
Krishna's occupation in Gokula, the colony of cowherds.
Guru : Revered
Kamsa. : Allies of King Jarasandha; the last married the two daughters of
Jarasandha. Also Krishna's step-uncle whom Krishna killed.
Plough-weaponed, an epithet of Balarama who wielded a plough as his weapon.
Hanuman : Wise and learned monkey devotee of Sri Rama,
who possessed extraordinary powers of discrimination and wisdom and who
searched and found Sita in her confinement in Lanka.
Hastinapura : Capital
city of the Kauravas.
Hrishikesha : Krishna.
Ilvala : This demon and
his brother Vatapi hated brahmanas implacably. Ilvala would invite a brahman to
a feast at which he would serve the meat of the goat into which his brother had
turned he. After the brahmin had partaken of the feast he would call his
brother out who would rend his way back to life, tearing the belly of the
Indra : King of the Gods.
Indrajit : Son of
Ravana, King of Lanka, who conquered Indra, the Lord of Gods and who was killed
by Rama's brother Lakshmana.
Indrasena : A kinsman of the Pandavas.
Indrakila : A mountain Arjuna passed on his way to the
Himalayas to practise austerities to acquire powerful new weapons from Lord
Iravan : Arjuna's son by a Naga wife who fell in the
battle on the eighth day.
Janaka : King of
Mithila, a great Rajarishi; father of Sita, wife of Sri Rama.
Janamejaya : A king who
conducted a great sacrifice for the well being of the human race.
Janardana : A name of
Jarasandha : Mighty king of Magadha of whose prowess
all Kshatriyas were afraid. Killed by Bhima
in a thirteen-day non-stop physical combat: with Sri Krishna and Arjuna
Jarita, Laputa : Female companions of a saranga
bird, who was a rishi named Mandapala in his
previous birth when he was refused admission to heaven be cause he was
Jalasura : A demon killed by Bhima.
Jaya : A son of King Dhritarashtra who was killed
by Bhima in the war
Jayadratha : A warrior on the side of Kauravas who closed
the breach effected by Abhimanyu in the Chakravyuha military formation by
Dronacharya and trapped him inside.
Jayatsena : A kinsman of the Pandavas.
Jayatsena : A warrior fighting on the side of Kauravas.
Jnana : Knowledge of the eternal and real
Kacha : Grandson of sage Angiras and son of
Brihaspati, who went to seek knowledge under Sukracharya as a brahmacharin.
Devayani, the preceptor's lovely daughter, fell in love with him. The Asuras
(demons) suspecting him of wanting to steal the secret of reviving the dead,
killed him a number of times. But due to Devayani's love for him, her father
brought him back to life every time he was killed. Ultimately the secret was
learnt by the devas who then succeeded in defeating the asuras.
Kagola : A disciple of
the great sage and teacher of Vedanta, Uddalaka.
Kambojas : Enemies of
the Kauravas whom Karna had defeated
Kamsa : Maternal Uncle
of Sri Krishna and son of Ugrasena, also son-in-law of Jarasandha, whom Sri Krishna killed.
Kanika : Minister of
Kanka : Assumed name of
Yudhishthira at Virata's court.
Kausikam : A sage who
learnt from Dharmavyadha the secret of Dharma, of performing one's duty.
Karna : A matchless
warrior, son of the Sun god and Kunti. Disciple of Parasurama. Also son of Radha, his foster-mother, and was known as
Kartavirya : A great
warrior who defeated Ravana, King of Lanka.
Kartikeya : Commander
of the armies of the devas.
Kekaya : A brave
warrior on the Pandava side into whose chariot Bhima got during the fighting
on the sixth day.
Kesava : One of the
names of Sri Krishna.
Ketama : Another chief
whose head was cut off by Drona.
Khandavaprastha : The
ancient capital from where the ancestors of Pandavas, Nahusha and Yayati ruled. The Pandavas rebuilt the ruined city
and erected palaces and forts and renamed it Indraprastha.
Kichaka : Sudeshna's
brother, commander-in-chief of Virata's army, who made advances to Sairandhri
(Draupadi). He was invited to meet her at night at the ladies dancing hall and
was met instead by Valala (Bhima) dressed up as a female who killed him
Aswathama's uncle who advocated a combined assault on Arjuna in battle as
against Karna's boast that he could take him on single-handed.
military formation on a pattern supposed to resemble a heron with outstretched
beak and spreading wings. In ancient Indian practice, armies were arrayed for
battle in formations of definite patterns, each of which had a name such as
Chakra, or Kurma or Krauncha, or Makara according to a real or fancied
Kritavarma : A notable
Yadava warrior fighting on the side of Kaurava forces.
Kshatradharma : A great
warrior on the side of Pandavas.
Kuchasthala : A city
where Krishna stayed the night on his way to the court of Dhritarashtra.
Kumbhakarna : Brother
of Ravana, King of Lanka, who was asleep most of the time because of the curse
Kundinapura : Capital
Kunti : She was the
daughter of Sura and was known as Pritha. She was given in adoption to the
king's childless cousin Kuntibhoja and was named Kunti after her adoptive
father. Sage Durvasa, whom she had served while he was a guest at her father's
house, gave her a divine mantra which when repeated would give her a son from
any god whom she would call upon. Out of childish curiosity, she invoked the
Sun god by repeating the Mantra and then she gave birth to a son born with
divine armor and earrings. Ashamed, she placed the child in a sealed box and
set it afloat on a river. The box was picked up by a childless charioteer and
brought up as his own and became known as Karna. Later, Kunti chose Pandu as
her husband at a Swayamvara.
Kunti-Madri : Queens of King Pandu who gave birth to three
and two sons known as the Pandavas in the forest where he spent many years for
having committed some sin. The sons were known as Yudhishthira, Bhima. Arjuna,
Nakula, and Sahadeva.
Kurma : Tortoise.
Lakshmana : Younger
step-brother of Rama and son of Sumitra and King Dasaratha. Duryodhana's
gallant young son also bore this name.
Lomasa : A brahmana
sage who advised the Pandavas to reduce their retinue while repairing to the forest.
Those unable to bear the hardships of exile were free to go to the court of
Dhritarashtra or Drupada, king of Panchala. He accompanied Yudhishthira on his
Lopamudra : Daughter of
the king of Vidarbha who married the sage Agastya.
Lord Narayana : Refuge
of men; Mahavishnu.
Madhava : One of the
names of Krishna. It means the Lord of Lakshmi.
Madhusudana : Another name of Krishna, the slayer of the
Mahavishnu : Lord of
the Universe who took human birth in order to wrest his kingdom from Emperor
Bali for the salvation of the world. Lord Vishnu also took birth as Rama, son
of Dasaratha, to kill Ravana, King of Lanka.
Mahendra : A King who
had attained heaven.
Maitreya : A sage who
visited the court of Dhritarashtra, expressed sorrow at the Pandava's plight,
advised Duryodhana not to injure the Pandavas for his own good.
Mantra : An incantation
with words of power.
Manasarovar : A sacred
lake in the Himalayas
Mandavya : A sage
wrongly punished by the king by being impaled as the chief of robbers who had
clandestinely hidden their stolen goods in a corner of his hermitage when he
was in deep contemplation. Lord Dharma
gave him this punishment for having tortured birds and bees in his childhood. At this Mandavya cursed Dharma
who was born as Vidura, the wise, to the servant maid of Ambalika, wife of King
Vichitravirya, who offered her to Sage Vyasa in place of Ambalika.
Maricha : A character in the Ramayan, uncle of Ravana
who transformed him self into a golden deer at the behest of Ravana to entice
Markandeya : A sage who
told Yudhishthira the story of a brahmana, Kausika.
Marutta : A king of the
Ikshwaku dynasty whose sacrifice was performed by Samvarta in defiance of Indra
Matali : Charioteer of
Indra who took Arjuna to the kingdom of gods.
Medhavi : Son of Sage
Baladhi who desired that his son should live as long as a certain mountain
Meru : An ancient
mountain. Becoming jealous of Meru, the Vindya began to grow very high
obstructing the sun, the moon and the planets. Agastya whom the Vindhya
mountain respected asked it to stop growing until he crossed it on his way to
the south and returned to the north again. But he did not return at all, having
settled in the south.
Nahusha : A mighty king
who was made king of the gods because Indra had disappeared due to his killing
Vritra through sin and deceit.
Nakula : Fourth brother
of the Pandavas.
Nala : King of Nishadha
who lost his kingdom in a game of dice and deserted his wife Damayanti because
of a curse.
Nandini : Vasishtha's
divinely beautiful cow.
Nara : Arjuna or
Narada : The sage who
suddenly appeared before Dhritarashtra and Vidura as the latter was describing
the departure of the Pandavas to the forest and uttered a prophecy that after fourteen
years the Kauravas would be extinct as a result of Duryodhana's crimes and
vanished as suddenly.
Narayana : Sri Krishna or Krishna; Vishnu.
Narayanas : Krishna's
Narayanasrama : A
charming forest where the Pandavas had halted during their wanderings.
Nishadha : A country
where Indra, Lord of the gods had lived once disguised as a brahmana.
Nishada : An aboriginal
hunter orfisherman: a man of low or degraded tribe in general; an outcaste.
Panchajanya : Name of
Palasa : Butea
frondosa, "flame of the forest".
Panchali : Another name
of Draupadi Queen of the Pandavas and daughter of King Drupada.
Panchalya : A son of
King Drupada who died in the war.
Pandu : Second son of
Vichitravirya and Ambalika who succeeded to the throne of Hastinapura on his
father's death, as his elder brother Dhritarashtra was born blind, father of
Parasara : A great
sage, father of Veda Vvasa.
Paravasu : Son of
Raibhva and elder brother of Arvavasu whose wife was violated by Yavakrida, who
was killed with a spear by a fiend for his sin.
Parikshit : Son of
Abhimanyu and grandson of the Pandavas who was crowned king after the holocaust
claimed the Kauravas and the Pandavas.
Partha : Arjuna.
Parvati : Consort of
Siva. Rukmini prayed to her for saving her from the cruel Sisupala king of
Chedi, as she had set her heart on marrying Krishna.
Paurava : A Kaurava
Phalguna : Arjuna.
Prabhasa : The Vasu who
seized Vasishtha's divine cow.
Pradyumna : Sri
Pritha : Mother of
Karna, Kunti before her marriage.
Krishna, the lotus-eyed one.
Purochana : An
architect who built a beautiful wax palace named "Sivam" in
Purumitra : A Kaurava
Pitamaha : Literally
grandfather, which however carried no imputation of senile infirmity but
denotes the status of the pater familias.
Ptirushottama : An
epithet of Sri Krishna. It is one of the names of Vishnu and means the Supreme
Raibhya : A sage whose
hermitage was situated on the banks of the Ganga. The Pandavas during their
wanderings visited it. This ghat was very holy. Bharata, son of Dasaratha
bathed here. Indra was cleansed of his sin of killing Vritra unfairly by
bathing in this ghat. Sanatkumar became one with God. Aditi, mother of the
gods, prayed here to be blessed with a son.
Radheya : Son of Radha,
a name of Karna, who as a foundling was brought up as a son by Radha, the wife
of the Charioteer Adhiratha.
Rajasuya : A sacrifice
performed by a king to be entitled to assume the title of "Emperor".
Ravana : King of Lanka
who abducted Sita, the beautiful wife of Ramachandra.
Rishabha : The second
note of the Indian gamut (Shadja, rishabha, gandhara, madhyama, panchama,
daivata, nishada -sa, ri, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni.)
Rishyasringa : Son of
sage Vibhandaka, who had grown up seeing no mortal except his father. The king
of Anga, which was afflicted with a dire famine, to bring rain and plenty,
Romapada : King of Anga
which was once visited by a great drought.
Rudra : One of the
names of Siva.
Rudra dance : Siva's
cosmic dance of destruction.
Rukma : Heir apparent
to the throne of Vidarbha. When defeated by Balarama and Krishna he established
a new city Bhojakata, ashamed to return to Kundinapura, the capital of Vidarbha,
and ruled over it.
Sachidevi : Wife of
Indra, king of the gods on whom Nahusha's evil eye fell. She was also known as
Sahadeva : Youngest of
the Pandava princes who offered the first honors to Krishna at the Rajasuya
Saibya : A ruler
friendly to the Pandavas.
Sairandhri : A maid
servant or female attendant employed in royal female apartments.
Sakuni : He played dice
on behalf of the Kauravas and succeeded in defeating the Pandavas by a
stratagem. As a result the latter had to go and live in the forest for thirteen
years. According to the conditions of the game, the thirteenth and last year of
exile was to be spent incognito. If discovered by anyone they were again to
repair to the forests for a like term. He was considered to be the evil genius,
who beguiled Duryodhana to take to evil ways.
Salva : Friend of
Sisupala, who besieged Dwaraka Sri Krishna's kingdom to avenge Sisupala's death
at the latter's hand.
Salya : Ruler of
Madradesa and brother of Madri and uncle of the Pandavas who because of having
received hospitality from Duryodhana went over to his side.
Samsaptaka : One who
has taken a vow to conquer or die, and never to retreat. The Samsaptakas were
suicide-squads, vowed to some desperate deed of daring.
Samvarta : Brihaspati's
younger brother, a person of great learning.
Samba : A Yadava
youngster dressed as a woman who gave birth to a mace, as foretold by rishis.
Sanga : Son of Virata.
When king Virata was wounded, he had to get into Sanga's chariot, having lost
his chariot, horses and charioteer
Sanjaya : The narrator
who tells blind Dhritarashtra the progress of the war from day to day. He told
the king that a victim of adverse fate would first become perverted and loses
his sense of right and wrong. Time would destroy his reason and drive him to
his own destruction.
Sankula Yuddha : A
melee, confused fight, a soldiers battle as distinguished from the combats of
Shanta : Wife of sage
Santanu : King of
Hastinapura, father of Bhishma.
Sanyasin: One who has
renounced the world and its concerns.
Sarasana : One of the
Kaurava brothers who died in the war.
Sarmishtha : Princes
and daughter of king Vrishaparva who got angry with Devayani and slapped and
pushed her into a dry well.
Satanika : Virata's son
whose bead was severed by Drona.
Satyajit : A Panchala
prince, a hero who stood by Yudhishthira to prevent his being taken prisoner by
Drona, while Arjuna was away answering a challenge by the Samsaptakas (the
Satyaki : A Yadava
warrior, friend of Krishna and the Pandavas who advocated collecting their
forces and defeating the unrighteous Duryodhana.
Satyavati : A fisherman's daughter who possessed
uncommon beauty and emanated a divinely sweet fragrance and king Santanu became
enamored of her, married her and made her his queen.
Satyavrata : Warrior on
the Kaurava side.
Saugandhika : A plant
that produced a very beautiful and fragrant flower that Bhima went to get for
Ambidexter, one who can use both hands with equal facility and effect. A name
of Arjuna who could use his bow with the same skill with either hands.
Sikhandin : A girl
turned man, warrior on the Pandava side who restored order among scattered,
subdued soldiers, Drupada's son.
Simhanada : A lion-note
or roar; a deep roar of defiance or triumph which warriors were wont to utter
to inspire confidence in their friends, of terror in their enemies.
Saindhava : Jayadratha.
Sini : One of the
suitors to Devakiís hand. A kinsman of the Kauravas.
Sisupala : King of
Chedi. Died at the hands of Krishna at the time of Dharmaputra's Rajasuya
Somadutta : One of the
suitors to Devaki's hand. A kinsman of the Kauravas.
Subahu : King of
Kulinda in the Himalayas, ally of the Kauravas.
Subhadra : Wife of
Arjuna, sister of Sri Krishna and mother of Abhimanyu.
Sudakshina : A warrior
on the Kaurava side.
Sudarsana : A warrior
on the Kaurava army.
Sudeshna : Queen of
King Virata whom Sairandhri (Draupadi) served.
Sugriva : Monkey-king,
friend of Sri Rama, and brother of mighty Vali whom Sri Rama killed.
Sujata : Daughter of
Sage Uddalaka and wife of Kagola, his disciple who had virtue and devotion but
not much of erudition, mother of Ashtavakra.
Suka : A sage, son of
Vyasa, who related the Srimad Bhagavata to King Parikshit, grandson of Arjuna.
Sumitra : Abhimanyu's
Supratika : Name of
King Bhagadatta's elephant.
Susarma : King of
Trigarta, a supporter of the Kauravas who backed the proposal to invade Matsya,
Suvarna : A soldier on
the Kaurava side.
Sri Rama : Also knew as
Rama, Ramachandra or Sri Rama. Hanumana tells Bhima how he was deeply thrilled
when he happened to touch Rama's body. This king of Ayodhya was banished to the
forest for fourteen years, killed Ravana the king of Lanka who abducted his
Srinjayas : Pandava
Srutayu, Astutayu : Two
brothers fighting on the Kaurava side attacked Arjuna but were
Srutayudha : A Kaurava
warrior whose mace hurled at Krishna rebounded fiercely, killing Srutayudha
himself. Her mother Parnasa had obtained that gift from Varuna who had
specified that the mace should not be used against one who does not fight, else
it would kill the person who hurls it.
Swarga : The heaven of
Indra where mortals after death enjoy the results of their good deeds on earth.
Sveta : A son of King
Virata who fell in battle to Bhishma's arrow.
Tantripala : Assumed
name of Sahadeva at Virata's court.
Uddalaka : A great sage
and teacher of Vedanta.
Umadevi : Wife of Siva.
Unchhavritti : The life
of a mendicant, begging his food.
Upachitra : One of King
Dhritarashtra's sons who perished in the war.
Upaplavya : A place in
Matsya Kingdom, where the Pandavas settled after their exile of thirteen years.
Urvasi : An apsara in
Indra's court, whose amorous overtures Arjuna declined.
Vaisampayana : Chief
disciple of sage Vyasa who revealed the epic for the benefit humanity.
Vaishnava : A sacrifice
performed by Duryodhana in the forest. Yayati, Mandhata, Bharata and others
also performed it.
Vaishnava mantra : An
invocation which endows a missile with some of the irresistible power of
Vajrayudha : The weapon
with which Indra killed Visvarupa on suspicion because his mother belonged to
the asura tribe of daityas.
Valala : Assumed name
of Bhima when, he worked as a cook at Virata's court.
Vali : Monkey-king,
brother of Sugriva.
Vanaprastha : The third
stage of the dvija's life, when he is required to relinquish worldly
responsibilities to his heirs and retires to the woods with his wife for an
Vandi : Court poet of
Mithila who on being defeated by Sage Ashtavakra in debate drowned himself in
the ocean and went to the abode of Varuna.
Varanavata : A forest
in which the Pandavas were asked to stay in a wax-house which was to be set on
fire at midnight in order to kill the Pandavas while they were asleep.
Vasishtha : A sage who
had cursed the eight Vasus to be born in the world of men as sons of Ganga and
Santanu. Ganga threw her seven children in to the river with a smiling face.
Vasudhana : Another warrior
who perished in the battle on the Twelfth Day.
Vasudeva : An epithet
of Krishna. It means both son of Vasudeva and the supreme spirit that pervades
Vedavyasa : Vyasa,
author of the Mahabharata.
son of Santanu who succeeded King Chitrangada on the throne of Hastinapura. He
had two sons, Dhritarashtra and Pandu.
Vikarna : A son of
Dhritarashtra who declared the staking of Draupadi illegal, as Yudhishthira
himself was a slave and had lost all his rights. Therefore the Kauravas had not
won Draupadi legally, he held
Vinda, Anuvinda : Two
brothers kings of Avanti, great soldiers whom were on the Kaurava side, they
suffered defeat at the hands of Yudhamanyu
Virata : King of
Matsya, the country which was suggested by Bhima to live in incognito during
the thirteenth year of their exile.
Visoka : Bhima's
Visvarupa : Name of
Twashta's son who became the preceptor of the gods, Brihaspati having left when
insulted by Indra.
Vivimsati : A Kaurava
Viswarupa : All-pervading,
all-including form. See the description in the Bhagavad Gita chapter eleven.
Vriddhakshatra : King
of the Sindhus, father of Jayadratha into whose lap his son Jayadratha's head
was caused to fall by Arjuna after cutting off Jayadratha's head.
Vrika : A Panchala
prince who fell in battle.
Vrisha, Achala :
Vrishnis, Kekayas :
Tribals who were devoted to the Pandavas, who with Sri Krishna visited the
Pandavas in their exile.
Vrishasena : A warrior
on the Kaurava side.
Vritra : Son of Twashta
who was defeated by Indra's weapons Vajrayudha. He was born out of his father's
sacrificial flames and became Indra's mortal enemy.
Wolf-bellied, an epithet of Bhima, denoting his slimness of waist and
Vyasa : Compiler of the
Vedas, son of sage Parasara.
Vyuha : Battle arrays.
Yama : God of death.
God of dharma, whose son was Yudhishthira. It is he whose questions
Yudhishthira answered correctly whereupon his dead brothers were brought back
to life on the banks of the enchanted pool.
Yajna : A sacrifice.
Yaksha : A class of
demi-gods, subjects of Kubera, the god of wealth.
Yavakrida : Son of Sage
Bharadwaja who was bent upon mastering the Vedas.
Yayati : Emperor of the
Bharata race who rescued Devayani from the well into which she had been thrown
by Sarmishtha. He later married both Devayani and Sarmishtha. One of the
ancestors of the Pandavas who became prematurely old due to Sukracharya's
Yudhamanyu : A prince
supporting the Pandavas.
Yuyudhana : Another name
Yuyutsu : A noble son
of Dhritarashtra who bent his head in shame and sorrow when Yudhishthira lost
Draupadi. He also disapproved of the unfair way in which Abhimanyu was killed.