Wednesday, December 17, 2008

PDE Mahabharata: Life in the Forest

Reading Guide. Like Rama, the Pandavas will now enter into a long period of exile in the forest and, again like Rama, during their exile they will encounter many sages who live in the wilderness, hearing stories and learning from them. For reasons of length, I have had to omit most of those stories, but some of the most famous ones are available as ACK comic books, like the story of Nala and Damayanti.

Source. Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913). [300 words]

Second Match | 41. Life in the Forest | Krishna's Visit

The Pandava princes wandered towards the deep forest, and Draupadi followed them.

Yudhishthira lamented his fate to the brahmins as he wandered towards the forest. "Our kingdom is lost to us," he said, "and our fortune; everything is lost; we depart in sorrow, and must live on fruits and roots and the produce of the chase. In the woods are many perils — many reptiles and hungry wild animals seeking their prey."

A brahmin advised the deposed rajah to call upon the sun god, and Yudhishthira prayed, "O sun, thou art the eye of the universe, the soul of all things that are; thou art the creator; thou art Indra, thou art Vishnu, thou art Brahma, thou art Prajapati, lord of creatures, father of gods and man; thou art fire, thou art Mind; thou art lord of all, the eternal Brahman."

Then Surya appeared before Yudhishthira and gave unto him a copper pot, which was ever filled with food for the brethren. For twelve long years the Pandavas lived in the woods with their wife Draupadi, and Dhaumya, the brahmin. Whatever food they obtained, they set apart a portion for the holy men and ate the rest. They visited holy shrines; they bathed in sacred waters; they performed their devotions. Ofttimes they held converse with brahmins and sages, who instructed them in pious works and blessed them, and also promised them that their lost kingdom would be restored in the fullness of time.

They wandered in sunshine and in shade; they dwelt in pleasant places, amidst abundant fruits and surrounded by flowers. They suffered also from tempests and heavy rains, when their path would be torn by streams, and Draupadi would swoon, and all the brethren would be faint and weary and in despair. Then Bhima would carry them all on his back and under his arms.

Second Match | Life in the Forest | Krishna's Visit

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