Adi Parva – The Beginning of the Mahabharata

The Mahabharata is an epic of 18 books called Parvas. There are 100 Upa-Parvas or sections. There are 19 sections in the first book, the Adiparva. Adi, in Sanskrit, is first. The Adi Parva, also known as the “Book of the Beginning,” is the first book of the Mahabharata.

It serves as the introductory section, setting the stage for the grand narrative that unfolds in the subsequent books. The Adi Parva provides crucial background information, including the origin of the epic’s main characters, their lineage, and the circumstances that lead to the great Kurukshetra War.

Summary of Adi Parva

Pandavas Meets Veda Vyasa
Pandavas Meets Vyasa. Source

1. Anukramanika-Parva

There is only one chapter containing 275 verses in this section. Sage Saunaka had been performing in the Naimisa forest a sacrifice of the type Satra that would run for 12 years. All the ascetics had gathered there. At that time there arrived the pauranic (epic-teller) Ugrasravas, the son of sage Lomaharshana.

After the usual inquiry of good health was over, the sages expressed their desire to listen to the story of the Mahabharata. Having saluted the Supreme Lord, Ugrasravas started to recount the story of the Mahabharata as narrated by sage Vyasa.

Sage Vyasa who was deep in contemplation had visualized the whole Mahabharata as if it occurred before his eyes. He saw the creation, the Vedas, the four Purusharthas Dharma, Artha, etc., and the code of conduct of mankind. Vyasa related everything concisely and also comprehensively.

Then he thought of imparting to his disciples the epic Mahabharata which he had seen by the power of his austerities. Just then the creator, who cared for the welfare of the world, appeared before him. Having saluted him, Vyasa described to him the features of the epic and also his intention of teaching it to his disciples. Brahma advised him to mentally request Ganesha for taking the dictation and left for his abode.

Later, Vyasa had mentally invited Ganesha, and the latter appeared before him. Vyasa requested him again mentally, to act as the scribe for the epic he was going to write. Then Ganesha put a condition that Vyasa should dictate in such a way that not even for a moment would his quill pause.

Vyasa also put a clause that Ganesha should write only if he understood what was being dictated. Ganesha agreed to it and became Vyasa’s scribe. For this reason, Vyasa recited now and then some verses whose meaning was incomprehensible. Around 8800 verses of that type (famous by the name GRANTHA GRANTHIS) are found.

This section is also called Sangrahadhyaya. Not only was Vyasa the author of the Mahabharata but he was the protector of the clan of the Bharats also. At the command of his mother Satyavati and in accordance with the desire of Bhishma, Vyasa begot two sons Dhritarashtra and Pandu by the wives of Vichitravirya and another son Vidura by the servant maid of Victravirya’s wives.

Later he retired to his hermitage. After the death of all his three sons, Vyasa told the story of the Mahabharata. At the request of Janamejaya, Vyasa directed his disciple Vaisampayana to recount the Mahabharata.

King Pandu, who conquered the whole world, was living with the sages in the forest because of his love for hunting. One day he killed an ascetic couple who were engaged in amorous acts in the guise of deer and was cursed. From then onwards he continued to live in the forest.

There he had five sons by the grace of Yama, Vayu, Indra, and the Ashwini twins. However, he died because of the sage’s curse while he indulged in intercourse with his wife Madri. The latter entered the funeral pyre following her husband.

The ascetics conducted Kunti and the Pandavas to Hastinapura and handed over their responsibility to Bhishma. The Pandavas grew up there, became experts in using weapons, and married Draupadi. Afterward, Dharmaraja performed the Rajasuya sacrifice.

Duryodhana became jealous of the prosperity of the Pandavas. Defeated in the game of dice, the Pandavas went to the forest and later lived in disguise. Even at the completion of their incognito stay, Duryodhana refused to part with their kingdom.

For this reason, a war broke out between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. Upon the annihilation of the Kauravas in that war, the deeply anguished Dhritarashtra shared his grief with Sanjaya. (This part is called the Yadasraushaparva which contains 70 verses.)

In order to appease him, Sanjaya recounted the tales of the ancestral kings and told him that it was by the power of the time everything happened. Vidura consoled Dhritarashtra, who was distraught having lost all his sons. Based on this history, Vyasa narrated the meritorious Mahabharata, which was like an Upanishad.

If anyone reads even one foot of a stanza of this epic with devotion, his sins are removed. It is the best among the Iitihasa. It’s said that if anyone recites it for the Brahmins partaking in Shraddha meals, his forefathers will get inexhaustible food and water.

In ancient times the gods put the four Vedas in one pan of the balance and the Mahabharata in the other. The Mahabharata outweighed the Vedas. From then onwards because of its greatness and weight, the epic is called Mahabharata. This is the origin of the name of the epic.

2. Parvasangraha

Lord Parashurama

There is one chapter with 396 verses in this section, presenting a brief description of the contents of each Parva along with an account of the place Samantapanchaka and a count of the Akshauhini army.

During the interval period of the Treta and Dwapara yugas, an angry sage Parusurama slaughtered the royal tribe twenty-one times. He created five ponds with their blood and offered oblations of blood to his forefathers. The area around these ponds is called Samantapanchaka.

An Akshauhini consists of 21,870 chariots, 21,870 elephants, 65,610 horses, and 1,09,350 infantry. There were 18 Akshauhinis of Kaurava and Pandava army at Kurukshetra, In the battle that continued for 18 days, all that army was killed. Dhristadyumna acted as the commander-in-chief of the Pandava army.

For the Kauravas, Bhishma was the chief for ten days, Drona for five days, Karna for 2 days, and Salya for half a day. The fight with clubs between Duryodhana and Bhima took place for half a day. During the same night, Aswatthama butchered the five sons of Pandavas, Dhrishtadyumna, Sikhandin, and the remaining army of the Pandavas. All this was told in the 18 Parvas and 100 Upaparvas.

Harivamsa is considered the epilogue of the Mahabharata. It is also called ‘Khilapurana’. The count of 100 Upaparvas is done by adding this text also. One who is well versed in the Vedas and the Vedangas, but does not know the epic is not a scholar. After listening to this great story, one will never take an interest in listening to any other story.

Just as a body can not survive without food, a story cannot exist without being based on the Mahabharata. For one who recites or listens to from others the Mahabharata, there is no need to take a dip in the Pushkara. One acquires merit equal to donating one hundred golden-horned cattle to a Vedic scholar, just by listening to this story.

3. Paushya Parva

This Parva contains one chapter and 188 verses. This Parva tells in detail the greatness of service to a teacher. The serpent sacrifice, which forms the seed of the Mahabharata story, is also described in this section only.

Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit, was performing a long Satra sacrifice along with his brothers. When the celestial dog Saurameya came there, Janamejaya’s brothers beat it. The whimpering dog went to its mother and told her what had happened.

Anguished at the suffering of her puppy, Surama approached them and chided them for beating her innocent child. She cursed them to face an unexpected scare. (This was the first curse in the Bharata.) Janamejaya felt dejected because of that curse.

After the sacrifice was over, in order to absolve themselves of the sin that resulted in a curse, he engaged Somasravas, the son of sage Srutasravas as his priest. He and his brothers started to act on the advice of their priest.

During those days there was a famous sage named Ayoda Dhaumya. He had three disciples in Aruni, Upamanyu, and Veda. The teacher, who was a hard taskmaster used to test his disciples in a hard way. And he would bless them if they passed his trials.

He tested Aruni by asking him to repair the breached field and blessed him when the latter accomplished it. Dhaumya asked his second disciple Upamanyu to tend the cattle and put some conditions on the latter’s begging for alms. The boy lost his sight while adhering to those rules.

Then the teacher graced him by making him invoke the twin gods Aswins. Veda also passed his master’s tests and was blessed by him.

Later Veda acquired three disciples. He was familiar with the hardships faced by a resident scholar in his preceptor’s abode. His disciple Uttanka received the blessings of a teacher by conducting himself in a righteous manner. Having completed his studies, Uttanka expressed his desire of offering Gurudakshina to his teacher.

On the latter’s advice, he approached his preceptor’s wife, who commanded him to bring the earrings of the wife of King Paushya. She desired to wear them on the occasion of Punyakavrata four days from thence. Uttanka set out for the palace of Paushya.

On his way, he saw a big man seated in the back of a bull. Acting on his advice, Uttanka ate the excreta of that bull and drank its urine. However, in his excitement, he took his ablutions in a standing posture and went to the king. Satisfied with Uttanka’s eligibility, the king directed him to the queen’s apartments. But the boy did not find her there. So he again went to the king.

Paushya told him that an impure person could not see the queen. Then Uttanka performed the purifying ablution and hurried to the queen’s quarters. When he begged her to give the earrings, she presented them to him and warned him to be careful as the serpent Takshaka coveted them.

When Uttanka went to take leave of the king, the latter requested him to be his guest for meals as he was a qualified Brahmin. Having found a hair in the food served to him, Uttanka cursed the king to becoming blind for serving impure food.

The king also cursed the Brahmin to become childless. And both of them requested the other to lift the curse. But the king expressed his inability to remove his curse as he was of royal blood. Uttanka lifted his curse on the king and went his way taking his gift.

On the way, Takshaka stole the earrings. Uttanka followed him to the netherworld, got back the earrings, and found his way out from there with the help of a great being to hand over in time the earrings to his preceptor’s wife. The virtuous Uttanka, however, developed animosity towards Takshaka, and to take revenge on him, approached King Janamejaya, and encouraged him to perform the serpent sacrifice. The purpose of the episode of Uttanka is the encouragement the performance of the serpent sacrifice.

4. Pauloma Parva

This Parva contains 9 chapters. There are 172 verses here. This tells about the cause of the serpent sacrifice and the destruction of the serpents in it. The important episodes here are those of Chyavan and Ruru. In the episode of Chyavan, the fire god’s all-consuming power is described.

The story of Ruru and Pramadvara stresses the importance of non-violence. The first wise saying in the Mahabharata, the ocean of quotations is: non-violence is the greatest virtue. It is the first virtue among all the virtues of a man. Truth, patience, etc. come only after that. Sage Vyasa gave this wisdom through examples.

5. Astika Parva

There are 46 chapters and 1108 verses in this Parva. In reply to Saunaka’s question about the serpent sacrifice of Janamejaya and the reason for not completing it, Ugrasravas narrated the churning of the ocean for nectar, the stories of Kadru and Vinata, and the episode of Parikshit. Then he told about Astika, who stopped the serpent sacrifice. All these form part of this Parva.

The main reason for Janamejaya’s serpent sacrifice was his father’s death by snake bite. His minister and Udanka encouraged the king to perform that sacrifice. The efforts to stop it are described in the episode of Astika.

Parikshit, the father of Janamejaya was a king of righteous nature. Like his great-grandfather, he was also fond of hunting. Once while he went on hunting, he became thirsty. He went to sage Samika and asked him about a deer that escaped having been hit by his arrow.

The sage, who was keeping the vow of silence, kept quiet. The king got angry and lifted a dead snake with the tip of his bow, and placed it in the neck of the sage. The son of Samika was Sringi. He was spiritually resplendent. While returning home with the permission of his preceptor, he was informed by a hermit friend Krisa about the dead snake placed around the neck of his father.

Raged with fury, he took water into his hand and pronounced a curse that Parikshit would be dead bitten by the serpent Takshaka within a week. Then he came to his father and told him what had happened. Then Samika advised his son on the greatness of forgiveness and said to him: “Son, you have acted wrongly by your imprudence. We shall not curse the king.”

But Sringi could not accept his father’s words. Then Samika warned Parikshit about the curse through his disciple Goramukha. The king made all arrangements to guard himself against Takshaka.

Kadru and Vinata were the wives of Kasyapa. Kadru was the mother of the serpents. Once they laid a wager on the color of the horse Ucchaisravas that was born at the time of the churning of the milky ocean. In order to win the bet, Kadru asked her sons to resort to cheating. Some of them agreed. But some others did not. Kadru said those who did not agree would perish in the serpent sacrifice of Janamejaya.

Vinata who lost the bet became Kadru’s servant. Two sons Aruna and Garuda were born to her. Garuda wanted to release his mother from bonded labor. He became strong by eating an elephant and a tortoise as advised by his father Kasyapa. Then he snatched nectar from heaven, gave it to the serpents, and obtained the release of his mother.

The serpents who were cursed by their mother thought of ways to escape from the curse. Advised by the serpent Elaputra, Vasuki performed the marriage of his sister Jaratkaru with sage Jaratkaru. Astika was the son of the Jaratkarus. He made Janamejaya stop the serpent sacrifice.

Parikshit made all arrangements to save himself from Takshaka. A Brahmin name Kasyapa started for Hastinapura to save the king from the deadly poison of Takshaka. But the latter offered money to him and sent him back. On the seventh day of Sringi’s curse, Parikshit was killed by the poison of Takshaka.

On knowing this, Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit performed the serpent sacrifice. The serpent sacrifice occupies an important place in the Mahabharata.

6. Amsavatarana Parva

Parashar Rishi and Satyavati
Parashar Rishi and Satyavati

There are six chapters and 326 verses in this section. This forms the epilogue of the Mahabharata. Asked by Janamejaya, Vaisampayana told him about the greatness of the Mahabharata. He said that Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa completed this wonderful epic in three years.

Anything regarding Dharma, Artha, Kama, or Moksha which is here is found elsewhere. That which is not here is not there anywhere else.

Vaisampayana narrated the stories of Uparichara and Satyavati, the birth of Vyasa, the birth of the asuras, and the coming down of the celestial beings with their respective parts. After abandoning the serpent sacrifice, one day Janamejaya asked Vyasa about the war of the Bharats.

Then Vyasa directed Vaisampayana to narrate the story. And the latter narrated, in brief, the story of the epic. The birth of Vyasa on the Krishnadwipa from Parasara and Matsyagandhi was also told.

7. Sambhava Parva

This section contains 75 chapters and 3232 verses. While giving an account of the Kuru clan, Vaisampayana told the story of Yayati, the son of Nahusha. One of the two wives of Yayati was Devayani, the daughter of Sukracharya. She had two sons named Yadu and Turvasu.

Yayati became old due to the curse of Sukracharya. But he still desired sensual pleasures. So he asked his sons to take his old age and gift him their youth. But the four elder sons Yadu, Turvasu, Druhyu, and Anu did not accept that proposal.

However, his last son Puru agreed to do as his father asked. After enjoying sensual pleasures for some more time, Yayati returned to his son’s youth, coronated him, and retired to the forest. With severe austerities and control of their senses, he achieved heaven.

Indra asked him with whom was he equal in penance. He said that there was no one equal to him in penance. Because of his egotism, his merit diminished, and the period of his stay in the celestial worlds ended. Indra

conceded Yayati’s request that from heaven he might fall down among the virtuous. While falling down Yayati saw his grandson Ashtaka and others. Having cleared their doubts regarding dharma, he again went to heaven because of the company of the virtuous.

The family of Puru became famous by his name. In his line, Dushyanta was born to Ilila. Once Dushyanta, while hunting, went to the hermitage of Kanva, saw there Sakuntala, the daughter of Menaka and Viswamitra, married her secretly according to the Gandharva rite, and later returned to his kingdom.

Sakuntala gave birth to Bharata in the hermitage. Dushyanta did not visit them even when the boy had attained the age to be the crown prince. Then Kanva sent Sakuntala along with his disciples to the king. When Sakuntala introduced herself to the royal court, the king treated her as a stranger and claimed that he did not know her. He asked her to go away.

As the dejected Sakuntala was about to leave the assembly, a voice from the sky revealed the truth. Then Dushyanta accepted her. Afraid of the hearsay, he acted like that. His family became celebrated as Bharatavamsa after his son Bharata. In this line was born Hasti after whom the name of a place became famous.

After some years Kuru was born. The family became popular by his name also. In that family, Devapi, Santanu, and Bahlika were born to King Pratipa. As Devapi retired to the sacred groves in his childhood itself, Santanu became the king. His wife Ganga used to throw their newborn babies in the river. She threw seven sons like this.

The king was disgusted with the behavior of his wife. He prevented her from killing the eighth child. Then Ganga left her husband and went away taking her child. After making her son well-versed in all sciences, she brought him to her husband. He was Bhishma.

He made two promises:

  1. the son of Satyavati only would become the king and
  2. he himself would be a lifelong celibate, and he performed the marriage of Satyavati with his father.

Satyavati gave birth to two sons. The elder one Chitrangada was killed at an early age by a Gandharva. Bhishma performed the marriage of Vichitravirya with the daughters of the king of Kasi, Ambika, and Ambalika. Vichitravirya died issueless.

As the kingdom would become heirless, Satyavati implored Bhishma to marry. But the latter did not want to break his promise. Then Satyavati remembered Vyasa. Immediately Vyasa appeared there. He followed his mother’s word. He begot the blind Dhritarashtra on Ambika, the pale Pandu on Ambalika, and the knowledgeable Vidura on their maid.

Dhritarashtra and Panduraja grew up under the care of Bhishma. Dhritarashtra married Gandhari, and Pandu married Kunti and Madri. Pandu delighted everyone by conquering all the quarters. Once accompanied by his two wives, he went hunting in the vicinity of the Himalayas. There he killed a deer couple that was engaged in intercourse. While dying the male deer cursed him that he would die if he were to engage in sex with his wife. The distressed

Pandu took up vanaprastha (forest-dwelling stage) and performed penance. His wives served him dutifully. Pandu wanted to beget children as a childless man could not go to heaven. Kunri then told him about the boon she received from sage Durvasas. With the permission of her husband, she gave birth to Dharmaraja having invoked Lord Yama. Gadhari also got pregnant but did not deliver even after two years.

At last, a lump of flesh hard like that of steel was delivered from her womb. As the days went by, that lump got divided into 101 pieces. On the advice of Vyasa, they were kept in pots filled with ghee. From them, Duryodhana appeared first.

On that very day, Kunti gave birth to Bhima by the grace of the wind god. There from the pieces of flesh, one after one Dussasana and others were born. A girl named Dussala was also born. After one year Kunti begot Arjuna, blessed by Indra.

One day Pandu, overcome by passion, participated in a sexual act with Madri, and died of the curse. Madri followed him by ascending the funeral pyre. The sages of the forest conducted Kunti and her five sons to Hastinapura and handed them over to Dhritarashtra.

Vyasa consoled them and took his mother Satyavati, Ambika, and Ambalika to the forest where they performed severe austerities and attained their desired planes after leaving their bodies. The sons of Pandu spent their time playing with the sons of Dhritarashtra. Duryodhana and others became jealous of Bhima’s strength. They waited for opportunities to harm him.

Once they mixed poison in his food to kill him. On another time they tied him with creepers while he was asleep and flung him into the ocean. The terrible poisonous snakes bit him repeatedly. Still, nothing happened to him. The princes studied under the tutelage of Kripacharya.

Drona who was insulted by his friend King Drupada came to Hastinapura and became the teacher of the princes. Pleased with Arjuna’s expertise in archery, he decided to impart the extraordinary knowledge of Astras and Sashtras to him. In order to keep his word, he took the right thumb of Ekalavya as his Gurudakshina.

Once, while Drona was taking a bath in a river, an alligator seized him by the thigh. Arjuna shot sharp arrows at that crocodile that was under the water. Dronacharya was very much pleased with him and taught him many Astras. He became confident that Arjuna could defeat Drupada and bring him to him.

Drona arranged a display of the proficiency in the arms of the princes. Karna also wanted to participate in that. During his duel with Arjuna, the question of his not being a prince arose. Immediately Duryodhana installed him as the king of Anga.

Later Arjuna defeated Drupada, bound him, and brought him to his teacher. Drona disgraced him and felt happy. Then he taught the Brahmasironamakastra to Arjuna. Dhritarashtra made Dharmaraja the crown prince. But he was worried at the prosperity of the Pandavas.

On his inquiry, Kanika, the minister well versed in the polity, advised him on fraudulent tact. Duryodhana who was also worried put before his father the proposal of sending the Pandavas to Varanavata. Dhritarashtra accepted it.

8. Jatugriha Parva

pandavas escape from burning house
Pandavas escape from the burning house

Duryodhana entrusted Purochana with the responsibility of building a house of lac at Varanavata before the Pandavas’ arrival. When Pandavas set out for that city, Vidura warned Dharmaraja in a suggestive manner, which the latter understood. Pandavas arrived in Varanavata along with Kunti.

Khanaka, the messenger sent by Vidura met Yudhishthira and revealed to him that on the fourteenth day of that dark fortnight, Purochana at the command of Duryodhana, would set fire to the door of their house. In order to save them from the impending danger, Kanika dug a subterranean passage under the pretext of clearing the leftovers and covered its opening skilfully.

Hence no one knew about it. On one night Kunti fed a large number of Brahmins on the occasion of alms-giving. Tempted by fate, a Nishada woman came along with her five sons to that feast. And intoxicated with wine and deprived of consciousness, they lay down there to sleep.

Then Bhima set fire to the place where Purochana was sleeping. The Pandavas escaped along with Kunti through the tunnel. The people of Varanavata thought that the Pandavas were burnt to death. On hearing this news, Dhritarashtra was grief-stricken and wept. Vidura, who knew what had happened, feigned sorrow.

The Pandavas, on their part, crossed the Ganga, but could not walk further. On the advice of Dharmaraja, Bhima started walking carrying Kunti and his brothers on his shoulders. As Kunti became thirsty, he lay them down under the shade of a papal tree and went to fetch water. By the time he returned having quenched his thirst and bathed, soaking his upper garments with water for them, they were asleep exhausted as they were.

9. Hidimbavadha Parva

This section has 5 chapters and 222 verses. In that forest was living a cannibal Hidimba by the name, of a monster. On getting the scent of a human being, he sent his sister Hidimba on a search. Accordingly, she went to the place where the Pandavas were sleeping. On seeing Bhima there, she desired him to be her husband.

As his sister did not return even after a long time, the giant arrived there himself. Then Bhima killed Hidimba. At the command of his mother Kunti, Bhima married Hidimba. She gave birth to Ghatotkacha by immediate pregnancy (Sadyogarbha). Saying that he would serve them whenever required, Ghatotkacha went away in the northerly direction.

10. Bakavadha Parva

There are 8 chapters with 220 verses in this section. The Pandavas along with their mother went to the town Ekachakra, and lived there incognito in the house of a Brahmin, getting along by begging alms. There lived a cannibal giant Baka in the thick woods on the outskirts of the town.

As he protected that land, in return, every householder, when his turn came, supplied him with a cartful of food, two bullocks, and one member of the family for his meals. On that day it was the turn of that Brahmin in whose house the Pandavas stayed.

Hence the Brahmin couple and their son and daughter started wailing uncontrollably. On learning the matter, Kunti consulted with Bhima, and having decided to send him to Baka, consoled the Brahmin. Bhima went to Baka with the food, fought with him, and killed him. The citizens of Ekachakra felt delighted.

11. Chaitraratha Parva

This section contains 19 chapters and 674 verses. After killing Bakasura, the Pandavas continued to stay at the Brahmin’s house studying the Vedas. Within a few days, a Brahmana of rigid vows came to the abode of their host. He gave information about King Drupada of Panchala. He said that he would go to witness the self-choice of Draupadi, the daughter of Drupada that was going to place.

On hearing that Kunti became curious and prepared to leave for the beautiful city of Drupada along with her sons. Vyasa came there to meet them. He revealed to them the previous birth of Draupadi. He predicted that Panchali would choose five husbands, and blessed them to be happy having wedded her.

After the departure of Vyasa, the Pandavas went to the country of Panchala led by their mother. On the way, Arjuna fought with the Gandharva king Angaraparna and defeated him. Afterward, Annapurna became friends with Arjuna. He narrated the story of Tapati and Samvarana, and also the greatness of Viswamitra and Vasishtha. On his advice, the Pandavas made Dhaumya their priest.

12. Swayamvara Parva

The Swayamvaraparva has 9 chapters and the Vaivahikaparva 7 chapters. The total verses in these two sections are 457. Pandavas, attired as Brahmins, went to the hall where the Swayamvara of Draupadi was to take place. Dhrishtadyumna announced in the court that Draupadi would become the wife of that person who would pierce the target through the orifice of the machine with five arrows. Many princes tried but in vain to shoot the mark.

13. Vaivahika Parva

Arjuna and Sri Krishna in Draupadi Swayambar

Arjuna, however, shot the mark without any difficulty and took the hand of Draupadi. Then he took her to Kunti and announced that they had brought alms. Kunti, who was inside the house at that time, said that all the brothers should share it equally.

The Pandavas then went to the palace of Drupada. Dharmaraja announced to Drupada that all five brothers would marry Draupadi. Drupada was in a fix regarding Diharma. Then Vyasa appeared there and told him about the previous birth of Draupadi, and convinced him. Draupadi was married to the five Pandavas.

14. Viduragamana-Rajyalambha Parva

There are 13 chapters and 506 verses in it. After their marriage with Draupadi, the Pandavas stayed in the city of Drupada for one year. Duryodhana came to know of this through his spies. He became jealous of the prosperity of the Pandavas and thought of ways to bring his enemies under control with his father.

Karna advised that they should use force. Dhritarashtra also accepted that. But he invited Bhishma, Drona, and other ministers and consulted with them. Bhishma said that just as Gandhari’s sons were his children so were Kunti’s sons. Hence he should protect both Kauravas and Pandavas.

So the Pandavas should be given half of the kingdom. Dronacharya also gave his consent to that. Vidura also supported them. Dhritarashtra decided to give half of the kingdom to the Pandavas and sent Vidura to bring the Pandavas to Hastinapura. Krishna also came there.

Dhritarashtra gave half of the kingdom to the Pandavas and advised them to go to Khandavaprastha. On Krishna’s instructions, Visvakarma built there the city of Indraprastha. Pandavas settled there happily. One day Narada arrived there and narrated the story of Sunda and Upasunda, laying down the rules to be followed regarding their wife.

According to him, Draupadi should stay in the residence of each brother for one year. During that time other brothers should not go there. Whoever broke this rule would go on a pilgrimage for one year.

15. Arjuna-Vanavasa Parva

In this section, there are 6 chapters and 179 verses. Pandavas were staying in Khandavaprastha following the instructions of Narada. One day some thieves stole the cattle of a Brahmin. In his bid to save the cattle of that Brahmin, Arjuna entered the chambers of Dharmaraja to get his bow and arrows.

Then he defeated the thieves and restored to the Brahmin the wealth of cattle. As he broke the promise, he took the vow of going on a pilgrimage for 12 years, disregarding Dharmaraja’s plea. First, he went to Gangadwar and as he took his bath in Ganga.

As he was coming out of the waters, Ulupi, the daughter of the serpent king saw him, and getting attracted to him, she took him to the netherworld. Arjuna had fulfilled her desire. Later they returned to Gangadwar. Ulupi left him there and went back to her abode.

She gave birth to Iravan. Afterward, Arjuna continued on his religious tour and reached Manipura where he married Chitrangada who bore him a boy named Babhruvahana. He left the boy with King Chitrvahana to be made his heir and continued on his way.

16. Subhadra-harana ParvA

Subhadra-Harana Parva has two chapters and Haranaharana Parva has one chapter. Arjuna later went to Prabhasatirtha. Having come to know of his arrival through emissaries, Krishna came there to meet him. Both of them strolled leisurely around Prabhasatirtha.

Afterward, they reached Raivataka, stayed there for the night, and went to Dwaraka in the morning. After some days the Yadavas organized a grand festival in Raivataka. All the citizens of Dwaraka participated in it with enthusiasm. Balarama along with his wife Revati roved hilarious with a drink.

17. Haranaharana Parva

There Arjuna saw Subhadra and was attracted to her. He sought Krishna’s help in possessing her. And with the permission of Krishna, he kidnapped her and took her to Indraprastha. Subhadra gave birth to Abhimanyu. Later five sons, the Upapandavas were born to Draupadi. (Their names were: Prativindhya, Srutasoma, Srutakirti, Satanika, and Srutasena.)

18. Khandavadahana Parva

This section contains six chapters. Later, after some time, Krishna and Arjuna, accompanied by some friends, went to the banks of Yamuna during the summer days. While wandering there, both of them reached a very beautiful place. That was near the Khandava forest. Then Agni, the Fire god approached them.

He told them that he was suffering from a stomach disorder owing to his drinking the ghee that was continuously poured in the hundred-year sacrifice performed by King Swetaki. The burning of Khandava was the only remedy for that.

He requested them to guard him from Indra, while he was engaged in setting fire to the forest. They agreed to it. Then Agni gifted Arjuna with the bow called Gandiva and an inexhaustible quiver. He offered the Sudarsana disc and the mace Kaumodaki to Krishna.

19. Mayadarsana Parva

Arjuna battle with Chitra Sena

There are 7 chapters in this section. Krishna and Arjuna defeated Indra, the gods, and the demons, and fulfilled the desire of Agni by allowing him to consume the Khandava forest completely. Even though the forest was entirely burnt up, Asvasena, Maya, and four Sarngakas escaped unhurt. The giant Maya later built a mansion for Dharmaraja.