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The Mahabharata: A Divine History of Ancient India

The Mahabharata: A Divine History of Ancient India

  • SKU: IDL200
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  • Publishers: Ras Bihari Lal and Sons
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  • Dimensions:9.3' X 6.2'
  • Edition:2001
  • Author:Shriji dasa
  • Publisher:Ras Bihari Lal and Sons
  • ISBN:8187812184
  • Cover Type:Hardcover
  • Number of Pages:808
  • Introduction

    Before beginning this auspicious narration, I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my initiating spiritual master, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who out of his infinite compassion brought Krsna consciousness to the Western world. may be bestow his blessings on this work. I also offer my obeisances unto all the preceptor spiritual masters and unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, by whose mercy even a domb man can recite eloquent Sri Sri Radha Vrndavana Cendra. May Their lotus feet ever dwell in the core of my heart.

    The Vedic literatures, compiled by the great sage Srila Vyasadeva, are quite called prasthana: the sruti prasthana [four Vedas and 108 Upanisads], The smrti prasthana [Bhagavad-gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata, and eighteen Puranas], and the nyiaya prasthana [Vedanta-sutra]. The sruti mantras are the original four Vedas [Sama, Yajur, Rg. and Atharval], and the smrti mantras are the sound logical basis of vedic knowledge. These volumes, containing hundreds of thousands of verse, give information about the creation of the universe, the spirit soul, material nature, the law of karma. logic, the king dom of God, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna, in His different incarnations. The smrti prasthana are the factual historical texts of bygone ages, and it is not possible to understand the past unless we consult these literatures. as the modern history books are taken as evidence, so also the ancient historical texts in the from of the Puranas should be taken as evidence. as Lord Krsna states in the Bhagavad-gita, “O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities, but Me no one knows.” (Bg. 7.26) Since Lord Krsna, the original historian, knows the past perfectly, if one is inquisitive and wants to know the truth, one can consult Vedic historical texts to get perfect information of the civilization of yore.

    The Mahabharata, compile by Srila Vyasadeva, is a divinely inspired literature descending from the spiritual platform and not the speculation of a fiction writer or the imagination of a poet; nor is the Mahabharata to be considered Hindu mythology as put forward by some modern scholars. According to the Puranas, Srila Vyasadeva is the literary incarnation of the Supreme Lord, and the Vedas are an emanation from the breathing of the Personality of Godhead. Therefore, the Vedas and their supplements should never be considered ordinary books of knowledge, nor should Srila Vyasadeva be considered an ordinary human being. as state by Lord Krsna in the fifteenth chapter of Bhagavad-gita, “By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the Absolute Truth, He is congnizant of all aspects of His creation, and He has a memory that is boundless. When Arjuna was informed by Lord Krsna that He had instructed the science of yoga to the sun-god millions of years before, Arjuna inquired how that was possible, since the sun-god was senior to Lord Krsna by birth Lord Sri Krsna answered by saying. “Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!” (Bg. 4.6) If we want perfect knowledge of the past, present and the future, we have to consult the literatures left by the Supreme Godhead. If Arjuna, an intimate associate of the Lord, could not remember the past, then how will the modern historians, scientists and archaeologists give us perfect information of bygone civilizations? Their literatures are mainly speculative and subject to the four frailties of a human being which are: 1) a tendency to commit mistakes, 2) a tendency to cheat. 3) imperfect senses and 4) a tendency to be illusioned. Because all conditioned souls have these four defects, they cannot give perfect knowledge.

    We should not be despondent, however. There is a source of perfect knowledge. The bona fide spiritual master, coming in disciplic succession from Lord Krsna, is empowered to transmit pure knowledge, uncontaminated by the four defects of human being. when a man has realized God by following his spiritual master, his senses become as perfect as the Lords: and therefore, he can convey the proper understanding of the Vedic texts without change. The bona fide spiritual master simply repeats, from the realized platform, what the previous acarya has spoken, thus keeping the timeless message intact. he is not simply a parrot but a self-realized soul. The example of a postman is quite appropriate in this regard. The postman’s only business is to pick up the mail and deliver it to its destination. Similarly, the spiritual master delivers the eternal message without change, because he is empowered by God to do so. The true guru acts like a transparent via media between Lord Krsna and the aspiring disciple. Therefore, the same knowledge that Lord Krsna spoke to Arjuna five thousand years ago has been kept intact by disciplic succession of self-realized spiritual masters.

    Srila Vyasadeva composed the Mahabharata for the fallen people in this age of Kali. Because people are very much interested in hearing social and historical presentations, Srila Vyasadeva compiled many books such as the Puranas and Mahabharata with the idea of inserting the philosophy of the original Vedic mantras in pastime from. These books have become reading matter for the mass of people with a view to reviving their God consciousness, now forgotten in conditioned life under the three modes of material nature. the real purpose of the Mahabharata is to revive a person’s sense of Krsna consciousness and not so much to present topics of historical references. It is true that a person can benefit by hearing solutions regarding the social, political and economic problems of human society, but, factually, the most important problems in life is how to transcend birth and death. Therefore, the essence of Mahabharata is the Bhagavad-gita, because it contains the solution of how to transcend this material world.

    Srila Vyasadeva, therefore, very intelligently composed the Mahabharata with the idea of transforming the materially absorbed mind to the realm of transcendence. In the Mahabharata there are descriptions of the heavenly planets and the opulences of kingly life, towards which materialistics people are very much prone. the summary of the Mahabharata does not emphasize heavenly pleasures and sense gratification, but concentrates on the theme of pure devotional service to Lord Krsna, which Srila Vyasadeva intended the readrs to realize. The essence of spiritual life is that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and that we are all His servants. This Siddhanta (conclusion) has been state in the eighteenth chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, which is included in the Bhisma Parva of the Mahabharata. Thcre Lord Krsna tells Arjuna, “Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your this because you are My very dear friend. Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.” (Bg. 18. 65-66)

    Vyasadeva hoped that by hearing the pastimes of the Mahabharata, common persons would become attracted to the idea of surrendering Mahabharata with chapter commentary so the each chapter is understood through the eye of Bhagavad-gita. Although the Mahabharata is definitely one of the most exciting stories of all time, I have been careful to keep the reader focused on the essence of spiritual life-devotional service to Lord Krsna-as taught by my spiritual master, His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhu-pada. This summary is offered to the lotus feet of His Divine Grace, and I pray that he will fid it pleasing.

    The Puranas and Mahabharata extol the glories of Lord Sri Krsna the original Personality of Godhead, From whom all other incarnations, such as Ramacandra, Nrsimha, Varaha, Kapila, etc., continuously emanate like the waves of an ocean. The Lord appears in innumerable divine forms, but the original of Lord Krsna, who plays His Flute and stands in a three-fold bending form. This Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna, appeared five thousand years ago at the end of the Dvapara-yuga to reestablish religious principles and to protect the devotees

    In His early pastimes. Lord Krsna lived in the land Vrndavana with His foster father and mother, Nanda Maharaja and Yasoda devi. The Lord caused His spiritual abode, Goloka Vrndavana, to descend from the spiritual world to the mundane material plane. That tract of land is ninety miles south of New Delhi and is known as Vrdavana. There. Lord Sri Krsna sported with His cowherd friends and displayed pastimes unequaled in the history of the world. When the Lord was sixteen years old. He left Vrndavana to live in Mathura city with His real mother and father, Vasudeva and Devaki. Later, the great city of Dvaraka was built, and He resided there with His 16,108 queens. Mother Earth had prayed for the Lord to appear and lift her great burden, which existed as numerous demoniac military divisions. These military phalanxes, led by such great demons as Jarasandha, Kamsa, Salva and Duryodhana, were all annihilated, either by the Lord Himself or through His great devotees like Bhima and Arjuna. The Mahabharata is a factual accounts of how the burden was lifted and how religious principle were reestablished.

    We hope that those who read auspicious narration will appreciate the Supreme Lord as Partha Sarathi(the chariot driver of Arjuna). lord Krsna held the bridle whip and the reigns of the chariot for His devotee; and as the bridle whip and the reigns of the chariot for His devotee; and as the celebrated Arjuna crossed the Kuruksetra battlefield, he annihilated the army of Duryodhana, which constituted a burden to mother Earth. This account of the life of Krsna and Arjuna is meant for those who are trying to revive the great jewel of Krsna consciousness. By hearting about the activities and instructions of Lord Sri Krsna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, the mind comes to rest on the transcendental form and pastimes of the Supreme Lord. As confirmed by the Lord Krsna Himself in the Bhagavad-gita, “One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” (Bg. 4.9) Our divine spiritual master, Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Sri Srimad A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Pranhupada, heard the Mahabharata in his youth and would dream about these wonderful pastimes and reenact them with his young friends. It is our desire that all aspiring devotees in this fallen age of Kali follows in the footsteps of his Divine Grace, and by fixing the transcendental form and activities of the Supreme Lord in their hearts, gain the ultimate goal of life, going back home, back to Godhead. Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.


    Back of The Book

    “The Mahabharata is glorified because it contains the conclusions of all scriptures. Long ago, on the request of Srila Vyasa, Lord Brahma and the other demigods came together with all the great sages and placed the Mahabharata on one side of a scale and the entire Vedas on the other. The Mahabharata, it turned out, weghed more because of its greatness (mahattva) and heaviness (bhara-vattva). For this reason it is called Maha-bharata.”




      Introduction xi
    Adi Parva    
    Chapter 1 Santanu Marries the Celestial Ganga 1
    Chapter 2 Devavratas’s Vow 7
    Chapter 3 Bhisma Adbucts Three Princesses 13
    Chapter 4 Bhisma Opposes Parasurama 19
    Chapter 5 The Birth of Dhrtarastra, Pandu and Virdura 27
    Chapter 6 The Pandavas’s Celestial Birth 35
    Chapter 7 The Poisoned Cake 51
    Chapter 8 Dronacarya, the Martial Teacher 59
    Chapter 9 The Curse of Parasurama 69
    Chapter 10 The Tournament of Arms 75
    Chapter 11 Daksina for Drona 83
    Chapter 12 The House of Lac at Varanavata 87
    Chapter 13 Hidimba Slain 97
    Chapter 14 The Cannibal Baka Slain 103
    Chapter 15 The svayam-vara of Draupadi 109
    Chapter 16 The Pandavas Marry Draupadi 121
    Chapter 17 Khandavaprastha 129
    Chapter 18 Arjuna Goes on Pilgrimage 137
    Chapter 19 The Devouring of the Khandava Forest 145
    Sabha Parva    
    Chapter 1 Maya Danava Erects an Imperial Court 151
    Chapter 2 The Desire of King Yudhisthira 157
    Chapter 3 Lord Krsna Journeys to Indraprastha 167
    Chapter 4 King Jarasandha Slain 173
    Chapter 5 The Pandavas Conquer All Kings 185
    Chapter 6 The Rajasuya Sacrifice and Sisupala’s Liberation 195
    Chapter 7 Duryodhana’s Humiliation 211
    Chapter 8 The Evil Plan 217
    Chapter 9 The Gambling Match 223
    Chapter 10 Lord Krsna Protects Draupadi 229
    Chapter 11 The Pandavas Lose Their Kingdom 241
    Vana Parva    
    Chapter 1 The First Days of Exile 247
    Chapter 2 Lord Krsna Visits the Pandavas 259
    Chapter 3 Arjuna Pleases Lord Siva 271
    Chapter 4 Arjuna Visits the Heavenly Realm 279
    Chapter 5 Bhima Meets Hanuman and Kills Jatasura 289
    Chapter 6 The Return of Arjuna 297
    Chapter 7 Duryodhana’s Evil Plan 305
    Chapter 8 The Last Year of Forest Life 311
    Virata Parva    
    Chapter 1 Plans for the Thirteenth Year 319
    Chapter 2 Bhima Kills Kicaka 327
    Chapter 3 The Attack of the Trigartas 339
    Chapter 4 Arjuna Challenges the Kaurava Army 347
    Chapter 5 The Pandavas Reveal Their Disguise 363
    Udyoga Parva    
    Chapter 1 The Pandavas Prepare for War 371
    Chapter 2 Peace Negotiations by the Pandavas 379
    Chapter 3 Lord Krsna’s Attmpt for Peace 387
    Chapter 4 Karna and Wordly Sovereigntly 399
    Chapter 5 Amassing Armies at Kuruksetra 405
    Chapter 6 Bhisma’s Assessment of all Heroes 417
    Bhisma Parva    
    Chapter 1 The Bhagavad-gita 425
    Chapter 2 The 1st Day; Duryodhana’s Victory 437
    Chapter 3 The 2nd Day; Bhima and Arjuna’s Victory 451
    Chapter 4 The 3rd Day of Rivarly at Kuruksetra 461
    Chapter 5 Bhima Kills Eight of Dhatarastra’s sons 469
    Chapter 6 The 5th and 6th Days of the Great Battle 477
    Chapter 7 The 7th Day of Combat 485
    Bhisma Parva [cont.]    
    Chapter 8 The 8th Day; Iravan is Slain 493
    Chapter 9 The 9th Day; the Invincible Bhisma 505
    Chapter 10 The 10th Day; The Fall of Grandsire Bhisma 515
    Drona Parva    
    Chapter 1 The 11th Day; Drona Becomes Commander 525
    Chapter 2 The 12th Day; The Death of Bhagadatta 531
    Chapter 3 The 13th Day; The Death of Abhimanyu 543
    Chapter 4 Arjuna Vows to Kill Jayadratha 555
    Chapter 5 The 14th Day; Arjuna Advances 565
    Chapter 6 Arjuna’s Path of Destruction 573
    Chapter 7 Satyaki Follows of Arjuna 581
    Chapter 8 Bhima Endeavors to Find Arjuna 591
    Chapter 9 The Death of Jayadratha 599
    Chapter 10 The Death of Ghatotkacha 611
    Chapter 11 The 15th Day; The Death of Drona 623
    Karna Parva    
    Chapter 1 The 16th Day; Karna becomes Commander 633
    Chapter 2 Salya Becomes Karna’s Charioteer 637
    Chapter 3 Lord Krsna Saves Yudhistra 645
    Chapter 4 The Death of Karna 653
    Salya Parva    
    Chapter 1 The Death of Salya 663
    Chapter 2 The Demise of Duryodhana 671
    Sauptika Parva    
    Chapter 1 Asvatthama Destroys the Pandava Army 683
    Chapter 2 The Punushment of Asvatthama 691
      Stri Parva  
      Lamentation Over the Dead Relatives 697
      Santi Parva  
      The Lamentation of Maharaja Yudhisthira 703
      Anusasana Parva  
      The Final Instructions of Bhisma 715
      Asvamedhika Parva  
      The Sacrificial Horse and the Death of Arjuna 727
      Asravasika Parva  
      Dhrtarastra Attains Liberation 733
      Mausala Parva  
      A Curse upon the Yadu Dynasty 739
      Mahaprasthanika Parva  
      The Pandavas Return to the Spiritual World 757
      Genealogical Table 771
      Glossary 773

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