What was the last battle in Mahabharat

Great Works - Past Times: The Mahabharata, Part 2

The Mahabharata is considered the most extensive epic in world history, whose roots go back to the 3rd millennium BC. Reach back BC. To this day, the Hindus consider it a source of ethical guidelines and identity.

The banishment

The Pandavas spend the first twelve years of their exile in the forests. Right at the beginning, Draupadi criticizes Yudhisthira for his behavior and his brothers accuse him of cowardice. After 13 years of exile, Yudhisthira promises without hesitation to fight for the promised kingdom. In preparation for this battle, Arjuna is sent to the gods Indra, Shiva, Kuvera and Yama to ask them for weapons.

The five Pandavas spend their last year in disguise in the service of King Virata.Image: History for Kids

After several years he returns to his brothers and Draupadi with the divine weapons. Shortly before the expiration of 12 years of exile, the Pandavas are tested by the god Dharma. Plagued by thirst, one by one tries to drink from a pond in the forest, ignoring the questions of Dharma who is guarding the pond. Yudhisthira is the first to answer God's questions:

- What's faster than the wind?
- The thought.
- What can cover the whole earth?
- The darkness.
- Which is more numerous, the living or the dead?
- The living because the dead no longer exist.

- Give me an example of the room!
- My two hands together.
- An example of grief!
- The ignorance.
- For poison!
- The desire.
- An example of defeat!
- The victory.

- Which is the most cunning animal?
- The animal that man has not yet met.
- Which came first, the day or the power?
- The day, but it was only a day ahead of the night.
- What is the meaning of this world?
- Love.
- Who is the opposite of you?
- I myself.
- What is madness?
- A forgotten way.
- And uprising? Why do people revolt?
- To find beauty, either in life or in death.
- What is inevitable for each of us?

Before answering this question, Yudhisthira thought for a moment. No doubt he was thinking of the long chain of reincarnations, at the end of which, it was said, was the entry into nirvana. So he replied:

- The luck.
- And what is the great miracle? asked the voice.
- That death strikes around us every day, he replied, and so do we
still live on as if we would exist forever. This is the big one

Then the voice in the pool of Yudhisthira announced: Your brothers should return to life, for I am Dharma, your father. I am the sincerity, the constancy, the order of the world.

The Pandavas and their wife spend their thirteenth year unrecognized at the court of the elderly King Virata, whom they serve in disguise as courtier, cook, horse overseer and overseer of the cattle. Draupadi is hired as the queen's maid. At the end of the 13 years of exile, the Pandavas rally their allies to reclaim the kingdom to which they are entitled.

The war

One of the most powerful kings of that time is Vasudeva (Krishna) a great fighter, but also a wise man and philanthropist. There is a rumor in the country that the god Vishnu himself appeared on earth in his form to stop the threatening destruction of the world. Arjuna and Duryodhana reach Vasudeva's palace at the same time to woo him as a helper for their side. Arjuna, who Vasudeva sees first, is allowed to choose whether he wants to prefer Asuveda's entire army, which will fight devotedly for him, or Vasudeva himself, who will stand by him as a charioteer, but not intervene in the war himself. Arjuna chooses Vasudeva, while Duryodhana receives his armies.

Arjuna grasp doubts about the legality of the impending fratricide. His charioteer Krishna then reveals to him the course of the world (Bhagavad Gita).Film excerpt: Peter Brook, Mahabharata

Vasudeva, the divine Krishna, visits the court of King Dritharastra as a mediator of the Pandavas, in order to ask him to keep the agreement. But Duryodhana refused to cede even the smallest part of his kingdom to the Pandavas. Neither Vasudeva, Bhisma, his father or his mother succeeds in dissuading him from this decision, so that the war finally becomes inevitable.

The Kauravas stand on the holy battlefield of Kurukshetra with eleven armies and supported by the heroes Bishma, Drona and Karna, face the Pandavas with their seven armies. At the beginning of the war, the Pandava hero Arjuna was overcome with doubts about the meaning and legitimacy of the impending fratricide. In the famous Bhagavad Gita, Krishna dispels his concerns by referring to the eternal cycle of death and rebirth and revealing himself to him as the divine universe in its constant alternation and never-ending stream, where there is no place for repentance and compassion.

Arjuna drops all doubts and the great war begins. The battle rages back and forth, only when the two heroes Bhisma and Drona can be defeated by a ruse and Arjuna succeeds in killing Karna, the Kauravas have nothing more to oppose the Pandavas. The war is waged more and more cruelly and agreed rules are broken. Bhima kills Dushasana as he swore and drinks his blood. On Vasudeva's instructions, Bhima even breaks the knightly code of honor for the duel and smashes Duryodhana's thighs with his club.

In the end, all Kauravas lose their lives on the battlefield. But the Pandavas also suffer terrible losses. Aswathama, Drona's son, who fights on the side of the Kauravas, falls into a terrible bloodlust and slaughters all the children of the Pandavas and a large part of the sleeping army during the night. Only one of Arjuna's unborn grandsons escapes the massacre.

After the war, Yudhisthira is crowned king. Vasudeva and his family have to die according to an old curse and Arjuna loses all strength after the loss of his friend. Yudhistira, who longs for death, hands over his kingdom to Arjuna's grandson and sets off with his brothers and Draupadi on the last path that leads them to the Himalayas. Draupadi, Sahadeva, Nakula, Arjuna and Bhima die from exhaustion on the path that an old dog follows them all the time.

The fight between Karna and Arjuna. Image: I Komang Mahardika

The god Indra offers Yudhisthira as the only being so far to be allowed to enter heaven alive, where his wife and four brothers would already be waiting for him. He only had to leave the dog behind because he was unclean. Yudhisthira refuses to enter heaven if he is not allowed to take the dog with him, which has followed him so faithfully all the way. The dog, however, is really God Yama, who wanted to test him in the shape of a dog before he reveals the shine of heaven to him.




HM. Große-Oetringhaus (ed.), Of love and power. The Mahabharata retold by Otto Abt Bad Honnef: Horlemann-Verlag 2001, 200 pages, 14.90 EUR, ISBN 3-89502-124-5

Mahabharata. Diederich's Yellow Row, Volume 16 India's Great Epic by Biren Roy
Eugen-Diederich-Verlag, Munich 1961, 335 pages, approx. 11 euros, ISBN 3-424-00576-2

Vladimir Miltner (ed.): Mahabharata. An old Indian legend
Erlangen: Karl-Müller-Verlag, n.d. 248 pages, approx. 20 EUR, ISBN: 3-86070-286-6

Anette Mangels: On the narrative technique in the Mahabharata.
Volume 7, Poetica - Writings on literary studies
Hamburg: Verlag Dr. Kovac 1994, 188 pages, approx. 44 EUR, ISBN 3-86064-123-9


Related Links:
The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vasa (online version)
Wikipedia: Mahabharata
Habitat: Mahabharata
Agatucci: Introduction to the film Mahabharata


>> Great Works - Times Past: The Mahabharata, Part 1
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Andreas Markt-Huter, 02-12-2005
updated: Andreas Markt-Huter, 17-03-2020