Lesser-known stories from the Hindu Mythology ‘Mahabharata’
Hindu mythology has always been a subject of spectacular heroic tales. Hindu books such as Ramayana and Mahabharata teach the correct and rightful way of living. The morals given in the story provide us with a much better holistic view of life and how we can actually avoid ourselves from the delusion of the mortal world. While on one front the Ramayana depicts the story of good over evil, Mahabharata on the other front is much complex than just it’s moral. If we take a closer look at the tale, we will notice a bunch of short myths supporting the origin story, thus just glorying one character might not do justice to this epic myth.
So let’s take a tour down the epic tale of Mahabharata and shed light on some of the least known characters that played a crucial role in the myth.
Lesser Known Characters Of Mahabharata
The Unusual Boon Of Madhavi
Madhavi was one of the most notable characters in the Mahabharata. She was the daughter of Yayati and an Apsara. Madhavi had a boon of virginity which meant that after every birth, she will remain a virgin. She was also destined to give birth to four brave warrior sons who would earn a great name thereafter. However, despite such a boon, the life of Madhavi always remained void of happiness. One could say that these boons led the life of Madhavi miserable.
One day, Galav, a student of Vishwamitra wished to give his teacher Guru Dakshina, but Vishwamitra denied it. However, despite his refusal, Galav was adamant about his wish. Thus to teach him a lesson, Vishwamitra ordered 800 divine white horses with black ears known as Divyalakshani. Galav then went to several rulers to ask for help yet none answered. Finally, he asked Yayati for his help, and Yayati not having anything to offer gave him his daughter Madhavi. Galav hearing about the divine boon, accepted the gift by Yayati.
Galav then took Madhavi to the king of Ayodhya from whom she gave birth to her first son Vasumanasa. Galav took 200 divine horses from the king in exchange for his son. This was a fair deal for Galav however the king returned Madhavi to Galav after receiving the child. Galav then took her to the King of Kashi, where she gave birth to Pratardana and left him under the care of his father. Again as an exchange for the kid, Galav took 200 divine horses. But this was not close to the actual number of 800, thus he sought to take Madhavi to King of Bhoj, where she gave birth to her third son named Sibi. Galav yet again took 200 horses in return. Now he had 600 such horses but no ruler in the world was left with anymore to offer.
Thus in the end he returned to Vishwamitra and offered him 600 Divyalakshani horses. Vishwamitra for sparing the rest of the 200 horses asked him to give Madhavi. Galav left Madhavi with Vishwamitra and returned to the forest. From Vishwamitra, Madhavi bore her fourth son. Then he ordered her to return to her father. Madhavi still a virgin left for her father’s place. Her father Yayati then arranges for Madhavi’s marriage but she willingly refused the option. Madhavi was now tired of marriages or having any family desires, hence, she chooses to go to the forest and live there as a hermit.
Her story depicts that not every boon provides happiness.
One might be familiar with the incident “Kichaka Vadha” and what role it played during the Agyatvaas of the Pandavas. But not many had been familiar with the whole incident that took place after the slaughter of Kichaka. The event of his death was not the only fact that whistled Pandavas identity, in fact, a lot more that followed thereafter.
During the Agyatavaas, the Pandavas took refuge inside the Matsya kingdom and disguised themselves into Kanka (Yudhishtira), Ballava (Bheem), Brihannala (Arjun), Granthika (Nakul), Tantipala (Sahadeva), and Sairandhri (Draupadi). Kichaka on the other hand was a great warrior of the Matsya kingdom and also the brother of Queen Sudeshna, wife of King Virata. Having such a huge designation at the palace, Kichaka was an arrogant person who had everything he desired.
One day kichaka laid his eyes on Sairandhri (Draupadi) who was the personal maid of the queen herself. He proposed her, to which disguised Draupadi refused. This made him furious and he asked his sister to give him Sairandhri. Queen Sudeshna couldn’t refuse her brother’s wish and ordered Sairandhri to go to Kichaka’s room to serve him wine. Inside his dorm, Kichaka again showed his evil intentions to Draupadi. This time she refused Kichaka by telling him that she had been married to five Gandharva with divine powers and they will not corporate with such an affair. Kichaka was now furious and dragged Draupadi by her hairs to the courtroom and yet again insulted her. The disguised Pandavas saw everything and sought a plan to revenge. They told Draupadi to invite Kichaka to the dance hall at night where they will ultimately kill him. Draupadi obeyed the order and proposed Kichaka the same and he obliged. In the night, intoxicated Kichaka when entered the hall, Bheem disguised as Sairandhri brutally killed Kichaka.
After Kichaka’s death when Sairandhri was questioned about the incident, she told everyone the same story about her Gandharva husbands. However, nobody believed her, and Kichaka’s relative ordered her to be cremated along with his body. Draupadi yelled for help yet none helped. Finally, Bheem changed clothes and came to the rescue of his beloved wife. To everybody’s horror, he killed all 105 relatives of Kichaka. It was such a bloody Massacre that the story spread like wildfire not only in Matsya but to the neighboring kingdoms and soon to Hastinapur where Duryodhan recognized the protagonist to be Bheem as none was as mighty as Bheem to took out such a huge massacre.
Yudhamanyu And Uttamaujas
Everybody knew about Dhrishtadyuma, Draupadi’s brother and Drupad’s son who was destined to kill Dronacharya. But much to everyone’s surprise, Draupadi had two more brothers named Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas. They played a crucial role in the battle of Kurukshetra.
Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas both took part from the Pandava’s side. They were placed to protect the rear side of Arjun’s chariot. They both were mighty warriors who protected Arjun at every turn. Once when Arjun had to infiltrate inside the Chakravyuh, Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas protected him and fought with Duryodhan. They also took one on one with Drona, Kritaverma, Karna, and Kripacharya.
When the 18-day long battle was about to end, Duryodhan hides near the lake. Yudhishthira asked Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas for their help in finding Duryodhan. This made Duryodhan sought help from Ashwathama and told him to take revenge on the Pandava brother for the death of his father Drona. Angry Ashwathama killed several mighty warriors that night including Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas.
Duhshala- The Sole Sister Of 100 Brothers
Dushala was the daughter of king Dhritarashtra and Gandhari and was the only sister of both Pandavas and Kauravas. Duhshala lived a peaceful life in Hastinapur but when she was married to Jayadratha, her life altered forever. Jayadratha, the king of Sindh was not a nice person when it comes to women. He was abusive and never let Duhshala had her voice.
During Banbaas when Jayadratha tried to kidnap Draupadi, he was instantly captured by Arjun and Bheem. But when they were about to slay him, Draupadi interrupted and warned them that this might result in their only sister becoming a widow. Thus, for the sake of their sister, Pandavas spared his life but shaved his head as revenge. But this life was soon taken away in the battle of Kurukshetra where Arjun finally killed him.
After winning the battle, Yudhishtira performed Ashwamedha Yagya and Arjun was asked to accompany the horse. When the news of the Ashwamedha horse coming towards Sindh came, Duhshala son Suratha died in fear. However, her Grandson challenged Arjun to fight. It was this time when Duhshala begged Arjun to spare the life of her grandchild. Upon listening to her plea, Arjun felt very sad and in turn declared her grandson as the ruler of Sindh. Though being a princess of Hastinapur and Queen on Sindh, Duhshala never lived a happy life. Her life was always filled with grief and sorrow.
The Bottom Line
These lesser-known tales of Mahabharata give us a very important moralistic view of life. It depicts that though being born in a royal family never guarantees a life of happiness and hues and that money never equates with freedom and love. The life of Madhavi proves that what is a boon for many might be a curse for one. Whereas the story of Kichaka tells us that strength and might can never outwit the game of death. Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas’s story shows that not every warrior needs recognition and not every goodwill needs applause. The moral is always the same that we should always stand by what’s right no matter what the consequences would be.