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The central figure is Yudhishthira. The two to his left are Bhima and Arjuna; Nakula and Sahadeva, the twins, are to his right. Their wife, at far right, is Draupadi. Deogarh, Dasavatar temple.

In the Hindu epic Mahābhārata, the Pandava (Sanskrit: पाण्‍डव pāṇḍavaḥ; also, Pandawa) are the five acknowledged sons of Pandu (Sanskrit: पांडु), by his two wives Kunti and Madri. Their names are Yudhishtira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. All five brothers were married to the same woman, Draupadi.

Together, the brothers fought and prevailed in a great war against their cousins the Kauravas, which came to be known as the Battle of Kurukshetra. Their alienated half-brother Karna fought against them and was eventually slain by Arjuna.

Contents

Story

Pandav brothers with Krishna, in Razm-Nama, a Mahabharata translation initiated by Akbar the Great in the 16th century.

The story began with the introduction of the brothers' parents. Amongst the primary antagonists was Duryodhan (Sanskrit: दुर्योधन) christened Suyodhan (Sanskrit: सुयोधन) at birth, but came to be known notoriously as Duryodhana due to his foul deeds. He was the eldest of the 100 brothers known as the Kauravas, who were born to the blind king of Hastinapura Dhritarashtra and his queen Gandhari (princess of Gandhara - modern day Kandahar).

The Pandavas were born to Kunti and Madri after Pandu's voluntary renunciation of royal life to do penance for having accidentally killed the rishi Kindama and his wife. After the death of Pandu, Kunti brought the Pandavas back to Hastinapura. As children, the Pandavas and Kauravas often played together. However, Bhima (one of the Pandavs) was always at loggerheads with the Kauravas, particularly Duryodhana who refused to accept the Pandavas as his kin. This usually led to much tension between the cousins. Insecure and jealous, Duryodhana harboured intense hatred for the five brothers throughout his childhood and youth, and following the vile advice of his maternal uncle Shakuni, often plotted to get rid of them to clear his path to the lordship of the Kuru Dynasty.

This plotting took a grave turn when Dhritarashtra had to relent to the will of the masses and rightfully appointed his nephew Yudhistira as crown prince. This went against the personal ambitions of both father and son(Dhritarashtra and Duryodhana), and drove Duryodhana into such a rage, that he enthusiastically agreed to an evil ploy by Shakuni to murder Yudhishthira. Shakuni commissioned the construction of a palace in Varnavata, secretly built by incorporating flammable materials into the structure, most notably sealing wax. Duryodhana then successfully lobbied with Dhritarashtra to send Yudhishthira to represent the royal household in Varnavata during the celebrations of Shiva Mahotsava. The plan was to set the palace on fire during the night while Yudhishthira would likely be asleep. As Yudhishthira left for Varnavata, accompanied by his four brothers and mother Kunti, fortunately for the Pandavas, the plan was discovered by their paternal uncle Vidura, who was very loyal to them and an extraordinarily wise man. In addition, Yudhisthira had been forewarned about this plot by a hermit who came to him and spoke of an imminent disaster. Vidura arranged for a tunnel to be secretly built for the Pandavs to safely escape the wax palace as it was set afire.

Draupadi and Pandavas

After their flight from the wax palace, the five brothers lived in the forests for some time, in the guise of brahmins. They heard from a group of traveling sages about a contest (Swayamvara) being held in the Kingdom of Panchaal that offered the princess Draupadi's hand in marriage to the winner. The Swayamvara turned out to rely on the skills of archery, and Arjuna, who was a peerless archer, entered the competition and won. When the brothers took Draupadi to introduce her to their mother, they announced to Kunti that they had arrived with an excellent "alms". Kunti was busy with some work, and replied without turning to look at Draupadi (who was the "alms" referred to) ordering the brothers to share the "alms" equally amongst the five of them. Even when uttered erroneously, their mother's word was supreme for the Pandavas, who then agreed to "share" the princess, who was subsequently married to all five brothers.

When Dhritarashtra heard that the five brothers were alive, he invited them back to the kingdom, however in their absence, Duryodhana had succeeded in being made the crown prince. Upon the return of the Pandavas, the issue of returning Yudhisthira's crown to him was raised. Dhritarashtra led the subsequent discussions into ambiguity and agreed to a partition of the kingdom "to do justice to both crown princes". He retained the developed Hastinapura for himself and Duryodhana, and gave the barren, arid and hostile lands of Khandavaprastha to the Pandavas. The Pandavas successfully developed their land and built a great and lavish city which was considered comparable to the heavens, and thus came to be known as Indraprastha (which is now Delhi).[1] Reeling under the loss of half the lands of his future kingdom, Duryodhana's jealousy and rage were further fueled by the Pandavas' success and prosperity. Eventually, Shakuni sired yet another ploy and got Duryodhana to invite the Pandavas over to his court for a game of dice (gambling). Shakuni was a master at gambling and owned a pair of dice which magically did his bidding and produced numbers desired by him. Owing to this, bet after bet, Yudhisthir lost all of his wealth and eventually, his kingdom in the game. He was then enticed by Duryodhana and Shakuni to place his brothers as bets. Yudhishtir fell for it and put his brothers on stake, losing them too. He then placed himself as a bet and lost again. Duryodhana now played another trick and told Yudhishtir that he still had his wife Draupadi to place as a bet, and if Yudhishthir won, he would return everything to the Pandavas. Yudhishtir fell for the ruse and bet Draupadi, losing her too. At this point Duryodhan ordered that Draupadi, who was now a slave to him, be brought to the court. Duryodhana's younger brother Dushasana dragged Draupadi to the royal court, pulling her by her hair, insulting her dignity and asserting that she, like the Pandava brothers, was now their servant. This caused immense anguish to all the great warriors seated in the court, but each of them, namely, Bhishma (the grandsire of the clan), Dronacharya (the teacher/guru of Kauravas and Pandavas) and others like Kripacharya and Vidura remained silent. Duryodhana then ordered Dushasana to disrobe Draupadi before everyone as a slave girl has no human rights. The elders and warriors in audience were shocked but did not intervene. As Dushasana began pulling Draupadi's sari off, she silently prayed to lord Krishna to protect her honour, and miraculously, regardless of how much of it dushasana pulled off, Draupadi's sari kept growing in length as if the fabric had no end. Thus lord Krishna saved Draupadi. Finally as the blind king Dhrithrasthra realized that this humiliation could prompt Draupadi to curse his sons, he intervened, apologizing to Draupadi for the behavior of his sons and turned the winnings of the dice game back over to the Pandava brothers, releasing them from the bondage of slavery.

Incensed at the loss of all that he had won, Duryodhana threatened suicide and coerced his father into inviting the Pandavas for one last round of gambling, the terms of which were that the loser would be condemned to 12 years of exile into forests, and a 13th year to be spent incognito, and if the cover be blown during the 13th year, another cycle of 13 years would ensue. Obeying their uncle's orders, the Pandavas played the round, and again lost to Shakuni's cheating. However, this time, their patience had been nearly pushed to its edge. During the 12 years of exile in the forest, they prepared for war. Arjuna performed penance and won the entire gamut of celestial weapons (Divyasatras) as boons from the Gods. The 13th year was spent masquerading as peasants in the servitude of the royal family of Virata, the king of Matsya. Upon completion of the terms of the last bet, the Pandavas returned and demand their kingdom to be rightfully returned to them. Duryodhana refused to turn Indraprastha over. For the sake of peace, and to avert a disastrous war, Krishna proposed that if Hastinapura agrees to give the Pandavas only five villages, they would be satisfied and would make no more demands. Duryodhana vehemently refused, commenting that he shall not part even with land as much as the point of a needle. Thus the stage was set for the great war, for which the epic of Mahabharata is known most of all.

The war was intense and was fought for 18 days over the course of which both parties worked around, bent, and even broke rules of warfare. At the end all 100 Kaurava brothers and their entire army was slain, with only three surviving on their side. The Pandavas too lost several allies but the 5 brothers survived. After having won the war, they returned to Hastinapura and Dhritarashtra renounced the kingdom. Yudhishthira was coronated, and after ruling peacefully for many years, the Pandava brothers and their wife departed for the heavens, taking a long journey through the Himalayas. On this journey, one by one, draupadi and the four younger brothers fell to their deaths, due to their various shortcomings. Only Yudhishthira, who had never abandoned sanctity and had always upheld his Dharma completed the journey. Nevertheless, after completing a punitive separation, the four brothers and Draupadi were reunited with Yudhishthira in the heavens.

Parents of the Pandavas

The first three of the Pandavas were the sons of Kunti, and the younger two were sons of Madri. Since Pandu had been cursed to die if ever he had intercourse with a woman, the actual fatherhood of the children is traditionally attributed to various gods, in virtue of a boon that Kunti had received from Durvaasa and had transferred to Madri. Thus, Yudhishtira was the son of Dharma, the god of righteousness; Bhima the son of Vayu, the wind-god; Arjuna the son of Indra, the sky-god; and Nakula and Sahadeva the sons of the Ashwini Gods. Karna was also born of Kunti Devi, and was the son of Surya, the Sun God.

Iravati Karve has suggested in her book, Yuganta, that the actual father of Yudhishtira, or of all of the brothers, may have been Vidura (probably since he was considered to be an avatar of Yama), and that this was edited and hidden in the story to strengthen the claim for the kingdom by the brothers.

However, Iravati Karve's theory has been criticised by many Mahbaharata authorities like Buddhadeb Bose and Nrsimhaprasad Bhaduri on grounds that the author of Mahbharata had no need to "hide" about Yudhisthira's birth when he apparently writes explicitly and undauntedly about all "illicit" relationships.

Wife Draupadi's description

The Pandava brothers were collectively married to Draupadi. On one occasion, Draupadi was kidnapped and abducted from a hermitage in the forest by the wicked king Jayadratha. When her husbands learned of the crime, they came in hot pursuit. Seeing them approach, Jayadratha asked Draupadi to describe them. Angrily, Draupadi told the king his time was up, and that the knowledge would do him no good. She then proceeded to give the description. (Mahābhārat, Book III: Varna Parva, Section 268.)

  • According to Draupadi, Yudhishthira possessed a "complexion like that of pure gold, possessed of a prominent nose and large eyes, and endued with a slender make." master of the spear He was just, had a correct sense of morality, and was merciful to surrendering foes. Draupadi counselled Jayadratha to run to Yudhishthira and to beg for forgiveness.
  • Draupadi described Bhima as tall and long-armed. In a display of ferocity, he was "biting his lips, and contracting his forehead so as to bring the two eye-brows together." The master of the mace, His superhuman feats had earned him great renown. "They that offend him are never suffered to live. He never forgets a foe. On some pretext or other he wreaks his vengeance."
  • Arjuna she praised as the greatest of archers, intelligent, second to none "with senses under complete control." Neither lust nor fear nor anger could make him forsake virtue. Though capable of withstanding any foe, he would never commit an act of cruelty.
  • Nakula, said Draupadi, was "the most handsome person in the whole world." An accomplished master swordsman, he was also "versed in every question of morality and profit" and "endued with high wisdom." He was unflinchingly devoted to his brothers, who in turn regarded him as more valuable than their own lives.The name Nakula generally means full of love and the male characteristics implied by the name are: Intelligence, Focus, Hard-Work, Handsomeness, Health, Attractiveness, Success, Popularity, Respect, and unconditional Love.
  • Finally, Sahadeva was the youngest of the brothers, and like the others formidable in war and observant of morality. Master of the swords "Heroic, intelligent, wise and ever wrathful, there is not another man equal unto him in intelligence or in eloquence amid assemblies of the wise."

References

  • Chakravarti V. Narasimhan; The Mahabharata. Columbia University Press, 1965.

External links

  • The Mahābhārata of Vyasa, translated from Sanskrit into English by Kisari Mohan Ganguli and published online at sacred-texts.com.
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Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Taxonavigation

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Classis: Arachnida
Ordo: Araneae
Subordo: Opisthothelae
Infraordo: Araneomorphae
Taxon: Neocribellatae
Series: Entelegynae
Superfamilia: Titanoecoidea
Familia: Titanoecidae
Genus: Pandava
Species: P. hunanensis - P. laminata

Name

Pandava Lehtinen, 1967

Type species: Amaurobius laminatus Thorell, 1878

References

  • Lehtinen, P. T. 1967. Classification of the cribellate spiders and some allied families, with notes on the evolution of the suborder Araneomorpha. Ann. Zool. Fenn. 4: 199-468. [255]
  • Platnick, N. I. 2008. The World Spider Catalog, version 9.0. American Museum of Natural History. [1]

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