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For other uses, see Arjuna (disambiguation).
"Partha" redirects here. For the film, see Partha (film).
Arjun (pronounced [ r un ] in classical Sanskrit) (lit !"right! or !silver! (cf #atin argentum)) is
the third of the $andavas, the sons and princes of $andu, %ho, %ith &rishna is considered as the
main hero of Mahabharata 'n his role in the Mahabharata, (r)una is a key part of the *hagavad
+ita, %hich is perhaps the "est kno%n sacred ,indu te-t in the West
(r)una %as considered the finest archer and a peerless %arrior "y many nota"le figures in the
2aha"harata, such as *hishma, 3ronacharya, &rishna, 4idura, Sage 5arada and 3hritarashtra
(ccording to his rival &arna, only Shiva %ould not fear the sight of (r)una "earing do%n on
him ,e played a key role in ensuring the defeat of the &auravas in the &urukshetra War ,e %as
considered to "e an undefeated hero, claimed to have never tasted defeat until losing the dice
game to his cousins (r)una %as an avatar of 5ara, %ho along %ith the avatar of 5arayana,
&rishna, esta"lished 3harma in the 3vapara 6uga
,e %as the student of 3rona ,e also learned archery %ith &irats of 5epal in a disguise as &irats
%ere reno%ned archers of that time
,is grandson, $arikshit, ends up "eing the sole heir to ,astinapur 2arried multiple times,
(r)una married 3raupadi, Su"hadra, 8loopi, and 9hitrangada ,is children included Shrutakirti,
("himanyu, *a"ruvahana, and 'ravan
. :tymology and other names
/ *irth and early years
0 ;utelage under 3rona
1 2arriage to 3raupadi
7 *urning of &handava 4ana
o 7. Saving 2ayasura
< (r)una!s ;irtha=yatra and 'ndraprastha
o <. 2eeting 8loopi
o </ 9hitrangadaa at 2anipura
o <0 >eaching 3%arka and Su"hadra
? 9on@uest for >a)asuya
A :-ile
o A. $enance for $ashupatastra
o A/ 8rvashi!s curse
o A0 ;rial %ith 3evastras: slaying >akshasas at heaven
o A1 2eeting ,anuman
o A7 :unuch at 4irata!s &ingdom
B &urukshetra War
o B. *hagavad +ita
o B/ *attles fought at &urukshetra
.C 9on@uest for (shvamedha
.. 3eath
./ 9haracter of (r)una
.0 2odern references
.1 5otes
Etymology and other names[edit]
;he 2aha"harata refers to (r)una "y t%elve different names
'n the story, these names are conveyed to the reader %hen $rince 8ttar of 2atsya asks (r)una to
prove his identity ;he names and their meanings are as follo%:
(r)un = one of taintless fame and glo% like silver
$halgun = one "orn on the star of $halguna
Jishnu = con@ueror of enemies
&iriti = one %ho %ears the celestial diadem, &iriti, presented "y 'ndra
Sh%etavahana = one %ith %hite horses mounted to his chariot
4i"hatsu = one %ho al%ays fights %ars in a fair manner
4i)aya = victorious %arrior
$aarth or $aartha = son of $ritha or &unti 'ncidentally his father is the #ord of ,eavens,
Savyasachi = skillful in using "oth arms, am"ide-trous
3hanan)ay = one %ho con@uers "o%s (dhanush) referring to his skills as an archer
+udakesh = Dne %ho has con@uered sleep (gudaka EsleepE)
&api 3h%a) = ,aving flag of &api (2onkey) in his chariot ((r)una!s flag displayed an
image of ,anuman from a previous encounter)
$arantap = one %ho concentrates the most, destroyer of enemies from his concentration
+andivi = one %ho possessed the mighty "o% = +andiva given "y (gni
Birth and early years[edit]
$andu Shoots the (scetic &indama
Dnce, a *rahmin sage named &indama and his %ife %ere making love in the forest %hen
(r)una!s father $andu accidentally shot at them, mistaking them for a deer *efore dying,
&indama cursed the king to die %hen he engages in love making %ith his %ife 3ue to this
curse, $andu %as una"le to father children (s an additional penance for the murder, as %ell as
his o%n declining health, $andu a"dicated the throne of ,astinapura and retired to the forest ,is
"lind "rother 3hritarashtra, the original heir, took over the reins of the kingdom
(fter $andu!s disa"ility, the $andavas %ere conceived in an unusual %ay ,is mother, &unti, had
in her youth "een granted the po%er to invoke the devas "y the sage 3urvasa :ach deva, %hen
invoked, %ould impregnate her %ith a child 8rged "y $andu to use her "oons, &unti gave "irth
to (r)una "y invoking the #ord of ,eaven, 'ndra (ccording to popular legend, no other "irth in
the 2aha"harata e-cept &rishna!s %as cele"rated "y the devas, sages and apsaras (r)una %as
the third $andava, after 6udhishthira and *hima 6ounger to him %ere $andu!s t%in sons
"egotten of 2adri, 5akula and Sahadeva #ike (r)una, all of them %ere devakin
(fter the death of $andu (and 2adri!s su"se@uent suicide), the $andavas and their mother
returned to ,astinapur With 3uryodhana!s status as the &uru heir no% contested, there %as a lot
of fighting "et%een the $andavas and the &auravas (long %ith his "rothers, (r)una %as trained
in religion, science, administration and military arts "y the &uru=guru &ripacharya and
E+randsireE *hisma
Dne day, %hen the princes %ere playing a game, they lost their "all in a %ell When the rest of
the children gave up the "all as "eing lost, (r)una stayed "ehind trying to get it ( stranger came
"y and e-tracted the "all for him using divine %eapons When (r)una related the story to
*hishma, *hishma realiFed that the stranger %as none other than 3ronacharya *hisma tracked
do%n the sage and asked him to "ecome the &uru princes! teacher Seeking asylum from
$anchal, 3rona agreed
Tutelage under Drona[edit]
8nder 3rona!s tutelage, the &auravas and the $andavas, along %ith the princes of ,astinapur!s
allies and vassals, learned %eaponry (r)una "ecame 3rona!s favorite and most accomplished
pupilG specifically, he "ecame a master in using the "o% and the arro% 'n a famous incident,
3rona deemed that out of all his students, even his o%n son (sh%atthama, none "ut (r)una had
the steadfast focus to shoot the eye of a "ird on a treeG he %as proven right
'n t%o other incidents, the reader sees ho% (r)una!s destiny is shaped (r)una %as the only one
%ith the skill and fortitude to save his teacher from an attack from a crocodile 'n reality, the
attack %as a ruse 3rona used to test his students 'n another story, (r)una, noticing *hima eating
in the dark, trained himself to shoot accurately %ithout visualiFing his target 'mpressed "y
(r)una, 3rona promised his pupil that he %ould make (r)una the greatest archer that ever lived
or ever %ould live 3rona adhered to this vo% so strongly, that %hen he discovered a &irat
prince :kalavya of superior archery skill, 3rona tricked him into cutting off the thum" of his
hand(needed to string the "o%) so that he kept his promise to (r)una
(s part of his gurudakshina, (r)una and his "rothers, %ith no other soldiers, attacked $anchal
and captured &ing 3rupada, %ith (r)una making the arrest himself 3rona re@uested this in order
to settle an old grudge he had %ith 3rupada Secretly, 3rupada %as greatly impressed "y (r)una
and %ished for him to marry his daughter, 3raupadi
(t the end of their training, the &uru princes displayed their talents to their elders in an arena
;here, (r)una steals the sho%, using divine %eapons to great effect ,o%ever, "efore he can "e
cro%ned as the victor of the tournament, he is challenged "y &arna 3ue to his lo% "irth, &arna
is not allo%ed to compete and gets insulted "y the $andavas for "eing a sutaputraG this marks the
"eginning of a feud "et%een &arna and (r)una that lasts until the end of the story
(s the $andavas and &auravas gre% older, a cro%n prince had to "e named 6udhishthira %on
the nomination over 3uryodhana (ngered, 3uryodhana plotted %ith his uncle Shakuni, %ho
masterminded a plan to kill the $andavas ;he &auravas have a house of %a- "uiltG they desired
to send the $andavas vacationing to the %a- house, under some pretense, "efore setting the
house on fire (lerted of the scheme "y 4idura, the $andavas evaded the trap (r)una and *hima
%anted to declare %ar, "ut 6udhisthira cooled them do%n 8nder his orders, (r)una, &unti, and
the $andavas faked their deaths and %ent into hiding
Marriage to Draupadi[edit]
the S%ayamvara of $anchala!s princess, 3raupadi
Still in hiding, the $andavas disguised themselves as "rahmins and attended the S%ayamvara of
$anchala princess 3raupadi Dut of all of the great kings and other &aurava princes, (r)una %as
the only one a"le to pass the esta"lished challenge: lift, string, and fire $inakin to pierce the eye
of a golden fish %hilst only looking at its reflection ;his test demanded concentration, sense of
timing, and precision of an archer 3rupada had designed this test %ith (r)una in mind
'n some versions of the story, (r)una is for"idden "y &unti to attend the S%ayamvara &unti!s
reasoning is that 6udhishthira or 3uryodhana %ould "e the only accepta"le candidates for
3raupadi!s handG anyone else, not set to inherit the throne, %ould "e an insult to $anchal She
allo%s *hima to attend "ecause he is 6udhishthira!s heir and could %in 3raupadi for his "rother
%ithout controversy When (r)una diso"eys her any%ays, as he is firing the arro%, he s%ears to
+od that if %ins 3raupadi!s hand, he %ould never diso"ey his mother!s commands
When the "rothers returned %ith 3raupadi, (r)una )oked to his mother that they had "rought
alms 3ismissingly and %ithout looking, &unti, per ha"it, asked him to share it %ith his "rothers
,olding his mother!s orders as a divine command(or in some cases, "ecause of (r)una!s promise
to +od), (r)una un@uestiona"ly agreed, and even refused to "ack do%n %hen his "rothers and
&unti attempted to talk him do%n 3raupadi had to marry all five of the $andavas ,er five sons,
one each from a $andava "rother are kno%n as the 8papandavas
Srutakirti %as the son of
;he "rothers follo%ed 5arada!s advice on a sharing arrangement %ith regard to 3raupadi: each
"rother %ould have e-clusive rights over her for a year, after %hich the mantle %ill shift to the
ne-t "rother 2oreover, any "rother intruding on the privacy of the couple %ould have to go on a
t%elve year ;irtha=yatra
(t this point in the 2aha"hartha, the $andavas revealed that they %ere alive With "oth
3uryodhana and 6udhishthira "eing cro%n princes, tension %ere high 8nder *hisma!s advice,
the kingdom %as split, %ith the &auravas getting ,astinapur and the $andavas getting
&handavaprastha With &handavaprastha "eing very underdeveloped and having infertile soil,
re@uiring tilling, the $andavas set to %ork re"uilding the land ;heir second=cousins &rishna and
*alarama gave them aid
Burning of Khandava Vana[edit]
'n some versions of the story, this %as the first time (r)una meets &rishna 'n any case,
&handavaprastha %as %here (r)una and &rishna!s friendship is truly forged Dnce %hen roaming
in the &handava 4ana, (r)una and &rishna met the god of fire, (gni (gni %as in great hunger
and needed to "urn do%n the entire &handava 4ana to @uench his hunger *ut ;akshaka, the
serpent=king lived in the same forest and %as a friend of 'ndra!s So the latter "rought do%n
heavy rains to th%art (gni!s plans to "urn the %oods (gni re@uested &rishna and (r)una to help
him realiFe his goal
;he three of them then invoked 4aruna, the +od of the oceans, %ho "lessed (r)una %ith the
+andiva H the moon "o% created "y *rahma 'n this %ay, (r)una came into possession of his
famous "o% (gni also gave (r)una an incandescent chariot %ith four horses yoked, and "earing
a flag that %ould one=day "e occupied "y ,anuman (r)una also o"tained his famous conch
With &rishna using the Sudarshana 9hakra granted to him "y 4yasa(or in some versions, (gni),
(r)una and &rishna %aged a successful "attle against 'ndra and helped (gni "urn do%n the
entire &handava 4ana including all its demons and evil spirits 'ndra!s anger %as metered "y his
pride in his son
aving Mayasura[edit]
Srikrishna offer to "uild a palace, to mayasura
'n their demolition of &handava &rishna and (r)una had saved one demon, 2ayasura
(r)una a "oon, 2ayasura told that he %ould "uild a palace for 6udhishtra (s 2ayasura %as a
great architect of the (suras, he soon constructed the 2aya assem"ly hall H a gigantic palace for
the $andavas, filled %ith ancient "ooks, artifacts, and )e%els ;hus, &handavaprastha %as
renamed 'ndraprastha
Arjuna!s Tirtha"yatra and #ndraprastha[edit]
3uring an incident %here dacoits are attacking some farmers, (r)una %as forced to violate
6udhishthira and 3raupadi!s privacy, as he had left the +andiva in their room 3espite the
understanding of all and "eing forgiven "y "oth 6udhishthira and 3raupadi, (r)una accepted the
punishment agreed %ith 5arada and set off on a t%elve=year tirtha=yatra
Meeting $loopi[edit]
8lupi meets (r)una
(r)una started his pilgrimage "y visiting the source of river +anga 't %as here that he
accidentally met the 5aga princess, 8loopi She %as deeply infatuated "y him and the couple
%ere dra%n into days of passionate love=making (in some stories 8loopi hits (r)una %ith love
potions) *efore departing, 8lupi granted him the "oon of invinci"ility in %ater "odies 'ravan
%as (r)una!s son %ith 8lupi
,o%ever, (r)una %as reluctant to marry 8loopi, as "ecause of all the magic 8loopi had used to
keep him in the nether%orld, (r)una %ould remem"er none of %hat had happened (fter he
learns of her pregnancy, he consents to the marriage
Chitrangadaa at Manipura[edit]
(r)una visited other ;irthas in 'ndia, including &alinga and the ashrams of the Saptarishis,
(gastya, 4asishta and *hrigu Finally he reached the palace of 2anipur ,ere he met king
9hitravahana!s daughter, 9hitrangadaa ,e fell in love %ith her and re@uested the king for his
daughter!s hand in marriage 8pon discovering (r)una!s true identity, the king readily agreed
Since 9hitrangadaa %as his oldest child and 2anipur practiced e@ual primogeniture, %hich
,astinapur did not practice, the king sought a promise from (r)una that 9hitrangadaa and any of
her and (r)una!s children %ould remain in 2anipur as 9hitravahana!s heirs (r)una agreed, and
later spent time in the palace until the "irth of his son, *a"ruvahana
%ea&hing D'ar(a and u)hadra[edit]
(r)una and Su"hadra
$ainting "y >a)a >avi 4arma
(r)una moved to other ;irthas, including the southern regions in &erala Finally he reached
3%arka, the place %here his cousin &rishna resided (r)una had, in his childhood, heard a"out
&rishna!s "eautiful sister, Su"hadra &rishna, %ishing to further tie their families, kne% of
(r)una!s visit and devised a plan to arrange their meet (ccordingly, (r)una disguised himself as
a IyatiJ and stayed at Su"hadra!s palace Soon, the couple managed to fall in love *ecause
*alarama had already promised Su"hadra to his favorite disciple, 3uryodhana, (r)una had to
steal Su"hadra %ay $er &rishna!s suggestion, Su"hadra %as (r)una!s charioteer, proving to all
%ho %itnessed that Su"hadra %as departing of her o%n free %ill
;hey spent a year together in 3%arka #ater, they moved to a small ashram in $ushkara %here
they stayed for another year, "efore moving to 'ndraprastha after (r)una!s penance had ended
(fter a fe% years ("himanyu %as "orn to (r)una and Su"hadra
Con*uest for %ajasuya[edit]
$ossi"le route taken "y (r)una for the >a)asuya sacrifice
(r)una %as sent north "y 6udhisthira to su")ugate kingdoms for the >a)asuya 6agya, so that he
could "e cro%ned :mperor of 'ndraprastha ;he 2aha"harata mentions several kingdoms to the
east of 'ndraprastha %hich %ere con@uered (or other%ise peacefully "ent=the=knee) "y (r)una
Some of them are:
*hagadatta of $rag)yotisha
4rihanta , the king of 8luka
2odapura, 4amadeva, Sudaman, Susankula, the 5orthern 8lukas, and the kings of those
countries and peoples
3evaprastha, the city of Senavindu
4is%agas%a of $uru!s race
Seven tri"es called 8tsava=sanketa
&shatriyas of &ashmir and also king #ohita along %ith ten minor chiefs
;rigartas , the 3aravas, the &okonadas, and various other &shatriyas
to%n of (visari
>ochamana ruling in 8raga
Singhapura adi
>egions Suhma and Sumala
3aradas along %ith the &am"o)as
>o""er tri"es that d%elt in the north=eastern regions
#ohas, the eastern &am"o)as, and northern >ishikas
country of the #impurushas ruled "y 3urmaputra
4arious lakes and tanks sacred to the >ishis
regions ruled "y the +andharvas that lay around the ,arataka territories ,ere the
con@ueror took, as tri"ute from the country, numerous e-cellent horses called ;ittiri,
&almasha, 2anduka
5orth ,arivarsha
city of Sakraprastha
(fter 6udhisthira succum"ed to Shakuni!s challenge in the game of dice, the $andavas %ere
forced to "e in e-ile for .0 years, %hich included one year in anonymity
,enan&e for ,ashupatastra[edit]
'ndra had promised (r)una to give him all his %eapons sensing an impending %ar %ith the
&auravas, on the condition that he o"tain the $ashupatastra from #ord Shiva Follo%ing the
advice of Sage 4yasa to go on a meditation or EtapasyaE to attain this divine %eapon, (r)una left
his "rothers for a penance
(r)una traveled for a %hile "efore reaching the mountain 'ndra keeladri, 4i)aya%ada ,ere he sat
in meditation in the name of #ord Shiva Shiva appeared soon enough in the guise of a hunter,
%ho challenged (r)una to a fight While "eing thoroughly dominated "y Shiva, (r)una "ecame
confused as to ho% an ordinary hunter could "est a %arrior like himself ,e prays to Shiva for
strength, and then sees the offerings he made to Shiva around the hunter!s neck Shiva %as very
pleased %ith the "ravery and pro%ess of the prince 9onse@uently, Shiva transformed himself to
sho% his real avatar and "lessed (r)una %ith the $ashupatastra Dther devas like &u"era, 6ama,
4aruna and 'ndra follo%ed suit and "lessed each of their potent %eapons to (r)una 'ndra also
invited his son to his palace in heaven (r)una %as amaFed at the splendor of his father!s palace
at (maravati 3ancers like 8rvashi, ;ilottama, >am"ha and 2enaka entertained him ;here %as
a huge "an@uet serving different varieties of heavenly dishes (r)una learnt song and dance from
the +andharva, 9hitrasena 'ndra himself taught him to %ield the divine %eapons and also gave
him his o%n 4a)ra
$rvashi!s &urse[edit]
8rvashi!s curse
'ndra noted the passionate glances e-changed "et%een (r)una and 8rvashi during his stay
,o%ever, (r)una refuses her advances, alleging that he had heard of her relationship %ith his
ancestor $ururava, and hence she had the status of a mother, e@ual in respect to &unti

8rvashi, annoyed at this, cursed him that he %ould "ecome a eunuch %ho %ould have to live
among %omen, singing and dancing Dn 'ndra!s re@uest, and regretting her anger, 8rvashi
reduced her curse to a period of one year of (r)una!s choice 'n some versions of the story,
8rvashi curses (r)una %ith %omanhood, "ut al%ays reduces the curse to a year!s length
Trial 'ith Devastras- slaying %a(shasas at heaven[edit]
(r)una gets the opportunity to test his skills %ith the divine %eapons at 'ndra!s palace itself
(r)una %as taken to the palace of the 5ivatakavachas, a tri"e of >akshasas %ho had a
magnificent palace under the oceans (r)una used the mohini=astra and the madhava=astra to
demolish these asuras
,e %as also taken to ,iranyapuri, a palace in the sky created "y a %itch $uloma and his asura
tri"e of the &aalakeyas ,ere (r)una uses the $ashupatastra and annihilates the demons
Meeting .anuman[edit]
9ontinuing his @uest, (r)una visits the site of >ama Setu in 3hanushkodi ;here, he openly
@uestions %hy, if >ama had "een such a great archer, he hadn!t simply "uilt the "ridge out of
arro%s ,earing this, ,anuman gets angry and challenges (r)una to prove his superiority "y
"uilding such a "ridge, %hich ,anuman %ould try to destroy ;ensions escalate until (r)una
pledges to defeat ,anuman or kill himself, going so far as to frivolously use divine %eapons to
"uild the "ridge, %hile ,anuman uses his god=given strength and a"ility to increase his siFe to
destroy (r)una!s "ridge :ventually, &rishna intervenes, criticiFing (r)una for his e-cessive
pride and ,anuman for allo%ing his love of >ama to overcome his pacifism >egaining his
sense, ,anuman pledges to reside in (r)una!s standard(flag) during the &urukshetra %ar
Eunu&h at Virata!s Kingdom[edit]
*rihannala = :unuch at 4irata!s &ingdom
Main article: Brihannala
(long %ith his "rothers, (r)una spent his last year of e-ile in the kingdom of 4irata,
,astinapura ;his is the place %here 8rvashi!s curse is implemented and (r)una "ecomes a
eunuch called *rihannala (%ithin themselves $andavas called him 4i)aya)
(t the palace, he
teaches song and dance, @ualities he had learnt from 9hitrasena, to the &ing 4irata!s daughter,
8ttarK #ater, (r)una arranges for 8ttara to "ecome his daughter=in=la% "y marrying his son
("himanyu to her (t the same time, he prevents Su"hadra from marrying ("himanyu to
*alarama!s daughter 4atsala, as the &urus find cousin=cousin marriages ta"oo
,earing a"out the death of &ichaka, 3uryodhana surmises that the $andavas %ere hiding in
2atsya ( host of &aurava %arriors attack 4irata, presuma"ly to steal their cattle, "ut in reality,
desiring to pierce the $andavas! veil of anonymity Full of "ravado, 4irata!s son 8ttar attempts to
take on the army "y himself %hile the rest of the 2atsya army has "een lured a%ay to fight
Susharma and the ;rigartas $er 3raupadi!s suggestion, 8ttar takes *rihannala %ith him, as his
charioteer When he sees the &aurava army, 8ttar loses his nerve and attempts to flee ;here,
(r)una reveals his identity and those of his "rothers! S%itching places %ith 8ttar, (r)una takes
up the +andiva and 3evadatta :ager to defend the land that had given him refuge, (r)una
single=handedly defeats this legion of &aurava %arriors, putting them to sleep using divine
%eapons ,e takes their scarves to present to 8ttara as a gift
Kuru(shetra /ar[edit]
Bhagavad 0ita[edit]
( statue of (r)una and #ord &rishna, %ith &rishna as the sarathi or charioteer
Main article: Bhagaad !ita
(s the "attle dra%s close, (r)una is overcome %ith self=dou"t a"out the righteousness of the %ar
against his o%n kith and kin ,e is aggrieved at the thought of having to fight %ith his dear
teacher, 3rona and the fatherlike *hishma 't %as then that &rishna took charge and e-plained
the necessity and inevita"ility of the %ar to (r)una ;his conversation is a key part of the
2aha"harata kno%n as *hagavadgita, and is considered as a holy scripture of ,induism
(r)una plays the role of the reader in the *hagavad +ita (s &rishna dispenses the advice,
(r)una asks the @uestions
;he *hagavad +ita primarily takes the form of a philosophical dialogue "et%een (r)una and
Battles fought at Kuru(shetra[edit]
3efeat of Jayadratha
(r)una %as a key $andava %arrior and played a huge role in the &urukshetra %ar ,is flag "ore
the sym"ol of ,anuman
Some of the crucial "attles fought "y (r)una are as follo%s:
Death of Bhagadatta: Dn the thirteenth day %hen ("himanyu %as slayed (r)una %as
"usy fighting *hagaddata the king of $rag)yotisha %ho came %ith a thousand elephants
and attacked him 3uring the "attle *hagaddata shot an irresisti"le arro% 4aishnavastra
%hich could kill (r)un "ut he %as saved "y &rishnas timely intervation Which fell on
&rishna nd formed a garland *hagadatta %as later killed "y an arro% shot "y (r)un
Defeat of Bhisma: ;hroughout the first nine=days of "attle, (r)una %as una"le to defeat
*hisma (t times, the most he %as a"le to do %as drive *hisma!s chariot a%ay ;his %as
partially due to his o%n reluctance to fight his grandsire, as %ell as *hisma!s terrific skill
(s &rishna "ecame frustrated %ith (r)una, he took up arms against *hishma himself, at
least t%ice 5ot %anting history to "lame (r)una for forcing &rishna to "reak his vo% of
non=aggression, (r)una managed to talk &rishna do%n and fought %ith rene%ed vigor
Dn the tenth day of the %ar, after asking *hishma himself ho% to "est defeat him, (r)una
took Shikhandi in his chariot (s *hishma %ould not raise %eapons against a %oman,
(r)una %as a"le to attack *hisma unimpeded ;ears flo%ing from his eyes, (r)una
pierced *hishma!s entire "ody %ith arro%s, eventually forcing *hisma to fall do%n %ith
(r)una!s arro%s acting as a "ed $er *hishma!s re@uest, he provided a pillo% of arro%s
for his head, as %ell as %ater "y piercing the earth and allo%ing +anga to nourish her
Killing of the Trigartas: (ttempting to distract him so that 3ronacharya could capture
6udhishthira, Susharma and the ;rigarthas challenged (r)una to a fight to the death Dn
the t%elfth and thirteenth days of "attle, (r)una killed them to a man
Defeat of 1ayadratha: (r)una held Jayadratha responsi"le for ("himanyu!s death on the
thirteenth day of the %ar ,e vo%ed to kill him the very ne-t day "efore sunset, failing
%hich he %ould kill himself "y )umping in a pyre ;he &auravas hid Jayadratha from
(r)una, kno%ing that (r)una!s death %ould result in a &aurava victory ,o%ever,
&rishna created an artificial eclipse "y using his Sudarshana 9hakra to hide the sun,
forcing &auravas to "elieve the day %as over and (r)una!s death %as imminent Wishing
to mock (r)una, Jayadratha %ent to the head of the army in )oy, even as the sun emerged
from the eclipse (r)una promptly used one of his most po%erful %eapons, 4ayavastra
(%ind %eapon) to slaughter Jayadratha ;his %as difficult "ecause Jayadratha had a "oon
from his father that %hoever %ould "e responsi"le for his head falling to the ground
%ould have his o%n head "lo%n up ;hat is %hy (r)una used the 4ayavastra to carry the
decapitated head of Jayadratha to his father, %ho %as a%aken from his meditation "y the
sudden landing of a decapitated head on his "ody and since he ended up dropping it to the
ground, he had his head "lo%n up
(r)una Slays &arna, page from a copy of the >aFmnama, 2ughal period
Defeat of Karna: &arna and (r)una %ere s%orn enemies in the epic, each having taken
an oath to kill the other in the "attle Dn the seventeenth day of "attle the t%o foes faced
each other once more ;his "attle "et%een (r)una and &arna is perhaps the most
cataclysmic and a%esome of the great epic &rishna anticipated a likely "attle to the
death "et%een &arna and (r)una ;he %arriors on the "attlefield and the devas in heaven
%atched the "attle in speechless amaFement and terrified admiration of the strength and
skill of these greatest of %arriors ;he epic states that initially, the "attle %as even
"et%een the t%o foes, "ut then &arna!s chariot %heel "ecame stuck in the mud Further,
o%ing to a curse &arna received from his guru $arasurama, &arna forgot the mantra to
invoke the *rahmastra ;he epic stated that (r)una, al%ays righteous, hesitated to attack
his foe at this )uncture >eminding (r)una of all the atrocities that &arna committed
against the $andavas, such as his instigation and participation of their %ife 3raupadi!s
pu"lic humiliation and disro"ing and his participation in the treacherous and co%ardly
killing of (r)una!s son ("himanyu, &rishna commanded (r)una to attack &rishna
reminded (r)una that &arna sided %ith adharma and had no right at this point in his life
to hide "ehind the rules of engagement (r)una decapitated &arna using the Anjali(a
%eapon #ater, %hen it %as revealed that &arna %as actually (r)una!s older "rother,
(r)una!s +andiva slipped from his grasp for the first time (r)una "ecame haunted "y
&arna!s killing, and took it upon himself to treat 4rishakethu, &arna!s only remaining
son, %ith great care
Con*uest for Ashvamedha[edit]
(fter the conclusion of the %ar, the $andavas take charge of ,astinapura, the undivided realm of
their ancestors 6udhishira appointed (r)una as the in=charge for the army and security forces of
6udhisthira decided to hold the (shvamedha 6agna, or Ehorse sacrificeE, to grant them the title
of "hakraarti (E:mperorE) (r)una led the armed forces %hich follo%ed the horse around its
random %anderings ,e received the su"mission of many kings, either %ithout or follo%ing an
armed confrontation ,e %as thus instrumental in the e-pansion of the $andava domains Some
of the campaigns are as under:
8ttarapatha , including those of $rag)yotisha, 8luka, 2odapura, 4amadeva, Sudaman,
Susankula, 5orthern 8luka, $uru kingdom of 4is%agas%a, 8tsava=Sanketa, #ohita,
;rigarta, 3arava, ("hisara, &okonada, 8rsa, Simhapura, Suhma, Sumala, *alhika,
3arada, &am"o)a
;ranso-iana region (#akadi$a or Scythia), the #ohas, $arama &am"o)as, 5orthern
>ishikas (or Parama %ishikas), #impurushas, ,aratakas, +andharvas and the
;rigarta : &etuvarman and 3hritavarman
&ing 4a)radatta, son of *hagadatta
Manipura and death )y Ba)ruvahana:
(r)una is killed "y his son *a"hruvahana in "attle = a composite >aFmnama illustration circa
(r)una %ent to 2anipura, %here the king %as *a"ruvahana, his o%n son %ith
9hitrangadaa Seeing his father *a"ruvahana came all the %ay to receive (r)una (r)una
%as very upset that *a"ruvahana did not respect the duties %orthy of a &ing and did not
ask for %ar ,e cursed his son as a co%ard and asked him to prepare for %ar 'n the fight
"et%een father and son *a"ruvahana killed (r)una, "ut 8lupi, the snake=princess used
the 2ritasan)ivani, a "oon from +anga 3evi to "ring (r)una "ack to life 't is later stated
that the defeat %as "ecause of (r)una!s using Shikhandi to plot *hishma!s death
2agadha , >a)agriha and &ing 2eghasandhi
9hedi and other kingdoms
&asi, (nga, &osala, &irata and ;anga kingdoms (r)una accepted due honors from
respective rulers
5ishada: (r)una %as a"le to defeat the 5ishada &ing, the son of :klavya
(ndhra people led "y 2ahishaksha, tri"es of &ol%a hills
Saurashtra , +okarn city and $ra"haska
3%arvati and 4rishni race
8pon the onset of the &ali yuga and the departure of #ord &rishna, (r)una and other $andavas
retired, leaving the throne to their only descendant to survive the %ar of &urukshetra, (r)una!s
grandson $arikshita +iving up all their "elongings and ties, the $andavas, accompanied "y a
dog, made their final )ourney of pilgrimage to the ,imalayas 't is also to "e noted that the
listener of the 2aha"harata is Janame)ay, $arkishit!s son
:-cept for 6udhishthir, all of the $andavas gro% %eak and die "efore reaching heaven (only
6udhishthir is allo%ed to keep his mortal "ody) When *hima asks 6udhishthira %hy (r)una
isn!t permitted the same, the reason given is (r)una!s e-treme pride in his skills as an archer and
his vain "elief that no one %ould ever "e a "etter archer than him (lso, 3raupadi falls "ecause
%hile she claimed to love all the $andavas e@ually, she had a soft spot for (r)una
Chara&ter of Arjuna[edit]
;his section may re*uire &leanup to meet /i(ipedia!s *uality standards ;he
specific pro"lem is: 2a&( of &itations3&larity4 reads li(e a general essay4 needs fresh
'rite"up $lease help improve this section if you can (&ul' ()*()
(r)una meets &rishna at $ra"hasa teertha
;he character of (r)una is descri"ed as one %hose mind is spotless and clean of all impurities
&rishna in the *hagavad +ita refers to (r)una as (nagha, %hich means pure of heart or sinless
(r)una!s no"ility is manifested in his magnanimity in victory and compassion to%ards
adversaries ,e "ears all the in)ustice of the &auravas %ith stoicism and yet hesitates to kill them
)ust "efore the %ar
(s 5ara of 5ara 5arayana (an avatar of 4ishnu), (r)una em"odies &shatriya manhood &rishna
"eing 5arayana of the 5ara 5arayana avatar, sym"oliFes the atman, and hence the t%o are
insepara"le (r)una %as chosen "y &rishna to "e his dearest friend and disciple 'n the great epic,
on several occasions, &rishna reveals his great and eternal love for (r)una &rishna states that no
one in the %orld is dearer to him than (r)una and that there is nothing in the %orld that he
%ouldn!t give his friend 'n the epic, %hen (r)una takes a vo% to either kill Jayadratha "efore
sunset or else immolate himself, &rishna remarks to his charioteer, 3aruka, that neither his %ives
nor friends nor kinsmen nor relatives nor any other is dearer to him than (r)una ,e further states
that he is una"le to live in a %orld deprived of (r)una for even a moment &rishna refers to
(r)una as ,urusharshva, %hich translates to best of men
Modern referen&es[edit]
;he (r)una (%ard presented every year "y the government of 'ndia to one talented sportsman in
every national sport
(r)una!s e-traordinary talent and skills have made him a common name in popular culture
;he (merican astronomer ;om +ehrels named a class of asteroids %ith lo% inclination,
lo% eccentricity and earth=like or"ital period as (r)una asteroids
;he (r)una (%ard is presented every year in 'ndia to one talented sportsman in every
national sport
(r)un is a third generation main "attle tank developed for the 'ndian (rmy
2ayilpeeli ;hookkam is a ritual art of dance performed in the temples of &erala 't is
also kno%n as (r)una 5rithyam (lit (r)una!s dance) as a tri"ute to his dancing a"ilities
;here have "een a serial and a film "ased on (r)una!s life and e-ploits
:arth 2aiden (r)una is a Japanese animated television series created "y Sho)i &a%amori
;his series is "ased on (r)una and the 2aha"harata (r)una: 'nto the (nother World is
the soundtrack produced for the series
(r)un: ;he Warrior $rince is a /C./=mythological action film narrating the events in
(r)una!s life
(dditionally, the protagonist in Steven $ressfield!s "ook +he ,egend of Bagger -ance, >annulph
Junuh, is "ased in part on (r)una (> Junuh)
. 1ump up 6 E;he 2aha"harataE >etrieved 0 5ovem"er /C.0
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0 1ump up 6 +he Mahabharata 5e% 6ork, 56: $enguin 9lassics /CCB 'S*5 C.1C11<A.A
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of ancient 0ndia) 5e% 3elhi: $itam"ar $u" 9o p /A 'S*5 B?AA./CBC?0/1
.7 1ump up 6 +he Mahabharata, Book * of *9: Adi Para Forgotten *ooks pp 7.0H7.7 'S*5
.< 1ump up 6 E2aha"harata ;e-tE
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/C 1ump up 6 E2aha"harata ;e-tE
/. 1ump up 6 E2aha"harata ;e-tE
// 1ump up 6 2enon, [translated "y] >amesh (/CC<) +he Mahabharata : a modern rendering 5e%
6ork: i8niverse, 'nc p 1<? 'S*5 B?AC7B71C.A?.
/0 1ump up 6 E,anuman and (r)unaE
/1 1ump up 6 &apoor, edited "y Su"odh (/CC/) +he 0ndian enc'clo$aedia : biogra$hical,
historical, religious, administratie, ethnological, commercial and scientific (.st ed) 5e% 3elhi: 9osmo
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/< 1ump up 6 +anguly, &isari E;he 2aha"harata of &rishna=3%aipayana 4yasaE
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/B 1ump up 6 E2aha"harata ;e-tE
0C 1ump up 6 S #e%is, John (.BB<) %ain of iron and ice: the er' real threat of comet and asteroid
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Longevity Of Bhishma And Vyasa
Created by Jijith Nadumuri at 22 May 2010 20!"# and u$dated at "0 Ju% 2010 20!&'
Mahabharata mentions Bhishma and Vyasa to be born during the time of (uru )ing *antanu+
Bhishma is mentioned as %iving to see u$ to the fifth generation of *antanu ,Abhimanyu-+ Vyasa
is mentioned as %iving to see u$to #th generation of *antanu ,Janamejaya.s grandson
As/amedhadatta-+ 0he %ineage from *antanu u$to As/amedhadatta is as fo%%o/s!1 *antanu 2
Vi3hitravirya 2 4andu 2 Arjuna 2 Abhimanyu 2 4ari)shit 2 Janamejaya 2 *atani)a 2
Explanation based on a generation gap of 15 years
*ome resear3hers e5$%ain it by 3onsidering the ga$ bet/een su33essive generations to be 15
years+ 6 find this a$$roa3h $rob%emati3 /hen a$$%ied to Bhishma or Vyasa+ 6f /e 3onsider that
Bhishma /as aged 20 /hen Vi3hitravirya /as born and /e add 1& years for su33essive
generations /e have 4andu born /hen Bhishma /as at "& Arjuna born /hen Bhishma /as at
&0 and Abhimanyu born /hen Bhishma /as at '&+ 6f /e add 1& more years /e get Bhishma.s
age during (uru)shetra /ar to be 70 and Abhimanyu.s age then to be 1&+ 6n the ne5t year
4ari)shit is to be born+ 6f /e 3onsider the 3ase of Vyasa /e get that he /as aged #& /hen
Janamejaya /as born and 110 /hen *atani)a /as born and 12& /hen As/amedhadata /as
born+ Vyasa is 3onsidered e%der to Bhishma so if /e add & years his age /hen As/amedhadatta
/as born be3omes 1"0+ 8hen Janamejaya as)s Vyasa to narrate Mahabharata his grandson
Ash/amedhadatta /as a%ready born+ 0hese are the usua% assum$tion many resear3hers ma)e+
4rob%em to this assum$tions are the fo%%o/ing+ On%y there /ere a fe/ 3ases /here generation
ga$ /as as %o/ as 1&+ 0his is es$e3ia%%y true in the 3ase of *antanu.s %ine ti%% As/amedhadatta+
As $er Mahabharata the on%y member of this %ineage /ho be3ame )ing and married ear%y in %ife
/as Vi3hitravirya+ Others be3ame )ing and married in their $rime youth+ 0here are referen3es in
many an3ient %iterature dea%ing /ith the age at /hi3h the su33essor of a )ing shou%d be
a$$ointed as heir1a$$arent ,Yuva-Raja- and %ater as a )ing ,Raja-+ A33ording to these the
minimum age at /hi3h one shou%d be a$$ointed as heir1a$$arent is 20 and the minimum age he
shou%d be a$$ointed )ing is 2&+ 9emember that these /ere the minimum ages+ 6n 3ase of
4ari)shit he be3ame )ing at the age of "'+
Phases of the life of a prince till he becomes king
0i%% the age of ' a $rin3e is 3onsidered as a 3hi%d ,Sishu- and %ives $rimari%y under the $rote3tion
of his mother+ :rom the age ' to 12 he is 3onsidered as a boy ,Baala-+ ;du3ation of a $rin3e
starts at the age of '+ <e /i%% be made fami%iari=ed /ith s3ri$tures and various s3ien3es and
$hi%oso$hies /hi3h /ere transmitted by ora% traditions+ :rom the age 12 to 2> the $rin3e is
3onsidered as a tean1ager ,Kumara-+ A $rin3e be3ome fit for mi%itary edu3ation at the age of 12+
0/e%ve years is one revo%ution of the $%anet Ju$iter ,?uru- + <e is then sent to ?uru1(u%a ,the
abode of the ?uru- for edu3ation+ @sua%%y mi%itary edu3ation %ast for 12 years ,one revo%ution of
?uru or Ju$iter-+ Auring this $eriod his shou%d be a ba3he%or ,Brahma3hari- and shou%d not
marry and beget 3hi%dren+ 8hen he 3omes out of ?uru1)u%a he is a%ready 2>+ :rom then on/ards
he is 3onsidered as a youth ,Yuva-+ 6f he is the e%dest son he is then insta%%ed as the heir1
a$$arent ,Buva19aja-+ After a $eriod of time he is insta%%ed as the )ing ,9aja-+ 0hus he 3annot be
a )ing before he turns 2&+
*ometimes the $rin3e is de3%ared heir1a$$arent before the 3om$%etion of his %ife in ?uru1)u%a
/hi%e he is being edu3ated+ *o it is fine for a $rin3e to be3ome heir a$$arent at the age of 20+
0here /ere a%so another system in /hi3h the 12 years of edu3ation ,mi%itary or other- is
3onsidered as starting from the age of ' to 17+ Based on this a $rin3e is 3onsidered as a youth
,Buva- /hen he be3omes 17 or 1# years of age+ *o the age to be3ome a Buva ,youth- varies
bet/een 17 to 2>+ 6n any 3ase he be3omes a )ing and is $ermitted to end his ba3he%or %ife on%y
after his ?uru1(u%a and thus /ou%d have 3om$%eted 17 to 2> years of his %ife+
@sua%%y younger brothers of the e%dest $rin3e /ho /as su$$osed to be3ome the )ing /as given
edu3ation a%ong /ith the e%dest and their ages are not given mu3h /eight+
6f these norms are to be vio%ated there shou%d be e53e$tiona% 3ir3umstan3es+ :or e5am$%e if the
throne is em$ty due to death of an e5isting )ing his son if he is beyond 12 years of age shou%d
be immediate%y made heir1a$$arent and then )ing even if he has not attained the age to be3ome
)ing+ *ome times he is a%so $ermitted to marry ear%y+ 0his is /hat ha$$ened in the 3ase of
Vi3hitravirya+ Mahabharata mention that Vi3hitravirya had not attained the age to be3ome )ing
/hen he /as insta%%ed at the throne of <astina$ura+ <e /as made to marry as soon as he
be3ame )ing+ @nfortunate%y it /as these $remature )ingshi$ and marriage that 3ontributed to his
i%%ness and ear%y death+ *in3e the throne /as on3e again em$ty /hi%e 4andu /as su$$osed to be
ne5t )ing 6 guess 4andu too be3ame )ing ear%y in his %ife and married ear%y though this /as not
e5$%i3it%y mentioned in Mahabharata %i)e in the 3ase of Vi3hitravirya+ 8e see that 4andu too %i)e
Vi3hitravirya died ear%y+
Explanation based on missing generations
Be%o/ is a tab%e sho/ing the $robab%e ages of the members of the generation from *antanu u$to
Janamejaya.s grandson As/amedhadatta+ 6t in3%udes the ages of Bhishma and Vyasa+ 6 have
3onsidered two Bhishmas ,Aevavrata of *antanu.s time and Bhishma of 4andava.s time- and
three Vyasas ,Vyasa /ho %ived sin3e the time of *antanu u$ to the birth of 4ari)shit another
Vyasa /ho %ived sin3e the time of 4andu u$ to the birth of *atani)a and yet another Vyasa /ho
%ived sin3e the time of Abhimanyu and %ived to as) his dis3i$%e Vaisham$ayana to narrate
Mahabharata to Janamejaya-+ 6 3onsidered Budhisthira.s age /hen Abhimanyu /as born to be 2#
/hi%e many others 3onsider Budhisthira sti%% o%der /hen this ha$$ened+ 6 3onsider Budhisthira.s
age during (uru)shetra 8ar to be ># /hi%e many other traditions )ee$ his age at this time to be
C0 $%us /hi3h /i%% $ush Bhishma.s age sti%% further to the %eve% of absurdity+
Assumptions on the life-expectancy of ancient people
0here are severa% myths about the %ength of %ife of an3ient $eo$%e+ *ome 4uranas say that in o%d
days $eo$%e %ived u$ to a 1000 years and some times 10000 yearsD 0here /as a%so the 3on3e$t
of Chiranjeevees vi= those /ho %ive for everD+ 8hat is the rea%ity behind a%% theseE 6s there any
truth in the be%ief that $eo$%e %ive %ess in this modern age and %ived %onger in the an3ient ageE
*ome of these are $ure fi3tion but there are some truth in the %ongevity of 3ertain individua%s+ A
fe/ thousand years ba3) there /as no $o%%ution+ 0he atmos$here /as 3%ear+ 0he air /ater and
food /ere a%% $ure and $oison free+ 4eo$%e in those days a%so had to be more $hysi3a%%y a3tive+
*o their bodies /ere fine1tuned to %ive u$ to 120 years of age+ No body died in those days due to
b%ood $ressure or diabetes+ *o 6 3onsider %iving u$ to 100 years /as not a $rob%em in those days+
6 a%so be%ieve that the number of $eo$%e /ho attained the age of 120 /as higher in those days
3om$ared to /hat /e see today+ A %u3)y fe/ among the an3ients %ived u$ to 1"0+ @sua%%y $eo$%e
/ho %ead an as3eti3 %ife /ere ab%e to 3ontro% their body fun3tions so that their body 3%o3) ti3)ed
s%o/%y enab%ing them to %ive u$ to 120 or 1"0 years+ 0here /as a%so $ra3ti3e of Boga+ Boga is a
very an3ient $ra3ti3e and 6 have no doubt that it /as $ra3ti3ed during the $eriod of Mahabharata
too+ Boga /as $ra3ti3ed by as3eti3s and /arriors a%i)e+ 0here /as a%so an effi3ient system of
medi3ine 3a%%ed Ayurveda /hi3h s$e3ia%i=ed in revita%i=ing the body /hen it turned o%d ma)ing
the body youthfu% again+ Ayurveda and Yoga e5ist today a%so but their effi3ien3y is redu3ed+
<erba% medi3ines used in Ayurveda a%so is subje3t to $o%%ution no/+ Boga a%so is $ra3ti3ed today
/ith %ess a33ura3y+
*o 6 3onsider that a 100 year o%d during the Mahabharata era /as as hea%thy as today.s C0 year
o%d+ <o/ever there is danger in genera%i=ing this to every individua%+ 4eo$%e a%so age faster due
to 3onstant menta% agitation+ 4eo$%e %i)e *antanu and Ahritatashtra subje3ted themse%ves to
menta% agitation and aged faster+ Others %i)e Vi3hitravirya and 4andu died ear%y in their %ife due
to diseases and 3on1genita% /ea)nesses in their body+ 0hus $remature deaths due to /ea) body
and disease a%so /as not un3ommon in those days+ Chitrangada and Abhimanyu died ear%y in
batt%e1fie%ds+ Batt%es /ere another 3ause for death ,$remature or other/ise- of many $eo$%e in
those days+ ;$i3s a%so indi3ate that in those days there /as high %eve% of infant morta%ity+ Out of
eight sons of ?anga by *antanu on%y Aevavrata the eight survived+ Out of eight sons of Aeva)i
on%y (rishna survived+
On a side note:- Mythological explanation is that mother herself killed her sons by drowning
them into river as they were born and spared only the 8th one Devavrata. Bt the reality seems
to be that they were born dead or became dead soon after their birth! so that their bodies were
drowned into river. "n case of #rishna! instead of the mother! the blame for killing the babies
were pt on their maternal ncle #ansa. $or more abot this see the article on Mahabharata-
0hus /e 3an 3on3%ude that though there /ere high infant-mortality in those days on3e $eo$%e
started %iving they %ived %ong+ 4eo$%e may die due to some /ea)ness in the body due to birth
defe3ts or if they /ere un%u3)y to 3at3h some 3ontagious disease+ 0hey may a%so die in /ar or in
an a33ident+ Other/ise if left to live they lived u! to 1"# years /ithout any hea%th
$rob%ems+ 6f the $erson be%ong to the /arrior 3%ass /e 3an dis3ount some ten years from his %ife
due to /ear and tear of his body on a33ount of the $hysi3a% e5ertion in batt%es+ 6f on the other
hand the $erson is a sage %eading an as3eti3 %ife /e 3an add ten more years to his norma% %ife of
120 years enab%ing him to %ive u$ to 1"0 years+ 0hus /e 3an safe%y assume that the %ife1
e5$e3tan3y of Bhishma /ho /as a /arrior /as a minimum of 110 years and a ma5imum of 120
years+ *imi%ar%y /e 3an assume that the %ife1e5$e3tan3y of Vyasa /ho /as a sage /as a
minimum of 120 years and a ma5imum of 1"0 years+
Table of Ages
"& 0
&> 1' 1# 0
'0 22 2& '
'1 2" 2' C 0
C& "C >0 21 1> 0
7" >& >7 10 2# 22 7
>7 &1 1" "2 2& 11
&> &C 1# "7 "1 1C
&& &7 20 "# 17 1C
'2 '& 2C >' 2& 2>
'> 'C 2# >7 2' 0 0
72 7& >C '' 1' >> 17 17
7> 7C ># '7 17 >' 20 20
77 #1 &" C2 22 &0 2> 2> 0
#2 #& &C C' 2' &> 27 27 >
#" #' &7 CC 2C && 2# &
n to
120 72 101 &1 &" 2# 0

102 121 C1 21 C" ># 20
122 C2 22 C> &0 0
#C >C ## C& 2& 0
10C &C 7& "& 10
107 &7 7' "' 11
110 '0 77 "7 1"
122 C2 &0 2& 0
#C &0 2& 0
102 && "0 &
F&ges that " consider as impossible or less likely to occr
Assumptions on the Ages of Individuals
Be%o/ are some of the assum$tions on ages of individua%s used to arrive at these figures+ 0his
resear3h is ongoing and so the figures sho/n above or be%o/ or the assum$tions made are not
*antanu.s age /hen marrying ?anga 2&
Bears sin3e the marriage and birth of 7th son Aevavrata 10
*atyavati.s age /hen Vyasa /as born 1'
*atyavati.s age /hen she /eds *antanu 22
Aevavrata.s age /hen *antanu /eds *atyavati 2&
Bears sin3e the marriage and birth of Chitrangada 1
?a$ bet/een birth of Chitrangada and Vi3hitravirya 1>
Bears *antanu %ived sin3e birth of Vi3hitravirya 7
Age of Chitrangada /hen he be3ame )ing 2&
Bears Chitrangada ru%ed '
Age of Amva%i)a /hi%e marriage 1C
?a$ bet/een Vi3hitravirya.s 3oronation and marriage 1
?a$ bet/een Vi3hitravirya.s marriage and and death C
?a$ bet/een Vi3hitravirya.s death an birth of Ahritarashtra 2
4andu.s age /hen be3omes )ing 17
?a$ bet/een 4andu.s 3oronation and his marriage 2
?a$ bet/een 4andu.s marriage and birth of Budhisthira >
?a$ bet/een Budhisthira.s birth and 4andu.s death >+2&
Age of Budhisthira /hen he be3ame heir1a$$arent 2>
<ouse of La3G Budhisthira.s age 2&
Bhima meets <idimbaG Budhisthira.s age 2'
Life in ;)a3ha)raG Budhisthira.s age 2C
Marriage /ith 4an3ha%iG (ing of 6ndra$rasthaG Arjuna sets for 4i%grimageG Budhisthira.s
son from 4an3ha%i bornG Budhisthira.s age
Arjuna /eds *ubhadraG Bhima.s son from 4an3ha%i bornG Abhimanyu bornG Budhisthira.s
Burning of (handavaG Mayasabha 3onstru3tion beginsG Arjuna.s son from 4an3ha%i BornG
Budhisthira.s age
Na)u%a.s son from 4an3ha%i BornG Budhisthira.s age "1
*ahadeva.s son from 4an3ha%i BornG Mayasabha 3om$%eteGBudhisthira.s age "2
Jarasandha )i%%edG Budhisthira.s age ""
9ajasuya! Budhisthira.s age ">
?ame of Ai3eG Budhisthira.s age "&
12 year forest %ife and 1 year ingognito %ife 3om$%eteG Budhisthira.s age ,%unar years so
a3tua%%y 12 years-
8ar 4re$arationsG Budhisthira.s age >7
(uru)shetra /arG Budhisthira.s age >#
?a$ bet/een 4ari)shit.s birth and (uru)shetra 8ar 1
4ari)shit.s age /hen Janamejaya is born 2&
?a$ bet/een (uru)shetra /ar and A/ara)a 8ar "'
?a$ bet/een A/ara)a 8ar and 3oronation of 4ari)shit 1
?a$ Bet/een 4ari)shit.s 3oronation of 4ari)shit and death of Budhisthira 2
Janamejaya.s son *atani)a bornG 4ari)shit diesG Janamejaya be3ome )ingG Janamejaya.s
As/amedhadata born to *atani)aG *atani)a.s age 2&
?a$ bet/een As/amedhadatta.s birth and re3ita% of Mahabharata to Janamejaya &
Ages of Individuals hen !atyavati married !antanu
Assume that *antanu 3om$%eted his Brahma3harya ,ba3he%or %ife- and 12 year edu3ation at the
age of 2> and then be3ame heir1a$$arent ,Buva19aja- at the age of 2> and )ing ,9aja- at the
age of 2&+ Assume that *antanu married ?anga at the age of 2&+ ?anga is mentioned as
de%ivering 7 babies of /hi3h on%y Aevavrata the 7th %ived as $er Mahabharata+ 6f /e 3onsider
that the babies are de%ivered in su33ession /e 3an assume 10 years of ga$ bet/een the
marriage and birth of the 7th son a%%o/ing for & to ' months of ga$s bet/een birth and
3on3e$tion+ 0hus /e get Aevavrata is born /hen *antanu /as "& years o%d+ 8hen *antanu met
*atyavati Aevavrata /as a%ready de3%ared heir1a$$arent ,Buva19aja-+ <e might have be3ome
heir1a$$arent at the age of 17 or 2> based on /hen his edu3ation ended+ *in3e there /as no
urgen3y in ma)ing Aevavrata a )ing ,throne of <astina$ura /as not em$tyG *antanu /as sti%%
)ing- /e 3an 3onsider that Aevavrata be3ame heir1a$$arent at the age of 2>+ 0hen /e 3an
assume that *antanu.s marriage /ith *atyavati ha$$ened /hen Aevavrata /as 2&+ 0his /i%%
ma)e *antanu '0 years o%d+ *antanu /as %iving /ithout a /ife sin3e ?anga %eft him+ But his
fo3us /as no/ on his son Aevavrata+ 8hen Aevavrata be3ame a youth and an ab%e future )ing
for the throne of <astina$ura *antanu.s fo3us turned to himse%f+ 8hen he turned '0 he might
have had the urge to have a %ife1$artner+ <e /as then attra3ted to *atyavati /ho /as then
youthfu% and beautifu%+
6 $resume *atyavati /as then a young %ady at the ri$e age of 22+ But /e )no/ that *atyavati
a%ready had a son vi= Vyasa /hen she married *antanu+ 8here /as Vyasa thenE 8e )no/ from
Mahabharata that Vyasa /as edu3ated by his father 4arasara+ As /e have seen before a 3hi%d is
usua%%y not se$arated from his mother ti%% he turns a boy ,ba%a- or ' years o%d+ 0i%% Vyasa turns '
he /as just a 3hi%d ,*isu- and shou%d %ive /ith his mother+ *o /e 3an assume that Vyasa.s father
4arasara too) him from his mother *atyavati /hen Vyasa /as ' years o%d+ 0hus Vyasa might
have born /hen *atyavati /as 1' years o%d+ 0hus the union bet/een *atyavti and 4arasara too)
$%a3e /hen she /as just 1&+ 0his a%so agree /ith Mahabharata vie/ that 4arasara met *atyavati
/hen she /as just a gir% or not of the ri$e age+
Another resu%t of this is that Aevavrata /as " years e%der to *atyavati+ Mahabharata did not
mention if *atyavati /as younger or e%der to Aevavrata+ But it /as $ossib%e in those days for a
)ing to have Hueens younger than their o/n e%der sons+ *ons /ere su$$osed to 3onsider /omen
married to their father as their mothers no matter if they /ere younger to them or e%der to
them+ 0his 3an a%so be an indire3t reason /hy *antanu hesitated to marry *atyavati and hid it
from Aevavrata a$art from many other obvious reasons mentioned in Mahabharata+
Age gap beteen "hitrangada and #ichitravirya
Ne5t vita% 3%ue 3ome from the fa3t that Chitrangada be3ame )ing /hen he /as fit to be a )ing+
0here is no mention in Mahabharata that Chitragada had to gro/ u$ to be ab%e to be3ome )ing+
After *antanu dies Chitrangada is insta%%ed as the )ing /ithout any 3om$%i3ations+ But in
3ontrast /e see in Mahabharata that Vi3hitravirya /as not gro/n u$ enough to be3ome a )ing
/hen need arose for him to be3ome the )ing+ 0his is $ossib%e if there is a /ide ga$ bet/een the
t/o brothers+ 6 3onsider Chitrangada to be 1> years e%der than Vi3hitravirya+ 6 a%so assume
Chitrangada /as born immediate%y after the marriage of *atyavati and *antanu+ *o /hen
Chitrangada /as born *antanu /as '1 *atyavati /as 2" and Aevavrata /as 2'+ After a ga$ of
1> years Vi3hitravirya /as born+ 0hen *antanu /as C& years o%d *atyavati /as "C and
Aevavrata /as >0+ :or a man to have 3hi%dren at su3h o%d age is not im$ossib%e+ Avai%ab%e
re3ords sho/s 3hi%dren born to men even at the age of 100 and beyond+ <o/ever for a man to
have hea%thy 3hi%dren at the age of C& is very diffi3u%t+ But /hat $rom$ted *antanu to have
3hi%dren at that ageE After Chitrangada /as born *antanu.s infatuation /ith *atyavati $robab%y
ended and he might have fi%%ed /ith the fee%ing of gui%t+ <e had married a /omen younger than
his o/n son+ Not on%y that he made his son to forgo the right to be the future )ing of
<astina$ura and the right to beget 3hi%dren+ Be3ause of this he might have distan3ed himse%f
from his /ife+ But as a )ing it is im$ortant for him to have more sons+ *in3e Aevavrata $%edged
he /on.t be )ing and sin3e on%y Chitrangada /as there to inherit the )ingdom he might have
fe%t the throne of <astina$ura /as inse3ure+ *atyavati too might have fe%t the gui%t of )ee$ing
Aevavrata a/ay from the throne se3uring it for her 3hi%dren+ But that gui%t might have over3ome
by the inse3urity that she have on%y one son+ *o she might have 3ontinuous%y urged *antanu for
another son+ 0his e5$%ains the %ong age ga$ bet/een Chitrangada and Vi3hitravirya+
0he $robabi%ity for 3hi%dren born at o%d age to be unhea%thy is high+ 6t seems that Vi3hitravirya
/as unhea%thy right from his birth+ <e never $arti3i$ated in any batt%e+ <e is never mentioned as
su$$orting his brother Chitrangada /hen the %atter /as engaged in a do1or1die batt%e /ith the
?andharvas+ 8e may e53use this by 3onsidering that Vi3hitravirya /as $robab%y too young for
batt%e then+ <o/ever there /ere no /ar1songs in the name of Vi3hitravirya+ ;ven for marriage
he had to de$end on Bhishma.s va%or+ No other )ing is mentioned as de$ending on others to
obtain /ife+ @sua%%y it /as the )ing or /arrior himse%f /ho goes to a se%f13hoi3e ,*/ayamvara-
3eremony and obtain maidens as his /ife+ 6n 3ase of Vi3hitravirya it /as Bhishma /ho /ent to
the se%f13hoi3e 3eremony to obtain /ives for Vi3hitravirya+ A%% these $oints fingers at
Vi3hitravirya.s hea%th and his abi%ity for $hysi3a% e5haustion+ <e a%so died of a res$iratory
infe3tion ,4hthisis- /hi3h is the fina% 3%ue for his fragi%e hea%th+ <is ear%y )ingshi$ and ear%y
marriage too aggravated his i%%1hea%th /hi3h /as a%/ays /ith him sin3e his birth from an o%d1
aged father+
Mahabharata mentions the 3ause of *antanu.s death to be o%d age and menta% grief+ <e did not
die in batt%e+ 6 3onsider that he /as then in his eighties and not in his 120s be3ause he died /ith
3onstant menta% agitation and the fee%ing of gui%t+ 0hese a%/ays shorten a $erson.s %ife
e5$e3tan3y+ Assume *antanu died at 7"+ 0hen *atyavati /ou%d be >& Aevavrata >7
Chitrangada 22 and Vi3hitavirya /ou%d be 7 years of age+ 6 3onsider Chitrangada be3ame heir1
a$$arent ,Buva19aja- at the age of 2> and )ing ,9aja- at the usua% age of 2& after $ro$er%y
3om$%eting his 12 year o%d mi%itary edu3ation and ba3he%or %ife ,Brahma3harya-+ 0here is nothing
in Mahabharata indi3ating that he be3ame a )ing $remature%y un%i)e his brother Vi3hitravirya+
But Chitrangada seemed to be busy as a )ing and a /arrior and forgot to marry+ As soon as he
be3ame )ing he /ent on to mi%itary e5$edition subjugating many )ings+ :ina%%y he /as 3aught in
a " year /ar /ith the ?andharvas from /hi3h he never es3a$ed+ 6 assume Chitrangada s$ent "
years for mi%itary e5$ansions and the remaining three years of his %ife engaging in the %ong /ar
/ith the ?andharvas+ 0hus Chitrangada died at the age of "1 /hen Vi3hitravirya /as just 1C
years o%d+ Vi3hitravirya /as then as)ed to assume the the throne and be3ome )ing+ 0his mat3hes
/ith the referen3e in Mahabharata that he had to be3ome )ing before attaining the right age to
do so+ *oon after he be3ame )ing he /as as)ed to marry+
'here is a reference in Mahabharata at Mbh.(.()) where *antan is mentioned as en+oying
domestic life for ,- years and then retiring to woods. " have avoided this nmber in my
calclation since this was a floating statement. *bse/ently it mentions that Devavrata became
king after *antan retired to woods. 'hs this is an alternative history on the life of *antan and
Devavrata. " am investigating on this as a separate research-thread! which will be pdated on
the article on Bhishma. *oon after these statements the Mahabharata narration retrns to the
main corse and describes how king *antan met the grown p Devavrata for the first time.
$hy Amva on%t marry #ichitravirya&
6 $resume Vi3hitravirya /as 17 years o%d ,one year after he be3ame )ing- /hen she married
Amvi)a and Amva%i)a+ 6 a%so assume Amva%i)a to be one year younger to Vi3hitravirya at the
age of 1C her e%der sister Amvi)a at 17 eHua% in age to Vi3hitravirya and her e%dest sister Amva
at 1# one year e%der to him+ 6t /as fine in those days to marry /omen younger or eHua% to your
age but never those /ho /ere e%der+ 0his 3ou%d be yet another reason /hy Amva /ou%d not
marry Vi3hitravirya+ 0he $rimary reason she mentioned /as that she /anted to marry the *a%/a
)ing+ 6f this /as the on%y reason she 3ou%d have married Vi3hitravirya after she /as reje3ted by
*a%/a+ After a%% t/o of her younger sisters /ere ha$$i%y married to Vi3hitravirya and she /as
abdu3ted by Bhishma a%ong /ith them for the /ho%e $ur$ose of marrying her to Vi3hitravirya+ 8e
3an a%so see in Mahabharata that Amva $ro$osed to marry Bhishma+ *o this Bhishma /as
3ertain%y e%der than Amva+ Aevavrata.s $%edge of %ife1%ong 3e%iba3y /as not a se3ret+ 0here is no
doubt that this /as )no/n to Amva a%so+ *o 6 do not thin) the .Bhishma. that Amva /as referring
to at this $oint /as Aevavrata+ 0his Bhisma /as somebody e%se /ho /as e%der than Amva but
not the Aevavrata the son of *antanu+
0his is /here 6 introdu3e the other Bhishma /ho /as a ?angeya %i)e Aevavrata and $robab%y
re%ated to Aevavrata though a strong b%ood re%ation /hi3h /e do not )no/ /hat+ :or more
detai%s $%ease refer my ana%ysis in the arti3%e on Mahabharata1e$isode2 u$to e$isode& and a%so
my arti3%e on Bhishma+ 0he summary of this ana%ysis is that Aevavrata and Bhishma /ere
different+ Bhishma /as not a son of Aevavrata but of his son.s age be%onging to the same tribe
,?angeya tribe-+ Aue to Aevavrata and his $%edge a%% of the members of the ?angeya tribe /ere
su$$osed to $rote3t the throne of <astina$ura from threats+ 6n other /ords they had to server
as the genera%issimos of the (uru1army+ 6n (uru)shetra /ar Bhishma indeed served as the
3ommander1in13hief of (uru army under (uru )ing Auryodhana+ Bhishma inherited from
Aevavrata his obje3tive of $rote3ting the (uru )ings and $robab%y de3ided to remain 3e%ibate
%i)e Aevavrata+ Being a ?angeya $rote3tion of (urus /as mandatory for Bhishma+ But 6 3onsider
Bhishma.s 3hoi3e to remain 3e%ibate /as o$tiona% un%i)e the 3ase of Aevavrata+ 0his 3ou%d be the
reason /hy Amva as)ed Bhisma to marry her+ 8hat /as then the age of BhishmaE *in3e Amva
3hoose to marry Bhishma he is 3ertain%y e%der to Amva+ 6 3onsider Bhishma 2 years e%der than
Vi3hitravirya and 1 year e%der to Amva+ <e 3ou%d be o%der than that but 6 too) the %o/est
$ossib%e age for my ana%ysis+ 0hus /hen this in3ident /as ha$$ening Bhishma /as 20 years o%d
Amva /as 1# years o%d and Vi3hitravirya /as 17 years o%d+ 0his a%so e5$%ain the manner in /hi3h
Bhishma abdu3ted the brides from (asi+ <e ne/er sho/ed the maturity of a &7 year o%d
,Aevavrata /ou%d be &7 then as $er our 3a%3u%ations-+ 8hat he e5hibited at (asi /as the
strength and viri%ity of a 20 year o%d together /ith the brashness and immaturity of that age+ <e
3onsidered abdu3ting of the maidens against their /i%% and defeating and humi%iating a%% the
assemb%ed )ings as a means to dis$%ay his va%or+ 0he urge of a young /arrior /ho just /ant to
$rove himse%fD 4robab%y he /anted to $rove in his o/n immature /ays that he /as /orthy of
the tit%e .Bhishma. a/arded to him by AevavrataE
$hy Amva became angry at 'hishma&
8hen Bhishma $ro3%aimed to Amva that he had $%edged to remain 3e%ibate Bhishma /as re%iving
the terrib%e $%edge of Aevavrata on3e again+ 0his /as yet another terrib%e $%edge+ 0hus he might
have be3ome on3e again /orthy of the tit%e .Bhishma.+ Amva.s rea3tion /as sur$rising+ *he /as
sho3)ed by that statement and 3hose to be3ome an ar3h1enemy of Bhishma+ 6t is as if that Amva
never )ne/ that Bhishma had made su3h an oath+ 6f it /ere Aevavrata then the /ho%e /or%d
)ne/ that he had $%edged to remain 3e%ibate+ *o there /as no need for Amva to $ro$ose
marriage /ith him and get sho3)ed to )no/ that he /as a 3e%ibate+ 0his a%so strengthen our
theory that Amva /as indeed s$ea)ing to a ne/ Bhishma+ May be it /as the first time the ne/
Bhishma o$en%y $ro3%aimed his intention to fo%%o/ the footste$s of Aevavrata+ 4erha$s this /as
needed to remove the fears of Vi3hitravirya+ *in3e Bhishma /as a different $erson from
Aevavrata he had a 3hoi3e not to be3ome a 3e%ibate and beget 3hi%dren though he may be
bound due to his triba% roots as a ?angeya to $rote3t the throne of <astina$ura on the basis of
Aevavrata.s o%d $%edge+ 8hen Amva as)ed to marry Bhisma he removed a%% the fears from the
(uru house by revita%i=ing his $rede3essor Aevavrata.s $%edge of %ife1%ong 3e%iba3y+ 0hough this
terrib%e $%edge /ou%d have made Vi3hitravirya and *atyavati ha$$y it /ou%d have shattered
Amva+ *he )ne/ her on%y future /as in be3oming the /ife of Bhishma+ *he /as banished both
by her %over *a%/a and her father the )ing of (asi sin3e she /as abdu3ted by Bhishma in a
brash and immature dis$%ay of va%or+ *he had a%% the right to demand Bhishma to marry her+ But
Bhishma shattered a%% of this in one b%o/+
$hy (evavrata and 'hishma did not help "hitrangada in his
three year long battle&
8hat ever be the im$ression Bhisma %eft on others by his im$u%sive a3t of abdu3tion he then
be3ame famous as the ne/ and young 3ommander1in13hief of <astina$ura+ 0he inte%%igent and
gent%e Aevavrata ,the o%d Bhishma and the o%d 3ommander- gave /ay to the young and bri%%iant
Bhishma the ne/ 3ommanderD One doubt remain /hy Aevavrata or Bhishma /as not mentioned
in the three year /ar of Chitrangada /ith the ?andharvas+ 0he ans/er is that /hen this /ar
started Bhishma /as just 1' years o%d and /as undergoing his mi%itary training+ Chitrangada.s
obsession /ith territory e5$ansion and mi%itary e5$edition started mu3h before the three year
/ar /ith the ?andharvas+ 6t started sin3e he be3ame )ing+ 0hen Bhishma as $er our
3a%3u%ations /as just 1" years o%d+ But Aevavrata /as &1 then+ 8hen Chitrangada died he /ou%d
be at &C+ 0hese /ere 3ertain%y not the $rime ages for a /arrior but they /ere a%so not the age
for a /arrior to retire during those $eriods+ 0he ans/er is that Aevavrata /as never a great
/arrior /ho 3an fight in the front1%ine of batt%e+ <e $robab%y stayed in <astina$ura defending it
from any sur$rise atta3)s from the enemies+ 0his /as $robab%y needed to $rote3t the )ing.s
younger brother vi=+ Vi3hitravirya from threats+ 9emember *antanu 3hose Aevavrata to be a
)ing ,9aja- not a 3ommander ,*ena$ati- seeing his inte%%igen3e gent%eness and his dee$ fi%ia%
devotion+ 0he on%y e5am$%e for Aevavrata.s s)i%% in ar3hery found mentioned in Mahabharata
/as not an a3hievement in batt%efie%d but an a3hievement in engineering fie%d+ <e im$ressed
*antanu by 3onstru3ting a dam made of arro/s in the 3ourse of river ?anga+
$hat happened to (evavrata of !antanu era if he is not
'hishma of Pandava era&
8hat ha$$ened to Aevavrata the o%d BhishmaE After /itnessing the death of his father he might
have fe%t %ife meaning%ess+ <is fi%ia% devotion /as very strong+ After a%% *antanu had no $rob%em
in a33e$ting Aevavrata as his %ong %ost son+ <e did not Huestion his /ife ?anga if the son that
she /as returning to him after many years of se$aration /as indeed his o/n son+ 4eo$%e of the
)ingdom might have doubted on the va%idity of ?anga.s 3%aim but *antanu never doubted ?anga
or his son+ Contrast this /ith Aushyanta /ho doubted his /ife *a)unta%a and son /hen
*a)unta%a 3ame to reunite /ith him a%ong /ith their son Bharata+ *antanu.s faith in Aevavrata
and his mother /as returned by Aevavrata in the form of his strong devotion to his father+ 0his
fi%ia% devotion /as the motivation for the /ho%e of his %ife+ 6t is /hat made him to ma)e the
terrib%e $romise by /hi3h he sa3rifi3ed his right to throne and the right to beget 3hi%dren at one
b%o/+ <e might have %ost the /i%% to %ive after his be%oved father.s death+ But his sense of duty
and his $%edge of $rote3ting his father.s sons and there by the throne of <astina$ura might have
urged him to %ive on+ But /hen Chitrangada died in batt%e Aevavrata.s $romise /as $art bro)enD
<e 3ou%d not $revent the death of Chitrangada+ <e might have 3onsidered this as his fai%ure+ <e
fai%ed in $rote3ting the throne of <astina$uraD 4robab%y he might have 3hosen to retire+ 4robab%y
he insta%%ed Vi3hitravirya at the throne of <astina$ura and retired to woods transferring his tit%e
and his $%edge to another member of his tribe vi=+ the ne/ and young Bhishma+
Another !ossi$ility is based on a 3%ue in the form of a boon that *antanu is mentioned as
giving Aevavrata+ 6n res$onse to Aevavrata.s terrib%e $%edge that enab%e him to marry *atyavati
he gave his son the boon to die /henever he /ished to do so ,*/a3handa1Mrtyu-+ 6n sim$%e
terms this /as the right to 3ommit sui%ide+ Aevvrata might have e5er3ised this right after the
3oronation of Vi3hitravirya+ A third !ossi$ility is that he died an infamous death in the /ar
bet/een Chitrangada and the ?andharvas /hi3h the bards /on.t ta%) about or sing /ar1songs
about+ 0his /i%% reHuire that Vi3hitravirya /as insta%%ed at the throne by the 1# year o%d Bhishma+
Be3ause of this 6 don.t $ut mu3h /eight on this $ossibi%ity+ But if /e 3onsider that it /as not
Bhishma but some others %i)e a $riest /ho insta%%ed Vi3hitravirya there is no $rob%em+ But
Mahabharata e5$%i3it%y mentions Bhishma.s ro%e in the insta%%ation of Vi3hitravirya at the throne
and no other than the o%d Bhishma vi=+ Aevavrata fits into that ro%e+
Ages of individuals during the birth of Pandu
6t is mentioned in Mahabharata that Vi3hitravirya %ived C years of fruit%ess married %ife and died+
*o his age at the time of death /as 2&+ 6t /as too young an age to dieD 0hen *atyavati /ou%d be
at '2 Aevavrata if a%ive /ou%d be at '& Bhishma as $er our 3a%3u%ation /ou%d be at 2C Amva at
2' Amvi)a at 2& and Amva%i)a at 2>+ As $er Mahabharata *atyavati /as a%armed by the em$ty
throne of <astina$ura and /anted ne/ heirs for the )ingdom as Hui3)%y as $ossib%e+ After one
year of mourning *atyavati /ou%d have as)ed Bhishma to beget 3hi%dren u$on the /ives of
Vi3hitravirya+ But Bhishma stu3) to his $%edge or remaining a 3e%ibate+ 0hen she might have
invited her e%der son Vyasa for the same tas)+ Based on our 3a%3u%ations Vyasa then /ou%d be
aged >C+ 0his e5$%ain the strange behavior e5hibited by Amvia)a and Amva%i)a /hen Vyasa
entered their rooms+ 0hey /ere used to see Vi3hitravirya /ho /as at his $rime youth+ 0hough
Mahabharata mention Vi3hitravirya as /ea)1bodied he /as mentioned as e5treme%y handsome
and very young+ 6nstead they /ere seeing a >C year o%d sageD At most they might have e5$e3ted
that it /ou%d be the youthfu% Bhishma of 27 years of age+ But Vyasa at the age of >C /ith his
matted %o3)s and sage %i)e $rimitive out%oo) might have been terrib%e for them+ *in3e Vyasa
im$regnated the three %adies vi= Amvi)a.s servant ,Aasi- Amvi)a and Amva%i)a /ithin a /ee)s
time the 3hi%dren vi=+ Vidura Ahritarashta and 4andu might have born more or %ess during the
same year+ 0here is an interesting arti3%e about the birth of the three vi=+ Vidura Ahritarashtra
and 4andu by a /riter named 6ndaajeet here+ 6 tend to agree /ith most of his findings+ 0he
major $oint of his ana%ysis is that Vidura /as the e%der than Ahritarashta and 4andu+ 6n any
3ase age ga$ bet/een them /as a fe/ days+ Assuming that they /ere born t/o years after
Vi3hitravirya.s death due to urgen3y of the situation *atyavti /ou%d be then at '> Bhishma at
2# and Amva%i)a at 2'+
Ages of Individuals during the death of Pandu
*in3e Ahritarashtra /as b%ind and sin3e Vidura /as born of a servant ,Aasi- among the three of
them 4andu /as 3hosen as the )ing+ 6 $resume that 4andu too be3ame )ing at an ear%y age %i)e
Vi3hitravirya urged by a va3ant throne+ Vi3hitravirya be3ame )ing at 1C and married at 17+
4andu ho/ever had the mindset of a 3onHueror %i)e Chitrangada ,un%i)e Vi3hitravirya-+
Considering that 4andu be3ame )ing at the tender age of 17 and s$end some time in mi%itary
e5$editions and territory e5$ansion %i)e Chitrangada he might have married at the age of 20+ <e
/on (unti in a se%f13hoi3e 3eremony as his first /ife+ But he remained 3hi%d%ess even after one
year+ Bhishma might have sensed some $rob%em and 3hose Madri as se3ond /ife for 4andu+
8hen 4andu /as at 20 Bhishma /ou%d be at ># and no %onger an immature teen1ager /hen he
abdu3ted the (asi maidens+ <e /as no/ mature+ <e /ent to Madra )ingdom and bought Madri
by $aying money to Madra )ing *ha%ya the brother of Madri as that /as the 3ustom $revai%ed in
Madra )ingdom+ 0his time there /ere no batt%e and it /as a $ea3efu% affair+ But his basi3
3hara3ter remains the same /hi3h is if a maiden 3annot be abdu3ted by for3e buy herD <e a%so
brought ?andhari from the ?andhara (ingdom as /ife for the b%ind Ahritarashtra+ Both Madra
and ?andhara /ere Bah%i)a )ingdoms and %ied very 3%ose to ea3h other+ 0heir 3u%tures /ere
same+ Bhishma $robab%y bought ?andhari by $aying money to *a)uni the brother of ?andhari
the same /ay he bought Madri by $aying tribute to *ha%ya+ 8e 3an a33e$t that Bhishma bought
a /ife for Ahritarashtra sin3e he /as b%ind and there /as no other /ay he 3ou%d get a /ife from
a de3ent roya% fami%y+ 8hy did he bought Madri for 4anduE 4erha$s Madri /as Bhishma.s 3hoi3e
for 4andu /hi%e (unti /as 4andu.s o/n 3hoi3e+ But /hen there /as no son born to 4andu even in
his ne/ /ife Madri after one year of their marriage 4andu too sensed troub%e+ 0his /as going
%i)e the C year %ong fruit%ess marita% %ife of Vi3hitraviryaD
0his 3ou%d be the reason /hy 4andu %eft to %ive in a forest1retreat a%ong /ith his t/o /ives+
Assume that 4andu married Madri at the age of 21 after the 1 year %ong married %ife /ith (unti
be3ame fruit%ess+ Assume that 1 year %ong %ife /ith Madri too be3ame fruit%ess+ 0hen he /as at
22+ <e might have %eft to the forest1retreat /ith his t/o /ives at this time+ 4andu did not /ent
to forest for $erforming $enan3e be3ause he too) his /ives too+ *o in the forest he /as trying
to mate /ith his t/o /ives to beget 3hi%dren+ 4erha$s forest retreat gave him a fresh
environment /here he though /ou%d ma)e his unions fruitfu%+ 4erha$s there /ere some herba%
medi3ine or a herba% treatment offered by the sages that 3ou%d 3ure 4andu.s a$$arent im$oten3y+
After 1 year of tria%s 4andu ,age! 2"- might have frustrated and fina%%y o$ted to fo%%o/ the route
of &iyoga for begetting 3hi%dren+ 0his /as the same $ra3ti3e by /hi3h 4andu /as born+ 6t /as
the $ra3ti3e $revai%ed in roya% $a%a3es /hen a )ing be3omes issue1%ess his /ife /as im$regnated
by other ab%e men+ 0hus /e 3an assume that Budhisthira /as born /hen 4andu /as 2> years of
age+ Assume that ga$ bet/een the birth of Budhisthira and Bhima /as 1+& and bet/een Bhima
and Arjuna /as 1+&+ 0he ga$ bet/een Arjuna and the t/ins ,Na)u%a and *ahadeva- 3ou%d be 7
months or %ess+ A ga$ of 1+& years are needed for hea%thy $regnan3ies of a mother in su33ession+
*in3e the t/ins /ere born to Madri and Arjuna to (unti ga$ bet/een Arjuna.s birth and the
birth of the t/ins 3an be shorter+ 8hen the t/ins /ere born 4andu /as thus aged at around 27+
0here is an interesting arti3%e on the birth of 4andavas /ritten by 6ndrajeet here+ 0he im$ortant
$oint 6 ta)e from 6ndrajeet.s ana%ysis is that Arjuna /as 4andu.s o/n son+ 0hough Budhisthira
and Bhima /ere born of Niyoga 4andu /as fina%%y ab%e to 3ure his im$oten3y and father Arjuna
u$on his /ife (unti+ 8hen Madri begged for a son Arjuna /as $robab%y not born ,may be 7
months o%d inside /omb- and so it /ou%d not be 3%ear to (utni or 4andu that their union had
rea%%y su33eeded+ *o 4andu might have advised Madri for Niyoga for begetting 3hi%dren+ 0hus the
t/ins /ere born by Madri through Niyoga+ 6f Madri had 3on3eived /hen (unti.s %ast $regnan3y
/as 7 months o%d she /i%% de%iver the t/ins after #+& months and (unti /i%% de%iver Arjuna after
1+& more months both being hea%thy $regnan3ies+ 0hus Arjuna /as on%y eight months o%der than
Na)u%a and *ahadeva+
After si5 months sin3e the birth of the t/ins Madri be3ame 3a$ab%e of giving birth to another
3hi%d+ No/ it /as a%so 3%ear that 4andu /as 3a$ab%e of begetting 3hi%dren+ Madri might have
/anted a 3hi%d from 4andu+ But their union turned to a tragedy+ 4andu might have died of a
heart 3om$%i3ation $robab%y be3ause of some 3ongenita% i%%ness+ Mahabharata mentions that
4andu /as anemi3 and hen3e /hitish in 3om$%e5ion+ <e might have %a3)ed suffi3ient red1b%ood
3e%%s in his b%ood+ 0his /ou%d have $revented suffi3ient o5ygen f%o/ to his brain /hi%e engaged in
$hysi3a% e5ertion %eading to un3ons3iousness and death+ 0his 3ou%d be the reason /hy he /as
never ab%e to beget 3hi%dren before and Arjuna.s birth /as $robab%y a mira3%e or the resu%t of
3on3entrated medi3a% treatment+ 0his 3ou%d a%so be the reason /hy there /as so mu3h of
3e%ebration /hen Arjuna /as born+
6n any 3ase /e 3an assume that 4andu /as a %itt%e above 27 years of age /hen he died+ At that
time Budhisthira /as above > years o%d Amva%i)a the mother of 4andu /as &> years o%d
*atyavati the grandmother of 4andu /as at #2+ 8e %earn from Mahabharata that after 4andu.s
death the sage in the forest sent the 4andavas and (unti to <astina$ura and then on/ards they
%ived there+ One year after that /e see that *atyavati ,#"- Amvi)a ,&'- and Amva%i)a ,&&-
retired to /oods at the advi3e of Vyasa /ho /as then CC years o%d+ Bhishma /as then &7 years
#yasa1 and #yasa)
<ere 6 ma)e an assum$tion that the Vyasa of *antanu era too fo%%o/ed *atyavati+ 0his Vyasa
might have %ived ti%% the age of 122 due to his as3eti3 mode of %ife and might have been a%ive
/hen Arjuna.s grandson 4ari)shit /as born+ But 6 guess he /as $ra3ti3a%%y retired from the
affairs of the /or%d as his mother retired to the /oods+ Li)e the origina% Bhishma ,Aevavrata-
fo%%o/ed his father *antanu in /ords and deeds the origina% Vyasa ,Vyasa1- fo%%o/ed his mother
*atyavati in /ords and deedsD 6 3onsider Vyasa2 to be born /hen Vyasa1 /as &0 years of age+ 6t
is not ne3essary that Vyasa2 /as the son of Vyasa1 but that is a%so a $ossibi%ity+ 6 $resume it
/as Vyasa2 /ho intera3ted /ith the 4andavas and guided them throughout their %ife+
*in3e Vyasa1 /as sti%% a%ive he might have trave%ed to <astina$ura to advi3e his son
Ahritarashta on rare o33asions and a%so /hen Bhishma died in (uru)shtra /ar+ <e might not
have %ived beyond the birth of 4ari)shit at /hi3h time he /as 122 years of age+ *in3e then on%y
Vyasa2 remained+
Age analysis though the life of the Pandavas
Let us ana%y=e the 3ru3ia% in3idents during the %ife of the 4andavas by 3ounting the age of
Budhisthira+ Budhisthira /as > to & years of age /hen his father died and he rea3hed
<astina$ura+ Auryodhana /as born to Ahritarashtra one year after Budhisthira /as born+ 0hus
Budhisthira /as e%der and /as su$$osed to be the ne5t )ing+ But Auryodhana /as the 3urrent
)ing Ahritarastra.s son+ *o the edu3ation of the (auravas and 4andavas might have fo%%o/ed the
age of Budhisthira or that of Auryodhana+ *in3e the differen3e is on%y 1 year %et us forget about
it+ Counting based on Budhistira.s age his norma% edu3ation started at the age of ' and mi%itary
edu3ation at the age of 12+ After 12 years mi%itary edu3ation /as 3om$%eted Budhisthira /as
made heir1a$$arent ,Buva19aja-+ Budhisthria /ou%d be then 2> years of age+ Add one year ea3h
to the fo%%o/ing in3idents!1 Attem$ted murder of the 4andavas at Varanavata Bhima meets
<idimba in the forest 1 year %ife in ;)a3ha)ra vi%%age marriage of 4an3ha%i+ Budhisthira.s age is
no/ 27+ Budhisthira earned the right to beget the first 3hi%d u$on 4an3ha%i though Arjuna had
/on the hand of 4an3ha%i+ 0his /as be3ause it /as regu%ated that 4an3ha%i be the /ife of a%% the
five 4andavas and that she shou%d s$end one fu%% year /ith ea3h of them to determine /ho /as
the father of ea3h of the 3hi%dren born to 4an3ha%i+ 0his /ou%d %ead to an unhea%thy situation for
4an3ha%i /hose interva% bet/een su33essive de%iveries and 3on3e$tion /i%% be as %ess as 2 or "
months+ <o/ever sin3e this is e5$%i3it%y mentioned in Mahabharata 6 sti3) to this 3a%3u%ation+
Age 27 /as very s$e3ia% to Budhisthira + At this age he obtained 4an3ha%i as his Hueen through
the bravery of his brothers Arjuna and BhimaG he be3ame a (ing ,of 6ndra$rastha- and by the
end of this year he a%so obtained a son by 4an3ha%i named 4rativindhya+
$hy Ar*una ent for a long pilgrimage&
0hough it /as Arjuna /ho /on 4an3ha%i /ith the he%$ of Bhima she started %iving /ith
Budhisthira for the first year fo%%o/ing the ru%e set by Narada and a$$roved by Vyasa+ *o Arjuna
%eft the $a%a3e to sear3h for other /ives+ 0hus 6 3onsider there is not mu3h truth in the story of
Arjuna going for a 1" '() year %ong !ilgrimage'() as mentioned in Mahabharata+ Arjuna /as
a3tua%%y sear3hing for other /omen+ <e in his /anderings married IIINagaJJ $rin3ess @%u$i
/hose territories %ied on the ban)s of river ?anga and $rin3ess Chitrangada of Naga1Aravida
origin /hose territories %ied some /here in the southern Orissa or northern Andhra 4radesh+ 0he
3ity of Mani$ura seems to be a (a%inga $ort13ity+ :rom there after en3ountering some A$sara
%adies in his /anderings he fina%%y rea3hed A/ara)a+ 0here he married (rishna.s sister *ubhadra+
8hen he returned /ith *ubhadra to 6ndra$rastha 4an3ha%i had a%ready de%ivered a son to
Budhisthira and Bhima and by turn 4an3ha%i /as no/ his /ife and *ubhadra /as $regnant /ith
Arjuna.s son+ By this time @%u$i and Chitrangada had a%ready de%ivered Arjuna.s babies+ 8hen
Budhisthira /as aged 2# Arjuna.s son by *ubhadra vi=+ Abhimanyu /as born+ After Abhimanyu
/as born Arjuna /ent /ith *ubhadra and 4an3ha%i for a $%easure tri$ at (handava a%ong /ith
(rishna and his /ife+ 6t /as then the Burning of (handava ha$$ened+ 6n the same year Arjuna.s
son by 4an3ha%i /as born+ 0hus Arjuna.s e%dest son ,e53%uding sons born by @%u$i and
Chitrangada- /as Abhimanyu+ After burning of (handava Maya started 3onstru3tion of the
famous assemb%y ha%%+ 6t /as 3om$%eted by the time 4an3ha%i de%ivered babies of Na)u%a and
*ahadeva+ 0hen Budhisthira.s age /as "2+ Jarasandha /as )i%%ed /hen Budhisthira /as "" and
9ajasuya /as 3ondu3ted /hen he /as ">+ ?ame of di3e ha$$ened /hen he /as at "&+
Age of Individuals at the time of +urukshetra $ar
After the game of di3e the 4andavas /ere banished for 12 years of forest %ife and 1 year of
in3ognito %ife+ But these years /ere 3a%3u%ated by Bhishma using %unar 3a%ender /hi%e
Auryodhana 3a%3u%ated it using so%ar 3a%ender /hi3h made him be%ieve that he dis3overed the
identity of the 4andavas before their 1 year in3ognito %ife /as 3om$%eted+ 0hus this /ho%e $eriod
%asted on%y 12 so%ar years or %ess than that+ 0hus Budhisthira /as >C after the one year of
in3ognito %ife+ One year /ent in /ar $re$arations and $ea3e ta%)s+ *o /hen the (uru)shetra /ar
ha$$ened Budhisthira /as ># years of age+ At this time Bhisma.s age /as 102 and Abhimanyu.s
age /as 20+ Based on our genera% ana%ysis about the age of $eo$%e during the Mahabharata /ar
this age /as not a hindran3e for Bhishma for $arti3i$ating in the /ar and survive it for fu%% 10
days as the 3ommander1in13hief of the army+ :or a modern day 100 year o%d this feat might be
near im$ossib%e+ But 3onsidering the fa3t that the number of $eo$%e /ho %ived u$ to the age of
120 /as higher in those days in 3om$arison to modern days Bhishma.s age of 102 is a33e$tab%e+
<e 3ou%d have %ived u$to 110 years if he did not die in the batt%e dis3ounting 10 years from 120
years for the %ife e5$e3tan3y of Bhishma o/ing to his %ife as a /arrior+ But if /e 3he3) the %ife of
Aevavrata he /ou%d have turned 1>0 at this age if he /as ever a%ive+ Vyasa1 as $er our
3a%3u%ation /ou%d be no/ 121 years nearing his death+ 4robab%y Vyasa1 might have visited
Bhishma as he %ay dead in batt%e fie%d+ Vyasa1 might have %ived one more year to hear the ne/s
of the birth of 4ari)shit and then might have died soon at the age of 122+
#yasa) and #yasa,
At the time of (uru)shetra /ar Ahritarashtra /as aged C"+ Vyasa2 /as aged C1+ 6 here
introdu3e Vyasa" too+ 4robab%y he /as no/ aged 21+ 6 assume Vyasa" to be born /hen Vyasa2
turned &0+ 0hus Vyasa2.s age /as 3om$arab%e to the age of Ahritarashta Vyasa".s age /as
3om$arab%e to Abhimanyu+
On an average! as per my calclations! the generation gap of members of *antan0s lineage was
arond %1 and that of 2yasa0s lineage was arond 1). 3ven this difference in generation gap is
sfficient to create an illsion that the members of 2yasa lineage were living longer or that they
were 4hiran+eevees 5those who live for ever6! especially from the point of view of a member in
the lineage of *antan. 'his! copled with the fact that sccessive generations of 2yasas chose
to identify themselves as 02yasa0 instead of promoting their own individal identities! might have
lead to the myth of a long living 2yasa! who lived for many centries. Members of 2yasa0s
lineage still exist in "ndia! so do members of 2almiki0s lineage. *imilarly there are 2asisthas!
Bharadwa+as and 7atamas too in modern day "ndia. 'hese srnames are still alive. 'hs as a
family! 2yasa is still alive.
-rom Parikshit to Asamedhadatta
As $er Mahabharata 4ari)shit /as born 1 year after (uru)shetra /ar+ 8e a%so %earn from
Mahabharata that "' years sin3e the (uru)shetra 8ar there /as a /ar at A/ara)a+ After this
the 4andavas retired to /oods and 4ari)shit be3ame )ing+ 8hen 4ari)shit /as born as $er our
3a%3u%ation Budhisthira /as &0 and Ahritarashtra /as C>+ Assume that Janamejaya /as born
/hen 4ari)shit /as 2&+ 0hen Ahritarashtra /as ## and $robab%y no/ retired to /oods+
Budhisthira /as then aged C&+ 8hen A/ara)a /ar bro)e out Ahritarashtra /as a%ready dead+
Budhisthira /as then 7& 4ari)shit at "& and Janamejaya at 10+ Vyasa1 /as then dead ,if a%ive
/as 1&C- Vyasa2 at 10C and Vyasa" at &C+ *oon after that 4ari)shit be3ame )ing at the age of
"'+ 0hen Budhisthria and brothers retired to /oods+ 0hen Budhisthira /as aged 7'+ <e $robab%y
died after 2 years of /anderings sin3e his retirement at the age of 77+ <o/ many years
Budhisthira %ived after retiring to /oods rea%%y do not affe3t our 3a%3u%ations mu3h+ Assume that
4ari)shit $remature%y died at the age of &0 /hen Janamejaya /as 2&+ Janamejaya then be3omes
the )ing+ At this time Vyasa2 /ou%d be 122 years of age and nearing his death or a%ready is
dead+ Vyasa1 if a%ive /ou%d be then 1C2 years of ageD+ Vyasa" /as then C2 years of age+ 0hus 6
3onsider the Vyasa /ho /as born to *atyavati and intera3ted /ith Bhishma and fathered
Ahritarashtra /as Vyasa1 /hi%e the Vyasa /ho intera3ted /ith the 4andavas /as Vyasa2 and
the Vyasa /ho intera3ted /ith 4ari)shit and Janamejaya /as Vyasa"+ *u)a /as $robab%y the son
of Vyasa"+ 6t /as *u)a /ho narrated Bhagavata to 4ari)shit+ 0he nu3%eus of Bhagavata /as
$robab%y authored by Vyasa" /hi3h he then des3ribed to *u)a+ 0hen Vyasa> a%ias *u)a might
have deve%o$ed it further and his sons grandsons and members do/n the %ine might have
3onverted it into a 4urana /hi3h /e no/ )no/ as the Bhagavata 4urana+ Bhagavata is thus
3onsidered a 4urana /here as Jaya ,Mahabharata- is an 6tihasa+ 6n the arti3%e 4urana and 6tihasa
6 have e5$%ained the differen3e bet/een a 4urana and an 6tihasa+ 0he former is 3om$osed
severa% 3enturies after the in3idents ha$$ened and the %atter is 3om$osed as and /hen ,or /ithin
a fe/ years after- the in3idents o33ur+
Jaya /hi3h %ater be3ame Mahabharata /as $robab%y authored by Vyasa2 /ho a%/ays intera3ted
/ith the 4andavas during their %ife1time+ <e might have taught it to Vyasa" /ho then taught it to
his dis3i$%es+ 8hen Mahabharata /as narrated to Janamejaya by Vaisham$ayana a dis3i$%e of
Vyasa" Janamejaya.s son *atani)a a%ready had his son As/amedhadatta born+ 6f /e 3onsider
*atani)a /as born around the time 4ari)shit died and Janamejaya be3ame )ing and assume
that As/amedhadatta /as born /hen *atani)a /as 2& /e get Janamejaya.s age at that time to
be &0+ Assuming that As/amedhadatta /as a & year o%d )id /hen Mahabharata /as re3ited /e
get the age of Janamejaya /hen Mahabharata /as re3ited to be &&+ 0hen Vyasa1 if a%ive /ou%d
be 202 years o%d and Vyasa2 if a%ive /ou%d be 1&2 years o%d and Vyasa" /ou%d be 102 years o%d+
0hus 6 3onsider during the re3ita% of Mahabharata on%y Vyasa" /as a%ive+