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Ongoing Segment: The Mahabharata

Updated: Nov 21, 2020

What is The Mahabharata? Read about this tale that the Hindu religion is based around (also the Ramayana) and learn more about the origins of the beauty and vibrance you can see in India.

The Hindu religion is one of the very many cultures represented by India. Every culture has its origins, and this religion is no different. I myself, being of Indian descent, find this topic especially intriguing. I hope you will too. Now, I will begin.

Kunti and Her Sons

Once upon a time, Kunti, a woman living in India, was granted a boon from a sage named Durvasa. Sage Durvasa offered her a boon to make a god have a child for her. Now Kunti was married to King Pandu who told her to use the boon and get sons. So she got granted three sons. Her sons were named Yudhishthira (son of Dharma), Bheema (son of Vayu), and Arjuna (son of Indra). King Pandu had another wife, Madri, who was well known for her beauty. Anyway, Kunti taught Madri what the mantra that triggered the boon was, and thus, Madri had two sons: Nakula and Sahadeva (sons of the Asvini Twins). When King Pandu died, Madri killed herself, leaving Kunti alone with the five brothers. Together, they were the Pandava brothers. But before you get too interested in them, you must pay attention to their brother's story.

Please remember this information because it is very important in the future. Karna ( son of Surya), Kunti's first son, was abandoned by his mother because she couldn't handle having a son. And so Karna was raised by a charioteer named Adhiratha. In India there is a system called the caste system. That basically means that there were different levels of power, and people got different opportunities based on their ranking. Karna was technically a Kshatriya (military person), but having been raised by a charioteer, was considered a Sutputra (son of charioteer). Karna first studied under a man called Dronacharya (3rd incarnation of Brahma), who actually taught the Pandavas and Kauravas (we'll get to them later), but when asked if he could be taught Brahmastra, he was rejected because of his caste. Then Karna went to a different teacher, called Lord Parshuram (6th incarnation of Lord Vishnu) who only taught Brahmins, and hated Kshatriyas because a group of them had killed his father. Knowing this, Karna disguised himself as a Brahmin, and learned so many things from Guru Parshuram. One day, while Lord Parshuram was sleeping, Karna got stung by a scorpion, but didn't move, so as to not disturb his teacher. Suddenly, Guru Parshuram woke, and saw the blood leaking from his disciple's thigh. He knew that a Brahmin couldn't silence his cries to protect another, and then cursed him for lying. The curse was that Karna wouldn't be able to use what he had learned when he really needed it. Karna may not have thought much of it then, but it played a big part in his future.

After that, Karna left, looking for something or other to do. Quickly, a cow ran by. Without even realizing what he was doing, Karna instinctively pulled out his bow and arrow and shot the poor animal. Cows are sacred animals in parts of India, and people will not let you harm one. It was the same with the Brahmin owner of this cow. Karna really had a bad day, for then he was cursed a second time! This curse said that he would also be killed when he wouldn't be able to defend himself, just as the cow was also defenseless in that situation.

Be sure to read next month's entry for this ongoing segment! That is, when it's posted!

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