Mahabharata: The Epic War for Dharma

Mahabharata: The Epic War for Dharma


The Mahabharata is an epic Indian text that dates back to around 400 BCE. It is one of the two major ancient Indian epics, the other being the Ramayana. The Mahabharata is an extraordinary literary masterpiece that tells the story of the great battle that was fought between two factions of a family for control of a kingdom. It is a story that is steeped in history, religion, and mythology, and it is one that has had a profound impact on Indian culture and society.

The Mahabharata is not simply a story about a war, it is also a story about morality, ethics, spirituality, and the nature of human existence. It is a story that has captured the imagination of generations of Indians, and it is one that continues to be studied and discussed today.

The Mahabharata Story:

The story of the Mahabharata begins with the kingdom of Hastinapura. The king of Hastinapura, Shantanu, married a beautiful woman named Satyavati. Satyavati had two sons, Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. When Chitrangada died in battle, Vichitravirya became the king, but he died without leaving an heir.

Satyavati then called upon her son Vyasa, who was a great sage, to impregnate Vichitravirya’s widows, Ambika and Ambalika, so that they could have children who would be heirs to the throne. Vyasa had two sons Ambika and Ambalika, but they were not strong enough to be kings. Vyasa then had a third son, who was born to Ambika’s maid, and he was named Vidura.

Satyavati then asked Vyasa to impregnate Ambika and Ambalika once again, but they were both scared of him and sent their maids instead. Ambika’s maid gave birth to a son named Dhritarashtra, who was born blind. Ambalika’s maid gave birth to a son named Pandu, who was not strong enough to be a king.

After Vichitravirya’s death, Bhishma, who was Satyavati’s son from a previous marriage, became the regent of the kingdom. Bhishma was a great warrior and he had taken a vow of celibacy, so he could not become king himself. Bhishma then arranged for the marriage of Pandu and his two wives, Kunti and Madri.

Pandu was not well, and he had to give up his kingdom and retire to the forest. While in the forest, Kunti used a boon that she had received from a sage to bear three sons, Yudhishthira, Bhima, and Arjuna. Madri used a similar boon to bear two sons, Nakula and Sahadeva.

Pandu died in the forest, and Kunti and Madri decided to immolate themselves on his funeral pyre. Yudhishthira then became the king, with Bhima and Arjuna as his brothers.

The Kauravas:

The Kauravas were the sons of Dhritarashtra, the blind son of Ambika. Dhritarashtra had a hundred sons, led by Duryodhana. Duryodhana was a proud and ambitious young man, who wanted to be king himself. He was envious of the Pandavas, who he saw as a threat to his own ambitions.

Duryodhana and his brothers, the Kauravas, were hostile toward the Pandavas from the beginning. They felt that the Pandavas had no right to the

throne and that they were illegitimate heirs. The Kauravas plotted against the Pandavas and tried to kill them on several occasions, but the Pandavas were always able to outsmart them.

The Pandavas and Kauravas were related by blood, and their animosity towards each other created a great conflict. The conflict came to a head when Duryodhana refused to give the Pandavas their rightful share of the kingdom. The Pandavas then went to war against the Kauravas to claim what was rightfully theirs.

The Kurukshetra War:

The Kurukshetra War, also known as the Mahabharata War, was a great battle that lasted for eighteen days. It was fought on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, and it involved millions of soldiers from both sides.

The Pandavas were led by Yudhishthira, who was a just and righteous king. He was supported by his brothers, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva, and by their allies, such as Krishna and the Yadava clan.

The Kauravas were led by Duryodhana, who was a proud and ambitious king. He was supported by his brothers, as well as by a number of powerful allies, including Bhishma, Drona, Karna, and Shakuni.

The war was brutal and violent, and it resulted in the deaths of many great warriors on both sides. The Pandavas emerged victorious but at a significant cost. Many of their loved ones had died in the war, including their teacher, Drona, and their grandfather, Bhishma.

The Aftermath:

After the war, the Pandavas took control of the kingdom, and Yudhishthira became the king. However, the war left a deep scar on their family, and they were haunted by the memory of the conflict for many years.

The Mahabharata ends with the Pandavas renouncing their kingdom and retiring to the forest. They were accompanied by their wife, Draupadi, and their dog. One by one, they died on the journey, until only Yudhishthira remained. He was then taken to heaven by the god, Indra.

Why it happened:

The Mahabharata is a complex text, with many different interpretations of its meaning. However, at its core, the Mahabharata is a story about dharma, the righteous way of living.

The Pandavas represented dharma, while the Kauravas represented adharma, the path of unrighteousness. The war between the two factions was a battle between good and evil, and it was fought to establish dharma and to defeat adharma.

The Mahabharata explores the complex themes of family loyalty, duty, morality, and spirituality. It delves deep into the human psyche, showing how greed, jealousy, and ego can drive even the closest of family members to turn against each other.


The Mahabharata is an epic tale that has captured the imagination of generations of Indians. It is a story that is steeped in history, religion, and mythology, and it is one that has had a profound impact on Indian culture and society.

At its core, the Mahabharata is a story about dharma and adharma, about the battle between good and evil. It is a story that teaches important lessons about the consequences of one’s actions and the importance of following the path of dharma, even in the face of great adversity. The Mahabharata remains a timeless tale that continues to inspire and enlighten people today.


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