How Long is Mahaabhaarat
The epic Mahaabhaarat has so many other aspects which common people do not know.
--Firstly, the epic as we see it today, containing 100,000 verses, was not
the creation of Ved Vyaas. He composed what was then known as the Jai, not
Mahaabhaarat, containing only 8,800 verses. Later on his disciple Vaishampayan
Jee enlarged it to contain 24,000 verses which was then known as the Bhaarat.
Finally Sauti, Romaharshan Jee, again a dear disciple of Vyaas Jee, gave it the
present form as we see it now, containing 100,000 verses.
Was Yudhishthir riding on a chariot drawn by bullocks?
When Dhritrashtra returned to Hastinaapur after seeing Bheeshm, his chariot was
drawn by bullocks. One may look it up in BORI's Mahaabhaarat index. At times
Dhritarashtra and Gaandhaaree traveled in palanquin also and some men used to
In Shaanti Parv, Yudhishthir is riding bullock-cart
drawn by 16 white bullocks and Dhritrashtra rides palanquin.
[What can be make out of the bullock-drawn chariot for Yudhishthir, in the midst
of the horse-drawn chariots for others?]
Here is the relevant part for all -----
"Surrounded by all of them like the Moon by the stars, the king, placing
Dhritraashtra at the head of the train, set out for entering the city. Desirous
of entering the city, Kuntee's son Yudhishthir, conversant with every duty,
offered worship unto the gods and thousands of Braahman. He then ascended a new
and white car covered with blankets and deerskins, and unto which were yoked
sixteen white bullocks possessed of auspicious marks, and which had been sanctified
with Vaidik Mantra. Adored by panegyrists and bards, the king mounted upon that
car like Som riding upon his own ambrosial vehicle. His brother Bheem of terrible
prowess took the reins. Arjun held over his head a white umbrella of great effulgence.
That white umbrella held upon the car looked beautiful like a star-decked white cloud
in the firmament. The two heroic sons of Maadree, viz., Nakul and Sahadev, took up
two yak-tails white as the rays of the Moon and adorned with gems for fanning the king.
The five brothers decked with ornaments, having ascended the car, O king, looked like
the five elements (that enter into the composition of everybody). Riding upon another
white car unto which were yoked steeds fleet as thought, Yuyutsu, O king, followed the
eldest son of Paandu behind. Upon his own brilliant car of gold unto which were yoked
Shaivya and Sugreev, Krishn, with Saatyaki, followed the Kuru. The eldest uncle of
Prithaa's son, O Bhaarat, accompanied by Gaandhaaree, proceeded at the head of the train,
upon a vehicle borne on the shoulders of men."
From Book 12, Chapter 38
Probable explanations -
(1) "cow" = "Earth" (go = geo etc.). Yudhishthir is now king of
Earth, so the act is symbolic
(2) the cow-cart is drawn by 16 cows - and number 16 is always related to Time. Back
to Time (Kaal) theme of Mahaabhaarat. Yudhishthir is having acted like Kaal-Time in
Kuru Kshetra War now rides Kaal-Time - and he is now "true Yam/Dharm".
(3) cow-cart is surrounded by horse-chariots - that enables Vyaas to compare the
difference poetically - Yudhishthir is Som, Moon amidst stars ...
i(4) Paandav are compared to five elements - and five elements ride "Earth-cow" -
It is the Earth element that dominates, signifying Yudhishthir is now "Prithu" -
true son of Prithaa.
(5) white cows = dominance of Braahman-Gun / Sattwa Gun; end of 'red' Kshaatra Gun /
Rajo Gun and black Asur / Tamo Gun
(6) contrast with Dhritraashtra who rides men - in fact, who has always been riding men.
Dhritraashtra now takes the symbolic meaning - "one who forcefully / illegally holds
(dhrita) the Raashtra (Rashtra = people)"
(7) riding cow-cart = tribute to Govind
(8) Krishn and Yuyutsu ride horse - and 'horse = earth too = Shoodra'
(9) More practical explanation - All five brothers wanted to ride on a single vehicle
and no such horse-drawn chariot was available at that particular time.
KMG uses the word "bullock" only thrice
in Shaanti Parv though there are plenty of Sanskrit word "go" or
Gau – thus, KMG is selective in his translation.
(1) The first one is 12.89.6, 7 and 8 - Bheeshm says
(2) The third one is in Bheeshm says about Tulaadhaar - 12.254.37 and 38
(3) The second one is Tulaadhaar-Jaajali dialog - 12.254.44, 45, and 46
It seems that these
were not the cows but horses of the type of the Sindh Horses, which were
smaller in size and good for carrying loads. They are not the cavalry type
of horses. Lord Buddha's chariot was also drawn by the Sindh horses. Some
people of course say that they are actually the Rann Asses. Aristotle
however calls the Rann asses as Unicorn and they look somewhat like the
pictures of Unicorn when looked at from one side and their two ears
overlap each other to show up as a horn on the forehead.. Their legs are
also somewhat like that of the bulls. But this is only a conjecture,
particularly when there is at least one edition where it is said that the
animals were horses and not cows. This, of course, is.not a confirmed
opinion. It has been found that the Rann Asses can be domesticated if they
are caught when they are young.