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Karn's Wife
In the Kattaikkuttu theatre Mahaabhaarat repertoire Karna's wife Ponnurvi is one of the major characters. She is also known as Ponmalai and Subhankini or Shubhangi. In an 'aside' story' she is said to be the daughter of Keertivarman, the King of Kaling. For the story of her Swayamvar, and her subsequent abduction by Karn and Duryodhan - to some extent corroborated in the Sanskrit Mahaabhaarat, vide Raaj Dharm Parv of the Shaanti Parv 12, 4: Shlok 121). See also my book Kattaikkuttu: the Flexibility of a South Indian Theatre Tradition, 1999, Groningen: Egbert Forsten, pp. 286-288. In the Indonesian Wayang Wong tradition, Karn has a wife too. She is called Surtikanti.

(1) you have written that Karn was involved in poisoning Bheem---
--I think till then he did not even meet Duryodhan. I think their first meeting was when Kaurav and Paandav came after finishing their education

(2) you have written that "Krishn's offering of Draupadee" - see it in the light of Kautilya's Arth Shaastra --what is this incident?

In the Krishn-Draupadee-Karn matter, Krishn has earned much infame, but it is entirely owing to mistranslation. See, how ironically, translation error by a Krishn Bhakt has assassinated Krishn's character.
First, even by common sense, a man like Krishn could never have offered his dearest friend's wife to Karn.
Now, let us see what Krishna actually says: "shashte cha twaam tathaa kaale draupadee upagamishyati (MBH, 5.138.15c)
KMG translates this : "During the sixth period, Draupadee also will come to thee (as a wife)"

Now, "shashtha kaale" does not mean that Krishna tells Karn that he could be Draupadee's sixth husband… it means "evening" for the day period, and dawn for the night-period… the two twilights ... beginning of twilight to be precise.
Kautilya divides both the day and night into eight parts each as we shall see ...
Now, twilight also is metaphor for "saandhya-bhaasa" – ambiguity or equivocation … and here Krishn is just doing that …
The word "upagam" has a sexual connotation no doubt, but it also connotes just "going", "visiting" or even "attacking", (see Monier-Williams)

Now let us see what Kautilya has to say about this "sixth kaala".
Kautilya says about the duty of the king during daytime that "during the sixth (part of the day), he may engage himself in his favorite amusements or in self-deliberation." We may not interpret "favorite amusement" as Sex here, because day-time Sex is prohibited. Even if Sex is one meaning (Kautilya uses the word "vihaar", so we cannot overlook and hush up that meaning, though "vihaar" has "secular" meanings too), the equivocation remains because Kautilya also says - that is time for "Mantra" that is counsel.
Kautilya says about the duty of the king during nighttime that "during the sixth part, he shall recall to his mind the injunctions of sciences as well as the day's duties."

So, if Krishn is offering Draupadee at all to Karn, he is suggesting something like: "you will get Draupadee to offer you counsel or teach you lessons.." –
Krishn does not say which sixth part ... of day or of night ... another equivocation...
Again, may I repeat … the Beauty of MBH. cannot be felt without reading Kautilya.

(3) You write that Vritra's birth is associated with Drone (Kalash of Amrit)-what is the incident?

Here is answer to your third question - pl read more from the site sacred-text - and you will get the Sanskrit from gretil ...
Shatapath Braahman - 4:4:3:4
"He draws it in the Drone Kalash. Now Som was Vritra. When the gods slew him, his head rolled off: it became the Drone Kalash. There into flowed together so much of the juice as it could hold; that was in excess; and so is this Graha in excess: he thus puts the excess. to the excess,--therefore he draws it in the Drone Kalash."

Dhrishtdyumn cutting off Drone's head thus cuts off Drone Kalash and makes it roll ... Drone was born from Drone Kalash, but being greedy and Arth-centric like Vritra he cannot be bearer of Som. Thus he is killed by Dhrishtadyumn of Som Dynasty ... that's one of my explanations ... you may find more meaning ...

As you read the Braahman texts, you will find more allegorical meanings to MBH narratives ... that is why I said reading Braahman texts is must (I think so) ... Indrajit

Why Paandav were only 5?
In the past, in polyandry there was a limit of five husbands and one could not have more. One having more than five husbands was treated as a loose woman. That was the reason Kuntee was given only five boons (secret mantras). After Karn she could have had four more children. Her sharing the secret with Maadree and Maadree's calling Ashwinee Kumaar resulted in the birth of two sons more - resulting in five. That is why Karn could not have had Draupadee as his wife though he is the first of the four children of Kuntee.
I think Durvaasaa Rishi gave only one Mantra and instructed Kuntee that she could call any Devtaa any time and as many times as she could. When Paandu asked Kuntee to invite other Devtaa than three she had already invited, Kuntee politely refused saying that having more than three children like this was not good for a Pativrataa woman.

Duryodhana says:  "There is only one Controller, no second. He controlleth even the child that is in the mother's womb. I am controlled by Him. Like water that always floweth in a downward course, I am acting precisely in the way in which He is directing me.


Interestingly, Vyaas gives the very same words in Asur Namuchi's voice. You will find it at 12.219.8
That brings a very interesting parallel (archetype) between Duryodhan and Namuchi. Now, in Braahman texts, Namuchi was killed by Indra with Saraswatee and Ashwins' aid. That is one base of my theory that Draupadee used her sexuality (politically) like Saraswatee (in that episode - suggested by the word 'kubja') to aid Indra-Paandav to destroy Kaurav.

As we can see, Mahaabhaarat is not a fight between Believers and Atheists, but between Believers and Believers. Also of interest is the fact that Charvaak was Duryodhan's friend, that is, Duryodhan was a very liberal fellow who despite being a Believer could still have an atheist friend. I am increasingly convinced that Duryodhan is a misunderstood character ... perhaps left for me to redeem. I cannot but bring Ramakrishna again in discussion. Ramakrishna had a different interpretation of Duryodhana ... read Gospel of Ramakrishna (Ramakrishna Kathamrita) and you will find ...

Sanjaya Was Vyaas' Spy
Find out "Sanjaya" in Braahman texts ... and that will give a clear insight that Sanjaya was actually Vyaas's spy in Kuru camp. If Sanjaya was not Vyaas's spy - why would Vyaas entrust him to narrate war episodes including Geetaa? That Vyaas gave Sanjaya 'divine eyes' to see the war would not pass the test of rationality of Itihaas - Mahaabhaarat, though it is an excellent Kaavya, and serves as the Fifth Ved purpose by elucidating :Sanjaya's role in Braahman texts. Sanjaya actually fought in war ... why would he still survive if he was not Vyaas' spy? As a spy, he misguides Duryodhan at the end by not revealing the name who are still alive. Hiltebeitel had noted this but left it at that 'wondering' only. Why would Sauti name Sanjaya as a narrator at par with Shuk Dev Jee and himself as knower of "Vyaas Koot" (in recension) if he had not been Vyaas' preferred and privileged narrator too?

Find out the significance of "Paarth", "Drone" etc in Braahman texts ... and see how MBH appears in entirely new light. Of course, one can stick to MBH only... but I think much would be missed then. Even if one reads the discourse parts of MBH carefully, and study the use of Vyaas' imagery and metaphors, that would throw new light on the role of the characters.

For example, Draupadee is the only character in MBH to be compared with "boat" the maximum times. Read Ved to find the significance of Boat - Imagery and you will find that comparison actually points to Draupadee's "active role" (political, and political performance) in dice game court - that I have earlier pointed out.

Sanjaya himself states to Dhritraashtra that while he was fighting he was imprisoned by Saatyaki and about to be beheaded by Dhrishtadyumn when Vyaas stopped him. So he was not unarmed, but an armed intelligence gatherer, reporting to Dhritrashtra after every significant event (i.e. the death of each generalissimo of the Kaurav army).

Vaayu Puraan supports that before Ved Vyaas together with his four disciples compiled the four Ved, there was only one Ved, which had in it all the hymns of the four Ved together with all the Puraan and the Itihaas. After separating out the four Ved what remained of the original Ved was called the fifth Ved. Later on when the Mahaabhaarat was composed, also being an Itihaas, got included in the fifth Ved. Thus the fifth Ved includes all the Puraan and the two epics the Mahaabhaarat and the Raamaayan. You are right when you mean that the Mahaabhaarat is not easy to understand. Ved Vyaas himself admits that to Naarad and this is given in the beginning of the next composition of Ved Vyaas, i.e., the Bhaagavat Puraan. He wrote the Bhaagavat Puraan as the Mahaabhaarat was not that easy for lay people.

You are also right when you say that Sanjaya was the spy of Ved Vyaas. Sanjaya had access to every place, even in the battle-field. According to the laws of the war, set just before the war, no unarmed person could be attacked. You may remember that Arjun laid down his arms in the chariots and became unarmed before Krishn imparted the Bhagavad Geetaa knowledge to him.



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Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 10/13/13