Mahaabhaarat | Notes
Paandav's father Paandu had died in their childhood, but on the suggestion of Bheeshm, Dhritraashtra had allowed them to stay in the palace with their mother Kuntee. But his own sons and Paandav never had a conducive environment. When all grew up as fine young princes, it was suggested to him that he should declare Yudhishthir as Crown Prince, since he was the eldest son of Paandu, the official King of Hastinaapur, as well as the eldest Kuru Putra.
Although Dhritraashtra should have been the King as he was the eldest son of Vichitraveerya, but Paandu was declared as king because Dhritraashtra was blind and a blind person could not appointed as a king. When Paandu came back from his victory our, he ws given some vacation and Paandu appointed Dhritraashtra his representative to take care of the kingdom. Meanwhile Paandu had killed Kindam Rishi by mistake and he never came back to claim his kingdom. He remained in the forest to o his Praayashchit for Brahm Hatyaa (for killing a Braahman). Thus the kingdom remained with Dhritraashtra till its worthy heir could be found.
There he had these five sons (called Paandav) and died according to the Shaap of the wife of Kindam Rishi. After a while Kuntee came back to Hastinaapur along with her five sons. Since the Paandav were still very young, he continued to rule, but on behalf of the future king, i.e. Yudhishthir. He had 100 sons and a daughter. His eldest son Duyodhan was younger to Yudhishthir.
Kaurav and Paandav could not sit together, although they grew up together, played together, were educated together. Duryodhan and Bheem were direct enemy of each other. Both were good at Gadaa, so one wanted to be better than the other. To fight with Bheem, Duryodhan learned Gadaa from Balaraam Jee also.
Duryodhan had another enmity and jealousy with Yudhishthir, because Yudhishthir was the legible candidate for the kingship of Hastinaapur, while Duryodhan considered it as his own, therefore he was always cautious that Paandav should not stay in the palace. But unfortunately he always lost his game.
When all princes grew up, then it was considered necessary to declare the Crown Prince of Hastinaapur's throne. Lawfully, the kingdom was of Paandu, Dhritraashtra was only a representative after he had left for Praayashchit or Vanvaas, therefore after Paandu it was of Yudhishthir. Besides, Yudhishthir was even elder to Duryodhan also. But Duryodhan kept on insisting that the kingdom was his and he should be declared the Crown Prince of Hastinaapur. Only clever Vidur Jee could prove that Duryodhan was not worthy to be the Crown Prince. So Duryodhan got more irritated on his defeat and finally thought to kill Yudhishthir.
There used to be an annual fair at Baaranaavat which was usually inaugurated by the Crown Prince. But since there was no Crown prince for some time, the king Dhritraashtra was going to inaugurate it. Since this time a Crown Prince was there, Vidur suggested that the Crown Prince should be sent there. This will help people to know their future king. So it was planned like that. Shakuni and Duryodhan were happy that now they will be able to implement some scheme of eliminating them successfully.
When Yudhishthir's other brothers heard about this, they also expressed wish to go along with him. Yudhishthir asked the permission from Dhritraashtra, which he readily gave. Then all wanted to take Kuntee also, that was also arranged. Now Duryodhan was very happy that since all were going together, now he could kill all of them together and finish the matter once for all.
So he ordered Purochan to build a house made of all kinds of highly inflammable materials. Then he instructed his one trusted man to set fire on the full moon night. The incident will occur in such conditions that it will look like an accident and nobody would suspect Kaurav for it.
Vidur had guessed something fishy in the whole episode, so he warned Yudhishthir in a language that only princes could understand. He said - "The jungle fire which burns the whole forest cannot hurt a rat because it resides in a hole and can go up to very far through tunnels already dug in good times. Wise men know their bearings by looking at stars." Yudhishthir understood the meaning of this.
They arrived in Baaranaavat. The people there were very happy to see Paandav. They were staying in the same house which Duryodhan got built for them specially. It was named "Shivam", means which comforts everybody, otherwise in ghastly irony it meant "deathtrap". In the meantime Vidur sent his trustworthy miner to dig a tunnel for them before the specified night. Vidur also instructed Paandav to stay there without letting Purochan etc know that they had any suspicion about the house. So they were living carefree appreciating Duryodhan's hospitality, but careful in the night.
The miner dug the tunnel from that house, across the moat around the house, to a spot in jungle. Paandav used to go to forest to prey to show to Purochan that they were enjoying preying, otherwise to familiarize themselves with the paths of the forest. It took Purochan one year to make this drama's final scene.
So a day before the fire was to set by Purochan, Kuntee arranged a feast for the attendants. Her idea was to feed them so well that they can sleep like a log on that night. Fortunately or unfortunately the family of one woman and her five sons who helped in building that house, also came to have that good food. They were so drunk after the food that they slept in the same house somewhere in a corner.
At midnight, one day before the set night, Bheem himself set the fire at several places in that house and all of them escaped through the tunnel. There was a roar of fire all over the house and a crowd of helpless citizens was swelling moment by moment. Purochan's own house was also burned in the same fire before he could escape. Thus he was the victim of his own actions. Next day that family of six was found dead in that fire accident. So Duryodhan thought that Paandav were burned in that fire. Although once it came to his mind that how come that fire was set a night before the specified night but in the happiness of Paandav's death he forgot the seriousness of this issue.
Dhritraashtra was at once warm with joy and chill with sorrow. His sons showed all possible signs of sorrow. They mourned them also and performed their last rites also. But some people noticed that Vidur was not so sad as the Kaurav were, because he knew that they had escaped. Bheeshm was indeed extremely sad.
Now Paandav were wandering in the forest. Vidur instructed them to hide there so that he can study the situation at Hastinaapur. Once Bheem found everybody tired with fear and anxiety, he lifted Maa Kuntee on his shoulders, Nakul and Sahadev on his hips and Yudhishthir and Arjun on his both arms and walked around effortlessly.
Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 12/05/12