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THE MAHABHARATA ADI PARVA

“The extensive Parva that comes next is called Virata. The Pandavas arriving at the dominions of Virata saw in a cemetery on the outskirts of the city a large shami tree whereon they kept their weapons. Here hath been recited their entry into the city and their stay there in disguise. Then the slaying by Bhima of the wicked Kichaka who, senseless with lust, had sought Draupadi; the appointment by prince Duryodhana of clever spies; and their despatch to all sides for tracing the Pandavas; the failure of these to discover the mighty sons of Pandu; the first seizure of Virata’s kine by the Trigartas and the terrific battle that ensued; the capture of Virata by the enemy and his rescue by Bhimasena; the release also of the kine by the Pandava (Bhima); the seizure of Virata’s kine again by the Kurus; the defeat in battle of all the Kurus by the single-handed Arjuna; the release of the king’s kine; the bestowal by Virata of his daughter Uttara for Arjuna’s acceptance on behalf of his son by Subhadra–Abhimanyu–the destroyer of foes. These are the contents of the extensive fourth Parva–the Virata. The great Rishi Vyasa has composed in these sixty-seven sections. The number of slokas is two thousand and fifty.

“Listen then to (the contents of) the fifth Parva which must be known as Udyoga. While the Pandavas, desirous of victory, were residing in the place called Upaplavya, Duryodhana and Arjuna both went at the same time to Vasudeva, and said, “You should render us assistance in this war.” The high-souled Krishna, upon these words being uttered, replied, “O ye first of men, a counsellor in myself who will not fight and one Akshauhini of troops, which of these shall I give to which of you?” Blind to his own interests, the foolish Duryodhana asked for the troops; while Arjuna solicited Krishna as an unfighting counsellor. Then is described how, when the king of Madra was coming for the assistance of the Pandavas, Duryodhana, having deceived him on the way by presents and hospitality, induced him to grant a boon and then solicited his assistance in battle; how Salya, having passed his word to Duryodhana, went to the Pandavas and consoled them by reciting the history of Indra’s victory (over Vritra). Then comes the despatch by the Pandavas of their Purohita (priest) to the Kauravas. Then is described how king Dhritarashtra of great prowess, having heard the word of the purohita of the Pandavas and the story of Indra’s victory decided upon sending his purohita and ultimately despatched Sanjaya as envoy to the Pandavas from desire for peace. Here hath been described the sleeplessness of Dhritarashtra from anxiety upon hearing all about the Pandavas and their friends, Vasudeva and others. It was on this occasion that Vidura addressed to the wise king Dhritarashtra various counsels that were full of wisdom. It was here also that Sanat-sujata recited to the anxious and sorrowing monarch the excellent truths of spiritual philosophy. On the next morning Sanjaya spoke, in the court of the King, of the identity of Vasudeva and Arjuna. It was then that the illustrious Krishna, moved by kindness and a desire for peace, went himself to the Kaurava capital, Hastinapura, for bringing about peace. Then comes the rejection by prince Duryodhana of the embassy of Krishna who had come to solicit peace for the benefit of both parties. Here hath been recited the story of Damvodvava; then the story of the high-souled Matuli’s search for a husband for his daughter: then the history of the great sage Galava; then the story of the training and discipline of the son of Bidula. Then the exhibition by Krishna, before the assembled Rajas, of his Yoga powers upon learning the evil counsels of Duryodhana and Karna; then Krishna’s taking Karna in his chariot and his tendering to him of advice, and Karna’s rejection of the same from pride. Then the return of Krishna, the chastiser of enemies from Hastinapura to Upaplavya, and his narration to the Pandavas of all that had happened. It was then that those oppressors of foes, the Pandavas, having heard all and consulted properly with each other, made every preparation for war. Then comes the march from Hastinapura, for battle, of foot-soldiers, horses, charioteers and elephants. Then the tale of the troops by both parties. Then the despatch by prince Duryodhana of Uluka as envoy to the Pandavas on the day revious to the battle. Then the tale of charioteers of different classes. Then the story of Amba. These all have been described in the fifth Parva called Udyoga of the Bharata, abounding with incidents appertaining to war and peace. O ye ascetics, the great Vyasa hath composed one hundred and eighty-six sections in this Parva. The number of slokas also composed in this by the great Rishi is six thousand, six hundred and ninety-eight.


“Then is recited the Bhishma Parva replete with wonderful incidents. In this hath been narrated by Sanjaya the formation of the region known as Jambu. Here hath been described the great depression of Yudhishthira’s army, and also a fierce fight for ten successive days. In this the high-souled Vasudeva by reasons based on the philosophy of final release drove away Arjuna’s compunction springing from the latter’s regard for his kindred (whom he was on the eve of slaying). In this the magnanimous Krishna, attentive to the welfare of Yudhishthira, seeing the loss inflicted (on the Pandava army), descended swiftly from his chariot himself and ran, with dauntless breast, his driving whip in hand, to effect the death of Bhishma. In this, Krishna also smote with piercingwords Arjuna, the bearer of the Gandiva and the foremost in battle among all wielders of weapons. In this, the foremost of bowmen, Arjuna, placing Shikandin before him and piercing Bhishma with his sharpest arrows felled him from his chariot. In this, Bhishma lay stretched on his bed of arrows. This extensive Parva is known as the sixth in the Bharata. In this have been composed one hundred and eventeen sections. The number of slokas is five thousand, eight hundred and eighty-four as told by Vyasa conversant with the Vedas.

“Then is recited the wonderful Parva called Drona full of incidents. First comes the installation in the command of the army of the great instructor in arms, Drona: then the vow made by that great master of weapons of seizing the wise Yudhishthira in battle to please Duryodhana; then the retreat of Arjuna from the field before the Sansaptakas, then the overthrow of Bhagadatta like to a second Indra in the field, with the elephant Supritika, by Arjuna; then the death of the hero Abhimanyu in his teens, alone and unsupported, at the hands of many Maharathas including Jayadratha; then after the death of Abhimanyu, the destruction by Arjuna, in battle of seven Akshauhinis of troops and then of Jayadratha; then the entry, by Bhima of mighty arms and by that foremost of warriors-in-chariot, Satyaki, into the Kaurava ranks impenetrable even to the gods, in search of Arjuna in obedience to the orders of Yudhishthira, and the destruction of the remnant of the Sansaptakas. In the Drona Parva, is the death of Alambusha, of Srutayus, of Jalasandha, of Shomadatta, of Virata, of the great warrior-in-chariot Drupada, of Ghatotkacha and others; in this Parva, Aswatthaman, excited beyond measure at the fall of his father in battle, discharged the terrible weapon Narayana. Then the glory of Rudra in connection with the burning (of the three cities). Then the arrival of Vyasa and recital by him of the glory of Krishna and Arjuna. This is the great seventh Parva of the Bharata in which all the heroic chiefs and princes mentioned were sent to their account. The number of sections in this is one hundred and seventy. The number of slokas as composed in the Drona Parva by Rishi Vyasa, the son of Parasara and the possessor of true knowledge after much meditation, is eight thousand, nine hundred and nine.

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