All posts in Mahabharata Stories

Story of Shaunaka – Who invented the system of the Four Levels of Human Life

Shaunaka is the name applied to teachers, and to a Shakha of the Atharvaveda. He is claimed as the teacher of Katyayana and especially of Ashvalayana, and is said to have united the Bashkala and Shakala Shakhas of the Rigveda. In legend, he is sometimes identified with Gritsamada, a Vedic Rishi. According to the Vishnu Purana, Shaunaka was the son of Gritsamada, and invented the system of the four levels of human life. Sootha mahaamuni narrated mythological stories to a group of sages headed by Shounaka mahaamuni. Shaunaka had a prominent role in the epic Mahabharata. The epic Mahabharata was narrated to Shaunaka by a story teller named Ugrasrava Sauti during a conclave of sages headed by Shaunaka in a forest named Naimisha.

Story – Kritavarma’s involvement in Sauptika Parva of the Mahabharata

During the great battle at Kurukshetra, Kritavarma was an ally of the Kauravas against the Pandavas and led the Yadava army (also called the Narayani Sena). He was one of the three survivors of the entire Kaurava army and had helped Ashwatthama in carrying out his heinous night time massacre of Panchala warriors, in which the latter had slaughtered among others, Dhrishtadyumna (the Pandava commander-in-chief), Shikhandi and the five sons of Draupadi. The event is described in the Sauptika Parva of the Mahabharata. He returned to his kingdom after the war and was later killed by Satyaki in Dwarka during the final departure of the Yadavas.

Story of Vaishampayana and his contribution on narration of Mahabharata

Vaishampayana was the traditional narrator of the Mahabharata, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India from Takshashila, modern-day Taxila, Pakistan, where he narrated the epic poem for the first time. He was an ancient Indian sage who was the original teacher of the Krishna Yajur-Veda. He was a pupil of Vyasa, from whom he learned the Jaya, the original 8,800 verses of the Mahabharata. He later expanded the Jaya to 24,000 verses under the name Bharata, which he recited to King Janamejaya at his sarpa satra (snake sacrifice). The Harivamsa is also said to have been recited by him. The full 100,000 verses of the Mahabharata were not complete until several centuries later.

Story of Satyaki killing Kritavarma in anger

Knowing that the destruction of Yadavas was near they retired to Prabhasa where they were allotted temporary residences. When their time had come Vrishnis started reveling and drinking. Satyaki who was inebriated laughed at and insulted Kritavarma for killing the Pandava army in midst of their sleep. Pradyumna applauded Satyaki for this which highly incensed Kritavarma. He then taunted Satyaki by saying that he had slain the armless Bhurishravas in cold blood. Satyaki then narrated the incident when Kritavarma tried to kill Satrajit. Satyabhama upon hearing this became angry and started crying. She then approached Krishna and sat on his lap greatly increasing his anger towards Kritavarma. Satyaki then rising up in anger said that he would kill Kritavarma for slaying the warriors of the Pandava army while they were asleep. Having said this he rushed towards Kritavarma and severed his head with a sword.

Story of Katyayana and his major works

Katyayana was a Sanskrit grammarian, mathematician and Vedic priest who lived in ancient India. He is known for “The Varttikakara, an elaboration on Paṇini grammar. Along with the Mahabhaṣya of Patanjali, this text became a core part of the Vyakaraṇa (grammar) canon. This was one of the six Vedangas, and constituted compulsory education for students in the following twelve centuries” and “also composed one of the later Sulbasutras, a series of nine texts on the geometry of altar constructions, dealing with rectangles, right-sided triangles, rhombuses, etc.”

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