All posts in Stories of Bhishma in Mahabharata

Story when Bhishma makes a comparison between Yudhishthira & Duryodhana

According to Mahabharata, when Bhishma has to pick Dhritarashtra’s successor, he mentions to Vidura many of Duryodhana’s positive qualities in comparison to Yudhishthira. Having spent so many years in the forest, Yudhishthira doesn’t have Duryodhana’s experience, military expertise, education, and courtly manners. Bhishma adds that Duryodhana is loved by the people, while Yudhishthira is an unknown quantity to them. However, Bhishma ultimately selects Yudhishthira, telling Vidura that in his heart, Duryodhana is a power-hungry, vitriolic individual, while at his core, Yudhishthira is a good man who cares tremendously for his people.

Story when before dying Duryodhana instructs Ashwatthama, Kripacharya, and Kritvarma to take revenge with the Pandavas

When the coast is clear, Ashwatthama, Kripacharya, and Kritvarma, having witnessed the fight and not wanting to interrupt so as to rob Duryodhana of his honour, come to Duryodhana’s broken body. Duryodhana commands them to take revenge on the Pandavas, and to specifically kill all the Pandava brothers and Panchalas. Using the blood from his body, Duryodhana appoints Ashwatthama as the army’s supreme commander and the protector of his wealth, country, family, and honor. Already angry at the deceitful killing of his father Drona, Ashwatthama ambushes the Pandava camp at night. The three maharathis lay waste to the sleeping, drunk, and unaware army. Other than those who had been staying in the Kaurava camp, few escape the slaughter. The trio rushes to tell Duryodhana of the news. After destroying the entire Pandava camp, Ashwatthama proceeds towards Duryodana with the cut-off heads of the Upapandavas. He told Duryodhana that he only managed to kill the Pandava’s children as the Pandavas were not there, and this makes Duryodhana happy, as that means the Pandava lineage would die out. Duryodhana then, having heard the news that was so agreeable to his heart, regained his senses and praised Ashwatthama for achieving what Bhishma, Drona, and Karna had failed to accomplish. Duryodhana died happily with a smile in his face.

Story of Arjuna and his association with Ulupi, Babruvahana and Chitrangada

The Vasus, Bhishma’s brothers, cursed Arjuna after he killed Bhishma through treachery in the Kurukshetra War. When Ulupi heard of the curse, she sought the help of her father, Kouravya. Her father went to Ganga, Bhishma’s mother, and requested her for a relief from the curse. Upon hearing him, Ganga said that Arjuna would be killed by his own son, Babruvahana—Arjuna’s son through Chitrangada—and brought back to life when Ulupi places a gem on his chest. Following her father’s advice, Ulupi instigates Babruvahana to fight Arjuna. When Arjuna goes to Manipur with the horse intended for the Aswamedha sacrifice, the king Babruvahana, as directed by Ulupi, challenges Arjuna for a duel. In the fierce battle that took place between them, both are mangled by the other’s arrows. Finally, Arjuna is mortally wounded and is killed by his son when he shoots a powerful arrow at him. Chitrangada rushes to the spot and abuses Ulupi for instigating Babruvahana to fight Arjuna. Repenting of his deed, Babruvahana is determined to kill himself, but is promptly stopped by Ulupi. She goes to her kingdom and brings the gem. When she places the gem on Arjuna’s chest, his life is restored, thus relieving him of the Vasus’ curse. When brought back to his life, Arjuna becomes happy to see Ulupi, Chitrangada, and Babruvahana. He takes all of them to Hastinapur. Upon the onset of the Kali Yuga, the Pandavas along with Draupadi retired and left the throne to their only heir Arjuna’s grandson, Parikshit. Giving up all their belongings and ties, they made their final journey of pilgrimage to the Himalayas, accompanied by a dog. Ulupi went back to her kingdom in the Ganga river.

Story of division of kingdom between Yudhishthira and Duryodhana

When the princes come of age, Yudhishthira is named as the crown prince due to his superior merits. After the Pandavas reveal that they have survived the wax house, with a new wife to boot, Bhishma suggests that the kingdom be divided in order to ease the obvious tension. Yudhishthira is given half the kingdom and made king of Khandavprastha, so as to avoid a clash with the Kaurava princes over the whole Kuru Kingdom. Duryodhana becomes the prince regent of Hastinapur, and owing to the age and blindness of his father, he accumulates much control and influence, managing the state affairs himself with a group of his advisers that include his uncle Shakuni, brother Dushasana and friend Karna.

Story when after return of Pandavas from exile, Duryodhana refuses to return Yudhishthira’s kingdom

At the end of the exile term, Duryodhana refuses to return Yudhishthira’s kingdom, despite the counsel of Bhishma, Dronacharya, and Vidura. Although Dhritarashtra criticizes his son, he tacitly desires that Duryodhana retain his throne.

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