Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Episode 80 - Kurukshetra, Day 18: Shalya & the dissolution of the Kauravas

Episode 80 - This episode covers the final day of the great war.  If you were expecting things to go out with a bang, you'll be disappointed.  Once the Kaurava general Shalya is killed, things just sort of disintegrate.  Duryodhana's remaining brothers are all killed.  Shakuni is killed.  Karna's sons are exterminated.  The Pandavas make one final sweep over the field, killing literally everyone who was left standing.  They spend the rest of the day sifting through the corpses in search of Duryodhana.

By this point, the only survivors are Krpa, Aswatthaman, Kritavarman, Sanjay, & Duryodhana.  Everyone else is dead.  The Pandavas still have their tight group of heroes and Draupadi's sons, but most of their troops are dead.

Duryodhana finds himself standing alone, abandoned & on foot in the midst of the battlefield.  Everyone is dead or has fled the scene.  Stunned, he wanders off the field and makes his way aimlessly towards Hastinapur.  Sanjay finds his prince, filthy in blood & gore, in a state of shock, standing by a lake shore.  When the Kaurava finally comes to his senses, he submerges himself into the lake, where he intends to rest, indefinitely.

Aside from Duryodhana, blind king Dhrtarastra still has one son yet living.  It is his illegitimate son Yuyutsu, who had joined with the Pandavas at the beginning of the war.  He is given leave to comfort his brothers' retainers & womenfolk and returns with them to Hastinapur.  There are no recriminations for his having gone over to the enemy.  Now they are just glad that some one son of Dhrtarastra has survived to carry on the line.


  1. Hey love your stuff. Here is something interesting that I found. This video dates the Mahabharata using astranomical, archeological and existential data. Not sure if you have seen it already. http://t.co/8KnWdLD4

  2. Thanks for the link. Personally, I'm partial to the 2100 BCE rather than the 3000BCE dating, but I'm not as certain about it as the guys in that video. I am getting a strong impression from the way the story is presented that this version of the epic, in its original, was re-created from memory of some previous story, imperfectly remembered.
    Scenes like the death of Karna are described in a disjointed way, and powerful images are sometimes just barely remembered and plugged into the story as an afterthought. Maybe Ugrasravas did not hear it directly from Vaishampayana? Maybe he heard it many years earlier and then forgot some of it, and changed other parts? More likely, the transmission of the story was much more complicated than even the framework given in the epic.

    My point is that the astronomical observations could just as well been added in later as been part of the "original". I think these ancients were extremely aware of astronomical events, and would have known perfectly well when the last time Mars was in retrograde, etc.

    For instance, when Duryodhana dies, there is an UNEXPECTED eclipse. They make this point in the text. So obviously they were able to predict eclipses at this time, and this one was not in the schedule.

    As they pointed out in the video, when both Mars and Saturn are in retrograde, bad shit goes down. So of course you would have placed the time of the war during one of these double-retrograde periods.

    I think what tends to happen is over time we come up with our favorite dating for the epic, and then we start finding evidence to support that! For instance, we are told that Greeks participated in these wars, so then the story MUST have taken place after Alexander, right?

    Now you must choose-- either the astronomical observations were later additions, OR the Greeks were later additions. The text CANNOT be perfect as it is!

    I was also a bit uncomfortable when the scholar they interviewed muttered something about comets and the Vishnu Purana. I wouldn't trust the Vishnu Purana for anything to do with dating the Mahabharata...


  3. Thanks for the reply. I always was in agreement and believed in the same lines of your argument. Just thought the video would throw some new light.

    Thanks for the super work! Sad its 90% through! If I may ask, what is your next podcast?