No one told us what happened after the Mahabharata war. Mahabharata is indeed the greatest epic ever written. It has deep rooted impact on Indian culture, customs and even the way people conduct themselves today. It also has an impact in understanding, what is morally wrong and correct in the Indian culture.
However most of the knowledge we have about Mahabharata is not from reading the actual texts but our TV series and movies. These entertainment mediums mostly end when the Kurukshetra war ends. We were never told what happened after the great Kurukshetra war in the epic Mahabharata. Let us have a look at what happened after the Mahabharata war
1. There were only 12 people who survived the Kurukshetra war in Mahabharata
Mahabharata was a world war for the ancient people. It had even greater catastrophic outcome, almost all people dead when I say all, I mean 3.94 million soldiers. Only surviving were 12 people and none of them were ordinary soldiers!
Just in case you are interested, they are the 12 people who survived the Mahabharata war
1. The Five Pandavas: The sons of Pandu with two mothers, Kunti and Madri, and husbands to Draupadi
2. Krishna the Lord himself
3. Satyaki: A fierce warrior of the Vrishini clan. Satyaki fought passionately for the Pandavas however his army, Vrishini army fought along with Kauravas due to a promise by Krishna
4. Yuyutsu : The eldest Kaurava. He was the stepbrother of Duryodhana and was born of an unnamed Vaishya mother.
5. Ashwatthama: Son of Guru Dronacharya
6. Kritavarma: A Vrishni warrior
7. Kripacharaya: The teacher of both Kauravas and Pandavas
8. Vrishaketu: The son of great warrior Karna who fought with Kaurava Army
2. The greatest warrior of Mahabharata, Arjuna lost most of his powers
It is said the extraordinary power that Arjuna possessed was to fight the righteous war (Dharm Yudh). He lost almost his power to the extent that he could not even fight some ordinary thieves who tried to kidnap Lord Krishna’s wife. You can read the story here
3. Yudhishthira becomes the crown king to the throne of Hastinapur
It is quite obvious that in Hindu customs the eldest son becomes the king of the throne. Yudhishthira being a true noble man, offers his auncle Dhrirashtra to reamain on the throne. He however does not agree and leaves the throne for Yudhishthira.
4. Gandhari Curses Lord Krishna which ultimately leads to the death of his human body
Gandhari on seeing her sons lying dead in battlefield and there bodies were mutilated by carnivorous worms, birds and animal got very angry and she held Lord Krishna responsible for the death of her sons. She curses him that he will watch his kinsmen dying in front of his very eyes as has they seen their sons dying on battlefield.
5. Rehabilitation of Kaurava Martyr’s Wives
Draupadi creates a council of women consisting of all the widows of war. The council looks after their rehabilitation and ensures that everyone could support their families financially by providing them with dignified work opportunities.
Wives of Kauravas were given respectable positions in the council and in the palace of Pandavas.
6. Dhritarashtra and Gandhari leave for penance after being taunted by Bhim
After performing the last rituals of son’s and other relatives, Dhritarashtra and others indulges into severe penance and lives upon air only for approximately two years. In some versions of Mahabharata it is maintained that Bhima used to taunt the old couple due to which they left the kingdom for penance into woods. Kunti the mother of Pandavas and Sanjay also leaves with them
7. The death of central characters in Mahabharata
Dhritrashtra and other four, die in a forest fire in meditating position which they could have escaped but rather chose to die peacefully.
8. Pandavas renounce their kingdom and mortal life and begin their final journey to heaven from Himalayas
Vyasa tells the Pandavas that they have served their purpose of their life, and now they should leave for their final journey to the Himalayas. Pandavas then begin their ascent to the hills in Himalayas
9. While scaling the Great Himalayas, the 4 Pandavas and Draupadi fall and die a mortal death, but Yudhishthira continues and survives
During the journey a dog befriends them and accompanies them for the entire journey. While ascending the Himalayas, Draupadi becomes the first one to fall, followed by Sahadeva, Nakula, Arjuna, and Bhima. Yudhishthira provides the explanation of their falling due to various sins committed during their lifetime. Only the Yudhishthira and the dog continue on their ascent.
10. Yudhishthira’s final test
As the dog and Yudhishthira climb up the mountain, Lord Indra appears on his chariot and asks Yudhishthira to come to heaven with him. Yudhishthira insists to take the dog along with them. Indra disapproves of the request, however Yudhishthira remains adamant.
It is only later on when Yudhishthira realizes that the dog was actually the deity Dharma, who in awe of Yudhishthir’s virtues, appreciates him. And eventually, he enters in Indra’s chariot to heaven.
11. Parikshit, from Kuru clan becomes the crown king of Hastinapur and continues to rule
Along with his son and successor Janamejaya I, he plays an important role in the consolidation of the Kuru state, the arrangement of Vedic hymns into collections, and the development of the orthodox Srauta ritual, transforming the Kuru realm into the dominant political and cultural center of northern Iron Age India.
12. Reunion in the heaven
The epic Mahabharata describes the reunion of Karna, Pandavas and Kauravas in heaven, where they all get back together, free of angst and rivalry against each other.
13. Gandhari’s curse to Krishna takes 36 years to materialize which leads to end of Krishna and Yadava clan of Dwarka, a period during which Pandavas stay in power
The violence in the Dwaraka cracks open, with Yadavas killing each other. Mausala Parva describes the Lord Krishna’s death in the 36th year, which occurs as a result of an arrow mistakenly shot at him by Jiru. A dying Krishna consoles the apologetic Jiru and merges in the image of Lord Vishnu.
This event leads to the beginning of Kali Yuga as we know today. What happened after the Mahabharata War, helped shape culturally and philosophically the Indian culture that we know today. The information about Mahabharata was incomplete without knowing the events after the Kurukshetra war.
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