|A COLLECTOR'S ITEM - MAHABHARAT ( 16 DVD BOX SET )|
DVD Collector's Edition - 16 DVD disc set Episodes 1-94
The story starts in the court of King Bharat after whom our country takes its name - BHARAT. King Bharat put a commoner on the throne as his successor; even though he had nine sons of his own. He did so because he believed that a ruler should be brave and jus, so that he can defend his country and be just to his subjects. He gave little importance to the privileges that accrued from and by the virtue of birth. Karma (action) was more important for him than birth. As in his opinion his sons would not have proved themselves to be good and able Kings, he put a Commoner - Bhumanyu on the throne.
However, several generations later, King Shantanu of the same Royal House broke this tradition and thus laid the foundations of the great war that was to be fought at Kuru Kshetra.
King Shanutanu one day came across a beautiful woman on the river bank. He fell in love with her and asked her to be his wife. She gave her consent on the condition that he would never protest or question her for anything she did and that the moment he would break his promise, she would leave him, never to return. "So be it!" said the King and married her. Days passed by; seven sons were born to the King; but every time their mother - Ganga drowned the infant into the river. Bound by his promise the king could not protest; but when the eight son was born the king could no longer contain himself. He protested. Then his wife revealed to him that she was the river godess Ganga and that her children were Vasus (angelic beings)_ who were expelled from heaven for some transgressions and had to live on earth for a while. The killing of the seven sons really enabled them to return to heaven with least delay. Shantanu wanted his eight son as his heir. Ganga consented; but she took him away to educate him after promising the king to restore him to the king as a noble youth and a brave prince. She kept her promise to the king and after some years restored him back to the king as the greatest knight of the times. He was named Devavrata who came later to be known as Bhishma.
Many years after the return of Devavrata to Hastinapur, Shantanu met Satyavati and fell in love with her; but her father did not agree to give her in marriage to Shantanu unless her sons could succeed him to the throne. Since Shantanu had already crowned Devavrata as his heir apparent he could not agree to this condition. His disappointment made him sad, Devavrata could not bear his father's sadness. He approached Satyavati's father who was a chieftain of the fisher-folk to plead with him his father's case. He promised the chieftain to abdicate his right to the kingdom. He also took a solemn vow never to marry so that he had no progeny who could re-claim their right to the throne of Hastinapur. It was this great renunciation, landed by the gods that won him the name Bhishma.
Shantanu got married to Satyavati and had two sons by her. After his death Chitrangad, the elder son succeeded him; but he died in a battle with a Gandharva. Shantanu's younger son Vichitravirya was then installed to the throne. Soon Bhishma learnt that Amba, Ambika and Ambalika, the three daughters of the king of Kasi would be choosing their husbands at a gathering of princes (Swayamwar). Bhishma went there and defying all the assembled suitors carried away the three maidens for his step brother. This seizure by valour also being recognised as marriage by custom. On reaching Hastinapur Amba disclosed that she had been secretly engaged to a ruler named Salva. Bhishma immediately released her and sent her back to Salva who refused to accept her. She then went back to Bhishma and asked him to marry her; when he too expressed his inability to accept her the frustrated and enraged maiden swore Vengeance on him and left. She performed severe austerities and won from Shiva the boon that some day she would become the slayer of Bhishma.
Vichitravirya died early due to dissipation and as he had no issue the royal line was threatened with extinction; so Satyavati requested Bhishma to marry the widowed princesses, Ambika and Ambalika. But Bhishma refused as he was bound by his vow of life-long celibacy. Satyavati then seeks Sage Vyas's help and with his blessings three sons are born in the Royal household. Ambika gave birth to Dhritrashtra who was born blind as Ambalika gave birth to Pandu who was born with a pale complexion as his mother had turned pale on seeing the unkempt looks of Vyas. When Satyavati presses again to go to the Sage she sends her maid to the dark bed-room; the son born to her is Vidur. Bhishma looked after the three boys till they grew up.
As Dhritrashtra was blind, Pandu, though younger, was made the king. He married Kunti, who was the daughter of Surasena - the king of the yadavas and thus the sister of Vasudeva, father of Krishna. She was adopted by Kuntibhoj - a friend of Surasena, who had no child. While yet a girl, she had looked after the very irritable Sage Durvasa who had given her the boon that wshe could make any god enamourd of her and obtain a son from him. Curious to find out whether the spell (Mantra) really worked she thought of the presiding deity of the Solar disc (Sun God) who suddenly appeared before her and she found herself with an infant - Karna. The unmarried princess could not keep the child and so she set him afloat on the river. The infant was picked up by Radha, wife of a charioteer - Adhiratha. Karna was brought up as their son. Later Kunti married Pandu and Dhritrashtra married Gaudhari. Due to an accidental death of a Sage at the hands of Pandu, Pandu was cursed that he would die if he ever got intimate with his wife. As his dynasty was threatened with extinction, Pandu asked Kunti to make use of the mantra given to her by Saga Durvasa and get three sons from three Gods. So she got Yudhishthir from Dharamraj, Bhim from Vayu and Arjun from Indra. Pandu also had another wife - Madri. She too wanted to have children. Kunti taught her the 'mantra' given to her by Sage Durvasa and she too got twins Nakula and Sahdev from the twin gods, the Ashwinis. These five brothers became famous as Pandava brothers.
Dhritrashtra married Gandhari and had a hundred sons from her; the two eldest being Duryodhan and Duhsasana. These hundred brothers were known as the Kauravas. As Pandu died and madri immolated herself on his funeral pyre, Kunti and the pandav brothers go to live with gandhari and her sons in the royal household now presided over by Dhrishtrashtra in Hastinapur. Bhim is giant of a boy and his constant bullying of the Kaurava lads breeds great hatred in Duryodhan.
As the boys grew up, kripacharya started coaching them in the martial arts. Kripacharya's sister Kripi was married to Dronacharya who was extremely poor in his early life. In his boyhood, he was a colleague and friend of Drupad, the prince of Panchala. Drupad had assured him that when he became king he would remove all his problems. But when he did become the king of Panchala, power went to his head, he dismissed his friend who went to meet him with great hopes by saying that only equals culd be fiends. Later Dronacharya was engaged by Bhishma to further instruct the Kaurava and the pandava princes in the martial arts. When their training was completed, he arranged a tournament to test their skills. There Arjuna who was his favourite pupil, excelled everybody. But things took a startling turn when Karna strode in and claimed that he could excel Arjuna. Dronacharya asked him to reveal his identity as only a Kshatriya could challenge a Kshatriya. Karan was embarrased. Seeking to win an ally, Duryodhan crowned him on the spot as the king of Anga. Just at that time Adhirath's foster-father, the old Chariteer walked in and Karn's homage to him revealed his identity and he was not allowed to combat with Arjuna. Karn's humiliation made him a bitter enemy of the Pandavas and a loyal friend of Duryodhan who had made him the king of Anga.
As guru dakshana (traditional tribute) to teacher from pupils on completion of their training, Dronacharya demanded that the princes attack Drupad and bring him as a hostage. Arjuna succeeded in this mission and Drona reminded Drupad of what he had said about friendship being possible only amongst equals. On that plea he divided the conquered realm of Drupad between himself and Drupad so that they became equals. Ever since then Drupad waited to avenge his humiliation. He performed rituals to get a son who shall be the slayer of Drona. That is how he got Dhrisntadyumna. Along with him he got a daughter too. She was named Draupadi. Amba who had sworn to slay Bhishma was also reborn as Drupad's daughter. She changed her sex and became Shikhandi.
As Pandu had been the king of Hastinapur, Dhritrashtra crowned him as heir apparent. But his son Duryodhan hand never reconciled to the bypassing of his father in the line of Kingship because he was blind. He hatched a conspiracy and made his father suggest to the pandavas and their mother Kunti to have a holiday in Varnavata where he had build a house of wax for them as he had planned and arson to kill all of them. Vidur tipped Yudhisnthir and the Pandavas themselves burnt down the mansion and escaped. A tribal woman with her five sons had taken shelter in the mansion; they perished in fire and their cindered dead bodies convinced Duryodhan that his plot had succeeded and the Pandava brothers and their mother Kunti were dead. As Pandavas thought it to be risky, they do not return to Hastinapur. They flee incognito. Once they are faced by demon named Hidum. Bhim killed him and married his sister Hidamba from whom he got a son who was named Ghatotekach. Later they went to participate in Draupadis Swayamwar where she was to be given away as bride to the suitor who could shoot an arrow at the eye of a fish tied to a pole and reflected in a bowl of water kept down below.
The aim had to be taken only from the reflection. Arjun won Draupadi and the pandavas took her to their mother Kunti and called out that they had got splendid alms indeed. Kunti responded from the interior of the hut bidding them to share the alms equally. Thus Draupadi became the wife of all the five Pandav brothers. Duryodhan was upset when he learnt that the Pandavas were alive and had married Draupadi. Now that the Pandavas had won powerful allies like Drupad and Sri Krishna, who had attended Draupadi's Swayaniwar - they were not so vulnerable as before and hostility towards them could be risky; so Dhritrashtra called them back to Hastinapur, and the kingdom is dived between the Kauravas and the Pandavas. With the help fo Sri Krishna, the Pandavas built a new capital at Khandavprastha and named it Indraprastha. Soon Arjun went on a long tour of the country during which he married Ullipi, Chitrangada and Subhadra who was Sri Krishna's sister. Pandavas prosperity reaches its climax once Arjun, Bhim and Sri Krishan defeated Jarasandh - the cruel king of Magadh. Soon after they were able to perform Rajasu yagna - (declaration of Suzeranity). Duryodhan was inflamed by jealousy when he saw the prosperity of the Pandavas. Draupadi made fun of him when he slipped in their Mayor Mahal.
This also infuriated Duryodhan. On the advice of his maternal uncle Shakuni he invited Yudhishthir to Hastinapur for a game of dice. The Pandavas accepted the invitation and went to Hastinapur where Shakuni took part in the dice contest and played on behalf of Duryodhan. Shakuni cheated in the game and Yudhishthir lost everything including himself, his brothers and their queen Draupadi. Thus enslaved by Draupadi was dragged by Duhsansana by her hair in front of the entire assembly present in the court. Duryodhan bared his thigh and asked Draupadi to sit on his lap. That provoked Bhim and he took a vow that Draupadis tresses shall remain unbraided till he washed them with the blood of Duhsasana slain in war. He also swore to break Duryodhan's thigh in battle. Intructed by Duryodhan; Duhsarsana would have disrobed Draupadi hadn't the hidden hand of Krishna protected her. Dhritrashtra was frightened and he restored everything back to the Pandavas. Duryodhan was annoyed and he prevailed upon his father to invite the Pandavas for a second game. This time exile for thirteen years and during the thirteen year he shall have to live incognito, without being discovered; if the losers were discovered they shall have to remain in exile for another thirteen years. As before Yudhishthir lost again and so the Pandavas went to live in the forest for thirteen years. Because she would have been a burden, Junti did not go with her sons. She stayed back in Hastinapur and lived with Vidur.
For twelve years the Pandavas lived in the forests and many adventures befell the brothers and Draupadi. Sge Vyas, Sri Krishna and Dhrishtadyumna visited them and even offered to help them to return to Hastinapur and claim back their reams but Ydhishthir refused to accept their offer and insisted to live in the forests for the stipulated period of exile. Once Jaydrath - Duryodhan's sister's husband tried to kidnap Draupadi; but Bhim rescued her. He would have killed jaydrath, had Yudhishthir not pardoned him. The Pandavas spent the thirteenth year of exile in the Capital of Virat in effective disguises. Duryodhan;s spies could not spot them. The pandav brothers took jobs in the royal household of virat. Yudhushthir became Kings companion; Bhim served as the royal cook; Arjun posed as a eunuch and taught dancing to uttra, princess of Virat. Nakul Sahdev looked after the cow-herds and the stablies; while Draupadi served as quen Sudeshna's maid. As it happened, Keechak, brother of queen Sudeshna and commander of Virat army tried to molest Draupadi who prevailed upon Bheem to kill him. Keechak's death made Duryodhan suspicious. He was nearly certain that only Bheem could have killed Keechak; so he formed a coalition with Trigarta chief Susarna and attecked Virat. The Pandavas fought for Virat and the valour of Bhim and Arjun routed the combined forces of Susarma and the Kauravas. But it also disclosed their identity. Duryodhan claimed that the last day of the 14th year had not expired when they were identified and therefore the Pandavas should remain in exile for another 13 years. But Bhishma gave the ruling that the battle took place one day after the expiry of the term. However, Duryodhan wouldn't agree, and hence the tension mounted.
Grateful to the Pandavas for their help, King Virat gave his daughter Uttras' hand in marriage to Abhimanyu - Arjun's son from Subhadra. After the wedding was over, the Pandavas and their allies - Drupad, Virat and Krishna discussed the steps to be taken to get back the pandava's realm. Messengers are exchanged between the Pandavas and the Kauravas to settle the issue. To spare the country from the disaster of war the Pandavas were willing to accept five villages in lien of their kingdom. Even Krishna's peace mission failed as Duryodhan was not prepared to concede even the minimal demand of the Pandavas. A was was then inevitable; so Krishna had a meeting with Karna and told him that he was Kuntis's son and should therefor jon the Pandavas in their war against the Kauravas. Karn refused as he did not want to abandon Duryodhan in his crucial hour as he was indebted to him. Even Kunti failed to convince him. He remained loyal to Duryodhan even after giving away his armor and his ear-rings to Arjun's god father Indra in charity.
Both sides then mobilised their allies and forces. Both Duryodhan and Arjun asked Krishna for help. He gave them a choice; one could have his army and the other could have him as his charioteer. Duryodhan took the army and Arjun chose Krishna even though he was to remain non-combatant. Vidur and Krishna's brother Balaram remained neutral. Bhishma and Drona, because of their obligations to the throne of Hastinapur had to fight on the Kaurava side.
At the zero hour Arjun faced a crisis to conscience when he saw on the opposite side revered and loved elders and his own kith and kin against whom he had to raise his weapons in mortal combat. To redeem him from this crisis Krishna gave his discourse on the meaning of existence and the philosophy of 'Karma' which is contained in Geeta - Lord's celestial discourse. After Arjun was convinced that it was his duty to fight for righteousness the was started. It lasted for 18 days. Bhishma was the supreme commander of the Kaurava forces for the first ten days of war. Only when he was faced by Shikhandi (Amba) which he himself, in one sense had suggested to the Pandavas, did he lay down his arms as he wouldn't lift a weapon against a won. Thus with Shikhandi in the Vanguard Arjun's arrows killed Bhishma. He did not die immediately by reposed on a bed of arrows till after the coronation of Yudhishthir.
After Bhishma, Drona took over the command. He too was killed through a strategy; but before that Abhimany was killed by six Kaurava warriors who had extrapped him in Drona's Chakravyuh (a war formation of troops). To eliminate Drona a false rumor was spread that his son Ashwathama had been killed. Yudhishthir confirmed it as true; the dejected Drona laid down his arms and Dhrishtadyumna killed him.
Then Karna took over. He died at the hands of Arjun. For the last day of the war Salya was made the supreme commander and with his fall the war was practically over as Shakuni too had been killed by Sahdev. Only Duryodhana had survived among the Kaurava brothers. He had hidden himself inside a lake; but he was pursued and discovered. Bhim had a mace combat with him and against all the rules of mac combat smashed his thigh and killed him and thus fulfilled his vow. Earlier he had killed Duhsasana and washed Draupadi's tresses with his blood. Ashwathama was aroused to burning wrath. He attacked the Pandava camp along with Kripa and Kritvarma - the Yadav chief who had fought along side the Kauravas. Ashwathama killed Dhrishtadyumna and five sons of Draupadi. Bhim pursued him and deprived him of the jewel attached to his forehead. He could not kill him as he was immortal.
With the distraction of the Kauravas, Kudhishthir became the king of Hastinapur and after his coronation Krishna took him to Bhishma who was still lying on his bed of arrows.
Krishna asked Bhishma to instruct Yudhishthir on his obligations as a man and as a king. Bhishma was happy to learn that righteousness had been victorious in the war. He gave his discourse and passed away peacefully.