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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Genealogy of the Kauravas and Pandavas - Maha Bharata Series 16


Genealogy from Bharata to Janamejaya
Kauravas and Pandavas belong to a line of dynasty that starts with Bharata. That is why India is called Bharata Varasha. (This is similar to how China got its name  from the first emperor whose name was Qin Shi Huang.  Qin is pronounced  “chin”). Those of you who have visited Xian to look at the famous burial ground of this king with the terracotta warriors will know this). The genealogy of the Kauravas and Pandavas is given in Book1, section 95. It is interesting that in the Old Testament, the early chapters are about the genealogy of the first 12 tribes of the Holy Land.
The history starts with Sakuntala and Dushyanta and their  son, called Bharata. This story is well-known because of Kalidasa’s Abhignana Shakuntalam. Bharata married Sunanda, the daughter of the king of Kasi, and had a son named Bhumanyu. Bhumanyu married Vijaya, the daughter of Dasarha and had a son. Suhotra was his name and he married Suvarna, the daughter of Ikshvaku (Remember that this is the family in which Rama was born in the previous yuga). To her was born a son named Hasti who founded the city called Hastinapura.
And Hasti married Yasodhara, the princess of Trigarta and their son was named Vikunthana. He married Sudeva, the princess of Dasarha and had  a son named Ajamidha. Ajamidha had four wives named Raikeyi, Gandhari, Visala and Riksha and had two thousand and four hundred sons! (after all, this is why this is called purana and not history) One of them by name Samvarana became the perpetuator of the dynasty. Samvarana married Tapati, the daughter of Vivaswat. Their son Kuru married Subhangi, the princess of Dasarha. They had a son named Viduratha, who married Supriya, the daughter of the Madhavas. Anaswan was their son and Anaswan married Amrita. Parikshit was the son of Amrita and Anaswan. Parikshit married Suvasa, the daughter of the Vahudas, and Bhimasena(a different Bhima) was their son. Bhimasena married Kumari, the princess of Kekaya and their son was Pratisravas whose son was Pratipa. Pratipa married Sunanda, the daughter of Sivi, and had three sons, viz., Devapi, Santanu and Valhika. Devapi became a hermit and therefore Santanu became the king.
Santanu married Ganga, whose son was known as Devavrata. Bhishma is none other than this Devavrata. After Devavrata was born, Santanu met Satyavati and wanted to marry her. But she demanded that a son born to her, and not Bhishma and his line, should ascend the throne. In order to help his father’s wishes, Bhishma took a vow of Brahmacharya (and thus assuring no progeny). Satyavati already had a son by Parasara, named Dwaipayana (Who was later called Vyasa, the rishi who wrote the Mahabharata).
Santanu had two sons by Satyavati, named Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. Chitrangada was killed by the Gandharvas. Vichitravirya became king, married the two daughters of the king of Kasi, named Ambika and Ambalika and died childless. To make sure that the lineage of her son (Vichitravirya) rule the kingdom, Satyavati thought about the customs of those days. It was acceptable in those days for a brother to get children through the brother’s wife. Therefore, she called Vyasa and asked him to get children for the sake of his brother (half-brother’s) dynasty. Dwaipayana, consented to his mother’s and got three children, viz., Dhritarashtra, Pandu, and Vidura.
King Dhritarashtra had a hundred sons by his wife, Gandhari.(This is also an interesting story to read; but too long to recount here). And amongst those hundred sons, four are well-known: Duryodhana, Duhsasana, Vikarna, and Chitrasena. And Pandu had two wives, Kunti ( also called Pritha), and Madri. Pandu, while out a-hunting, killed a deer during the act of mating. He was cursed that he will die if he tried to co-habit with his wives. He stopped going to his wives but wanted children to help him go to the world of the ancestors. He requested Kunti and Madri to get children through someone else. Kunti will not think of it but remembered a special boon she had received earlier. Using that boon, Kunti united with Dharma and Yudhishtra (Dharma) was born. Bhima was born of Marut (Vayu, also father of Hanuman) and Arjuna through Indra. Madri got Nakula and Sahadeva through the twin Aswins, with the help of Kunti. Madri entered the funeral pyre when Pandu died.
Before the Kurukshetra war, after marrying Draupadi, each of the Pandavas had one son each through her: Yudhishthira got Prativindhya; Bhima, Sutasoma; Arjuna, Srutakriti; Nakula, Satanika; and Sahadeva, Srutakarman. Yudhishthira, had another wife Devika, the daughter of Govasana of the Saivya tribe, and had a son named Yaudheya. And Bhima married Valandhara, the daughter of the king of Kasi, and had a son named Sarvaga. Bhima also had a son through a she-demon (Hidimva) and was called Gatothkacha. Arjuna  abducted Subhadra, Krishna’s sister with Krishna’s help and had a son named Abhimanyu. And Nakula married Karenumati, the princess of Chedi, had a son named Niramitra. Sahadeva married Vijaya, the daughter of the king of Madra, and had a son named Suhotra.
Abhimanyu was the perpetuator of the Pandava family.All the other sons of the Pandavas were killed in the war. He married Uttara, the daughter of Virata. She was pregnant with Abhimanyu’s son during the war. A weapon used by Aswattaman burnt this child in the womb. The child was born premature but Krishna asked Kunti to take care of the child with the promise that he will revive the child to full strength by the age of six months. Krishna fulfilled his promise. And after reviving him, Vasudeva (Krishna) said, 'Because this child is born in an extinct race, he will be called Parikshit'. And Parikshit married Madravati, and their son was Janamejaya.
It was during the performance of Aswamedha yaga by Janamejaya of the Pandava dynasty that the story of Mahabharata was recounted by Sanjaya, who was Dhrithrashtra’s charioteer and a witness to the war. He was also given special powers by Lord Krishna to be able to see everything that went on in the battle field. In essence, Sanjaya was the official reporter from the war front.

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