Stories from the Vedas

and Around the World

Now let me tell you about the days of High adventure

The Mahabharata

Here is an Audio Recording of the Adiparva or first book of Mahabharata by Ian Cassidy

What is Mahabharata?

"It (Mahabharata) contains much useful instruction on Arthaa and Kaamaa (profit and pleasure). This sacrgb(255, 0, 0) history makes the heart desire for salvation (Moksha in Sanskrit). Learned persons by reciting this Veda of Krishna-Dwaipayana (Rishi Vyasa) to those that are liberal, truthful and believing, earn much wealth. Sins, such as killing the embryo in the womb, are destroyed assurgb(255, 0, 0)ly by this. A person, however cruel and sinful, by hearing this history, escapes from all his sins like the Sun from Rahu (after the eclipse is over). This history is called Jaya."

"It should be heard by those desirous of victory. A king by hearing it may bring the whole world under subjection and conquer all his enemies. This history in itself is a mighty act of appeasement, a mighty sacrifice productive of blessed fruit. It should always be heard by a young monarch with his queen, for then they beget a heroic son or a daughter to occupy a throne. This history is the high and sacrgb(255, 0, 0) science of Dharma, Arthaa, and also of Moksha; it has been so said by Vyasa himself of mind that is immeasurable. This history is recited in the present age and will be recited in the future. They that hear it, read, have sons and servants always obedient to them and doing their instruction. All sins that are committed by body, word, or mind, immediately leave them that hear this history. They who hear, without the spirit of fault finding, the story of the birth of the Bharata princes, can have no fear of sickness, let alone the fear of the other world."



Devayani was the daughter of Shukracharya. Shamistra was the princess of the demons, so Samistra was made the slave of Devyani. Now one time Devayanai and a few other demoness, they were in this forest and Yayati came riding by. And so what happened was because Yayaiti had grabbed her and pulled her out of the well because she had never been touched by any other man except her father, she also was very romantic minded. She kind of fell in love with Yayati. So when she met again all these girls crowded around him and stopped him in the middle of his riding. They were very shy and everything. She was like, you are the only man except my father that has touched my hand, and so I wish for you to marry me. So he was a little bit shy at first. She’s the daughter of Shukracharya. He’s a very powerful sage, but he thought it’s also very beneficial because like I’m a ksatria. I’m below you. But she’s like no I must be with you. And I was also cursed that I would marry someone that was below my caste so, then he said okay well if your father says it’s okay then we can get married. So the father was like okay, but you can never ever be with Samistra because that would hurt Devayani's feelings cause she’s her servant.


So Yayati was with Devayani, and he had his kingdom. It was pretty much the dawn of time. It was the beginning of Treta Yuga. It was a long long time ago. He was a king in the Chandra Dynasty, Chandra Navamsa. He had this huge palace filled with beautiful trees and the innermost portion of the palace was this garden that was filled with beautiful orchards. It was a pleasure garden, and that’s where all the women lived in the palace and that was his private quarters and then there was the outer palace which is where the king would go and meet other people, but no one was allowed to go inside the inner portion. With that being the case, saimsista didn’t have anybody to be with but she also couldn’t be with Yayati. So she felt very lonely. And, so what happened was, she being a demoness, they have a different life span than a human and so when she was a thousand years old then she hit puberty.


So then she went to Yayati please you must give me a child and Yayati was like i’m specifically ordered that i couldn’t. How am I supposed to find a husband? No man is allowed within your pleasure garden, and you cannot be with me. My life will go in vain. Yayati was a little hesitant at first. It’s your dharma as a kshatriya. Because see the thing is, the kshatriya dharma, the kshatriya’s guard all the women of the society that’s their duty. When the women aren't graded, then that means there’s no kshatriya, so it’s the ksatriya’s duty to give protection and part of that protection is that if a woman is single and they ask a kshatriya to marry them they have to oblige. So there’s many different kinds of marriages in the Vedic culture. There’s the typical one which is arranged marriage which we hear of and that’s called Deva marriage, but there’s nine. One them is called Ghandarvavivaha which is what they call it. Basically means love marriage and that's the predominant one amongst kshatriyas. Anyway, so she came to him and she wanted him to give her children, and she basically pleaded on his kshatriya

dharma. And if he was to refuse her, he actually would get the sin of abortion. That’s the other part of it, that you usually don’t hear if a woman comes to you and they want you to impregnate them and you deny them in this particular kind of scenario then the sin goes on the man of aborition. Because he could have created a baby when she wanted one. So that’s also kind of grievous sin, so he’s kind of juggling this in his head. Plus there’s this beautiful damsel. He’s like, this is too much. So, he said yes, and then she had a child. So he had his first son.


He ended up having five children between the two of them. The oldest was named Yadhu, and that was the one he had with Devayani. The youngest was named Puru. He also had one named Yavan which is where we get the race of Yavanas. He gave that portion of the world to his son. Greece and Turkey and around the Middle East that he gave to Yavana anyone that comes from there they call them Yavanas and then there’s Yadu that was his oldest son and he was going to be the heir of the kingdom but it ended up going to Puru and this is how.


What happened was Devayani was walking with Yayati in his pleasure garden and Samistra came forward. And she was kind of trying cause she had the children. And the little children knew that Yayati was their father, so they came forward and they were embracing his legs. And Devayani saw this and she was like what’s this all about. They were trying to keep them away, but eventually he was like these are my kids, and she was like how did you get em. He explained what happened and she got angry. She ran away. She went to her father crying cause you know Samistra had insulted her.

Then she ends up sleeping with her man and having children with him. I mean the king had a whole pleasure garden filled with courtesans, but i guess she wasn’t jealous of them. So she went to her father and Shukracharya got angry. He specifically told him not to do that so Shukracharya cursed Yayati. He said even though you are in the prime of your life that lust has taken your mind so I will now make you an old man. So, he cursed him.


So, Yayati went from being youtful to old, like old old. Yayati was sad, but then Devayani was also sad because she had a youthful handsome husband. And now he’s old. She was like she actually didn’t like it either, and so she told her father. So shukracharya was like okay well you can take the youth back, but you have to exchange it with somebody. They’ll take your old age, and they’ll give you their youth. And so first, he went to Yadi, and he said your the son of my chief queen. Please you can take my old age and then let me live young.Then after some time we can exchange, and then Yadu was like no. And so then Yayati cursed him. Even though you would have been the king of the dynasty, and all your descendants would have been rulers, now your descendants can never become rulers of this dynasty. So that’s why even though the yadus were such a powerful empire, and all of the yadava dynasty was so great, they could never become kings because of what Yayati had said. Cause the yadus had their own family. That’s Krishna’s family That’s the origin of that whole dynasty right there, then he went on to all his other children. They also said no, and so he gave them bad places to rule over, or unwanted or undesirable. And so that’s why he gave Yavan the kingdom of the Yavanas. That’s why it’s called Yavanas. Generally nowadays, they translate it as barbarians, but basically it's the Middle East around Turkey and Greece kind of area. That’s the Yavana kingdom. That’s the place he gave them. And so puru said yes, and so puru was made heir the yuvaraja the heir of parent. So then puru eventually there’s a whole line. He was the one who ended up being the father of Bharata, so where we get the Bharata Dynasty.and then on to Kuru. Thats why its called the Kauravas, so it's from him that we get those lines.


So then Yayati was happy. So sharmistha and devayani ended up more or less making up after that whole situation. So they were both happy with each other and Yayati. So what Yayati would do, he would just travel around. So because first of all, his wife is the daughter of Shukracharya, and then his other wife is the daughter of the king of asuras which is the extraterrestrial race of demons. Right so he actually had a vimana, and he would travel to all these celestial realms with both of his wives. He did that for a thousand years. He would go to all these different places because he lived for so long because he’s from the Treta yuga. When purava was born just before the start of Treta yuga. Pururava was the founder of the first real human of the dynasty. They don’t talk about him in the Mahabharata at this part. But his story is in Bhagavatam and other puranic stories. Purava was the founder of the dynasty.


I was just getting in the point that Purarava was born before the start of Treta yuga, and then while he was alive, it switched to Treta Yuga, so they were in the beginning of Treta Yuga in this time. Parallel with, not exactly parallel with Rama. Rama was a little later, but this is all in Treta Yuga time. This is a little bit before Ramachandra. Different places in the same going on cause the Chandra Dynasty is what this is and that’s the Kuri dynasty. And Rama is the solar dynasty. That’s a whole different genealogical table which starts before. The Solar Dynasty starts with Manu. And that’s the Satya Yuga. And the Chandra dynasty starts just before Treta yuga. So there’s a whole satya yuga before. The story of why planet Mercury is the son of the moon god in the first place is a whole cool story I guess we can tell that sometimes. But yeah, they lived I think tens of thousands of years is the lifespan of people in Treta Yuga. And Satya Yuga it’s hundreds of thousands of years but in Treta yuga its tens of thousands of years which is still plenty.


So he was happy and he would travel all these different celestial regions and then eventually after a thousand years he gave. He exchanged and he took on his old age and he renounced everything fully. And he went into the mountains. Because he went from complete enjoyment to complete renunciation. But everything done complete, so he went into the mountains. He went total yogi style because that was the dharma of this time he did meditation and agni hotra. He started renouncing more and eating less and less. Eventually he just left his body. Indra just took him straight up and he was in Svarga. And he was happy there. So it goes on cause what happened he was in there. He was in Svarga. This is an interesting part of the story. So he’s in Svarga and Indra kind of tricked him. Cause Indra does that. He likes to test. Indra likes to test your standard. Are you really real? So, I mean it is like everybody before. There’s citizens and tourists in Svarga. There’s people that are there that are more like permanent. And there’s tourists which are people that do good deeds and then they go there and the visit. So Yayati was kind of like permanent. And Indra’s like, so Yayati tell me. Who here has done greater austerity than you? And then Yayati looked around and he says I don’t see a single person. And then immediately he started to fall down. And then he started falling down and then Indra looked down. Well I mean you know that was kind of arrogant. Cause that’s the thing you can do so much external things but its your heart that really matters. And so as he was falling down, Indra was kind of looking down at him. And Yayati says, hey i mean if you throwing me out can you at least drop me down with my ancestors. So Indra’s like okay. So he starts falling down. He’s still kind of like celestially embodied. But he starts falling down. And usually what happens when you get kicked out of Svarga you fall down into Rasatala, and then they kill you and then you become a drop of rain, and it enters the grain. Then it enters your father and then you become reborn.

What happened with him as he was falling he didn’t go straight to Rasatala he landed nearby his ancestors. So i mean you know his descendants. It wasn’t his son directly, it was his grandchildren. So who was there was Shibi. Now Shibi is a famous king. There’s a little story to Shibi that I’ll tell it’s not right in this part of Mahabharata, but it will let you know who he is. What happened was the Gods wanted to test Shibi. They do that a lot. The test the medal of people a lot to see if they walk their talk. So Indra and agni kind of conspired on this one. What happened was one became a hawk and one became a pigeon, and they flew. The pigeon flew to Shibi and said please give me shelter. So Shibi’s a kshatriya, and here’s a talking pigeon I guess regardless. You know he’s like okay yeah whatever. So this hawk comes, and the hawk says you’re the king so the king maintains everybody I need food. This pigeon is my food so give me some food. And the king offered him different food and he said that won’t do. So the king said okay. I will cut flesh from my body. And give you that equal for the weight of the pigeon. So the hawk said I’ll accept that. So they put a big scale, and they put the pigeon on one end of the scale. And Shibi started cutting muscle right off his body and putting it on the scale and eventually he was cutting so much of him it was a whole big chunk of flesh there. It's a small pigeon, but its not weighing equally. So then Shibi just sat on the scale. So he offered his whole body. Cause a king has to if he vows protection. It’s at the expense of his life. And then he sat on the scale so then both of them became their natural form Indra and Agni and they gave pranams.You are a great king. He asked for a benediction. And the king was like I am a king and this is my duty. You don’t do your duty in exchange for things, but if you want to be nice to me at least let me have all my parts back. So then they gave him that. And that was Shibi. And Shibi was sitting there and he was doing a yagna actually.


So Yayati fell to the place. And so they saw him with their eyes and they were amazed and Shibi saw them, and so Yayati and Shibi got to talking. And Yayati explained that he said if you are coming from heaven then why are you here. You may not know it because you are here, but earth is called Bhama hell. It’s the earth hell. And people are sent here because of pride. So that’s the major reason that people are in the bhama hell, and if you get rid of pride then you don’t have to live here anymore. But because I had pride, i got sent down here. You get realizations when you do things. A lot of times, especially with this exalted people they just need a little bit of a slap. Shibi was sad because he said you’re a great king. You’re my progenitors. Shibi gave him they had an exchange Yayati didn't want any kind of punya. Cause Shibi was ready to give him all of his punya just so he could go back to heaven. They had an exchange, and Yayati was humble. I don’t really want it, and Shibi’s like you’re my pitra. I can’t just leave ya hanging. So they had an exchange. And eventually Shibi gave him the punya, and so then he went back and then Shibi went. So then that’s the story of Yayati.