Mahabharata, one of the two major legendary stories of ancient India, focuses on how Dharma (righteousness) wins after many struggles.
We know only one-fourth of the controversial epic. Indeed, many facets are still lesser-known to many of us.
1. 10 Lesser-Known Facts about Mahabharata
1.1. Ashwathama Was the Real Hero
Arjuna was well known as the hero of Mahabharata. But Ashwathama, the son of Guru Dronacharya, did years of penance to obtain a son as bold and powerful as Lord Shiva.
Ashwathama happened to be the avatar of eight Rudras, blessed with a ruby on his head by birth. He was one of the Chiranjivees (the immortals) and the lone survivor of the Kurukshetra war.
1.2. Guru Dronacharya was Misled
Guru Dronacharya led Kaurava’s side as the commander. Bheema killed an elephant named Ashwathama. To kill him, Lord Krishna tricked him with the news that Bheema had killed his son Ashwathama. Disappointed, Dronacharya quit his weapons and later was killed by Dhrishtadhyumna. Even though he followed the righteous path, Guru Dronacharya was killed to lessen the power of Kauravas.
1.3. Eklavya Played a Vital Role in Mahabharata
Eklavya played a significant role in the epic yet was unnoticed. He was a cousin of Lord Krishna who was lost in the forests and adopted by the huntsmen. They raised him as their own, yet the boy possessed all the skills a man needed to rule a kingdom.
Eklavya was equally talented as Arjuna in skills, but Guru didn’t want a huntsman’s son to be so. He was then rejected by Guru Dronacharya, who asked him for his thumb finger as Guru Dakshana. He was then blessed with reincarnation as Draupadi’s brother, Dhrishtadhyumna, who killed Guru Dronacharya in the Kurukshetra war.
1.4. Shakuni Was the Primary Reason Behind the War
We know that Draupadi laughed at Duryodhana, and the Mahabharata war started there. But there is another primary reason behind the war. Shakuni, who played a vital role in changing the Kauravas’ fate, took revenge on Dhirudhrashtra, the father of Kauravas.
Dhirudhrashtra had killed Shakuni’s family members for some reason, and to take revenge, he insisted Duryodhana play the dice with Dharma, though he knew the power of Pandavas. The dice with which the game was played were made from Shakuni’s father’s backbone.
1.5. Karna was a Loyal Friend and a Great Protector
Karna was the son of Kunthi, the mother of Pandavas. Though he knew that Pandavas were his brothers, he decided to fight for Kauravas showing his loyalty to Duryodhana.
Karna was tricked and killed in the war because he was considered one of the most powerful warriors on the Kaurava side. Here again, the righteous Karna wasn’t noticed much in the epic.
1.6. Bhishma Pitamah Was Cursed and Killed by The Same Woman
Bhishma Pitamah, also called the Ganga Putra, had been cursed by Shikandi while he was young. He had rejected her love, so she took an oath to kill Bhishma. Bhishma could not be killed unless he lowered his bow in the battle.
He wouldn’t lower his bow against anyone but a woman. Also, no woman was allowed to enter the battle. Shikandi was born a woman and raised as a man. Bhishma refused to battle with Shikandi. Arjuna used the situation and shot a hundred arrows to the ground as there was no way the Pitamah could be killed. Pitamah had the gift of choosing his moment of death.
1.7. the Five Golden Arrows Played a Role Too
Arjuna once saved Duryodhana at Bhishma Pitamah’s request. Being a Kshatriya, he was embarrassed and gave Arjuna a boon that he would receive anything from him as a gift for saving his dignity.
On Lord Krishna’s advice, Arjuna used the boon before the battle by asking for the five mighty golden arrows from Duryodhana, thus weakening the Kaurava’s side. Duryodhana had got the arrows from Bhishma Pitamah.
1.8. Abhimanyu was the Only Warrior to Break the Chakravyuh
Abhimanyu, Arjuna’s son, was taught about breaking the Chakravyuh when he was inside his mother’s womb. But only the concept and idea of entering the Chakravyuh were discussed.
Then came the fate-changing shock when Abhimanyu brilliantly entered the Chakravyuh and didn’t know how to get out of it. The Pandavas lost all their sons in the battle.
1.9. Lord Vishnu’s Bow was Broken
Lord Vishnu’s Dhanush was with Pandu’s brother Vidura. Lord Krishna tricked Vidhura and made him break the Dhanush. This also was one of the most significant steps that weakened the Kaurava’s power.
1.10. Courteousness made Pandavas powerful
Though Kauravas was misled at times, they made a significant mistake in choosing the Narayani Army instead of Lord Krishna. Duryodhana entered the place first but sat near the Lord’s head while Arjuna politely sat down.
When Lord Krishna opened his eyes, he saw Arjuna first, and also based on Dharma, Lord Krishna gave Arjuna, the youngest one among them both, the opportunity to choose between him and his army. Pandavas’ courteousness took them ahead of Kauravas despite both sides being equally powerful.
I am sure some of these facts were known to you; others maybe not. Mahabharata is an epic that is instilled in all of our hearts. I hope you enjoyed reading this list of the lesser-known facts about Mahabharata.