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MADIRĀ-MAHA-BHARATA. MADIRĀ. A name of Vārunī, wife of Varuna, and goddess of wine.
MADRA. Name of a country and people to the north-west of Hindustan. Its capital was Sakala, and the territory extended from the Biyās to the Chināb, or, according to others, as far as the Jhilam.
MADRI. A sister of the king of the Madras, and second wife of Pāndu, to whom she bore twin-sons, Nakula and Sahadeva; but the Aswins are alleged to have been their real father. She became a sati on the funeral pile of her husband.
MAGADHA. The country of South Bihar, where the Pāli language was spoken.
MĀGHA. A poet, son of Dattaka, and author of one of the great artificial poems called, from its subject, Sisupāla-badha, or, from its author, Māgha-kāvya.
MAGHAVAT, MAGHAVAN. A name of Indra.
MAHĀ-BALI. A title of the dwarf Bali, whose city is called Mahā-bali-pura, which name is applied to the Tamil “Māmallai-pura,” or Seven Pagodas near Madras. See Bali.
MAHĀ-BHĀRATA. “The great (war of the) Bhāratas.' The great epic poem of the Hindus, probably the longest in the world. It is divided into eighteen parvas or books, and contains about 220,000 lines. The poem has been subjected to much modification and has received numerous comparatively modern additions, but many of its legends and stories are of Vedic character and of great antiquity. They seem to have long existed in a scattered state, and to have been brought together at different times. Upon them have been founded many of the poems and dramas of later days, and among them is the story of Rāma, upon which the Rāmāyana itself may have been based. According to Hindu authorities, they were finally arranged and reduced to writing by a Brāhman or Brāhmans. There is a good deal of mystery about this, for the poem is attributed to a divine source. The reputed author was Krishna Dwaipāyana, the Vyāsa, or arranger, of the Vedas. He is said to have taught the poem to his pupil Vaisampāyana, who afterwards recited it at a festival to King Janamejaya. The leading subject of the poem is the great war between the Kauravas and Pāndavas, who were descendants, through Bhārata, from Puru, the great ancestor of one branch of the Lunar race. The object of the
great struggle was the kingdom whose capital was Hastinā-pura (elephant city), the ruins of which are traceable fifty-seven miles north-east of Delhi, on an old bed of the Ganges.
Krishna Dwaipāyana Vyāsa is not only the author of the poem, but the source from whom the chief actors sprung. He was the son of the Rishi Parāsara by a nymph named Satyavati, who, although she had given birth to a son, remained a virgin. There was a king, a descendant of Bhārata, named Santanu, who had a son called Santavana, better known as Bhishma. In his old age Sāntanu wished to marry again, but the hereditary rights of Bhishma were an obstacle to his obtaining a desirable match. To gratify his father's desire, Bhishma divested himself of all rights of succession, and Santanu then married Satyavati. She bore him two sons, the elder of whom, Chitrāngada, succeeded to the throne, but was soon killed in battle by a Gandharva king who bore the same name. Vichitra-vīrya, the younger, succeeded, but died childless, leaving two widows, named Ambikā and Ambālikā, daughters of a king of Kāsī. Satyavati then called on Krishna Dwaipāyana Vyāsa to fulfil the law, and raise up seed to his half-brother. Vyāsa had lived the life of an anchorite in the woods, and his severe austerities had made him terrible in appearance. The two widows were so frightened at him that the elder one closed her eyes, and so gave birth to a blind son, who received the name of Dhrita-rāshtra ; and the younger turned so pale that her son was called Pandu, the pale.' Satyavati wished for a child without blemish, but the elder widow shrank from a second association with Vyāsa, and made a slave girl take her place. From this girl was born a son who was named Vidura. These children were brought up by their uncle Bhishma, who acted as regent. When they became of age, Dhrita-rāshtra was deemed incapable of reigning in consequence of his blindness, and Pandu came to the throne. The name Pāndu has suggested a suspicion of leprosy, and either through that, or in consequence of a curse, as the poem states, he retired to the forest, and Dhrita-rāshtra then became king.
Pāndu had two wives, Kunti or Prithā, daughter of Sūra, king of the Sūra-senas, and Mādrī, sister of the king of the Madras; but either through disease or the curse passed upon him, he did not consort with his wives. He retired into solitude in the Himālaya mountains, and there he died; his wives, who accom
185 panied him having borne him five sons. The paternity of these children is attributed to different gods, but Pāndu acknowledged them, and they received the patronymic of Pāndava. Kuntī was the mother of the three elder sons, and Mādrī of the two younger. Yudhi-shthira (firm in fight), the eldest, was son of Dharma, the judge of the dead, and is considered a pattern of manly firmness, justice, and integrity. Bhīma or Bhīma-sena (the terrible), the second, was son of Vāyu, the god of the wind. He was noted for his strength, daring, and brute courage ; but he was coarse, choleric, and given to vaunting. He was such a great eater that he was called Vrikodara, wolf's belly. Arjuna (the bright or silvery), the third, was son of Indra, the god of the sky. He is the most prominent character, if not the hero, of the poem. He was brave as the bravest, high-minded, generous, tender-hearted, and chivalric in his notions of honour. Nakula and Saha-deva, the fourth and fifth sons, were the twin children of Madrī by the Aswini Kumāras, the twin sons of Sūrya, the sun. They were brave, spirited, and amiable, but they do not occupy such prominent positions as their elder brothers.
Dhrita-rāshtra, who reigned at Hastinā-pura, was blind. By his wife Gāndhārī he had a hundred sons, and one daughter named Duh-salā. This numerous offspring was owing to a blessing from Vyāsa, and was produced in a marvellous way. (See Gāndhārī.) From their ancestor Kuru these princes were known as the Kauravas. The eldest of them, Duryodhana (hard to subdue), was their leader, and was a bold, crafty, malicious man, an embodiment of all that is bad in a prince. While the Pāndu princes were yet children, they, on the death of their father, were brought to Dhrita-rāshtra, and presented to him as his nephews. He took charge of them, showed them great kindness, and had them educated with his own sons. Differences and dislikes soon arose, and the juvenile emulation and rivalry of the princes ripened into bitter hatred on the part of the Kauravas. This broke into an open flame when Dhrita-rāshtra nominated Yudhi-shthira as his Yuva-rāja or heir-apparent. The jealousy and the opposition of his sons to this act was so great that Dhrita-rāshtra sent the Pandavas away to Vāranāvata, where they dwelt in retirement. While they were living there Duryodhana plotted to destroy his cousins by setting fire to their house, which he had caused to be made very combustible All
the five brothers were for a time supposed to have perished in the fire, but they had received timely warning from Vidura, and they escaped to the forest, where they dressed and lived in disguise as Brāhmans upon alms.
While the Pandavas were living in the forest they heard that Draupada, king of the Panchālas, had proclaimed a swayam-vara, at which his daughter Draupadi was to select her husband from among the princely and warlike suitors. They went there, still disguised as Brāhmans. Arjuna bent the mighty bow which had defied the strength of the Kauravas and all other competitors, and the Pandavas were victorious over every opponent. They threw off their disguise, and Draupadi was won by Arjuna. The brothers then conducted Draupadi to their home. On their arrival they told their mother Kuntī that they had made a great acquisition, and she unwittingly directed them to share it among them. The mother's command could not be evaded, and Vyāsa confirmed her direction; so Draupadi became the wife in common of the five brothers, and it was arranged that she should dwell for two days in the house of each of the five brothers in succession. This marriage has been justified by a piece of special pleading, which contends that the five princes were all portions of one deity, and therefore only one distinct person, to whom a woman might lawfully be married.
This public appearance made known the existence of the Pāndavas. Their uncle Dhritā-rāshtra recalled them to his court and divided his kingdom between his own sons and them. His sons received Hastinā-pura, and the chief city given to his nephews was Indra-prastha on the river Yamunā, close to the modern Delhi, where the name still survives. The close proximity of Hastinā-pura and Indra-prastha shows that the territory of Dhrita-rāshtra must have been of very moderate extent. The reign of Yudhi-shthira was a pattern of justice and wisdom. Having conquered many countries, he announced his intention of performing the Rāja-sūya sacrifice, thus setting up a claim to universal dominion, or at least to be a king over kings. This excited still more the hatred and envy of the sons of Dhritarashtra, who induced their father to invite the Pandavas to Hastinā-pura. The Kauravas had laid their plot, and insidiously prevailed upon Yudhi-shthira to gamble. His opponent was Sakuni, uncle of the Kaurava princes, a great gambler and a MAHA-BHĂRATA.
187 cheat. Yudhi-shthira lost his all : his wealth, his palace, his kingdom, his brothers, himself, and, last of all, their wife. Draupadi was brought into the assembly as a slave, and when she rushed out she was dragged back again by her hair by Duh-sāsana, an insult for which Bhiina vowed to drink his blood. Duryodhana also insulted her by seating her upon his thigh, and Bhima vowed that he would smash that thigh. Both these vows he afterwards performed. Through the interference and commands of Dhrita-rashtra the possessions of Yudhi-shthira were restored to him. But he was once more tempted to play, upon the condition that if he lost he and his brothers should pass twelve years in the forest, and should remain incognito during the thirteenth year. He was again the loser, and retired with his brothers and wife into exile. In the thirteenth year they entered the service of the king of Virāta in disguise-Yudhi-shthira as a Brāhman skilful as a gamester; Bhima as a cook; Arjuna as a eunuch and teacher of music and dancing; Nakula as a horse-trainer; and Saha-deva as a herdsman. Draupadi also took service as attendant and needlewoman of the queen, Su-deshnā. The five princes each assumed two names, one for use among themselves and one for public use. Yudhi-shthira was Jaya in private, Kanka in public ; Bhīma was Jayanta and Ballava ; Arjuna was Vijaya and Brihan-nala ; Nakula was Jaya-sena and Granthika; Saha-deva was Jayad-bala and Arishta-nemi, a Vaisya. The beauty of Draupadi attracted Kichaka, brother of the queen, and the chief man in the kingdom. He endeavoured to seduce her, and Bhīma killed him. The relatives of Kichaka were about to burn Draupadi on his funeral pile, but Bhīma appeared as a wild Gandharva and rescued her. The brothers grew in favour, and rendered great assistance to the king in repelling the attacks of the king of Trigartta and the Kauravas. The time of exile being expired, the princes made themselves known, and Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna, received Uttara, the king's daughter, in marriage.
The Pandavas now determined to attempt the recovery of their kingdom. The king of Virała became their firm ally, and preparations for the war began. Allies were sought on all sides. Krishna and Bala-rāma, being relatives of both parties, were reluctant to fight. Krishna conceded to Arjuna and Dur-yodhana the choice of himself unarmed or of a large army. Arjuna chose Krishna and Dur-yodhana joyfully accepted the army. Krishna