Mahabharata for children

Mahabharata Episode 1

Mahabharata is a literary treasure of India. It is the longest epic poem in the world, originally written in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India. It was composed by Vyasa several thousand years ago.

Mahabharata belongs not only to India but to the world too. It is a parable of the human race and carries a universal message - victory comes to those who stay on the righteous path. It is a real life drama that stands as a perennial spiritual strength to the people of India in all phases of their lives.

The story of Mahabharata starts with King Dushyant, a powerful ruler of ancient India. Dushyanta married Shakuntala, the foster-daughter of sage Kanva. Shakuntala was born to Menaka, a nymph of Indra's court, from sage Vishwamitra, who secretly fell in love with her. Shakuntala gave birth to a worthy son Bharata, who grew up to be fearless and strong. He ruled for many years and was the founder of the Kuru dynasty. Unfortunately, things did not go well after the death of Bharata and his large empire was reduced to a kingdom of medium size with its capital Hastinapur.

Mahabharata means the story of the descendents of Bharata. The regular saga of the epic of the Mahabharata, however, starts with king Shantanu. Shantanu lived in Hastinapur and was known for his valor and wisdom.

One day he went out hunting to a nearby forest. Reaching the bank of the river Ganges (Ganga), he was startled to see an indescribably charming damsel appearing out of the water and then walking on its surface. Her grace and divine beauty struck Shantanu at the very first sight and he was completely spellbound.

When the king inquired who she was, the maiden curtly asked, "Why are you asking me that?"

King Shantanu admitted "Having been captivated by your loveliness, I, Shantanu, king of Hastinapur, have decided to marry you."

"I can accept your proposal provided that you are ready to abide by my two conditions" argued the maiden.

"What are they?" anxiously asked the king.

"Firstly, you will never ask anything about my personal life, like who I am or where do I come from? Secondly, you will never stop me from doing anything or ask the reason of anything I do."