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Mahabharata Podcast

This podcast is for anyone interested in the epic literature of India, its spiritual philosophy, the life & background of Krishna, or any of the fascinating stories of the great epic the Mahabharata.


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Mahabharata Podcast
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Vyasa finishes his comforting storytelling, and then vanishes, leaving it up to Yuddistira to deal with breaking the news to Arjun that his son is dead. Arjun comes home expecting a party, only to find the camp in mourning over the loss of his son. He responds by swearing to kill Jayadratha by sunset tomorrow. The Kauravas find out about his oath and hastily make plans to keep the prince safe long enough for Arjun's vow to fail. That is all it will take to get the Pandava out of the war! Now...
Topics: Kurukshetra, Vyasa, Arjun
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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On the previous day, Duryodhana was quickly losing faith with his uncle. He began to suspect that Bhisma was throwing the contest in favor of the Pandavas. Karna didn't help any when he offered to take charge in place of the old man. So Duryodhana asked the old man to either fulfill his oaths or get out of the game. Now today, on the 9th day, Bhisma sets out to finish off his Dharma so he could move on to the next phase in his life. On the battlefield, he kills hundreds of thousands, including...
Topics: Kurukshetra, Bhisma, Arjun, Krishna, Duryodhana
Mahabharata Podcast
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This episode covers the final day of the great war. If you were expecting things to go out with a bang, you'll be disappointed. Once the Kaurava general Shalya is killed, things just sort of disintegrate. Duryodhana's remaining brothers are all killed. Shakuni is killed. Karna's sons are exterminated. The Pandavas make one final sweep over the field, killing literally everyone who was left standing. They spend the rest of the day sifting through the corpses in search of Duryodhana. By this...
Topics: Duryodhana, Yuyutsu
Mahabharata Podcast
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I know it feels like this war is really dragging on; but I think that is precisely how Vyasa wanted us to feel by this point in the battle. We are all getting tired of the unending violence. Even the main cause of all the violence, Bhisma, is getting tired of this, and he has begun looking for a way out. On day 9, the old Kuru apparently relieved himself of the last of his commitments, which was to wipe out the army of the Saumakas. Now the only thing left for him to do was to find the most...
Topics: Kurukshetra, Bhisma, Saumakas, Pandavas, Arjun, Sikhandin
Mahabharata Podcast
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I present my wild theories and hypotheses about the Mahabharata. Among other things, we discuss its relationship to the Precession of the Equinoxes and the Yuga cycle as defined by Markandeya and Sri Yukteshvar. We look into the role of magic in the story and our prospects for regaining this lost knowledge in the future. We delve into the mystery of the metaphysical origins of the Pandavas and consider whether the five brothers might have originally been based on just a single hero-- the...
Topics: Joseph Selbie, Markandeya, Precession, proto-Arjun, Sri Yukteshvar, The Yugas
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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This one covers Duryodhana's reaction to the humiliation of being captured by the Gandharvas and then released by the valor of his hated cousins the Pandavas. Unable to face his clan after the ignominious defeat, the prince resolves to sit down and starve himself to death. This decision sets off alarm bells in Hell, where the Daityas and Danavas have big plans for Duryodhana. They summon a genie and have her deliver Duryodhana to them, and they tell him about the cosmic nature of this conflict,...
Topics: Daityas, Danavas, Duryodhana, Karna, Vaishnava
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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This is a big one; this episode covers the tangled details of the incident that sets off the rest of the story. At the heart of it, it is about Duryodhana and Shakuni cheating at dice to win from the Pandavas all their possessions and even their freedom. That much is clear, and the match culminates in the deliberate humiliation of Draupadi before the court. Bhima swears oaths to kill both Duryodhana and his younger brother Dushasan, and the future conflict all arises from the fears and hatred...
Topics: Dice Game, Yudhistira, Kaurava, Duryodhana, Shakuni
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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So this is it; the moment everyone has been waiting for. Ever since Episode 7 when Duryodhana was born, he has finally received his well-deserved defeat. But even as he falls, the finger pointing, hand-wringing and grief at the price that has been paid for this victory has already begun. Balaram shows up just in time to referee the final death match between Bhima & Duryodhana, only to get really annoyed when Bhima is forced to bend the rules a bit in order to win.
Topics: Duryodhana, Balaram, Bhima
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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Krishna is dead. Balaram is dead. The city of Dwarka sinks beneath the waves, and the refugees of that once-great city are making their way to Indraprastha with only Arjun as their protector. But the influence of the Kali Yuga pervades the earth, and Arjun is not the man he once was. When the vulnerable procession is attacked by bandits, his magic quivers run out of arrows and his magical weapons no longer obey his command. Only a fragment is saved, along with Krishna's grandson Vajra, who is...
Topics: Arjun, Indraprastha, Vajra, Vyasa
Mahabharata Podcast
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Karna begins the 17th day of the war by fighting each Pandava except Arjun. He is actually defeated by both Yuddistira and Bhima, but then he defeats Nakul and Sahadev. Both of the elder brothers spare his life, out of consideration for Arjun's oaths. Yuddistira then goes for a second round with Karna, but this time it doesn't work out so well. Karna defeats Yuddistira and nearly captures him, but he reconsiders and lets the Pandava go. Yuddistira then flees to his camp to have his wounds...
Topics: Arjun, Krishna, Yudhistira
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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This is the last episode that covers Book 7 of the Mahabharata, called "The Origins". Almost all of the story I have covered so far comes from Book 7. The earlier books are much shorter, and full of geneologies and creation myths that are almost impossible to make narrative sense of, so I left a lot of that out! I spend some time at the beginning of this episode describing what we're up against in terms of the original Mahabharata as a source. Then the story gets under way, where we...
Topics: Arjun, Bhima, Drona, Krpa, Shakuni
Mahabharata Podcast
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The Pandavas are now settled into their forest encampment and receive a surprise visitor. The Kauravas plot to kill the Pandavas while they are defenseless in the forest. Vyasa himself steps in to put a stop to this outrage, and he then introduces the sage Maitreya, who scolds Duryodhana, and then finally curses him to be struck in the "thigh" by Bhima. If you ever felt uncomfortable about the fact that Bhima had to cheat and hit Duryodhana below the belt in their final battle, you...
Topics: Bhima, Maitreya, Pandavas, Duryodhana
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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At the end of the First Dice Game, it really seemed like King Dhritarastra had put everything back the way it was. He restored the Pandava's freedom, titles and wealth. Unfortunately, Bhima had sworn some pretty serious oaths to kill his cousins, and cousin Duryodhana was too filled with hate and fear to allow things to be left the way they were. The blind king then ordered Yuddistira to return for one final round of dice. The loser would give up his possessions and retire to the forest for 12...
Topics: Draupadi, Krishna, Duryodhana, Dushasan
Mahabharata Podcast
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The fifth and sixth days of the great war. Arjun wipes out an army of 25,000, and we find out Satyaki has 10 fully grown sons. Soon after we learn about these sons, they get decapitated by King Bhurishravas. In return, Satyaki kills off the king's entire army, but the pair are too well-matched and both must be dragged off of the battlefield after sunset. Bhima can't resist an opportunity to kill more cousins, but risks getting himself killed or captured behind enemy lines. Dhrstadyumna rescues...
Topics: Abhimanyu, Arjun, Bhima, Bhurishravas, Dhrstadyumna, Satyaki
Mahabharata Podcast
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We begin the famous holy book, the Bhagavad Gita. The scene for this revelation is the midst of the fateful battlefield of Kurukshetra. Arjun surveys the field, seeing his relatives, friends, cousins, uncles, elders and gurus, all ready to draw each other's blood and die for the sake of his dynastic dispute. For the good guys to win, Arjun will personally be responsible for the death of the people he respects the most in the whole world. He simple cannot go on with it. Arjun drops his bow and...
Topics: Bhagavad Gita, Krishna, Arjun, Arjuna
Mahabharata Podcast
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The third and fourth days of the great war. It seems like the tide may be turning somewhat, since both days of fighting were dominated by Arjun and Bhimasena. Despite having the honor of receiving Krishna's teaching firsthand, Arjun still seems to be holding back somewhat. His lassitude gets so bad that Krishna finally gets annoyed with him, and takes matters in his own hands. Contrary to the way I've always heard the story told, Krishna does not take any consideration for his oath not to...
Topics: Kurukshetra, Arjun, Bhima, Krishna, Abhimanyu
Mahabharata Podcast
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This episode covers the marriage of the three princes Dhritarastra, Pandu and Vidura. Here's the map I promised of India during the time of the Mahabharata. What's important to notice is that first, the Kuru nation was in a very central location and must have been very important in the politics of the age. The Himalaya mountains acted as an enormous bulwark, keeping each kingdom safe from attack from the north. Thus the marriage alliances seemingly secured peace with neighbors to the west and...
Topics: Arjuna, Bhima, Bhimasena, Duryodhana, Ghandara, Ghandari, Kauravas, Kunti, Madri, Nakula, Pandavas,...