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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
- Lawrence Manzo
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We begin this episode with the tale of Krishna's adventures when he might otherwise have helped his friends in their distress. At least he got a few good fight scenes out of it, including his son Pradyumna performing heroic feats defending Dwarka, and a ground-to-air battle with a flying city! When Krishna is done with his exciting tale, the allies pack up and head for home. The tacit understanding seems to be that they will wait until the 13 years are up and only then will they come up with a...
Topics: Saubha Vimana, Shalva, Vimana
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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Despite the offensive raid on their camp by Jayadratha, old Markandeya is still hanging out with the Pandavas. Yuddistira, feeling sorry for himself and for Draupadi, goes to him for consolation. Markandeya replies with the entire story of the Ramayana. I've spared you the re-telling of that epic, since it would have us out on a sidetrack for possibly months, and, really, the Ramayana deserves a podcast of its own, right? So, jumping over that chapter, we find ourselves back where we were;...
Topics: Rama Dasharathi, Ramayana, Savitri
Mahabharata Podcast
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Arjun returns home with some bad news and some good news. The bad news is that they have lost their powers and have lost their friends. The good news is that they finally get to retire. Yudhistira doesn't hesitate. He strips off his fine garments and leads his brothers into retirement. Krpa is put in charge of defense, Yuyutsu is made regent, and Parikshit is king. Parikshit's grandmother Subhadra (Krishna's sister) is made Dowager Empress. The Pandavas then take a final tour of India, visiting...
Topics: Dharma, dog, Indra, Krpa, Parikshit, Subhadra, Yuyutsu
Mahabharata Podcast
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This is the first of two episodes that take us from the death of the Pandavas down to the Snake Sacrifice, held by Arjun's great-grandson. We skimmed over this back at the beginning of the podcast, because back then we were unfamiliar with who all these people were. But now it makes sense to bring it around to the beginning again. Not much is recorded about the life of Parikshit. We only know about how he died, and the many snakes and Rishis who were involved in the process
Topics: Astika, Jaratkaru, Parikshit, Srngn, Vasuki
Mahabharata Podcast
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This is a long one - over 30 minutes, but I'm pretty happy with how it came out. You might have noticed that I'm still experimenting with the audio, and I think this one came out clearer than the rest. I'm trying to keep the file sizes under control, so it is a matter of striking a good balance. Also, the story is getting interesting. We've got a few good fight scenes, plus Vyasa intervenes a couple of times to keep the story on track, and we get to meet Krishna for the first time! By the end,...
Topics: Drupad, Drupada, Panchala, Panchali, Draupadi
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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The further adventures of young Krishna. This time we cover his youth and teenage years. He kills a bunch of demons, imitates every boy in the clan plus all the calves, kicks Indra's butt, and then compels the girls to emerge naked from the river to retrieve their clothing-- all in the name of religion of course! He promises to each one of them that he will make love to them before the end of Autumn, and next episode, he'll make good on it!
Topics: Krishna, Kamsa, Balaram, Indra
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
- Lawrence Manzo
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The Pandavas continue their pilgrimage to all the holy sites of India. With Lomasha as their guide & storyteller, they hear the stories of Rshyashrnga and then the story of Rama Jamadagnya, or "Battle-Axe" Rama, who cut his own mother's head off and single-handedly killed off the entire race of Kshatriyas 21 times! Also, J.A.B. Van Buitenen, our translator for most of the podcast so far, gives us a hypothesis that the story of Rshyashrnga made its way to Medieval Europe in the...
Topics: Parashurama, Rama Jamadagnya, Rshyashrnga
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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These are the last three stories of the long series of tales in the Book of the Forest. The Pandavas are finishing up their pilgrimage across India and are moving northward for their rendezvous with Arjun. The first story, Yavakrita, is particularly interesting in that the protagonist is not a Twice-born. In this case, he's a rude and uppity Vaishya, but he's the main character nonetheless. I find the little detail about the Shudra gaurd particularly interesting. He works for Yavakri's father,...
Topics: Buddhism, Jantu, Yavakri, Yavakrita
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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Bhisma finishes bringing us up-to-date on who Sikhandin is, who he used to be, and why Bhisma won't fight him. This also finishes the Udyoga Parva; the Book of the Effort. Next time, we start in on the Bhisma Parva, the first of the eight Battle Books. Don't assume that the war is about to start, just because we end off on the dawn of the first day of the war. We still have a lengthy introduction in the Bhisma Parva, and then there is the Bhagavad Gita, which will take a few episodes-- we don't...
Topics: Amba, Sikhandin, Sikhandi
Mahabharata Podcast
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The peace talks break down completely. It starts well, when no one can come up with a rebuttal to Krishna's speech. Narada and Kanva tell a couple of parables to help with the decision making, but Duryodhana was not interested. It seems he believed that the terms of the Dice Game were that the Pandavas were to go to the forest forever, not just 13 years. Maybe it's true? What if the Pandavas had indeed been banished for life, but they decided to change the rules when Krishna & Drupad...
Topics: Kanva, Matali, Nar-Narayan, Narada
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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Sanjay returns to Hastinapur with messages and intelligence from the Pandava camp. The king's charioteer delivers this information before the royal assembly, while Dhrarastra, Duryodhana, Bhisma and Karna argue over the significance of these threats. Having gone a good long while since Karna last washed his feet, the mess must have started getting to him, because he finally blows his top at Bhisma and swears he will not fight until Bhisma is dead. In the course of this debate, we get hints at...
Topics: Bhakti, Brahma-head, Karna, Parashurama, Sanjay, Sikhandin
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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In this episode, Bhisma's extreme oath comes back to bite them all, when both his brothers die childless and there is no one to continue the Dynasty. But never fear, because Satyavati has another son, the very author of this story, and he can step in from time to time to set things right. In this case, he gives us the three brothers, blind, pale & bastard! Please visit my site - http://www.mahabharatapodcast.com/, and leave comments, I'm interested to hear your feedback!
Topics: Bhisma, Dhritarastra, Pandu, Santanu, Satyavati, Vidur, Vidura
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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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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The seventh and eighth days of the War. Bhisma kills a few more Dhartarastras, king Virata loses another son, and we meet Arjun's son Iravat, a Naga prince from Arjun's tour of the holy places, long long ago. We meet Iravat only to see him killed by the demon Alambusha. Alambusha is also the son of a famous father-- none other than the peculiar half-deer Rshyashrnga! In the story we get from the epic, Rshyashrnga's son is the child of a Kshatriya princess, and becomes Raja of the kingdom. We...
Topics: Alambusha, Iravat, Virata
Mahabharata Podcast
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Two significant deaths this episode-- first Gatotkacha basically gets sacrificed by Krishna so that Arjun need not face Karna's special unstoppable Indra Dart. It's a mean trick, but Krishna explained that one of the purposes of this war is to eradicate the race of Rakshasas, so if they didn't have Karna kill him, then they would have had to do it themselves. Besides, it was a small price to pay in order to save Arjun for the final showdown. The second big shot to go down is their old guru...
Topics: Ashwatthaman, Drona, Gatotkacha
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,...
Mahabharata Podcast
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We begin the 14th day of the war. The morning starts with many dark omens, but no one is quite sure for which side they portend doom. Arjun sets off immediately to fight his way through the Kaurava army and to find and kill the miserable king Jayadratha. He & Krishna soon disappear into the hordes while Yuddistira struggles to avoid capture at the hands of Drona. By mid-day, with no news from the two Krishnas, Yuddistira begins to worry about them. He hears their conches and interprets the...
Topic: Alambusha
Mahabharata Podcast
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Drona is dead and a new commander is needed. Ashwatthaman proposes that Karna be given the position and everyone else agrees. Karna leads the army through a rather desultory day of fighting and then complains that what he is missing is a good driver. Shalya is drafted to be his charioteer. Shalya had promised to cause trouble should things come to this pass, and he lives up to it by constantly bickering with Karna. For some reason, Karna chooses this moment to confess how he deceived Rama...
Topics: Karna, Rama Jamadagnya, Shalya
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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Vidur & Vyasa tell a few parables to help Dhrtarastra pull himself together. When the king is finally pacified, he leads all the bereaved women of Hastinapur in a great procession to deal with their fallen men. They march along the banks of the Ganga to Kurukshetra, where they encounter Ashwatthaman, Krpa & Krtavarman, who are still on the run after killing the Pandava's sons & allies. Ashwatthaman heads of to Vyasa's ashram, Krpa goes home to Hastinapur, and Krtavarman also heads...
Topics: Ashwatthaman, Karna, Krpa, Kunti
Mahabharata Podcast
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Yuddistira is finally convinced that he should remain king, and he gets down to business. He marches straight to the palace and has himself anointed and consecrated. He appoints his council and gets his kingdom in order. As soon as he has a chance to catch his breath, Krishna suggests that they hurry over to uncle Bhisma, who isn't long for this world. Along the way, Krishna tells the story of Battleaxe Rama, who wiped out the race of Kshatriyas 21 times in succession. The podcast may be taking...
Topics: Bhisma, Charvaka, Krishna, Parashurama, Rama Jamadagnya
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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We get treated to a last handful of the Final Teachings, and then Bhisma dies. The poor guy set quite an objective for himself. It must have been mid autumn when he was shot through with arrows, yet he clung to life until the Winter Solstice before finally giving up the ghost. He says he lived on the bed of arrows for a total of 58 days. Following his death, Yuddistira has another one of his fits of sorrow & regret, but he's snapped out of it by hearing a story about how the ancient king...
Topics: Bhisma, Brhaspati, Ganga, Marutta, Samvarta
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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This is another eventful episode. Krishna & Arjun take a break and go on a leisure trip to Indraprastha, where it appears Arjun is king. Both heroes have forgotten the Gita, so Krishna recalls another dialog along the same lines, which is called the Anugita. Krishna goes home, while the Pandavas go prospecting for gold in the hills. While they are away, Parkshit is born, or rather still-born. Krishna arrives in time to make good his promise and revives the kid. When the Pandavas return with...
Topics: Anugita, Citrangada, Manipur, Parikshit, Ulupi, Utanka, Uttara, Vabruvahana
Mahabharata Podcast
- Lawrence Manzo
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Two more stories from the Book of the Forest. The first involves another Bhrgu Brahmin with a Kshatriya wife. The second story, about Mahdhatar, is short, but interesting in how it differs from all the other stories we've had so far from Lomasha. The first story in this series, Nala, is about a King and his very loyal wife. The subsequent stories were by and large about Brahmins with very loyal (Kshatriya) wives. So each story so far has the element of an obedient wife despite hardship....
Topics: Barghava, Bhrgu, Cyavana, Mandhatar, Sukanya