Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Sahadeva included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Sahadeva

The fifth among the Pāṇḍavas. Facts about Sahadeva are related under the headings, Dharmaputra, Bhīma, Arjuna, Nakula and Pāṇḍavas. Only those facts, which have not been so related are given hereunder.)

A brief biographical sketch.

Sahadeva was the son of Pāṇḍu by his wife Mādrī. Two sons, Nakula and Sahadeva were born to Mādrī by the Aśvinīdevas. Along with Yudhiṣṭhira, Bhīma and Arjuna, sons of Kuntī, Nakula and Sahadeva spent their childhood in the company of Sages at Śataśṛṅga mountain. Pāṇḍu died and Mādrī followed him in the funeral pyre. After that the Pāṇḍavas lived at Hastināpura under the care of Kuntī. When the 'lac-palace' was burnt down, they took themselves to the forest and ruled the kingdom with Indraprastha as capital. The Pāṇḍavas, who were defeated in the game of dice went again into the forest. Their going into the forest has been described as follows by Vidura.

Yudhiṣṭhira, covering his face with cloth and Bhīma stretching out his powerful hands moved into the forest. Arjuna followed them throwing up sand particles. Sahadeva went rubbing his face with earth, Nakula, the most handsome of men, followed them, his body smeared with dust. Pāñcālī, her face concealed in hair and weeping went behind the king. Sage Dhaumya with Kuśa grass in his hands, accompanied them chanting Vedic hymns. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 80).

Dhṛtarāṣṭra asked Vidura why the Pāṇḍavas assumed these different poses and attitudes and Vidura answered him thus: Yudhiṣṭhira covered his face to show that he would not retaliate in anger though he had lost the kingdom due to cheating. Bhīma stretched out his hands to show that he was unrivalled in manual power. Arjuna threw out sand to say that he would shoot his arrows into the enemy camp like particles of sand. Sahadeva rubbed earth on his face as he did not want anybody to distinguish his face. Nakula, the most handsome of men, smeared his face with dust so that, on the way, women should not desire him.

When the Pāṇḍavas returned after twelve years' stay in exile in the forest and one year’s stay incognito Duryodhana refused to allot them even a single house, and war for eighteen days between the Kauravas and the Pāṇḍavas was fought in the field of Kurukṣetra. The Kauravas were wiped out. Yudhiṣṭhira became king and performed the Rajasūyayajña after which the Pāṇḍavas went out on the great journey and gave up their lives.

Other information about Sahadeva.

(1) He was dedicated to the service of elders. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 1, Verse 114).

(2) He was exceptionally handsome. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 67, Verse 111).

(3) In the fight that followed Arjuna’s endeavour to capture king Drupada to be presented as Gurudakṣiṇā (tuition fee to Droṇa, who trained the Pāṇḍavas in the use of arms) Nakula and Sahadeva protected the wheels of Arjuna’s chariot. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 137, Verse 27).

(4) A son called Śrutasena (Śrutakarman) was born to him of Pāñcālī. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 220, Verse 80).

(5) He had also married the daughter of King Dyutimān of Madra called Vijayā and the couple had a son called Suhotra. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 95, Verse 80).

(6) He defeated Virāṭa, the Matsya king in battle. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 31, Verse 2).

(7) He conquered the southern kingdoms on the orders of Yudhiṣṭhira. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 30).

(8) He defeated Dantavaktra in battle. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 31, Verse 59).

(9) He defeated Nīla, king of Māhiṣmatī, in a fierce battle and collected taxes from him. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 31, Verse 59).

(10) He deputed Ghaṭotkaca to collect taxes from Vibhīṣaṇa, king of Laṅkā. Vibhīṣaṇa sent Ghaṭotkaca back with a lot of gold and gems. Vibhīṣaṇa also deputed 88,000 Rākṣasas to carry the gold etc. (Sabhā Parva, Southern text, Chapter 31).

(11) He was Yudhiṣṭhira’s minister during the Rājasūya yajña. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 33, Verse 40).

(12) After the yajña was over, he conducted Droṇa and Aśvatthāmā back to their palaces. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 45, Verse 48).

(13) He took the vow that he would kill Śakuni. (Sabhā Parva, Chapter 77, Verse 9).

(14) In the battle that followed the abduction of Draupadī by Jayadratha, the chariot of Yudhiṣṭhira went out of action and he, therefore, rode in the chariot of Sahadeva. (Vana Parva, Chapter 271, Verse 15).

(15) During his life-incognito he thought of assuming the name Tantripāla. (Virāṭa Parva, Chapter 3, Verse 9).

(16) He went to king Virāṭa disguised as Vaiśya called Ariṣṭanemi and got himself appointed as head of the king’s dairy. (Virāṭa Parva, Chapter 10, Verse 5).

(17) He, in the guise of a dairy-man, used to give milk, butter-milk etc. to the Pāṇḍavas. (Virāṭa Parva, Chapter 13, Verse 9).

(18) Sañjaya emphasized the fact that Sahadeva was a heroic warrior to Dhṛtarāṣṭra. (Udyoga Parva, Chapter 50, Verse 31).

(19) When Yudhiṣṭhira, during the great war, divested himself of his armour and started towards the Kaurava army, Sahadeva questioned the action. (Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 43, Verse 19).

(20) On the first day of the battle he fought a duel with Durmukha. (Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 45, Verse 25).

(21) He defeated Vikarṇa, Śalya and others in the battle. (Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 71, Verse 83).

(22) He annihilated the cavalry of the Kauravas. (Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 89, Verse 32).

(23) He ran away from the battle-field. (Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 105, Verse 16).

(24) He fought a duel with Kṛpācārya. (Bhīṣma Parva, Chapter 110, Verse 12).

(25) He fought with Śakuni. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 14, Verse 22).

(26) He fought again with Durmukha. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 106, Verse 13).

(27) He killed Nirmitra, the Trigarta prince. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 107, Verse 25).

(28) In the fight with Karṇa he got defeated. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 167, Verse 15).

(29) He defeated Duśśāsana in battle. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 188, Verse 2).

(30) When Sātyaki was about to kill Dhṛṣṭadyumna, he pacified the former by a tactful speech. (Droṇa Parva, Chapter 198, Verse 53).

(31) He defeated Pauṇḍrarāja. (Karṇa Parva, Chapter 22, Verse 14).

(32) He defeated Duśśāsana again. (Karṇa Parva, Chapter 23).

(33) He got wounded in the fighting with Duryodhana. (Karṇa Parva, Chapter 56, Verse 7).

(34) He defeated Ulūka. (Karṇa Parva, Chapter 61, Verse 43).

(35) He killed Śalya’s son. (Śalya Parva, Chapter 11, Verse 43).

(36) He killed Ulūka, son of Śakuni. (Śalya Parva, Chapter 28, Verse 32).

(37) He killed Śakuni. (Śalya Parva, Chapter 28, Verse 46).

(38) After the war, Yudhiṣṭhira allotted Durmukha’s palace to Sahadeva. (Śānti Parva, Chapter 44, Verse 12).

(39) In the matter of dharmārthakāmas (righteousness, material wealth and enjoyment of love life) he attached more importance to artha (material resources). (Śānti Parva, Chapter 167, Verse 22).

(40) During the Rājasūya the duty of managing domesstic affairs was entrusted to him by Vyāsa and Yudhiṣṭhira. (Aśvamedha Parva, Chapter 72, Verse 20).

(41) After the great war he visited and saluted Kuntī, who lived in the forest then. (Āśramavāsika Parva, Chapter 24, Verse 8).

(42) In the great journey (Mahāprasthāna) he walked in front of Pāñcālī and behind Nakula. (Mahāprasthānika Parva, Chapter 1, Verse 31).

(43) Synonyms used in Mahābhārata for Sahadeva: Āśvineya, Aśvinīsuta, Bharataśārdūla, Bharatasattama, Kauravya, Kurunandana, Mādrīputra. Mādreya, Nakulānuja, Pāṇḍava, Pāṇḍunandana, Tantripāla, Yama, Yamaputra.

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