- Mausala Parva
Mausala Parva denotes the incidents related to the death of Krishna, Balarama, the destruction of the Yadavas through an internal strife, the mourning of the Yadava ladies over their dead husbands and the subsequent submersion of Dwaraka in Sea. This Parva is the last third Parva preceding the last two Parvas namely Mahaprasthanika Parva and Svargarohana Parva. The two Parvas which comes before Mausala Parva are Ashramavasika Parva and Ashvamedhika Parva. This parva contains approximately 250 verses of the complete Mahabharata which is seven times bigger than Iliad and Odyssey.
The Parva starts with the Pandavas weeping for Krishna and his men. Yudhishtira sends Arjuna to Dwaraka in order to enquire the well being of the rest of the survivors of the Yadava clan. Arjuna brings the news.
Various curses on Krishna and the Yadava clan
The Yadava clan get cursed on three occasions:-
"On the first, Gandhari curses Krishna and his clan to get destroyed towards the end of the Mahabharata war. Secondly great sages such as Vishwamitra, Brighu, Vashista and Narada among others curse the Yadava clan when Samba and his friends play a boyish prank on them. Thirdly, lord Krishna curses his wives that they would be kidnapped and killed by ruffians; he further curses his son Sambha to suffer from Leprosy.
Gandhari's curse on Krishna
At the end of the Mahabharata war, Gandhari lost all of her sons except Duryodana (The Gadayudda between him and Bheema was yet to occur). Krishna comes to visit Gandhari.She knows all her sons have been killed by Bheema in the war.She could also hear the cries of all the slain soldier's wives lamenting in grief and Gandhari was helpless and could find no way to console any of them. Gandhari blames Krishna to be the cause for this total destruction of the Kuru race. Gandhari believed that Krishna though had the power to prevent the war, he did not do enough in spite of having such being who he is. So, if Krishna had really willed, this bloodshed could have been avoided. In anger, Gandhari cursed Krishna and said the Yadav clan would also be destroyed through an internal strife in the same way as the Pandava and Kauravas were destroyed after fighting with each other. All the wives of the Yadava clan will lament over their dead husbands, the same way as the widows of the Kuru race lament over their dead husbands now. She also cursed that Krishna will be a mute witness of this entire carnage. She also said Krishna would watch his entire clan perish and would himself die a cheap death like an animal.
Krishna's reply to Gandhari
On hearing the curse, Krishna replied that the Mahabharata war was a necessity and it was inevitable. He reminds Gandhari the time He came as a messenger of peace on behalf of the Pandavas and how her son Duryodana arrogantly declared that he would not share land big enough to fit the point of a needle let alone else, when the Pandavas were content even if Duryodana were to offer them at least five small villages. He reminded her again as how Duryodana with the help of Shakuni attempted to destroy the Pandavas on various occasions. So, he said that his duty was to protect Dharma and not to prevent the war. He reiterated to her that "although He controls the entire Universe, yet He does not interfere; He allowed the people to choose their own actions" similar to what He said in His discourse to Arjuna in the Bhagavatgita.
The Burden of Lord Krishna
Lord Krishna is now contemplating the end of the Yadav race. They were very powerful under the protection of lord Krishna. So, no outside force on the earth can defeat the Yadavas in a war. If the Yadavas themselves are left unchecked, at some point of time in future, they themselves will be a burden to the Earth. So, lord Krishna realised the importance of bringing the destruction of his own race, but was indeed clueless as how to trigger such a collapse in spite of being an incarnate of lord Vishnu . So, when Gandhari cursed Lord Krishna and his race, He thanked her for having solved his problem that had been haunting him for a long time. He thanked Gandhari who gave Krishna the marvellous idea of destroying his descendants from the inside when no external power could even touch them. For the third curse from Gandhari, Krishna took it as a blessing.
The Curse of The Sages
Once great sages like Vishwamitra, Durvasa, Vashista, Narada among others were on a piligrimage. After visiting various places, they visited Dwaraka to have an audience with Lord Krishna and Balarama. Over a period of time, the Yadavas which included Bhodakas, Vrishnis, Kekeyas and Andakas who were once virtous devotees of Krishna, had lost their sense of culture and discipline and were little more than hooligans. A group of Yadava boys who saw the great sages decided to play a prank on them in order to test their supernatural powers. They dressed Samba, the son of Krishna and Jambavati, as a woman and tied many robes to his belly so he'd appear a pregnant woman. They approached the sages and asked them predict whether the 'lady' would give birth to a boy or a girl. The Rishis realised the truth through their divine vision and realised that the boys were mocking them. In anger, the sages cursed them saying the disguised boy will give birth to a lump of Iron which will bring the destruction of the entire Yadava race.
Samba gives birth to an Ironbolt
The Yadava boys laughed till Sambha's stomach actually felt heavy and then Sambha actually delivered a massive iron block. The boys panic and go to King Ugrasena and narrate the whole incident. Ugrasenan advises them to grind the lump into a fine powder and dump it in the sea. They do as instructed but are unable to grind the entire lump into fine powder. A small piece of Iron couldn't be powdered. The boys discarded the powdered iron and the remaining piece in the Prabhasa sea. Assuming Lord Krishna has had no knowledge of all that occurred the boys are at peace. Time would tell though. The powder gets deposited on the sea coast and grow like stalks of bamboo. (These were later referred to as clubs of mace made of Iron called Mausala in Sanskrit).
Krishna curses his wives and his son Samba
Samba was the son of Krishna and Jambavati. He used to be very handsome. He was the cause for the third curse. Once Narada visited Dwaraka. But, Samba did not pay any respect to him. In order to teach him a lesson, Narada offered alcohol to various wives of Krishna and Samba. After drinking too much of alcohol, the wives of Krishna lost their senses and control. They got sexually attracted towards Samba. When the wives of Krishna who were related to Samba as mother, ventured to have relationship with their son Samba, then lord Krishna came to know these wrong intentions of his wives. He cursed them that robbers will kidnap them soon after his death. He further cursed Samba to suffer from leprosy in order to loose his handsomeness. So, Samba suffers from Leprosy later.
The Destruction of the Yadavas
The Yadavas soon forgot all about their curses. The consumption of alcohol was banned in the entire kingdom of Dwaraka. However, after 36 years of Mahabharat war, lots of omen used to appear in the Dwaraka city. The Sudarshana chakra, Panchajanya shankh, the chariot of lord Krishna and the plough weapon of Balarama disappeared from earth. This created lot of panic among the Yadava men about their destruction. So, all the men approached Krishna. Lord Krishna suggested them to visit various holy places and to take bath in holy water at each places. So, the Yadavas were on pilgrimage to various places. They all soon came to a place named Prabasha. After taking bath in the sea, the Yadavas started to drink and spend their time cheerfully in the night. So all the Yadava men become intoxicated by alcohol. On such a occasion, a group of Yadava men included Krishna, Balarama, Pradyumna, Satyaki and Kritavarma among others.
In the past, Sayaki and Kritavarma fought on the side of Pandavas and Kauravas respectively in the Mahabharata war. They were one of the few handful survivors of Mahabharata war. Their battle exploits in the Mahabharata war becomes the starting point to trigger the conflict among the Yadava men. It was like a small fire created by the rupture of two bamboo trees, leading to a wildfire in the entire forest. Similarly, when these people begin to chat, the chat used to develop into an argument and the argument into a conflict. Satyaki said to Kritavarma that he was not a Kshatriya and strongly criticized him for his involvement in the killing of Upapandavas (five sons of Draupadi and Pandavas), Dhritadumna, Shikandi and for launching an ambush attack on the Pandava camp along with Kripacharya and Ashwatthama during midnight. Kritvarma in turn tells how Satyaki killed an unarmed Bhurisravas's who sat on meditation on the 14th day of Mahabharata war. This irritates Satyaki further who says to Krishna as how Kritavarma was involved in the killing of Satrajit (Sathyabama's father) during the Shamantaka mani episode and that he will not spare his life now. So, a conflict erupts between Satyaki and Kritavarma. Pradyumna tries to stop the fight, but in vain. Satyaki took his sword and killed Kritavarma. Now, the Yadava man start dividing themselves into two groups: One group supporting Satyaki and the other supporting Kritavarma. All start fighting with each other by using swords, bows and arrows. Now, Satyaki got killed. However, sooner all their weapons get exhausted. So, each one of them take the bamboos (clubs) that were grown nearby in Prabasha and hit on each other. It was like as though they were hit by an Iron mace. So, they get killed by these. Even Krishna and Balarama tried very hard to stop the fight. But, few of the Yadava men who were already intoxicated by the alcohol, even went to an extent of attacking lord Krishna. Lord Krishna took the bamboos himself and hit few of the Yadavas who attacked him. Within few days, the entire clan of the Yadavas consisting of approximately over 40 lakh people including sons of Krishna, grand sons of Krishna, great grand sons of Krishna, his cousins and other relatives perish by killing each other in this drunken brawl Mass destruction at Prabasha. In the end, both Krishna and Balarama along with a few people witness the entire carnage of their kinsman and get depressed.
The passing away of Krishna, Balarama, Daruka and Babrua
After witnessing the fracticide of his kinsman, lord Krishna and Balarama get depressed. Balarama goes to the forest immediately. But, lord Krishna asked Daruka and Babaru to go to Hastinapur and bring Arjuna so that he can take all the ladies safely to Hastinapur. But, both of them get killed by the blade of grass that falls on them. Hence, Krishna resorts this responsibility on his father Vasudeva. Vasudeva sends one of his left out kinsman to inform the entire proceedings of the Yadavas destruction to Arjuna and make him to come to Hastinapur immediately. Krishna meets all the ladies and tells that Arjuna will soon come to take all of them to Hastinapur and that he will now retire to forest in order to do meditation. All the ladies cry for Krishna. Lord Krishna consoles them, leaves the place and started his journey towards the forest. Lord Krishna foresaw that Dwaraka will soon sink into the sea. On his way, he sees a serpent emerging from Balarama and reaching ocean. By this way, Balarama gives up his life and reaches Vaikunta.
In the past, the small unpowdered piece of Iron that was dropped inside the seacoast in Prabasha will be swallowed by a fish. An hunter by name Jara caught the fish and got the Iron piece from its stomach. He makes them sharp, adds poison to it and fixes them as the edge of his arrows. After witnessing the death of Balarama, lord Krishna sat under a tree in yogic meditation with his head down and his leg upward. Lord Krishna thought about his past. He recollected "the killing of Kamsa, the killing of various demons, the destruction of the Kuru race in the Kurukshetra war, Gandhari's curse on him and his kinsman". He soon realised that the destruction of all his kinsman was in accordance with Gandari's curse and the curse of great Sages. He also realised that the entire purpose of his birth on earth was now completely fulfilled, and that now the time has come for his own departure from Earth. In the meantime, the hunter cum fisherman was passing by. The Hunter looks at Krishna's feet. He mistakes it as the face of a deer. So, he aims his arrow at this and Shoots an arrow. The arrow hits Krishna's left foot. The Hunter comes towards the deer and soon realised that it was lord Krishna and not a deer. He realised his mistake and pleads the lord for forgiveness. Lord Krishna consoles him and says that in his previous birth as Rama in the Tretayuga, Rama killed vaali (Sugreeva's brother) from behind. So, Krishna has now reaped the price for the same through Jara who was king Vaali in his previous birth. Hence, lord Krishna left the mortal world. The time from which lord Krishna died is considered to be the beginning of Kaliyuga.
Arjuna takes the left over people to Hastinapur
The rest follow Arjuna. Arjuna plans to take all ladies and children to Indraprastha. He gave them seven days of time in order to vacate Dwaraka. Vasudeva, Krishna's father leave for heavenly abode while being in meditation. The wives of Krishna and Balarama pounce into pyre as a Sati. Arjuna performs the last rites for Krishna and his kinsman. All ladies and children take whatever wealth they have and start moving towards Indraprastha along with Arjuna. As the people walked away from the Dwaraka city, the city sank into sea when large Tsunami waves hit the city. On their way, some thieves of Nishada tribe saw that only one man with a bow accompany the ladies and children. They try to rob them. Arjuna could not save the people. Arjuna who was once a very great archer, now finds it very difficult to even lift his bow. On earlier occasion he used to lift his bow like a feather. Now, his bow appears to be very heavy. Somehow, he managed to lift the bow. Now, he find that it was very difficult to tie the bow string. Earlier, Arjuna could string his bow at a wink of an eye. After a lot of strenuous efforts, he managed to string his bow. Now, Arjuna tried to invoke his Divya astras, but he forgot all those incantations. So, Arjuna started to fight with the thieves using only normal arrows. He used all his arrows and his shaft has now became empty. On earlier occasions, Arjuna never had a situation wherein his Shaft was never empty. The thieves kill many of people and kidnap the wives of Krishna. Some of the ladies fell into the nearby river and gave up their lives. Some burn't themselves alive. Arjuna arrived with a very few people to Hastinapur in a crestfallen condition. Thus, Krishna's curse on his wives getting kidnapped after his death becomes operational now. Arjuna visits sage Vedavyasa and narrates him everything about the Yadavas destruction, Krishna's death and his inability to save the Yadava ladies and children. The Sage vyasa consoles Arjuna that all the Yadavas were predestined to perish that way; The purpose of Arjuna's archery skills are served on earth; So, his archery skills have disappeared from earth.
The other Pandava brothers hear everything that occurred about Krishna and his kinsmen through Arjuna. They lost interest in the world. The Pandavas coronate Parikshit and visit various places of India before moving towards heaven.
Arjuna realised the greatness of Krishna
On hearing Vedavyasa's words, Arjuna recollected the following two instances:
1) When the Pandavas were in excile, then once Krishna visited them and encouraged Arjuna to seek Pasupatastra and other divine weapons from lord Shiva and lord Indira respectively. Hence, Arjuna possessed the divine weapons only after the advice of lord Krishna.
2) After the end of the Mahabharata war, Krishna and Arjuna were to descend from the chariot. Lord Krishna being the charioteer, asked Arjuna to descend from the chariot first. It was against the practice followed those days, wherein, it was the charioteer who first descended from the Chariot followed by the Maharathi. So, Arjuna was surprised by this act of Krishna, and yet, he descended from the Chariot first. Krishna also descended from the Chariot. Lord Hanuman who was in the Arjuna's Flag also moved away from the Chariot. Then, soon, the chariot burst into flames. Arjuna asked Krishna as why did the Chariot burst? So, lord Krishna replied to Arjuna that the divine weapons hurled by Bhishma, Drona, Karna and Kripacharya on his chariot were the cause for the bursting of this chariot into flames. It was lord Krishna's and Hanuman's presence, the effect of these astras were postponed. So, if Arjuna were to descend after Krishna, then Arjuna would have got killed when the Chariot burst into flames. Further, lord Krishna told Arjuna that all the strength that Arjuna possessed in the war was due to the majestic presence of Krishna on his side.
Consequently, Arjuna was able to understand as why his archery skills disappeared soon after the death of lord Krishna.
Krishna was the cause for everything
Most of the pauranic movies based on Mahabharath flatters and projects lord Krishna to be the cause for every event/incident encountered in Mahabharath. But, it has to be understood that the original version of Mahabharath composed by Vedavyasa never states such a thing about Krishna. Krishna was a person who never intervened in anyone's matter unnecessarily on his own. For example, Krishna participated in the Kurukshethra battle only after Arjuna and Duryodana themselves voluntarily came to seek his help in Dwaraka. He gave his Narayani sena to Duryodana and became a charioteer to Arjuna.
Lord Krishna considered the war to be a last resort. He made every effort to establish peace between Pandavas and Kauravas. But, once the peace negotiations failed and embarked into war, then he became a ruthless strategist. Further, it was Gandhari who first pointed out that Krishna was accountable for the destruction of the Kuru race and cursed him. Later, Barbareek attributed the cause behind Pandavas victory to the policies and strategies adapted by lord Krishna. The great sage Utanka also believed just like Gandhari that Krishna had a power to stop the bloodshed of Kurukshetra war. When the great sage was about to curse lord Krishna, then lord Krishna revealed his Vishwaroopa (Universal form) to him. The sage immediately recognized that Krishna was an incarnation of lord Vishnu; The destruction of Kauravas and protection of the Pandavas was the need of the hour in order to establish Dharma on earth; So, he withheld his curse on lord Krishna. When Parikshit was cursed and ordained to die within a week by snake-bite, he was advised by his elders to listen to the story of Mahabharat and realise the greatness of lord Krishna in order to attain salvation. Thus, many people including Bhishma who were contemporary to lord Krishna themselves believed that Krishna was the cause for everything in the world. Consequently during the end of Dwaparayuga, many people (including the Gods) approached lord Krishna for solution when their problems/disputes/issues remained unsolved and lord Krishna used to resolve their difficulties in a miraculous way.
Notes and references
All the references below are from two books:
- Bharatam (Dviteeya Bhagam) by Ushasri in Telugu. 2001 Edition by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam's Religious Publication Series. No.: 111
- Mahabharata by C Rajagopalachari. 2008 (52nd) Edition by Bhavan's Book University. ISBN 81-7276-368-9
The reference from the:
- Bharatam book is prefixed by "Bharatam''.
- Mahabharata book is prefixed by ''Mahabharata''
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