Sahadeva


Sahadeva

Sahadeva (Sanskrit: सहदेव, "sahadéva")was one of the five Pandava brothers according to the epic Mahābhārata. He was one of the twin sons of Madri, who invoked Ashvins using a mantra shared by Kunti for a son. His twin brother was named Nakula. As soon as Nakula and Sahadeva were born, an incorporeal voice said, ‘In energy and beauty these twins shall transcend even the twin Aswins themselves.’

Marriage Alliances

All the five Pandava brothers were wed concurrently to Draupadi, and each had a son by her. Sahadeva's son begotten upon Draupati was named Srutasena, as the baby was born under the constellation of fire-god (constellation of Krittika) like Kartikeya, the generalissimo of the army of Devas (Ref: Mbh 1. 223). Sahadeva also married Vijaya, the daughter of Dyutimat, the king of Madra, obtaining her in a self-choice ceremony and begat upon her a son named Suhotra (MBh.1.95). He was married to Magadhana King Jarasandha's daughter (Mbh 15.1). Jarasandha's son's name was also Sahadeva.

Sahadeva's Battles

During their incognito in the Matsya kingdom of king Virata, Sahadev was responsible for the cowshed and had taken a vow to kill the king of Gandhara, Shakuni who had tricked them all their life. He was successful in his vow in killing Shakuni the second-last day of the Kurukshetra War. Sahadeva was one of the Pandava-generals in Kurukshetra War, under the generalissimo Dhristadyumna. Among other prominent war-heroes killed by Sahadeva, includes, Rukmaratha (Mbh.8.5), the son of Shalya, who was very dear to Sahadeva, since Shalya was the maternal uncle of Sahadeva.

Like his brother Nakula, Sahadeva became an expert swordsman under the guidance of Kuru preceptor Drona. His expertise in the use of sword, could be the reason, why his elder brother, Yudhisthira the king, chose him as the general for the military expedition to southern kingdoms. Southern kingdoms were generally considered as having expertise in the use of swords rather than in the use of bows and arrows (Ref: Mahabharata: 12, 100). In Mahabharata a chapter (Mbh 2:30) is devoted to Sahadeva's expedition to southern kingdoms, to collect tributes from the kings, for king Yudhisthira's Rajasuya sacrifice. Sahadeva is mentioned as reaching as far south as Kerala and Lanka. The biggest battle mentioned in this expedition was his encounter with king Nila of Mahishmati. In this expedition he also battled with Surasenas, Matsyas, Kuntis, Avantis, kings in the banks of Narmada, Kosala kingdoms in the south, and rulers of Kishkindha. His messengers reached even Lanka.

Sahadeva and Astrology

Sahadeva was a great astrologer and was supposed to have known the events of the Mahābhārata war aforehand but was cursed that if he disclosed the knowledge, his head would split in pieces. Hence, his relatively silent role in the epic compared to the other brothers. Srimad Bhagavata have a passage in which Sahadeva predicts events of future when asked by his elder brother Yudhisthira, the king.

Of the five Pandavas, Sahadeva was the youngest. He is nevertheless referred to as the wisest of all of them. Yudhishtra even speaks of him as wiser than Brihaspati, the divine teacher of the Devas.

As per Srimad Bhagavata Purana, he is one of the greatest devotees of Lord Krishna. Krishna once asked Sahadeva, what should be done to stop the war. Sahadeva told that him that Krishna must be tied down and imprisoned and all the Pandavas along with Duryodhana must be sent to forest and Karna must be made the king. When Krishna challenged him to tie him down, Sahadeva started meditating and envisioned Krishna as a small baby and tied him down. Since Krishna could not move out of his bondage created by Sahadeva in his meditative trance, he blessed him with divine vision and Sahadeva released Krishna from the bondage.

References

*"Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend" (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna Dhallapiccola


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