The Mahābhārata, is the greatest, longest and one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India.With more than 74,000 verses, plus long prose passages, or some 1.8 million words in total, it is one of the longest epic poems in the world.
It contains eighteen Parvas or sections viz., Adi Parva, Sabha Parva, Vana Parva, Virata Parva, Udyoga Parva, Bhishma Parva, Drona Parva, Karna Parva, Shalya Parva, Sauptika Parva, Stree Parva, Shanti Parva, Anushasana Parva, Asvamedha Parva, Ashramavasika Parva, Mausala Parva, Mahaprasthanika Parva and Swargarohanika Parva. Each Parva contains many sub-Parvas or subsections.
This wonderful book was composed by Sri Vyasa (Krishna Dvaipayana) who was the grandfather of the heroes of the epic. He taught this epic to his son Suka and his disciples Vaisampayana and others. King Janamejaya, son of Parikshit, the grandson of the heroes of the epic, performed a great sacrifice. The epic was recited by Vaisampayana to Janamejaya at the command of Vyasa. Later on, Suta recited the Mahabharata as was done by Vaisampayana to Janamejaya, to Saunaka and others, during a sacrifice performed by Saunaka in Naimisaranya, which is near Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh.
It is very interesting to remember the opening and closing lines of this great epic. It begins with: "Vyasa sang of the ineffable greatness and splendour of Lord Vasudeva, who is the source and support for everything, who is eternal, unchanging, self-luminous, who is the Indweller in all beings, and the truthfulness and righteousness of the Pandavas." It ends with: "With raised hands, I shout at the top of my voice; but alas, no one hears my words which can give them Supreme Peace, Joy and Eternal Bliss. One can attain wealth and all objects of desire through Dharma (righteousness). Why do not people practise Dharma? One should not abandon Dharma at any cost, even at the risk of his life. One should not relinquish Dharma out of passion or fear or covetousness or for the sake of preserving one’s life. This is the Bharata Gayatri. Meditate on this daily, O man! when you retire to sleep and when you rise from your bed every morning. You will attain everything. You will attain fame, prosperity, long life, eternal bliss, everlasting peace and immortality."
Mahabharata VOL 1 – The Adi Parva, 540 pages, 35 MB.
Mahabharata VOL 2 – Sabha Parva & Vana Parva I, 434 pages, 28 MB.
Mahabharata VOL 3 – Vana Parva II, 428 pages, 25 MB.
Mahabharata VOL 4 – Virata & Udyoga Parva, 542 pages, 25 MB.
Mahabharata VOL 5 – Bhisma Parva, 344 pages, 23 MB.
Mahabharata VOL 6 – Drona Parva, 506 pages, 24 MB.
Mahabharata VOL 7 – Karna, Salya Sauptika, Stree Parvas, 592 pages, 28 MB.
Mahabharata VOL 8 – Santi Parva I, 420 pages, 29 MB.
Mahabharata VOL 9 – Santi Parva II, 422 pages, 21 MB.
Mahabharata VOL 10 – Santi Parva III, Anusasana Parva I, 422 pages, 20 MB.
Mahabharata VOL 11 – Anusasana Parva, 418 pages, 21 MB.
Mahabharata VOL I2 – Awamedha, Asramavasika, Mahaprasthanika, Swarga-Rohanika Parvas, 316 pages, 15 MB.
Timing Predicted according to Astrology
Abhimanyu Son of Arjuna and Subhadra, nephew to Krishna. He was slain in the battle of Kurukshetra when just sixteen years old. He married Uttara, King Virata's daughter, and fathered Pariksit.
Devaki Krishna's mother and the wife of Vasudeva, a chief of the Vrishni clan. Sister of Kamsa, she was imprisoned by him soon after her marriage.
Dhristadhyumna Son of King Drupada; Brother of Draupadi; He was born of a sacrificial fire along with Draupadi. His father Draupad wanted a son to destroy his arch enemy Drona.
Dhritarastra The blind son of Vyasa, born to Ambika. Elder brother of Pandu. He became king in Hastinapur after Pandu retired to the forest. Married to Gandhari, and fathered the Kauravas.
Drona Teacher of the Pandavas and Kauravas. Son of Bharadvaja, married to Kripi and had a son, Aswatthama.
Drupada Father of Draupadi and Dhristadhyumna; King of Panchal; father of Shikhandi; Childhood friend and then arch enemy of Drona.
Durvasa A powerful rishi famous for his quick temper. The Puranas and Mahabharata contain many stories about Durvasa. He is particularly famous for having granted Kunti the boon that she could summon any god to do her will, which resulted in the births of the Pandavas from five principal deities.
Draupadi Wife of five Pandavas; daughter of Drupad, king of Panchala. Born from a sacrificial fire at the same time as Dhristadhyumna. Won in a swayamvara by Arjuna. Also known as Panchali (She who is from Panchal), Krishnaa (The Dark One) and Yajnaseni (she who is born from a sacrificial fire).
Duryodhana Eldest son of Dhritarastra sons and leader of the Kauravas. Born to Gandhari from a boon she got from Vyasa. He was one of a hundred sons and one daughter, incubated in jars filled with ghee.
Dushasana Brother of Duryodhana and son of Gandhari. He dragged and attempted to disrobe Draupadi.
Dushala Daughter of Gandhari and Dhritarastra; Lone sister of the hundred Kauravas.
Gandhari Wife of Dhritarastra, she blindfold herself after the marriage. Mother of hundred Kauravas and Dushala; Sister of Shakuni; Daughter of the King of Gandhara. She pleased Vyasa and was blessed with a hundred sons. Gandhari is famous for being one of the most chaste ladies in Vedic history. She cursed Krishna at the end of the war.
Ganga Married to Shantanu; Mother of Bhishma; Goddess of the sacred river, Ganga. She killed her first seven sons (they were celestial souls cursed to be born as humans). She could not free the eighth soul, Bhishma.
Ghatotkatcha The son of Bhima and the raskshasi (demoness) Hidimbi. He became a leader of the Rakshasas and assisted the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra war. Karna killed him with Indra's celestial Shakti weapon.
Jayadratha Son-in-law of Dhritarastra and King of Sindhu kingdom; Married to Dushala, sister of the Kauravas.
Kamsa or Kansa Maternal uncle of Krishna who usurped the throne from his father, Ugrasena. He was killed by Krishna. Details of his life are found in the Bhagavata Purana.
Kripacharya Teacher of Pandavas and Kauravas but ended up fighting for Kauravas.
Kripa and Kripi (sister married to Drona). The two children were found and brought to King Shantanu. Kripa was taught Dhanurveda, the martial arts, by his father, and he became one of the Kurus' martial teachers. Kripa survived the Kurukshetra war and counseled the Pandavas when they ruled the world. Later, they appointed him preceptor of their grandson and heir, Pariksit.
Krishna Incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who delivered Bhagavad Gita; cousin of Kunti; Friend and Charioteer of Arjuna; Chief councilor of the Pandavas. Born to Devaki and Vasudeva in a prison cell, but brought up by Yashoda.
Kuru Ancient king and founder of the Kuru dynasty. Due to his performance of sacrifice and asceticism at the site, the place known as Kurukshetra, named after Kuru, is considered sacred.
Madri Second wife of Pandu; Mother of Nakul and Sahdeva; daughter of King Shalya.
Nakula Son of Madri and Pandu, known for patience
Pandu Younger brother of Dhritarastra; husband of Kunti; Father of the Pandava's born to Vichitravirya's widow queen Ambalika (by Vyasa).
Parasara A powerful rishi, grandson of Vasishta, Father of Vyasa. Satyavati ferried the sage across a river and he was attracted by her beauty. Parasara asked if he could have union with her, promising that by his mystic power she would not lose her virginity. She agreed and they united on an island in the middle of the river, which Parasara shrouded from view by creating volumes of mist. Vyasa was born immediately, fully grown.
Parashurama A rishi said to be an empowered incarnation of Vishnu. He is famous for having annihilated all the kshatriyas of the world after his father, Jamadagni, had been killed by a kshatriya named Kartavirya. An expert in the Vedic military arts, Parashurama was the martial teacher of Bhishma, Drona and Karna.
Parikshit Posthumous son of Abhimanyu, heir of the Pandavas. Pariksit means 'the examiner', as the brahmins said he would come to examine all men in his search for the Supreme Lord, whom he saw while still an embryo in his mother's womb.
Sahadeva Second son of Madri and Pandu; The youngest Pandava. One of the two twin sons of Madri fathered by the Ashvini gods. He conquered southern Bharata before Yudhisthira's Rajasuya sacrifice. Famous for his perceptive powers and intelligence, he was appointed as Yudhisthira's personal advisor after the Kurukshetra war. Besides being married to Draupadî, he married a princess of Madra named Vijaya.
Satyavati formerly Matsyagandha Mother of Vyasa (from the union with Parasara Rishi), -Chitrangada and Vichitravirya. Step-mother of Bhisma. She married Shantanu.
Sanjaya Dhritarastra's charioteer and secretary. Although he belonged to the suta caste, he was a spiritually advanced disciple of Vyasa, who gave him the power to see the events during the Kurukshetra war. Consequently, he narrated all the battle scenes to Dhritarastra.
Shakuni Younger brother of Gandhari; maternal uncle of Duryodhana; An expert dice player.
Shantanu or Santanu Great grandfather of the Pandavas and Kauravas; Father of Bhishma, Chitranga and Vichitravirya; Married to Ganga and Satyavati.
Sishupala King of Chedi and an avowed enemy of Krishna. His mother got a boon from Krishna that he would forgive Shishupala a hundred times. Krishna killed him at Yudhisthira's Rajasuya sacrifice.
Subhadra Krishna's sister, (daughter of Devaki and Vasudeva). She married Arjuna and they had a son named Abhimanyu. Unlike her co-wife Draupadi, no details are given in the original text about how she ended her life.
Uttara Princess of Virata, pupil of Arjuna as Brihhannala (his disguised identity as the eunuch dance teacher during the Pandavas final year of exile). She married Abhimanyu and their son was named Pariksit.
Vasudeva Krishna's father, husband of Devaki.
Vidura Son of Vyasa and a palace maidservant; Brother to Dhritarstra and Pandu; counsel to the King of Hatinapur. Vidura was said to be an expansion of Yamaraja, the lord of justice. Once a rishi named Mandavya was mistaken for a robber. The king arrested and punished him by having him pierced by a lance. The sage later went to Yamarâja and asked why this had happened and was told that in his childhood he had pierced an insect with a blade of grass. Hearing that he had received punishment for a mistake made when he was still an ignorant child, the sage cursed Yamaraja to take birth on earth as a sûdra. Thus he became Vidura.
Virata King of Matsya- where the Pandavas spent their final year of exile in disguise. Virata's daughter Uttara married Arjuna's son Abhimanyu and so Virata joined the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra war. Drona killed him in the battle.
Vyasa The sage who authored the Mahabharata. Born from the union of Parasara Rishi and Satyavati, he is also known as Krishna Dwaipayana because he was born on an island and dark skinned. Father of Dhritarastra and Pandu. Grandfather of the Pandavas and Kauravas.