Sunday, June 12, 2022

Dogs in Mahabharata

Dogs in Mahabharata 

Do you know, the great epic Mahabharata starts with a Dog, ends with a Dog and there is a Dog in the middle acts as a turning point?

The story of Mahabharata starts with the Yagya of King Janamejaya, the son of Parikshit, grandson of Abhimanyu and great grandson of Pandavas. 

Sage Ugrasrava Sauti is the narrator of Mahabharata. He returned from the yagya of King Janamejaya describes the story of the yagyashala. A small dog (pup) was looking at the yagya from the outside of the yagyashala but the three brothers of Janamejaya beaten it up without giving a chance to escape because if the dog enters the yagashala then devatas don’t accept the offerings. The dog went back with lot of pain and complaint to its mother. The mother dog Sarama went to Janamejaya and complained and left without demanding justice. Janamejaya looked at the Purohits and the Mahabharata starts. 

The second dog appears in the story of Eklavya.

Eklavya was a son of the Chief of the hunters (Nishada) in the forest of Hastinapur. He went to Gurukul of Dronacharya for education in art of archery and science of warfare. Dronacharya denied his request saying he as a Brahmin can’t teach the Shudra. Arjuna also reacted saying Guru Dronacharya is a Royal teacher appointed by the King to train the princes. ‘How dare you expect to be taught by him! Leave the gurukul now’. Surprised and hurt by Guru’s reply and stunned by Arjun’s reaction the Nishada boy learned archery on his own and practiced before the idol of Dronacharya. He became a skilled archer. One day, while practicing, a dog started barking some distance away. Its constant barking irritated Eklavya, who fired seven arrows in quick succession, filling the dog’s mouth without injuring it. The dog was no longer able to bark and roamed around the forest and reached the Pandavas. Drona saw the dog and was amazed and realised it the act of an extremely skilled archer. They found out Eklavya. Drona was stunned when heard that that he as mud idol became his teacher. Drona realised the threat to Arjuna and demanded his right thumb in Guru Dakshina. Eklavya without any hesitation took a knife and cut off the right thumb and placed it at Dronacharya’s feet. 

The third dog appears at the end.

After ruling 36 years the kingdom of Hastinapur after Mahabharata war, Pandavas with Dropadi gave up kingdom, took sanyas and left for Himalayas. They were followed by a dog throughout. Dropadi and four Pandavas died but Yudhishthira and the Dog survived. They continued their journey and Indra appears. He offers Chariot to travel for heaven in which Yudhishthira insisted to travel with Dog. Indra denied the entry of the Dog therefore Yudhishthira refused to go to the heaven without the dog. The Dog re-appeared before him as a deity Yama, declared that he had passed the test of Dharma and pleased with his stand of compassion for all living beings requested him to enter the chariot without hesitation. 

Thus Mahabharata started with a dog's story, ended with a dog. 

Don’t underestimate the Dog. It’s an important domestic animal. Recently IAS officer Sanjeev Khirwar and his ‘walk the dog’ controversy in Delhi infuriated the authorities and the couple was transferred to Himalayas. 


12 June 2022


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