Week 7 Story:Strained Lineage and the House Fire

Long ago Prince Vichitravirya fell for a beautiful woman named Ambika but atlas her heart belonged to another. He'd watch her and tell her that someday he'd be king and all the world shall be hers should she request it. Nervous and frightened she did not want to displease the soon-to-be king so she neither confirmed nor denied his advances towards her. What Vichitravirya didn't know is that she was in love with a man named Vyasa. As she became betrothed to Vichitravirya she wept. One night Ambika sought out Vyasa and the two consummated their love for one another never to see each other again. Ambika was soon pregnant and worried so she made a request of her husband-to-be that before they wed she wished to take a pilgrimage to fast and pray, taking only her lady's in waiting. Vichitravirya accepted her proposal and she left. Over the course of her pilgrimage she gave birth to a baby boy and named him Pandu, she quickly gave him up to a local Yadava chief named Shurasena. Shurasena agreed to raise the boy as long as one day this young prince would marry his eldest daughter and Ambika agreed. Ambika returned married King Vichitravirya and they consummated their marriage.

Shortly after the king dies and the throne is left with a Queen Regent only. Ambika prayed to Satyavati that she'd send Vyasa and she did. They again consummated their love for one another and her son Dhritarashtra was born of both Vichitravirya and Vyasa. They had one more son together and named him Vidura. She called upon Shurasena to bring back the son he was keeping for her and Pandu being only 13 months older than his newly born half brother kept him a secret. As the boys grew she would say their births were reversed and Pandu was younger explaining he was just more fit and matured quicker than his "older brother" Dhritarashtra. When Dhritarashtra was of age he ascended the throne and Pandu went to marry the Yadava chiefs eldest daughter Kunti. Pandu and Kunti gave birth to a strapping son and named him Yudhishthira. King Dhritarashtra after some time of living the bachelor admired his brother Pandu and his wife Kunti and the children they had. He fell in love with the idea of having a son from the many trips that Pandu and Kunti had taken to the palace with Yudhishthira and decided it was time to settle down and have kids. He married and had his first son and his name was Duryodhana. As he grew he constantly compared Duryodhana to his beloved nephew Yudhishthira. For whatever reasons Duryodhana could never measure up to his cousin. King Dhritarashtra felt as though Duryodhana did not have what it'd take to rule over his kingdom. For this reason, he named his nephew Yudhishthira heir to his throne.

As Duryodhana ages into manhood, he grows envious, believing that his cousin has stolen his birthright. King Dhritarashtra gets old and sick he knows it is time to act before their fates are sealed. He spills toxic lies to King Dhritarashtra who believes them. With his father's consent he then hatches a plan to kill his cousin and his aunt and her other sons. He has a wooden castle constructed with wooden furniture and everything is stained in a beautiful, oil-based, cherry lacker. He invites Queen Kunti and her sons along with Yudhishthira to their new residence gifting the castle to the to-be King Yudhishthira. Prince Vidura comes to realize what is happening and tells Yudhishthira. When his mother and brothers arrive he tells them about the dangers of this new residence. Prince Vidura sends a miner to create an escape tunnel for his sister in law and her sons. Duryodhana sends a captain named Purochana to set the castle aflame on the first moonless night. On the night the miner finished his work Queen Kunti invited a low caste woman and her sons to the palace. They ate and drank until they were unconscious. That same night appeared to be the first cloudy night, so the family slips into the tunnel. Prince Bhima, Yudhishthira's brother turns back and lights the guardhouse on fire. The fire blows onto the castle which blazes to life like the solar festival. The next morning the low chaste woman and her sons are found dead and the people thinking it's Queen Kunti and her sons mourn their loss. King Vidura hides the family for the time being.


Bib:
PDE Mahabharata: The House of Fire: Audio Laura Gibbs

Comments

  1. Hi David,
    I love how you basically combined the Mahabharata into this short story. Even though it was condensed, I think it cleared everything up very well. At first, when I was reading this, I got confused with all the characters and didn't understand how they are related. Thank you for clearing this up and really explaining the lineage.
    Can't wait to read more of your stories!

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  2. David, I appreciate that you were able to decipher through the many storylines in the Mahabharata and written them in such a concise way. When I was reading the original story, the old English and translations were hard to understand, so reading your version of it was much simpler to understand. I try to do something similar with my reading notes so I can better understand the context of the stories.

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