Mahabharata: The End of the Pandavas

The Mahabharata ends with the Hindu focus on impermanence and continuity. After the battle, the Pandavas are a little shell-shocked by all the pointless destruction, and they and Draupadi decide they have to leave the world.

Ghandari, whose sons have been destroyed in the battle, curses Krishna to endure her fate of being unable to stop a battle in spite of his power. Krishna accepts this fate as fair, given that he instigated most of the martial activity, and it comes to fruition in 36 years.

The Pandavas climb Himalaya. A dog follows them. One by one, everyone but Yudhisthira falls on the mountain. The dog turns out to be the god Yama in disguise. He takes Yudhisthira to the underworld. The Pandavas will be reunited in heaven once they have done penance for their vices.

And that’s pretty much the end of the epic. It’s a much darker poem than its counterpart, the Ramayana, and focuses on the darker side of human nature.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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