The Mahabharat is a huge work. It is broken into 18 books called as parvas. The 18 parvas can sub-grouped into three main groups – pre-war, the war and post-war.
The Sabha Parva or “The Book of the Assembly Hall” is a book life of the Pandavas at Indraprastha.
Having received Khandavprastha as the part of the kingdom to rule, Yudhishthir humbly accepts. Pandavas proceed to their kingdom and decide to build their capital, Indraprastha, near the banks of Yamuna (modern Delhi) with the help of Lord Krishna. The books describes the wonderous feat of Khandav-van daahan (burning of the Khandav forest). The feat was accomplished by Lord Agni with the help of Krishna and Arjuna. For this, Arjuna receives the chariot, the conch Devdatta, the famous Gandeev bow, two inexhaustible quivers of arrows. Krishna receives the Sudarshan chakra. This whole episode makes a wonderful reading that I will recite in due course.
After the burning of the forest, Arjuna saves the demon Maya from the wrath of Agni and Krishna. Maya wants to do something for the Arjun in return. Krishna asks Maya Danava to erect the palace and court (sabha), at Indraprastha. This is the same famous Maya-sabha that played a very important part later.
The book the describes Arjuna’s exile for breaking a vow/sacred pact that Pandavas formed to share Draupadi. For details, please do read:
- Hidden Gem Stories from Mahabharat – Sunda and Upsunda (Part I)
- Hidden Gem Stories from Mahabharat – Sunda and Upsunda (Part II) – Tilottama
- Hidden Gem Stories from Mahabharat – Sunda and Upsunda (Part III) – The End
- Outcome of the story of “Sunda and Upasunda”
(I urge you to read the above once again. These are some real good stories)
Arjuna travel wide and meets and marries Uloopi and Chitrangada. Arjun then goes west to Prabhasa (Somnath) and then to Dwaraka. There he sees Subhadra (Krishna’s sister) and gets smitten. Arjuna abducts Subhadra and marries her with Krishna’s blessings. Yudhishthir desires to perform the Rajasooya yagna and Krishna advises him to get rid of Jarasandha first. This book then gives details of how and why the trio Krishna, Arujna and Bheem kill Jarasandha, and how Krishna kills Shishupala.
Yudhishthir performs the Rajasooya Yagna. The untold wealth and fame of the Pandavas burns Duryodhan with hate, anger and jealousy. The game of dice is planned and executed, that results in the attempt to disrobe Draupadi and the eventual exile of the Pandavas.