Mahabharat - The Epic
( AS DESCRIBED IN THE PUBLICATION - An Illustrated Handbook of Indian Arms , By Wilbrahim Egerton )
"The rich and fertile plains of India have always proved a tempting prize to an invader from the west, and the classic tradition is therefore not altogether unworthy of belief that about 2,000 B.C. there was an invasion by the Assyrian Queen Semiramis. Her opponent Stabrobates may be identified with Sthabarpati, "Lord of hills, trees, and plains," who appears in the Indian legends as the antagonist of SDhama, the wife of Mahadeva.
Another legendry invasion of India appears to have proceeded from Egypt under the leader who figures under the different names of Bacchus, Sesostris or Parusram, so called from the Parusa or battle-axe with which he fought."*
* For further refference please refer to Dowson, Classical Dict. of Hindu Mythology, "Parasu Rama" Prof. Dowson thinks that the war of Parasu Rama indicates the struggle between the Kshatriyas and the Brahmins."
"The oldest extant traditions of purley Indian origin give an account of a great contest between Rama, King of Ayodhya or Oude, and Ravana, King of Lanka or Ceylon, which has been usually referred to a period of remote antiquity, but which a recent writer has attempted to identify with the struggle between Brahminism and Buddhism."**
**Historical Studies, Shoshee Chunder Dutt, pp. 151-184. 1879
"It is in the poetic histories - the RAMAYANA and the MAHABHARATA, that we find the earliest reference to Indian arms.
The Ramayan celebrates the deeds of the above mentioned Rama, the conqueror of the Deccan and Ceylon.
The Mahabharata describes the wars of the two branches of the reigning family of Hastinapura, the Pandavas, and the Kauravas. The triumphant Pandavas transferred the seat of government to Indraprashtha, the site of the modern Delhi."
"Hastinapur, in which the first scenes of the 'great war of Bharat ' are laid, is an ancient and vanished city , formerly situated about 60 miles north-east of the modern Delhi. The Ganges has washed away even the ruins of the metropolis of King Bharat's dominions. The poem opens with a 'sacrifice of snakes,' but this is merely a prelude connected by curious legend with the real beginning. That beginning is reached when the five sons of 'King Pandu the Pale' and the five sons of 'King Dhritarashtra the Blind', both of them descendants of Bharat, are being brought up together in the palace.
The first were called Pandavas, the last Kauravas, and their life-long feud is the main subject of the epic.
Yudisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, nakula and Sahadeva are the Pandava princces: Duryodhana is chief of the Kauravas.
Thet are instructed by one master, Drona, a Brahmin, in the arts of war and peace, and learn to manage and brand cattle, hunt wild animals, and tame horses. There is a striking picture in the earlier portion of an Ayran tournament, wherein the young cousins display their skills, 'highly arrayed, amid vast crowds .' and Arjuna especially distinguishes himself. Clad in golden mail, he shows amazing feat with sword and bow. He shoots 21 arrows into the hollow of a buffalo horn while his chariot whirls along; he throws the 'chakra,' or quoit, without once missing his victim ; and after winning the prizes, kneels respectfully at the feet of his instructor to receive his crown.
Part of the story refers obviously to the advances gradually made by the Aryan *** conquerors of India into the jungles still peopled by aborigines. "
*** Aryan, the name by which the people of the Rig_Veda called men of their own stock, as opposed to the Dasyus or aborigines.- Dowson, Dictionary.
"Forced to quit their new city, the Pandavas hear of the marvellous beauty of Draupadi, whose Swayamvara, or 'choise of suitor.' is about to be celebrated at Kampilya. this again furnishes a strange and glittering picture of the old times:"
Arjuna disguised as a Brahmin, performs the feat of striking the eye of a golden fish through a round 'Chakra' whirling round upon the top of a tall pole, with an arrow shot from an enormous strong bow with great ease. Having won the heart of Draupadi the princess follows the fortunes of the brothers.
" The honorable position accorded to the profession of arms at an early period is shown by the fact that the Kshatriyas or Rajputs, in the Vedic period were the dominant race, and subsequently stood next in the scale of caste to the Brahmins or priests; they originally enjoyed the exclusive privilege of carrying arms."