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The Pandavas (pronounced: "PAN-dah-vahs") (Arjuna, Yudhistira, Bhima, Nakula, and Sahadeva) are five brothers, demigod warrior princes, and the heroes of the ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata poem. The Pandava Quartet revolves around the reincarnations of those five brothers. The current reincarnations refer to themselves as the "Potatoes."
Kunti, daughter of a Yadava chief who born under the name Pritha, offered many comforts, patience, and devotion to sage Durvasa. Extremely pleased, he gave her a boon that would invoke any god of her choice and bless her with children. Out of curiosity, she invoked Surya and had a son who wore sacred armor and golden earrings. But Kunti was unsure of how the public would react to this, so she put her newborn son in a basket and sent him up the Ashvanadi river. He was found by Radha, the wife of a charioteer named Adhiratha Nandana, and was named Vasushena but would later be known as Karna.
Kunti met and chose her husband, King Pandu of Hastinapur, at a swayamvara organized by her cousin. Pandu also married a second woman named Madri from the Madra Kingdom. However, he got cursed to die when he slept with a woman by another sage named Kindama for shooting him as a deer while he was performing his copulation. Kunti found him upset that he couldn't have children because of this and took pity on him. So she used her boon to invoke Dharma Raja, Vayu, and Indra. This resulted in Yudhistira, Bhima, and Arjuna being born. Nakula and Sahadeva were born to Queen Madri, from the Ashvins after Kunti gave her a portion of her power and taught her how to invoke the Ashvins.
However, Pandu slept with Madri and died due to forgetting about the curse. While the family carried his body to the funeral pyre, Sahadeva ate a piece of Pandu's flesh that was being carried by ants and gained enlightenment of the past, present and future. But then Krishna and told him not to tell anyone about what he saw, Sahadeva agreed on the condition that Krishna protects him and his brothers. Madri, feeling guilty for causing Pandu's death, jumped into the cremating fire and died.
Years after her suicide, Madri's brother, King Shayla brought Nakula and Sahadeva to his kingdom each year. He intended to make them his heirs to the Madra kingdom instead of Hastinapur. But the twins pointed out that he was only doing this because they were children of the gods, he was avoiding his own children. Their own brothers and Kunti would never do that to them, they loved them. Through some deliberation, the twins agreed to Shalya on they condition that they will stay with the other Pandavas.
Arjuna was a devoted student learning under a guru named Drona ("Dron-ah"), and Arjuna was passionate about his archery skills. He once witnessed Ekalavya ("eh-KUH-lav-yah"), the son of a tribal chief, make an impossible shot. This made him very jealous and scared that he wouldn't be the best archer anymore like Drona promised. The nervous guru took notice and Ekalavya asked him to be his student, but Drona refused due to his lower status. Ekalavya meditated on Drona anyway and even built a statue of him out of mud. So Drona demanded guru daksina, a way of honoring a teacher, and Ekalavya agreed to give him his right thumb so no one would be better than Arjuna. One day, when Drona assembled the Pandavas for a session, he tied a wooden bird to a tree branch. He instructed the brothers to shoot an arrow at the bird's eye. Dronacharya asked Yudhistira what he saw, he responded "The sky, the tree, the bird," but the teacher told him not to shoot. Bhima said "The branch of the tree, the bird," but he was asked not to shoot too. Arjuna said "The eye of the bird," only he was allowed to shoot. Another act was later done in a competition winning the heart of Draupadi, which demonstrated the archery prowess of Arjuna. A wooden fish was tied to a moving wheel on the ceiling. The suitors were asked to shoot the eye of the fish looking at its reflection in a large vessel kept below. Arjuna was the only one who was able to succeed. But the virtuous and beautiful princess married all five brothers. She spent a year as the wife of each, it was a rule among the five brothers that you couldn’t barge in on Draupadi’s privacy when she was with her husband-of-the-year.
On the advice of Lord Krishna, the Pandavas burned down the Khandava ("KHAN-duh-vuh") Forest for Agni, the god of fire, to consume. All the inhabitants were killed except a snake named Takshaka who fled, and an asura named Mayasura who agreed to build the Pandava brothers the most beautiful palace the world had ever seen. It came with illusions that befuddled the mind and heightened the senses, it was extremely convincing. This palace was named Maya-Mahal, Palace of Illusions, and became sentient. Yudhistira liked to read but had trouble choosing a room, so the palace made sure his bed could float anywhere and books could be brought to him. Nakula liked to admire himself, so it made sure there were plenty of places where he might catch glimpses of his beauty. Sahadeva liked the sciences, so the palace made sure there was always an abundance of living things to study. Bhima liked to test his strength, so it made sure he had challenging arenas. Arjuna liked a little of everything, so it made sure nothing escaped his interest. Draupadi wanted peace most of all, but the closest the palace could muster was light.One day, Arjuna was called to fight off a bunch of demons. He had to answer the call, because that’s what heroes do. The only problem was, he’d left his special bow and arrow in the dining room where Princess Draupadi was eating with one of his brothers. The penalty for barging in on their privacy was exile. Rather than let innocent people get hurt by demons, Arjuna chose to break the rule, he had to go into the forest for twelve years. Draupadi had realized what had happened and did not want Arjuna to be exiled, but being a honorable warrior, Arjuna agreed to keep his word. During these years of exile, he was pulled inside a riverbank where he was performing his rituals. He met Uloopi, one of the serpent queens, who was responsible for this because she thought he was cute. After offering his rites to the fire in the Naga Realm, Uloopi confesses her love to him, they marry and have a son named Iravan. Pleased by Arjuna, Uloopi gifted him with being invincible underwater and communication with all sea creatures, but he had to go back and fight.
All in Exile
Duryodhana, came to visit the Palace of Illusions. He fell through a floor tile that was actually water, and he nearly broke his foot jumping into a pool that turned out to be cleverly polished sapphires. On seeing the crown prince of Hastinapura fall into the pool, Draupadi laughed and said,"The blind son of a blind king." Insulted by this comment and jealous of the Pandavas' wealth, he had his uncle, Shakhuni, orchestrate the infamous game of dice between the Pandavas and their cousins, the Kauravas. Yudhistira gambled away the whole kingdom resulting in his family being exiled for into the forest for twelve years, plus an extra year in anonymity.
One day while in the exile, Bhima went out to search for a flower for Draupadi. He encountered his half-brother, Hanuman, and failed to lift his tail. The monkey-faced demigod told Bhima that the flower is in the garden of Kubera. When he arrived, he was attacked by the Lord of Wealth's rakshasas, including his friend, Maniman, but managed to fight them off. Then he swam in the pond of the garden and fell asleep. Draupadi got worried that Bhima was gone so long, so she, the other Pandavas, and Krishna went off looking for him. When they found him, Kubera appeared and revealed that Maniman was cursed by a sage to die by at man's hand. Since Bhima freed his army from the curse, Kubera gave him the flowers for Draupadi.
Urvashi, the most beautiful of all the apsaras, made romantic advances towards Arjuna when he visited his father, Indra, during the last year of this exile. Arjuna rejected her advances because Urvashi was his own ancestor, the wife of King Pururavas, so respectively called her his mother. But Urvashi grew angry and cursed him to lose his manhood for one year. So Arjuna posed as a eunuch, took the name Brihannala, and taught song and dance to the princess of the kingdom of Virata. Meanwhile, Bhima disguised himself as a chef named Vallabh.
The Kurukshetra War
When the long exile was over, the Kauravas refused to give back the land as they were discovered in the last year of their exile. This lead to a great war between the cousins that lasted for eighteen days. On the seventeenth day, Arjuna fought and killed Karna. On the last day, Shalya took Karna's place as commander-in-chief and was killed by Yudhishthira in spear combat. Sahadeva killed Shakhuni via duel like he swore at the dicing game while Nakula killed his son, Uluka, and Bhima gravely wounded Duryodhana who died later on.
After the war, all of Arjuna's wives lived in the palace. The Palace of Illusions was really upset that they left, it ended up in the Kingdom of Death. Arjuna was shot killed by his son, King Babruvahana, with an arrow due to a curse from the Vasus. Upon pleading with her father, Uloopi used her magical gem to save his life. Yudhistira ruled Hastinapur for thirty-six years until he passed it down to his Arjuna's grandson. Near the end of Yudhistira's life, the Pandavas learned of Krishna's death, they decided to go to the Himalayas with Draupadi and make their journey to heaven, they were accompanied by a dog. But one-by-one, they fell down and died due to their imperfections. The order was Draupadi, she liked Arjuna more than the others, Sahadeva, he was smug over his knowledge, Nakula, he was arrogant about his good looks, Arjuna, he was always jealous of other archers, and Bhima, he was a glutton. Only Yudhistira managed to make it to the top. When he refused to enter heaven without the dog, Dharma Raja revealed that he took the form to keep him company.
Yudhistira (pronounced: "yoo-dhish-TEE-ruh") was the son of Dharma Raja, the Hindu god of justice and death. He was the oldest brother, and was known for being noble, just and wise. Everyone went to him for advice, he was a really good king. But he had a reputation for being morally uptight. The current reincarnation of Yudhistira is Yamini Kapoor-Mercado-Lopez, the previous one was a famous judge.
Bhima (pronounced: "BHEE-muh") was the son of Vayu, the Hindu god of wind. Known as Bhima the Strong, being superstrong, he is said to be able to bite through a steel beam and have the power of ten thousand elephants. He was the second-oldest Pandava also known for for having a temper and a ridiculously large appetite. The current reincarnation of Bhima is Brynne Tvarika Lakshmi Balamuralikrishna Rao, the previous one was an Olympic athlete.
Arjuna (pronounced: "ar-JOO-nah") was the son of Indra, the Hindu god of storms, thunder and lightning. Known as Arjuna the Triumphant, Arjuna was the middle Pandava and most famous out of all the brothers. He had the most adventures, and was known for his incredible skill with the bow and arrow. He was best known for the way he chose to see the world around him. For example, he would form a plan/military strategy when facing a demon. He would have tried to turn the war in his favor, and part of that meant picking the battleground. The current reincarnation of Arjuna is Aru Shah, the previous one was a senator.
Nakula (pronounced: "nuh-KOO-luh") the beautiful, twin of Sahadeva, was the son of Nasatya, one of the Ashvins, the twin horsemen Hindu gods who symbolize sunrise and sunset and are considered the gods of medicine and healing. Nakula was a master of horses, swordsmanship, and healing. Although more known for his beauty, he was also wise. The current reincarnation of Nakula is Nikita, the previous one was a famous male model who wrote fabulous best-selling self-help books and started the world’s first hot-yoga studios with Sahadeva's reincarnation.
Sahadeva (pronounced: "sa-hah-DAY-vuh") the wise, twin of Nakula, was the son of Dasra, one of the Ashvins, the twin horsemen Hindu gods who symbolize sunrise and sunset and are considered the gods of medicine and healing. Sahadeva was known to be a great swordsman and a brilliant astrologer. Although more known for his wisdom, he was also beautiful. The current reincarnation of Sahadeva is Sheela, the previous one was a famous male model who wrote fabulous best-selling self-help books and started the world’s first hot-yoga studios with Nakula's reincarnation.
Karna was the secret Pandava, he given the name Vasushena by his adopted parents. The other five Pandavas didn’t even know he was their brother until his dying moments. Karna himself knew that the Pandavas were his brothers only before the start of the war. His father was Surya, the god of the sun.
Draupadi (pronounced: "DRAW-puh-dee") was the wife of all five of the Pandava brothers. She was the famously outspoken and independent daughter of Drupada, king of the land of Southern Panchala. She condemned those who wronged her family and in some places, she is revered as a goddess in her own right. The current reincarnation of Draupadi is Aiden Acharya.
When Arielle Reddy, Poppy Lopez, Burton Prater dared Aru Shah to light the Diya of Bharata, she complied and released the Sleeper, a demon bent on ending all time. Shakuni, reborn as a pigeon named Subala, comes towards the reborn Pandava and reveals the existence of the Hindu Gods. He takes her through the Door of Many to meet another reincarnated Pandava, Mini, short for Yamini Kapoor-Mercado-Lopez, they were both disappointed in her appearance. Upon arriving in the Court of the Sky, Urvashi had the two girls undergo the claiming ceremony to prove that they really were Pandavas.
During the ceremony, Aru wasn't so sure about being the reincarnations of Yudhistira or Sahadeva, she thought being wise and just was too much pressure. She didn't want to be Arjuna's reincarnation either as he was considered greatest hero out of the entire Mahabharata story. However, she didn't think being the reincarnation of Bhima or Nakula would be so bad, she could deal with being strong with a temper and definitely wouldn't mind being known for beauty. Aru Shah and Mini soon discovered that they were the reincarnations of Arjuna and Yudhistira respectively. Mini originally got very upset by this as she wanted be the reincarnation of one of the Ashvins' sons. Indra and Dharma Raja gave them Vajra and the latter's danda stick, but they wouldn't fully activate until later.
Urvashi gave them a quest to go to the Kingdom of Death and look for the Pool of the Past so they can stop the Sleeper before the new moon arrives. On their quest, they remember the adventures their previous incarnations had. Aru used the tale of Arjuna and the fish’s eye to escape an illusion of the Palace of Illusions. Aru and Mini were successful in their quest, but the Sleeper escaped, he was actually the reincarnation of Duryodhana as well as Aru's biological father.
Meanwhile, another Pandava, Brynne Rao, daughter of an asura, awakened when she saved her one of her uncles from an incoming car. They told her that the soul of Bhima had awakened inside of her. She waited to go on the quest, but nobody came. She found a bow and arrow, not knowing that it was actually stolen and belonged to Kamadeva, and took it to find its owner, she was unknowingly witnessed by her sisters.
Aru Shah and Mini met up with Brynne Rao in the Night Bazaar, where they faced off against the real thief who disguised herself as Aru and escaped with the bow and arrow along with a horde of Heartless zombies she created using it. After the Council of Guardians arrived, the three girls were lifted into the air and Vayu gave Brynne Rao his celestial mace. Unfortunately, the three were blamed for the theft of the bow and arrow. Uloopi told them that if they didn't have it returned within ten days then they will be banished from the Otherworld, forget all about it, and their souls will go dormant. Takshaka said that new Pandavas would come along, he actually let the true thief steal the bow and arrow, he wanted revenge for the Pandavas burning down the Khandava Forest. Aiden Acharya, a son of an apsara, joined them on their quest as he was skilled.
Having acquired the thief's soul song, Aiden and the Pandavas learned of the bow and arrow's whereabouts. They were in the Ocean of Milk, location of the amrita, the elixir of immortality. The thief was Meenakshi, or Surpanakha from Ramayana, she wanted the elixer so she, the Sleeper who gave her the idea, and others can make their whole story immortal. But somewhat reluctantly, the Pandavas plunged the arrow in her heart, which cured the Heartless but also made her soul become a song of death causing Meenakshi to fade. Yet, the Pandavas vowed to remember her full story and were cleared when Takshaka was exposed (although he escaped later) and Uloopi received her heart jewel from them. When returning the bow and arrow to Kamadeva, the god of love revealed that Aiden Acharya was actually the reincarnation of Queen Draupadi, the Pandavas' wife.
On the night of February fifteenth, Aru Shah had a dream with Nikita and Sheela (she didn't know their identities at the time). Sheela had a vision that told her that Aru would save them from something the following year.
That something turned out to be a bull-head rakshasa. Aru Shah, Mini, Brynne Rao and Aiden Acharya were successful in saving Nikita and Sheela at a Ferris wheel.
| Then there was the little one...
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- Mahabharata is one of the longest poems in the world. It is roughly ten times the length of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey combined. In fact, there was a superstition that one were to go crazy if they read the entirety of Mahabharata without leaving a chapter or page out.
- The first names of current reincarnations sound like the Pandavas' names.
- Yamini = Yudhistira.
- Brynne = Bhima.
- Arundhati = Arjuna.
- Nikita = Nakula.
- Sheela = Sahadeva.
- Aiden was the only exception.
- The tale of Arjuna and the fish’s eye was about focusing and peeling away distractions one by one until all that was left was the target. Sometimes, he shot the eye of a wooden bird instead of a fish. Duryodhana and Dronacharya's son, Ashwattama, are present in other versions.
- ↑ Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes, Ch. 29
- ↑ Aru Shah and the End of Time, Glossary
- ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shalya#Attempting_to_make_Nakula_and_Sahadeva_his_heirs
- ↑ Aru Shah and the Song of Death, Ch. 5
- ↑ Aru Shah and the End of Time, Ch. 27
- ↑ Aru Shah and the Song of Death, Glossary
- ↑ Aru Shah and the End of Time, Ch. 25
- ↑ Aru Shah and the End of Time, Ch. 26
- ↑ Aru Shah and the End of Time, Ch. 9
- ↑ Aru Shah and the Song of Death, Ch. 5
- ↑ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhima#Exile
- ↑ Aru Shah and the Song of Death, Ch. 16
- ↑ Aru Shah and the Song of Death, Ch. 17
- ↑ Aru Shah and the End of Time, Ch. 35
- ↑ Aru Shah and the End of Time, Ch. 36
- ↑ Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes, Glossary
- ↑ Aru Shah and the End of Time, Ch. 4
- ↑ https://books.disney.com/content/uploads/2018/07/Aru-Shah-Pandava-Series-TG_Final.pdf
- ↑ https://www.readriordan.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Aru-Shah-and-the-Tree-of-Wishes-excerpt.pdf
- ↑ https://www.readriordan.com/2020/03/25/rick-riordan-presents-storytime-with-rosh-and-ba/