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Page:Mahabharata - the epic of ancient India.djvu/15

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THE EPIC OF ANCIENT INDIA BOOK I ASTRA DARSANA (The Tournament) THE scene of the Epic is the ancient kingdom of the Kurus ■*■ which flourished along the upper course of the Ganges ; and the historical fact on which the Epic is based is a great war which took place between the Kurus and a neighbounng tnbe, the i'an- chalas, in the thirteenth or fourteenth century before Christ. According to the Epic, Pandu and Dhrita-rashtra, who was bom blind, were brothers. Pandu died early, and Dhrita-rashtra became king of the Kurus, and brought up the five sons ot Pandu alone with his hundred sons. r u j Yudhishthir, the eldest son of Pandu, was a man of truth and piety; Bhima, the second, was a stalwart fighter; and Arjun, the third son, distinguished himself above all the other prmces m arms. The two youngest brothers, Nakula and Sahadeva, were twins. Duryodhan wasthe eldest son of Dhrita-rashtra and was jealous of lis cousins, the sons of Pandu. A tournament was held, and m »he course of the day a warrior named Kama, of unknown origin, ippeared on the scene and proved himself a worthy rival of Arjun The rivalry between Arjun and Kama is the leadmg thought ot the Epic, as the rivalry between Achilles and Hector is the leadmg thought of the Iliad.