Krishna: Five lesser-known facts from the Mahabharata

The story of Krishna is narrated in several texts including the Hari Vamsa and the Bhagawata Purana. In these texts, he is God – omnipresent and omnipotent.

But in the Mahabharata, he comes across as a complex character in varying shades of white, black, grey and blue. Here, he is not always god, but often a thinker-philosopher and war strategist.

Presenting five lesser-known aspects of Krishna from the Mahabharata.

Kottravai, the war goddess of the Tamils

Mother goddess cult is deeply entrenched in Indian culture. Small groups and tribes that lay scattered all across India have had their own specific mother goddess worship traditions.

In what is known as the Sangam age (3rd century BCE to 3rd century CE), Kottravai was worshipped as the war goddess in the arid or desert landscapes of ancient Tamilagam (today’s Tamil Nadu).

Similarly, the origins of the war goddess Durga is traced to certain tribes that lived on the the hills of the Vindya mountains (hence, the deity is also referred to as Vindyavasini).

Over time, with the intermingling of the northern and southern cultures, Kottravai gradually began to be identified with Durga-Parvati.

This video discusses the various references to Kottravai that we find in ancient Tamil literature and through these references, traces the metamorphosis of Kottravai into Durga-Parvati.

The Dance of Shiva

The idea of a the dancing god is unique to Indian culture. And Nataraja is believed to be the king of dance.

This video explores the mythological, cosmic and spiritual symbolism hidden in the iconography of Nataraja. It also features two classical renderings of Shiva’s dance.

Why did Draupadi have five husbands?

The great Indian epic, the Mahabharata, is full of riddles, puzzles and dilemmas. The epic poses several intriguing problems that make us wonder, who was right and who was wrong, who was good and who was bad…

But the one big question about the epic that baffles us no end is about Draupadi….

Why did she have five husbands?

Was Draupadi a victim of fraternal polyandry – a system where all the brothers in a family married the same woman to prevent land fragmentation?

Or was this Kunti’s idea to use Draupadi as the glue to keep her sons struck together?

Or, was poor Draupadi merely a pawn in the game fought by Pandavas and Kauravas for land?

Watch the video to know the answer to the trickiest riddle posed by the Mahabharata!

Six secrets of Ganesha

Ganesha is a very old deity in the Hindu pantheon, a deity who has accumulated multiple attributes over time. Despite his popularity, there are many things that are puzzling about the deity. This video tries to explore answers some commonly asked questions about the god:

  1. Why is Ganesha invoked first before we start anything new?
  2. How did the puny little mouse become Ganesha’s vahana?
  3. Why is Ganesha shown with a snake around his hips?
  4. Why is Ganesha pot-belied?
  5. Why is Ganesha depicted along with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth?
  6. Is Ganesha married?