Many people in India know the Mahabharata story and its characters. The story is about the war between the five Pandava brothers and their nephews, the hundred Kauravas.

Pandu, the father of the Pandava brothers, dies. Therefore, the Pandavas are brought up by their uncle at the Kaurava court. The Pandava and Kaurava boys are educated together in the use of weapons and the arts. One of the teachers always favours the Pandavas because they are clever and better at everything. Jealousy arises between the Pandavas and their cousins, the Kauravas (see also the play Villaiyattin Vilaivu).

A game of dice
When they are grown up, Duryodhana, the oldest of the Kaurava brothers, invites Yudhisthira, the oldest of the five Pandavas, for a game of dice. Yudhisthira loses all his possessions, his four brothers and Draupadi. Draupadi is the common wife of the five brothers. Yes, together they have one wife!

The humiliation of Draupadi
The 100 Kaurava brothers feel proud winners. Therefore they humiliate their cousins' wife. They try to disrobe Draupadi in view of all the assembled kings and princes. They tell her to sit as a slave on Duryodhana's lap. Draupadi gets very angry and curses Duryodhana. She swears that she shall not tie her hair again until she has smeared it with his blood and combed it with a rib taken from his corpse.(see also the play Draupadi Tukil)

Twelve years in the forest
After they have lost everything, the Pandavas and Draupadi are banished to the forest for twelve years. In the thirteenth year they have to live in public, but nobody should find out who they really are. When the 13 years are over, the Pandavas return and ask for their half of the country back. Duryodhana refuses. Then the Pandavas and Kauravas go to war.

One brother more
What the Pandavas don't know is that they have an other brother, Karna. He was born before the Pandavas' mother, Kunti, got married to Pandu. Kunti abandoned the baby. She put it in a basket and let it drift away along the river. The basket with the child was found by a charioteer who worked for the father of the Kauravas. He brought up Karna as his own son.

Karna becomes Duryodhana's best friend. During the war he fights on the side of the Kauravas against his own brothers, the Pandavas. Karna is a good bow man, but his brother Arjuna too.The two brothers fight against each other in a duel.

The help of God Krishna
Not only human beings, but also gods decide the outcome of the war. The god Krishna has a lot of power and influence before and during the battle. For instance, when the Kauravas try to disrobe Draupadi, she prays to Krishna. And Krishna listens. He protects the beautiful woman. An endless sari unrolls, which protects her honour. Nobody sees her naked.

There is much more to tell.........
How did five brothers marry one girl?
Who wins the war?
Why is Bhima so strong?
What game is Krishna playing?

We do not have enough space to tell all these stories on this site !