Mahabharata For Kids: The Story And The Morals To Learn

Mahabharata For Kids

Pandavas and their wife Draupadi. A painting by the renowned artist Raja Ravi Verma.

Mahabharata is the world’s longest epic and is believed to be a concoction of Hindu mythology and philosophy. It is said that Hindu God Lord Ganesha has written the epic, as narrated by the great sage Veda Vyas. Mahabharat is one of the two Indian epics that explain the importance and values of family and friends.

The story is told as if it is being narrated by Vyasa’s disciple Vaisampayana to King Janamejaya, the great-grandson of Arjuna, one of the key characters in the epic.

What is in Mahabharata?

Mahabharata is one of the most valuable works that has been enlightening people since ages. It is built with several significant facts. It teaches a person to learn and keep up with human and ethical values required for a prosperous living. Man is a social animal and should abide by the rules of the society. This fact is clearly established in the stories of Mahabharata.

Mahabharata Story In Short:

Mahabharata is a source of infinite knowledge and way of living. It revolves around the relentless hatred and vengeance among cousins, which finally leads to the greatest battle of the Kurukshetra. Here is the story of Mahabharata in short for kids.

Shantanu, the king of Hastinapura, is married to the beautiful river goddess Ganga, who gives birth to Devavrata (Bhishma), a wise and a strong prince. Eventually, Shantanu marries Satyavati, mother of Vyasa, promising her that her future son will be the king. Shantanu has two sons with Satyavati, but both are short-lived.

[ Read: Short Stories From Ramayana For Kids ]

Satyavati asks her elder son Vyasa to father children with Ambika and Ambalika, the widows of her dead son Vichitravirya. Ambika gives birth to a blind child, named Dritharashtra and her sister Ambalika to a pale skinned child Pandu.

Dritharashtra, because of his blindness, becomes ineligible to take the throne, and his step brother Pandu becomes the king. Pandu has a curse on him that he would die when he has a sexual relationship.

Pandu’s first wife Kunti holds a particular boon to bear children and gives birth to the virtuous Yudhishthira, the enormously strong Bhima, and the great warrior Arjuna. Before getting married to Pandu, Kunti tries to test her boon, and gives birth to Karna. She abandons him in the fear of ignominy.

Madri, Pandu’s second wife, borrows Kunti’s secret and gives birth to the twins Nakula and Sahadev.

These five brothers are the Pandavas and the heroes of the story. They share a common wife Draupadi.

King Pandu dies after mating with his second wife, and his brother Dritharashtra becomes the king.

Dritharashtra and his wife Gandhari have a hundred children, the Kauravas. Duryodhana is the eldest of them.

Both the Pandavas and Kauravas grow up with dislike towards each other. The Pandavas, with their physical strength, positive attitude and good deeds, become popular among the subjects of the country. On the other hand, the Kauravas are seen to be jealous and wicked.

The eldest Kaurava, Duryodhana, teams up with his younger brother Dhusyasana, close friend (and the Pandavas’ step brother) Karna and maternal uncle Shakuni to shun the Pandavas out of their kingdom.

They challenge Pandavas to a game of dice, and defeat them with treachery. The Pandavas lose everything, including their wife Draupadi, to the Kauravas.

[ Read: Indian Mythological Stories For Kids ]

The Kauravas impose a 12-year exile followed by a year of anonymity on the Pandavas. During this period, the Kauravas make several attempts to kill their cousins but Pandavas escape with the support of their maternal uncle Lord Sri Krishna.

After completing their 13-year exile, the Pandavas seek back their part of the empire. But their cousins refuse to give it, leading to the great war of Kurukshetra.

The war lasts for about 18 days in the fields of Kuru clan and so the name Kurukshetra. The holy Hindu scripture, Bhagavad Gita, told by Krishna to Arjuna, has evolved during this episode.

The Pandavas win the war with the support of Krishna but the victory comes at the cost of the lives of their relatives and loved ones.

Lessons For Kids From Mahabharata:

Mahabharata can be regarded as the most valuable treasure for today’s generation. It has got everything that is required for a better living. It teaches the basic ethics a human should have to lead a proper life. Its teachings can be attractive to kids as they can be told as stories.

Here is something interesting and relevant from Mahabharata, which every child should know.

  • Jealousy is the primary cause of misery. This can be understood from Ghandhari, tshouldhe mother of Kauravas. Therefore, advise your kids to share and spread love without any negative feelings.
  • Envy is the main reason behind budding rivalry, and it can cause maximum damage to an individual. This can be understood from the relationship of Kauravas and Pandavas, which finally leads to the destruction of the Kuru clan. Advise your kids against developing hard feelings or prejudice against anyone.
  • A bad company can ruin you from the roots. This can be understood from the characterisation of the great Karna. Though he is a great warrior, incredibly talented and a humble human, his friendship with Duryodhana led to his downfall. Therefore, teach your children to choose their company correctly and carefully.
  • Do have faith in the Lord Almighty, irrespective of your abilities. This can be clearly understood from the way the mighty Arjuna believes in Lord Krishna.

[ Read: Lord Krishna Childhood Stories For Kids ]

  • A wrong step taken during any stage of life can show its effects for a lifetime. This can be understood from the life of Kunti, who hides the fact about the birth of her eldest son Karna.
  • Therefore, teach your child to lead a fair life and explain them the need of speaking the truth irrespective of the consequences.
  • Never ill-treat a woman, because it may cause devastation and a total downfall. This is evident from the life of Duryodhana and his brother Dhusyasana. Parents, teach your little munchkins to respect women.
  • Never get addicted to a dangerous practice, because it can make you lose your worth and downgrade your growth. This is pretty clear from the story of Yudhishthira, who lost everything for his craving towards the game of dice. Teach your children to have control of their self and make them know their limits.

This list can be never-ending because Mahabharata is not just a tale narrated in the past but is a storehouse and explains the way to lead an exemplary life in the present world. Every instance of it speaks volumes for a constructive living and so is important for our kids to know about this incredible epic.

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