Some doubts in connection with Maha Bharata

Sage Jaimini requested  Markandeya Maharshi for clarifications on a few doubts on the proceedings of Maha Bharata and the Maharshi suggested that the Sage might approach Holy Birds in Vindhyachala. Understandably, Jaimini asked Markandeya as to who the Holy Birds were and the latter related a Story that involved Indra, Narada and Apsaras or the Celestial Damsels. Narada visited the Court of Indra once and the latter requested as to how the Brahmarshi could be entertained: either by Songs of Gandharvas or by the dances of Apsaras. Narada preferred the dance of Apsaras and named a specific Apsara called Vapu as she was preferred by Narada. The co-Apsaras challenged Narada’s preference and a dance competition followed; Narada said that whosoever could attract the attention of Durvasa Muni would be declared the best. The dance extravaganza disturbed Durvasa Muni and cursed Apsara Vapu who resorted to loud singing to become a bird for sixteen years in a series of births and deaths, that she should not give birth to a baby-bird and that she should die by a sharp weapon before securing her original form.The related story was that there were two brothers in the lineage of Garuda the Avian King and the Carrier of Vishnu. The brothers were named Kank and Kandahar; Kank flew freely once and witnessed the scene of a Demon Vidyudrup and his union with his wife Madanika, an Apsara. The demon objected and killed Kank. The infuriated Kandahar killed the demon and Madanika desired to become the wife of Kandahar and changed her form as a bird. Madanika was Vapu in her previous birth and the former and Kandahar gave birth to Taarkshi who married a Brahmana boy. The bird became pregnant at the time of the Great of Maha Bharata and while flying, Arjuna’s arrow hurt her and two eggs fell out of her abdomen and the elephant on whose back Arjuna’s opponent was riding saved the eggs under a big bell. At the end of the battle,  a Sage named Shami found a big bell and underneath the bell were four chicks. The Sage took the chicks to his Ashram and brought them up and as they grew, they learnt Vedas from the recitals taught to the Sage’s students. One day the grown up birds spoke in human voice and sought the permission of the Sage before flying away since their studentship was over! The wonder-struck Sage asked how the birds possessed such amazing powers and the latter replied that they were actually the sons of a Muni named Vipulaswan and their names were Sukrish and Tambaru, that his father was engaged in a Yagna when Indra appeared as an old bird and asked for human flesh, that the sons refused to sacrifice themselves while the father did the Sacrifice, that Indra said he was testing them of their devotion and while dying the father blessed the sons to keep their knowledge of the Scriptures in tact as ‘Jatismaras’ or those born would retain the memory of their previous birth! Guru Shami was pleased at the happening and blessed the Holy Birds to migrate to Vindhyas for propagating Dharma! Having learnt about the competence of the Holy Birds, Sage Jaimini who visited the Vindhyas and posed four relevant questions in connection with Maha Bharata:

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at