In the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Sahadeva (Sanskrit: सहदेव) was the youngest of the five Pandava brothers. Nakula and Sahadev were twins born to Madri who had invoked the Ashwini Kumaras. Sahadeva had two wives Draupadi and Vijaya. Draupadi was the common wife of Pandavas while Vijaya was his own wife.
Sahadeva, the wisest Pandava, sitting on a throne.
|Weapon||Sword and Parashu (Axe)|
|Spouse||Draupadi and Vijaya|
|Children||Shrutasena (son from Draupadi)|
Suhotra (son from Vijaya)
|Relatives||Kauravas ( Paternal cousins)|
The word sahadeva is derived from two Sanskrit words saha (सह) and deva (देव). Saha means with and deva is a Hindu term used for deity. So literally, Sahadeva means with Gods. Another meaning is thousand Gods. Sahadeva and his brother Nakula, are both called as Ashvineya (आश्विनेय), as they were born from Ashvins.
Birth and early yearsEdit
Due to Pandu's inability to bear children (because of the curse of Rishi Kindama), Madri had to use the boon given to Kunti Devi by Sage Durvasa to give birth, who invoked the Ashwini Kumaras to beget Nakula and Sahadeva.
Later, Pandu died due to his Kindama's curse when he attempted to make love with his wife. Madri handled her children to Kunti and committed sati. Kunti raised him along with his brothers in Hastinapura with love and care. It is believed that Sahadeva was Kunti's favourite son in spite of not being her biological son. It is also believed that Sahadeva was an incarnation of Shukra, the guru of asuras.
Sahadeva and his brothers went to Hastinapura where they were instructed by Drona and Kripa in weapons. He mastered his skills in fencing and axe fighting. He also acquired the Nitishastra from Brihaspati, Guru of the Devas.
Marriage and childrenEdit
Later Kunti and the five Pandavas moved to Hastinapura. Sahadeva's core skill was the wielding of the sword. Sahadeva is said to be mild-mannered, bashful, patient, and virtuous in every aspect except he was arrogant about his wisdom and his spiritual knowledge .
Sahadeva had two wives Draupadi, the common wife of the Pandavas, and Vijaya, whom he married. Sahadev's son with Draupadi was Shrutasena and his son with his other wife Vijaya was Suhotra. Vijaya chose Sahadeva in her swarmavara, hence the marriage. Vijaya was Sahadeva's maternal cousin.
Suhotra was Queen Vijaya and Sahadeva's son. He was the only alive heir of Sahadeva after the War. He was appointed as the crown prince of Madra when Sahadeva was King of Madra, after the War of Kurukshetra. Some later texts mention Krishna's grand daughter named Bhanumati as one of the wives of Sahadeva, though there is no mention of Sahadeva's third wife in the Mahabharata.
Conquest for RajasuyaEdit
Sahadeva was sent south by the eldest Pandava Yudhishthira to subjugate kingdoms for the Rajasuya sacrifice, after crowning as the Emperor of Indraprastha. He was specifically chosen for the south because of his expertise with the sword, and because Bhishma opined that Southerners are skilled with sword-fighting in general. he Mahabharata mentions several kingdoms to the south of Indraprastha which were conquered by Sahadeva. Some of them are as under:
- Pandyan Dynasty
- Matsya, the king Dantavakra, kings Sukumara, Sumitra, other Matsyas and Patacharas.
- Kings of Lanka who claimed to be descendants of Vibhishana, the king of Lanka and brother of Ravana. He offered him diverse kinds of jewels and gems, sandalwood, celestial ornaments, costly apparel and valuable pearls.
- At Kishkindha, the monkey-kings Mainda and Dwivida were defeated in a 7-day war.
- City of Mahishmati, which was ruled by King Nila. Since the kingdom had the blessings of Agni, a huge fire obstructed the army when Sahadeva tried to invade; later prayer to Agni enabled Sahadeva to complete the conquest.
- King Rukmi of Vidarbha and territories of Bhojakata
- Nishadas, the hill of Gosringa and King Sreenimath.
- Navarashtra, under King Kunti-Bhoja
- King Jamvaka, on the banks of the river Charmanwati.
- Territories lying on the banks of the Venwa.
- Kingdoms that lay on the banks of the Narmada.
- Avanti, kings called Vinda and Anuvinda, a town of Bhojakata
- King of Kosala
- King of Tripura
- King of Saurashtra
- Surparaka kingdom, Talakatas and Dandakas
- Mlechchha tribe living on the sea coast, Nishadas, the cannibals, Karnapravarnas, and the Kalamukhas (a cross between human beings and Rakshasas) and the whole area of the Cole mountains.
- Surabhipatna and the island called the Copper island, and a mountain called Ramaka.
- The town of Timingila and a wild tribe is known by the name of the Kerakas who were men with one leg.
- The town of Sanjayanti, countries of the Pashandas, Karahatakas, Paundrayas, Dravidas, Udrakeralas, Andhras, Talavanas, Kalingas and Ushtrakarnikas, Sekas and Yavanas
- Paurava kingdom
Yudhishthira's loss in the game of dice meant that all Pandavas had to live in exile for 13 years. Once in exile, Jatasura, disguised as a Brahmin, kidnapped Nakula along with Draupadi, Sahadeva and Yudhishthira; Bhima rescued them eventually.
In the 13th year, Sahadeva disguised himself as a Vaishya and assumed the name of Tantripal (within themselves Pandavas called him Jayadbala) at the Kingdom of Virata. He worked as a cowherd who supervised the maintenance and upkeep of all cows in Virata's kingdom.
Role in the Kurukshetra WarEdit
Sahadeva was very good in Astrology. Weeks before the war, Prince Duryodhana, on the advice of Shakuni approached Sahadeva in order to seek the right time (muhurta) to start the Mahabharata war so that the Kauravas will be victorious. Duryodhana offered to spare Sahadeva and his twin after the war and make them kings in exchange. Sahadeva declined his offer but disclosed the date for the Kauravas in spite of knowing that Kauravas were their enemy, as Sahadeva was known to be very honest in his profession. Then, Krishna planned to create an eclipse much before the beginning of the war. In the meantime, both Sun and Moon got shocked by Krishna's thoughts and appeared before Krishna stating that this will create a huge imbalance in the entire Universe. Then, Krishna declared that as Earth, Moon and Sun are together in one place, this in itself was an eclipse. Even before the great war, Duryodhana would always ask Sahadeva about his future and Sahadeva would tell his future. He was the most favourite Pandava of Duryodhana.
As a warrior, Sahadeva slew prominent warriors of the enemy side. The flag of Sahadeva's chariot bore the image of a silver swan. He defeated 40 brothers of Duryodhana while fighting them simultaneously. During the gambling loss, he took an oath of slaying Shakuni. He accomplished this task successfully on the 18th day of battle. Among other prominent warriors killed by Sahadeva were Shakuni's Son on the 18th day and also Shalya's son on the same day and Trigata Prince Niramitra on the 14th day.
Later life and deathEdit
Upon the onset of the Kali Yuga and the departure of Krishna, the Pandavas retired. Giving up all their belongings and ties, the Pandavas, accompanied by a dog, made their final journey of pilgrimage to the Himalayas.
Except for Yudhishthira, all of the Pandavas grew weak and died before reaching heaven. Sahadeva was the second one to fall after Draupadi. When Bhima asked Yudhishthira why Sahadeva fell, Yudhishthira replied that Sahadeva took much pride in his wisdom.
- Wisdom: Sahadeva had the most knowledge among his brothers; of the past, present, and the future. In fact, Yudhisthir refers to him as being intelligent as Brihaspati-the divine teacher of gods. He was also a master in medicine, equestrian skills, bovine veterinary, politics and humanities. He was King Yudhishthira's private counsellor.
- Astrology: It is said that he was a great astrologer and he even knew about everything including the Mahabharata battle beforehand. But he was cursed that if he disclosed the events to anyone then his head would split into pieces.
- Swordsmanship: Sahadeva was one of the greatest swordsmen of Mahabharat like his brother, Nakula, but he was also very good at the axe.
In the mediaEdit
- "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Sambhava Parva: Section XCV". 16 January 2010. Archived from the original on 16 January 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
- Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 73.
- "The five Pandavas and the story of their birth". aumamen.com. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
- Fang, Liaw Yock (2013). A History of Classical Malay Literature. Institute of Southeast Asian. ISBN 978-981-4459-88-4.
- A. van Nooten, Barend. The Mahābhārata; attributed to Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsa Volume 131 of Twayne's world authors series: India.
- "Mahabharata Text".
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- Subodh Kapoor, ed. (2002). The Indian encyclopedia: biographical, historical, religious, administrative, ethnological, commercial and scientific (1st ed.). New Delhi: Cosmo Publications. p. 4462. ISBN 9788177552713.
- Menon, [translated by] Ramesh (2006). The Mahabharata : a modern rendering. New York: iUniverse, Inc. p. 88. ISBN 9780595401888.
- "Mahabharata Text".
- Subodh Kapoor, ed. (2002). The Indian encyclopaedia : biographical, historical, religious, administrative, ethnological, commercial and scientific (1st ed.). New Delhi: Cosmo Publications. p. 4462. ISBN 9788177552713.
- "Mahabharata Text".
- Mahabharata Text