The Mahabharatha is a story that is known almost across India. In different places we get to hear slightly different versions. Even the translations from the original verses have their differences with the Southern recensions including some things, leaving some things out, the Bengali versions doing the same. There are also many folk tales, regional stories added to the epic. As a result, there are quite a few stories that we associate with the MB, but that DO NOT actually appear in the epic at all. Here are some:
- Draupadi leaving her hair open after the disrobing attempt and taking the oath to ties it up only after washing her hair in Dushshana’s blood: She never took such an oath, she never washed her hair in blood. She wasn’t anywhere close to the battlefield when the battle was actually taking place.
- Gandhari asking Duryodhana to come before her naked, opening her eyes and gazing at him to make every part that she has seen impenetrable: Nothing of this sort happened. Duryodhana was extremely strong thanks to his rigorous training, nothing else.
- Sanjaya sitting beside Dhritarasthra all through the 18 days of the war and kept recounting all that happened through his divine vision: No, Sanjaya PARTICIPATED in the war. He fought there on Kurukshetra. He DID have the boon of divine vision so he could see what was happening elsewhere on the battlefield too. He recounts how he fought too, when he is talking to Dhritarashtra.
- Kunti running onto the battlefield when Karna dies, taking his head onto her lap, lamenting and telling the Pandavas that he is their brother: Kunti told Yudisthira about Karna’s birth AFTER the war had ended, everyone had been killed, including Duryodhana, the Pandava sons, Shikandin, Dhristadyumna etc, AFTER the bodies have been cremated. She tells him to carry out the funerary rites for Karna too since he is her first born and Yudi’s brother.
- Krishna blocked out the sun so that Jayadratha would come out and when he did so Arjuna cut his head off: No, the sun was blocked, Jayadratha did rejoice but he was STILL surrounded by his specially appointed escort team (including Ashwattama and Karna). Then Krishna removed the chakra, the sun came back out and the battle RESUMED. After battle, Jayadratha was killed. The ruse was used to ensure Jayadratha did not run AWAY from the battlefield since by then, he was already within sight of Arjuna and the sun was beginning to set.
- Bhima drank Dushshana’s blood: After the battle is over, Gandhari is heartsick with Bhima and berates him for his bestial behaviour in drinking Dushshana’s blood. Bhima explains that he did wet his lips with the blood but it did not pass his lips.