Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mahabharata quiz answers

 Answers to the Mahabharat quiz posted at Fingers crossed for the first prize! :P

1. What was the name of Krishna's tyrant uncle?
Kansa (the tyrant king of Mathura)

2. Who was known as the best of the Kurus?
Grandsire Bhishma (son of Ganga)

3. Where is Hastinapur located in modern day India?
Hastinapur is a small village in Uttar Pradesh (around 110 km from Delhi)

4. Who did Draupadi marry?
Draupadi married the 5 Pandavas i.e. Yudhistira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva

5. What was Kunti's deep dark secret?
Kunti knew that Karna was her son by the Lord Surya whom she had abandoned owing to her fear of social stigma

6. Where did Yudhistira first meet his father Dharmaraj?
Yudhistira first met his father Dharmaraj in the form of a glowing man hovering in the air above a lake where his brothers were lying dead. He claimed to be a Yaksha.

7. What was the name of the unnamed woman?

8. Who did Krishna promise mercy to one hundred times?

9. How did Abhimanyu die?
Abhimanyu died in the innermost circle of the chakravyu when he was attacked simultaneously by the Kauravas (Drona,Kripa,Karna,Shailya,Ashwathama,Duryodhan,Kritverma and Dushashan) who first killed his charioteer, then smashed the wheels of his chariot and then broke his weapons one by one.

10. Who was Drona's favourite student?

11. What was the name of Krishna's island city?
Dwarka (also known as Dwarika)

12. Who was the mother of the Pandavas' only grandchild?
Uttara (mother of Arjun's son Pariksit)

13. Why does the erotic art of kissing come from ancient India?
There are many ancient Indian sources such as the Mahabharat, the four Vedas, the Kama Sutra which refer to kissing. The reason why kissing originated in ancient India is that India was the first region to adopt the practice of oral hygiene as early as 7000BC (with methods prescribed in the Ayurveda). Hindus brush their teeth religiously because their scriptures say that personal hygiene is a matter of purity and Godliness.

14. How many sons did Gandhari have?

15. Why did Krishna lift Govardhan mountain?
Indra reacted with anger when Krishna told the people of Vraj not to worship him. He caused a massive rain storm to sweep over Vraj and destroy everything. The people ran to Krishna and told him to stop the destruction by begging forgiveness of Indra. Hence Krishna lifted the Govardhan mountain so that all the village people and their cows could seek shelter underneath while the storm raged for a week.

16. What did Krishna tell Arjuna to do the night before the war?
Krishna told Arjuna to meditate on Mother Durga as she would help him control his anger and focus his thoughts into a productive path. He advised him to pray for her blessing and to ask her to grant him victory since he could not win this war without her.

17. How did the Kauravas first try to kill Bhima?
Duryodhan had a large saucepan of Bhima's favourite dish, rice pudding, prepared and laced it with lethal poison and he invited Bhima to eat lunch with him. Bhima ate the whole saucepan of rice pudding and lay down, falling into a deep unconsciousness. His pulse slowed, then stopped. Duryodhan and his younger brother Dushashan, acting according to their uncle Shakuni’s plan, rolled Bhima up in the kitchen mat and tied it. They then carried him to the Yamuna river where they threw him in. They figured that the fish would eat him and there would be no evidence of their crime.

18. Why did Karna fight for Duryodhan?
Despite being advised by Krishna and Kunti and despite knowing that the Pandavas would defeat Duryodhan, Karna fought for Duryodhan since he was his friend who had first supported him and he didn't want to leave him and break his friendship's oath. Another factor was that Karna could not forgive himself for his crimes such as that of insulting Draupadi. He was too ashamed of himself and filled with self hatred.

19. How was Draupadi born?
Draupadi was born from the flames of the yagna (fire sacrifice) performed by Draupad, the King of Panchal.

20. What does Ranchod mean?
Ranchod literally means "a man who runs from battle" i.e. a coward.

21. Who was Shantanu's first wife?
Ganga, the goddess of the river and daughter of the creator, Father Brahma.

22. How did Arjuna defeat Bhishma?
Bhishma fought according to the rules of dharma and as such if any woman stood before him on the battlefield then he would immediately throw down his weapons. Amba had been reborn as Shikandi, with full memory of her past life and vendetta against Bhishma. Krishna placed Shikandi infront of Bhishma on the battlefield and once Bhishma threw down his weapons, Arjuna mortally wounded him with his arrows.

23. What makes a beautiful woman?
A beautiful woman is a lady who never covets anything. One who helps others but asks for nothing in return. A lady who might be scorned and hurt but never thinks of getting revenge on those who hurt her. A lady who is unselfish, kind, free of malice. One whose heart is pure in every way.

24. Why did Drona cut off Eklavya's thumb?
Drona believed that knowledge was a dangerous thing in the wrong hands and that between a guru and disciple there should always be honesty and trust. No secrets. No lies. Eklavya never came to him in honesty nor did he humbly ask for knowledge. He tried to make him into his guru but he never asked permission to be his disciple. He hid and secretly took the lessons Drona was giving others. True knowledge can only be given, not taken. And true knowledge should only be given to those who have proved themselves worthy. One had to earn it. Eklavya didn't earn his knowledge. Instead he stole it. And knowledge that is stolen can never have a good result. That's why Drona took his thumb to prevent him from using the knowledge he'd stolen for harmful purposes.

25. What is the Highest Love?
To serve is the highest love.

26. For 20 EXTRA POINTS --- How do you pronounce MAHABHARAT? To get the 20 points you have to post a video of yourself pronouncing the word and holding up a placard to show that you're doing it right.
Emailed to :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mahabharata Quiz!

Being a Mahabharata addict, I have been following this pretty awesome blog for quite some time now. Jai Joshi's book had been on my Amazon wishlist ever since then. I never really got around to ordering it but it appears that now I have a chance to get my hands on it free of charge!  :)

Jai has announced a quiz on her blog, the details of which are given here: . I urge you all to take part and partake of the fun prizes! All the best.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chanakya's Chant!

Chanakya's Chant

The year is 340 BC. A hunted, haunted Brahmin youth vows revenge for the gruesome murder of his beloved father.

Cold, calculating, cruel and armed with a complete ab- sence of accepted morals, he becomes the most power- ful political strategist in Bharat and succeeds in uniting a ragged country against the invasion of the army of that demigod, Alexander the Great.

Pitting the weak edges of both forces against each other, he pulls off a wicked and astonishing victory and suc- ceeds in installing Chandragupta on the throne of the mighty Mauryan empire.

History knows him as the brilliant strategist Chanakya.
Satisfied—and a little bored—by his success as a kingmaker, through the simple summoning of his gifted mind, he recedes into the shadows to write his Artha- shastra, the ’science of wealth′.

But history, which exults in repeating itself, revives Chanakya two and a half millennia later, in the avatar of Gangasagar Mishra, a Brahmin teacher in smalltown India who becomes puppeteer to a host of ambitious individuals—including a certain slumchild who grows up into a beautiful and powerful woman.

Modern India happens to be just as riven as ancient Bharat by class hatred, corruption and divisive politics and this landscape is Gangasagar′s feasting ground. Can this wily pandit—who preys on greed, venality and sexual deviance—bring about another miracle of a united India?

Will Chanakya′s chant work again?
Ashwin Sanghi, the bestselling author of The Rozabal Line, brings you yet another historical spinechiller.

About The Author
An entrepreneur by profession, Ashwin Sanghi writes extensively on history, religion and politics in his spare time, but historical fiction in the thriller genre is his passion and hobby. Sanghi holds a master’s degree from Yale. He lives in India with his wife Anushika and son Raghuvir.

Note to all:bookreviews has selected this novel for their first book give away. You can read more about their contest details here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Never Say Die...

(I'm back & blogging after a loonnngg break...Came across this article in one of my RSS feeds and found it worth posting!)

A peon with the city railway commissionerate has a lesson or two for those Mumbaikars for whom one failure is enough to push them over the brink.Prakash Karekar, who is 50 years old and has completed 29 years of life as a peon, has passed his Class 10 examination in—believe it or not—his 44th attempt, and knows much more about failure, he says, than any other Mumbaikar.

“Look at me. The first time I appeared for the examination was in 1977 and I finally passed it in 2003,’’ Karekar told TOI on Tuesday. The eternal optimist, who now has his sights set on a promotion and a new life as a clerk, could serve as a role model for suicidal youngsters whose ranks are growing alarmingly. In the last three months, over a hundred students have committed suicide across Maharashtra, prompting much soul-searching among worried parents, academics, psychiatrists and even the state government. The Maharashtra police has already formed a 15-member team to probe the reasons for the spurt in suicides and suggest preventive measures.

Karekar, currently working for a monthly salary of Rs 14,000, said he had a simple formula that helped him pull through all the years of ignominy. “I was never worried and never felt insulted despite failing the exam without fail. I only knew that I had to fight again and again till I succeeded,’’ he said. “I got a job as a peon on the basis of my Class 9 marksheet. But I wanted to become a clerk and knew that somehow I had to do my Class 10 and so did not give up.’’

The peon’s journey to an SSC certificate is illuminating. He failed in all six subjects in 1977. The first subject he passed was Marathi, after which he gradually conquered Hindi, science and English. Mathematics proved the toughest nut to crack. “But I never lost hope,’’ he said.

However, Karekar admitted that he bore a heavy load through all the years of failure. “Even my mother was fed up with my continuous failures but at least she would not ridicule me. On the contrary, she did all she could to encourage me,’’ he said, adding that other parents should follow his mother’s example and never put pressure on their children.

“People should think of the anguish of their loved ones, who they will be leaving behind before they even think of suicide,’’ he concludes. “Anyway, we have no right to kill ourselves. Our life is God’s gift, and only He can take it away.’’


Monday, April 13, 2009

True Height...

His palms were sweating. He needed a towel to dry his grip. A glass of ice water quenched his thirst, but hardly cooled his intensity. The Astroturf he was sitting on was as hot as the competition he faced today at the National Junior Olympics. The pole was set at 17 feet.That was three inches higher than his personal best. Michael Stone confronted the most challenging day of his pole-vaulting career.

The stands were still filled with about 20,000 people, even though the final race had ended an hour earlier. The pole vault is truly the glamour event of any track-and-field competition. It combines the grace of a gymnast with the strength of a body builder. It also has the element of flying, and the thought of flying as high as a two-story building is a mere fantasy to anyone watching such an event.

Today and now, it is not only Michael Stone's reality and dream - it's his quest. As long as Michael could remember, he had always dreamed of flying. Michael's mother read him numerous stories about flying when he was growing up. Her stories were always ones that described the land from a bird's eye view. Her excitement and passion for details made Michael's dreams full of color and beauty. Michael had this one recurring dream. He would be running down country road. He could feel the rocks and chunks of dirt at his feet. As he raced down the golden-lined wheat fields, he always out-ran the locomotives passing by. It was at the exact moment he took a deep breath that he lifted off the ground. He would soar like an eagle. Where he flew always coincided with his mother's stories. Wherever he flew was with a keen eye for detail and the free spirit of his mother's love.

His dad, on the other hand, was not a dreamer. Bert Stone was a hard core realist. He believed in hard work and sweat. His motto: If you want something, work for it! From the age of 14, Michael did just that. He began a very careful and regimented weight-lifting program. He worked out every other day with weights, with some kind of running work on alternate days. The program was carefully monitored by Michael's coach, trainer and father. Michael's dedication, determination and discipline were a coach's dream. Besides being an honor student and an only child, Michael Stone continued to help his parents with their farm chores. Michael's persistence in striving for perfection was not only his obsession but his passion.

Mildred Stone, Michael's mother, wished he could relax a bit more and be that "free dreaming" little boy. On one occasion she attempted to talk to him and his father about this, but his dad quickly interrupted, smiled and said, "You want something, work for it!" All of Michael's vaults today seemed to be the reward for his hard work. If Michael Stone was surprised, thrilled or arrogant about clearing the bar at 17 feet, you couldn't tell. As soon as he landed on the inflated landing mat, and with the crowd on their feet, Michael immediately began preparing for his next attempt at flight. He seemed oblivious of the fact he had just surpassed his personal best by three inches and that he was one of the final two competitors in the pole-vaulting event at the National Junior Olympics. When Michael cleared the bar at 17 feet, 2 inches and 17 feet, 4 inches, again he showed no emotion. Constant preparation and determination were his vision.

As he lay on he back and heard the crowd moan, he knew the other vaulter had missed his final jump. He knew it was time for his final jump. Since the other vaulter had fewer misses, Michael needed to clear this vault to win. A miss would get him second place. nothing to be ashamed of, but Michael would not allow himself the thought of not winning first place. He rolled over and did his ritual of three finger-tipped push-ups along with three Marine-style push-ups. He found his pole, stood and stepped on the runway that led to the most challenging event of his 17-year old life.

The runway felt different this time. It startled him for a brief moment. Then it all hit him like a wet bale of hay. The bar was set at nine inches higher than his personal best. That's only one inch off the national record, he thought. The intensity of the moment filled his mind with anxiety. He began shaking the tension from his body. It wasn't working. He became tenser. Why was this happening to him now, he thought. He began to get nervous. Fear would be a more accurate description. What was he going to do? He had never experienced these feelings.

Then out of nowhere, and from the deepest depths of his soul, he envisioned his mother. Why now? What was his mother doing in his thoughts at a time like this? It was simple. His mother always used to tell him that when you felt tense, anxious, or even scared, to take deep breaths. So he did. Along with shaking the tension from his legs, he gently laid his pole at his feet. He began to stretch out his arms and upper body. The light breeze that was once there was now gone. He could feel a trickle of cold sweat running down his back. He carefully picked up his pole. He felt his heart pounding. He was sure the crowd did, too. The silence was deafening. When he heard the singing of some distant robins in flight, he knew it was his time to fly.

As he began sprinting down the runway, something felt wonderfully different, yet familiar. The surface below him felt like the country road he used to dream about. The rocks and chunks of dirt, the visions of the golden wheat fields seemed to fill his thoughts. When he took a deep breath, it happened. He began to fly. His take-off was effortless. Michael Stone was now flying, just like in his childhood dreams. Only this time he knew he wasn't dreaming. This was real. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. The air around him seemed the purest and freshest he had ever sensed. Michael was soaring with the majesty of an eagle.

It was either the eruption of the people in the stands or the thump of his landing that brought Michael back to earth. On his back with that wonderful hot sun on his face, he could only envision the smile on his mother's face. He knew his dad was probably smiling too, even laughing. Bert would always do that when he got excited: smile and then sort of giggly. What he didn't know was that his dad was hugging his wife and crying. That's right: Bert "if-you-want-it-work-for-it" Stone was crying like a baby in his wife's arms. He was crying harder than Mildred had ever seen before. She also knew he was crying the greatest tears of all: tears of pride.

Michael was immediately swarmed with people hugging and congratulating him on the greatest achievement thus far in his life. He later went on that day to clear 17 feet and 6 1/2 inches: National and International Junior Olympics record. With all the media attention, endorsement possibilities and swarming herds of heartfelt congratulations, Michael's life would never be the same. It wasn't just because he won the National Junior Olympics and set a new world record. And it wasn't because he had just increased his personal best by 9 1/2 inches. It was simply because Michael Stone is blind.

I found this wonderful story at
Once you reach the ending, do go through the article again to see the subtle nuances indicating his lack of sight.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sleeping through storms...

A young man applied for a job as a farmhand. When the farmer asked for his qualifications, he said, "I can sleep when the wind blows." This puzzled the farmer. But he liked the young man, and hired him.

A few days later, the farmer and his wife were awakened in the night by a violent storm. They quickly began to check things out to see if all was secure. They found their young helper fast asleep and left him in that state as they went around checking the house. They found that the shutters of the farmhouse had been securely fastened. A good supply of logs had been set next to the fireplace.The young man slept soundly...

The farmer and his wife then inspected their property. They found that the farm tools had been placed in the storage shed, safe from the elements.The tractor had been moved into the garage. The barn was properly locked. Even the animals were calm. All was well.

The farmer then understood the meaning of the young man's words,"I can sleep when the wind blows."Because the farmhand did his work loyally and faithfully when the skies were clear, he was prepared for the storm when it broke. So when the wind blew, he was not afraid. He could sleep in peace.

Can you sleep when the wind blows?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Run, Patti, Run...

At a young and tender age, Patti Wilson was told by her doctor that she was an epileptic. Her father, Jim Wilson, is a morning jogger. One day she smiled through her teenage braces and said, "Daddy what I'd really love to do is run with you every day, but I'm afraid I'll have a seizure." Her father told her, "If you do, I know how to handle it so let's start running!"

That's just what they did every day. It was a wonderful experience for them to share and there were no seizures at all while she was running. After a few weeks, she told her father,"Daddy, what I'd really love to do is break the world's long-distance running record for women."Her father checked the Guiness Book of World Records and found that the farthest any woman had run was 80 miles. As a freshman in high school, Patti announced, "I'm going to run from Orange County up to San Francisco." (A distance of 400 miles.) "As a sophomore," she went on, "I'm going to run to Portland, Oregon." (Over 1,500 miles.) "As a junior I'll run to St. Louis. (About 2,000 miles.) "As a senior I'll run to the White House." (More than 3,000 miles away.)

In view of her handicap, Patti was as ambitious as she was enthusiastic, but she said she looked at the handicap of being an epileptic as simply "an inconvenience." She focused not on what she had lost, but on what she had left.

That year she completed her run to San Francisco wearing a T-shirt that read, "I Love Epileptics." Her dad ran every mile at her side, and her mom, a nurse, followed in a motor home behind them in case anything went wrong.

In her sophomore year Patti's classmates got behind her. They built a giant poster that read, "Run, Patti, Run!" (This has since become her motto and the title of a book she has written.) On her second marathon, en route to Portland, she fractured a bone in her foot. A doctor told her she had to stop her run. He said, "I've got to put a cast on your ankle so that you don't sustain permanent damage." "Doc, you don't understand,' she said. "This isn't just a whim of mine, it's a magnificent obsession! I'm not just doing it for me, I'm doing it to break the chains on the brains that limit so many others. Isn't there a way I can keep running?" He gave her one option. He could wrap it in adhesive instead of putting it in a cast. He warned her that it would be
incredibly painful, and he told her, "It will blister." She told the doctor to wrap it up.

She finished the run to Portland, completing her last mile with the governor of Oregon. You may have seen the headlines: "Super Runner, Patti Wilson Ends Marathon For Epilepsy On Her 17th Birthday."

After four months of almost continuous running from the West Coast to the East Coast, Patti arrived in Washington and shook the hand of the President of the United States. She told him, "I wanted people to know that epileptics are normal human beings with normal lives."

I told this story at one of my seminars not long ago, and afterward a big teary-eyed man came up to me, stuck out his big meaty hand and said, "Mark, my name is Jim Wilson. You were talking about my daughter, Patti." Because of her noble efforts, he told me, enough money
had been raised to open up 19 multi-million-dollar epileptic centers around the country.

If Patti Wilson can do so much with so little, what can you do to outperform yourself in a state of total wellness?

Author:Mark V. Hansen (check out

P.S.-anyone really inspired by this article? Check out "open marathon - run for a cause" @

Mark V. Hansen