Stories Of India Retold

Indian Mythology Simplified One Story at a Time. A retelling of stories—and the stories behind the stories—from Indian epics, puranas, folklore and Indian history; through the eyes of a book-loving, history buff. Find stories about fantastical creatures; mortals and immortals; or just ordinary men and women achieving extraordinary feats.

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Episodes

2 days ago

Ekalavya, a Nishada prince, was one of the best archers who lived in the time of the Pandavas. He wanted to be the best archer and he wanted to be trained by the best teacher–Drona. Drona, however, refused to teach him because Ekalavya was a Nishada. But a determined Ekalaya wasn’t ready to give up. Ekalavya’s actions put to test Drona’s relationship with his most favored student Arjuna. Arjuna did not accept a threat to his position as the best archer around!
 
Listen to the story of:
Why Drona refused to accept Ekalavya as his student.
Why Arjuna felt threatened by Ekalavya.
How Ekalavya lost his thumb.
Later life of Ekalavya.
Krishna’s role in Ekalavya’s death.
 
Email your questions to: storiesofindiaretold@gmail.com
Blog: http://storiesofindiaretold.com
Podcast website: https://storiesofindiaretold.podbean.com 
Instagram: @storiesofindiaretold
 
References:
The Mahabharata 1: Complete and Unabridged; translated by Bibek Debroy. (2015). Penguin Random House India. (Original work published 2010)
 
The Bhagavata Purana; translated by G. V. Tagare. (1950). Motilal Banarsidass Publishers pvt. Ltd.

Monday Jan 23, 2023

The rivalry between the Pandavas and Kauravas is legendary. The Kauravas, especially Duryodhana, were not only motivated by greed, but they also believed that they were being discriminated against because of Dhritarastra's blindness. They believed the kingdom rightfully belonged to them and were ready to do whatever it took–even murder their relatives, the Pandavas. The burning of the lac house–a well-known story from the Mahabharata–is one of the many attempts of the Kauravas to kill the Pandavas and is the beginning of the story of the strife and struggles between the two sets of cousins.
 
Email your questions to: storiesofindiaretold@gmail.com
Blog: http://storiesofindiaretold.com
Podcast website: https://storiesofindiaretold.podbean.com 
Instagram: @storiesofindiaretold
 
References:
The Mahabharata 1: Complete and Unabridged; translated by Bibek Debroy. (2015). Penguin Random House India. (Original work published 2010)
 

Wednesday Dec 28, 2022

A self made man in a world where one's parentage and lineage decided one's future and worth! 
Karna was the secret son of Kunti. Unaware of his real parents and raised as the son of a charioteer, Karna went on to make a name for himself based entirely on his talents and skills in the art of warfare. 
Listen to the story of Karna's:
- Birth
- Adoptive parents
- Friendship with Duryodhana
- Enmity with Pandavas
- Coronation as the King of Anga
Email your questions to: storiesofindiaretold@gmail.com
Blog: http://storiesofindiaretold.com
Podcast website: https://storiesofindiaretold.podbean.com 
Instagram: @storiesofindiaretold
 
References:
The Mahabharata 1: Complete and Unabridged; translated by Bibek Debroy. (2015). Penguin Random House India. (Original work published 2010)
 

Thursday Dec 15, 2022

It's not a good idea to get on Drona’s bad side!
 
One of the most powerful and influential characters in the story of the Mahabharata, Drona, an expert in the art and science of weapons, was the preceptor of the Kuru princes. His deep-seated hatred for his former friend King Drupada was just as legendary as the way he exacted his revenge from his nemesis.
 
Listen to the story of:
-Drona’s origin
-Drona’s friendship and clash with King Drupada
-How Drona became the Kuru princes’ preceptor
-How Drona got his revenge against Drupada
-How Drona became king.
 
Email your questions to: storiesofindiaretold@gmail.com
Blog: http://storiesofindiaretold.com
Podcast website: https://storiesofindiaretold.podbean.com 
Instagram: @storiesofindiaretold
 
References:
The Mahabharata 1: Complete and Unabridged; translated by Bibek Debroy. (2015). Penguin Random House India. (Original work published 2010)
 

Tuesday Dec 06, 2022

It is ridiculous how many times I say the word "sons" on this episode! (Insert- sheepish smile emoji)
Niyoga is an ancient Indian practice that was followed to make sure the continuation of a lineage through male progeny. 
Listen to the episode to know more about:
- What it is and how it worked. 
- The reasons for the practice
- Importance of sons in the society
- Different ways to obtain sons
- Rights of sons born through niyoga
 
Email your questions to: storiesofindiaretold@gmail.com
Blog: http://storiesofindiaretold.com
Podcast website: https://storiesofindiaretold.podbean.com 
Instagram: @storiesofindiaretold
 
References:
The Mahabharata 1: Complete and Unabridged; translated by Bibek Debroy. (2015). Penguin Random House India. (Original work published 2010)
Sahgal, S. (2011). GENDERED INQUIRY INTO NIYOGA: APPRAISING THE INSTITUTION FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF FEMALE ACTORS. Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, 72, 179–192. http://www.jstor.org/stable/44146710
 
Mishra, V. B. (1977). THE PRACTICE OF NIYOGA IN ANCIENT LITERATURE OF INDIA : A SOCIOLOGICAL STUDY. Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 58/59, 773–776. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41691747
 
Music: At Depth- Lish Grooves

Thursday Nov 17, 2022

Pandu was cursed by rishi Kimdama because of a hunting accident. This story is about Pandu and his wife, Madri's death as a result of the curse and the events that followed.
Listen to the story to know more about:
- The cause and manner of Pandu's death 
- Why Madri chose to accompany Pandu to his afterlife rather than Kunti
- The final rites of Pandu and Madri–where, what and how.
- What happened to the five sons of Pandu–the Pandavas, and Kunti after Pandu's death.
Music: Jesse Gallagher
Blog: http://storiesofindiaretold.com
Podcast website: https://storiesofindiaretold.podbean.com 
Instagram: @storiesofindiaretold
The Mahabharata 1: Complete and Unabridged; translated by Bibek Debroy. (2015). Penguin Random House India. (Original work published 2010)

Monday Nov 07, 2022

Part 2 of the story of the birth of Pandavas and Kauravas–the lead characters of the Mahabharata. (Part 1 - Episode 13)
Both Dhritarashtra and Pandu are married, and the responsibility of continuing the royal line is theirs. Dhritarashtra is denied the throne because of his blindness and Pandu was made king.
Listen to the story of:
- Pandu's curse–a King who could not procreate 
- How Gandhari had 100 sons, the Kauravas. (With some help from Veda Vyasa!)
- How and why Pandu convinced Kunti to have sons through niyoga
- How Kunti and Madri conceived their sons, the Pandavas
 
Music: Jesse Gallagher
Blog: http://storiesofindiaretold.com
Podcast website: https://storiesofindiaretold.podbean.com 
Instagram: @storiesofindiaretold
The Mahabharata 1: Complete and Unabridged; translated by Bibek Debroy. (2015). Penguin Random House India. (Original work published 2010)
 

Friday Oct 14, 2022

Part 1 of the story of birth of the Pandavas and Kauravas. After the birth of the Kuru princes Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidhura, Bhishma took up the responsibility of both the thriving kingdom and also the growing princes. The members of the family were keen to see the princes marry well, have sons and continue the dynasty. 
Listen to the story of:
- Who the princes married
- How and why the girls were selected
- How Gandhari and Kunti received boons to have sons.
 
Music: Jesse Gallagher
Blog: http://storiesofindiaretold.com
Podcast website: https://storiesofindiaretold.podbean.com 
Instagram: @storiesofindiaretold
 

Saturday Sep 24, 2022

Daughter of the great King Uparichara; mother to the author of the Mahabharata and the divider of the vedas; mother to 2 princes who became king; and the wife of King Shantanu, Satyavati was an intelligent and beautiful woman. Born to a Puru King and a fisherwoman mother, Satyavati was destined for great things and her adoptive father made sure to give her the best he could. 
Listen to:
-the origin and stories of her ancestors
-the circumstances of her birth
-her affair and the time she fell in love
-how she received the boon
-her son–Veda Vyasa Krishna Dwaipayana
-what she did to save the Puru lineage from extinction.

Monday Sep 19, 2022

Souti Vaishampayana tells the story of the births of Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura, who are seen as the saviors of the Kuru lineage.
Listen to the story to learn more about:
-How and why the Kuru lineage was in danger of going extinct
-The princes' parents and how their births were planned in order to guarantee the continuation of the Kuru lineage
-How the kidnapped princess Amba convinced Bhishma to let her go
-How the author of Mahabharata, Krishna Dwaipayana, is connected to the Kuru lineage. 
Blog: http://storiesofindiaretold.com
Podcast website: https://storiesofindiaretold.podbean.com 
Instagram: @storiesofindiaretold

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About

“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”

Sue Monk Kidd, author.

  

For the people of India, stories from ancient Indian literature is a window into who we are as a people. These stories may be thousands of years old, but they have survived in the hearts and minds of millions of people over generations.

   The Epics (Mahabharata, Ramayana), Vedas, Puranas and the folklore of India are not only entertaining, but also tell us about the history of our people and their values. The stories are often times highly exaggerated and layered with fantastical elements—but that is what makes it for a fun reading, and is probably the reason why they have survived, and are beloved still after all these years.

   I have been a lifelong lover and reader of books and stories. I am also a parent to two young kids and I wish to share with them the same stories I grew up listening to; the same stories our ancestors, going back thousands of years, grew up listening to. And that is how I started reading books, collecting the stories, and—most important of all—sharing the stories with my two kids, who love to hear all about the superheroes of ancient India.

   The stories I publish in this blog is my humble effort at retelling these beautiful stories. The goal is to remain true to the original story (that we know of) as much as possible, but presenting it in a way that is more relatable to children (and adults) today.I read books and research papers and whatever materials I can get my hands on to give you the most authentic stories.

   Please join me to explore the world of men, women and gods; mortals and immortals; flying chariots; otherworldly, shapeshifting dragon-like serpents; or just ordinary people achieving extraordinary feats.

   Peace and Love.

 

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