Monday, February 8, 2016

The Mahabharata: The Burning of the House of Lac

The following is from a work-in-progress called The Mahabharata: a Book Report, in which I'm slowly reading through the Hindu epic poem The Mahabharata, and writing a book report on what I read. 

After the death of Pandu, his brother Dhrtarastra (the blind king) took the throne of Hastinapura.  His son, the wicked and conniving Duryodhana, heard rumors that Pandu’s son Yudhisthira was favored to become the next king.  Fearing a loss of power, Duryodhana hatched an evil plan to get rid of Yudhisthira and the Pandavas.  He persuaded his father to send the Pandavas away to a city called Varanavata.

Meanwhile, Duryodhana had one of his father’s ministers build a house out of Lac (an extremely flammable material) for the Pandavas to live in.  The plan was to burn them alive.  Thankfully, the Pandavas learned of Duryodhana’s evil scheme and built a secret shelter of escape should their house burn down.

One evening, the house was set ablaze, and the Pandavas escaped.  Ironically, the minister who’d built the house of lac perished in the flames.  Word reached Hastinapura that the Pandavas had died in the fire.  Meanwhile, the five princes and their mother Kunti went into exile.

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