Aranya parva is the twenty ninth upa parva included in the third maha parva, named as Vana parva or Aranyaka parva in the epic Mahabharata. There are totally eighteen maha parvas, written originally in Sanskrit. Vyshampayana had narrated to Janamejaya the historical events that happened in the forests, including the procurement of Akshayapatra by Yudhishtira on his queries: 

What Yudhishtira and Pandava brothers had done after losing in the dice game?

As per the terms and agreements of the dice games played twice, after losing wealth and kingdom, Yudhishtira and Pandava brothers with Draupadi had left Hastinapura and started to go out of the country to live in exile for twelve years at a forest. Some Brahmins followed them, including the priest Dhaumya Rishi, with fire worshipping materials. They had stayed under a big banyan tree on the bank of Jahnavi River called Pramana on the first night.  

The Pandavas and Draupadi going to the forest in exile after losing the game of dice
The Pandavas and Draupadi going to the forest in exile
How many persons had followed Yudhishtira when he left Hastinapura in exile?

Fourteen persons had followed Yudhishtira when he left Hastinapura in exile.

How people had explained about Pandava brothers comparing with Duryodhana and his brothers?

People had praised Yudhishtira and Bhima but condemned Duryodhana and Shakuni.

वस्त्रमापस्तिलान्भूमिं गन्धो वासयते यथा ।
पुष्पाणामधिवासेन तथा संसर्गजा गुणाः ॥

Meaning: When the flowers are kept on the cloth, it emits the good fragrance of the flowers; similarly the land also gets the same properties as the water, sesame or flowers when they kept on it.

The people of the Hastinapura were speaking mutually, about the town as it emits fowl smelling nature due to the presence of Duryodhana and Shakuni, having worsened in their characters.  Hence the fourteen people followed Yudhishtira and his brothers while moving into the forests, had talked mutually adversely about Duryodhana and Shakuni.

How Yudhishtira had consoled people?

Yudhishtira had consoled the people who had followed him by telling them about his return after twelve years exile term. Since they had followed him for a long distance, Yudhishtira had appreciated them for their honesty and expressed his indebtedness.

How and where the Pandavas had spent the first night of their exile?

Pandavas had spent the first night of their exile on the banks of Jahnavi River discussing with the Brahmins those had followed him. 

What had been advised by Shaunaka to Yudhishtira?

Shaunaka Rishi had announced, regarding happiness and sorrows as follows:

शोक हर्ष सहस्राणि भय स्थान शतानि च ।
दिवसे दिवसे मूढमाविशन्ति न पण्डितम् ॥

Meaning: There would be thousands of occasions to be faced with grievances or happiness and hundreds of places to be faced as thrilling or frightening places, but the learned bold persons do not bother about such items. One must be brave as the verse had implied.

What are the eight items of Dharma?

Yudhishtira was the incarnation of Dharma Purusha. Hence he was to display the eight modes of Dharma.

इज्याध्ययन दानानि तपः सत्यं क्षमा दमः ।
अलोभ इति मार्गोऽयं धर्मस्यऽष्टविधः स्मृतः ॥ ​

Meaning: Oblations through Fire Worship, Learning, Donations, Penance, Truthfulness, Forgiveness, Tolerance, and Generosity are the the eight modes of dharma as Shaunaka Rishi had described them to Yudhishtira. 

What was the remedy suggested by them to Yudhishtira to gain a peaceful life?

Yudhishtira controlled anger. Thus he lead a peaceful life. The same was suggested.

What was the remedy suggested by Dhaumya Rishi to Yudhishtira to support the followers peacefully?

To provide food and satisfaction was suggested by Dhaumya Rishi.

How Yudhishtira got the inexhaustible vessel?

Yudhishtira had worshipped Sun God with his one hundred and eight names, on the second day while he took bath in the early morning in the River Jahnavi. The Sun God had been pleased and offered the inexhaustible vessel to Yudhishtira. 

What was the name of the inexhaustible vessel?

The inexhaustible vessel was called as Akshayapatra.

Where did Yudhishtira go after obtaining the Akshayapatra?

After obtaining the Akshayapatra, Yudhishtira had gone to Kamyaka vana.

What are the benefits of reciting Surya Ashtothara Shatanamavali?

After reciting Surya Ashtothara Shatanamavali and worshipping Sun God the reciter deserves getting good food and good health. The benefits of reciting the verses are prosperity of life.

What was discussed between Dritarashtra and Vidura and what was the result?

Dritarashtra and Vidura had discussed about the dice game. Vidura was sympathetic towards Yudhishtira and told Dritarashtra to advise Duryodhana to call back his brothers and allow to live under brotherhood. Dritarashtra was arrogant and ordered Vidura that he may remain in palace, or else go anywhere as he liked. Hence Vidura went to Kamyakavna in search of Yudhishtira.

Later Dritarashtra felt sorry and started thinking. Dritarashtra ordered Sanjaya to invite Vidura back to his palace and in case if he would not return, he should be honored and pleased with donations.

What Vidura had done after invited by Sanjaya?

Vidura had returned to the palace at Hastinapura and visited Dritarashtra.

Who suggested killing Pandava brothers to Duryodhana?

Karna had suggested to Duryodhana to kill Pandava brothers.

Who had seen by divine vision, the crooked plans of killing of Pandava brothers?

The son of Sathyavati, Vedavyasa Rishi, had seen by divine vision, the crooked plans of killing the Pandava brothers by Duryodhana and his allies.

Why the divine cow Surabhi of heaven was referred when Vyasa and Dritarashtra were discussing about Duryodhana?

Dritarashtra was more sympathetic towards Duryodhana but he was neglecting Yuudhishtira and his brothers. The divine cow Surabhi had been observing only her own sons with more attention but she had no idea of others. Vyasa had referred Surabhi when he was discussing with Dritarastra about Duryodhana.  

What was the difference between Vyasa and Maitreya Rishis?

Vyasa could control his anger. Vyasa was called as Chiranjivi Rishi and teacher of Vaishampayana who propagated the Krishna Yujurveda branch. Maithreya was an obedient disciple of Vaishampayana and he was telling this story to Janamejaya. But Maithreya got angry very quickly. Vyasa seldom cursed. Maithreya cursed people as and when he found them erring, then and there.

Who was suggested as mentor for Duryodhana by Vyasa?

Maithreya, his school disciple was suggested as mentor for Duryodhana by Vyasa.

What was narrated by Maithreya to Duryodhana in the form of friendly advice?

Maithreya had advised Duryodhana, in the form of friendly advice, that he should call back Yudhishtira from Kamyakavana, and they could live under good brotherhood.  

What was the response of Duryodhana to the advice of Maithreya?

When Maithreya was advising Duryodhana,  Duryodhana heeded no attention towards him. He was patting his thigh and moving his feet over the floor showing negligence towards the speeches of Maithreya.

What was the result of the visit of Maitreya Rishi to Hastinapura Palace?

When Duryodhana had slapped over his thighs with pride, neglecting the advice of Maithreya that Rishi got insulted and cursed Duryodhana as the thighs of Duryodhana would be smashed by Bhima with his mace in the fight, in future. The curse of Maithreya had caused Duryodhana to fail in the Mahabharat war finally.

On reading this story, children would gain more memory power.

Next post, Mahabharat: Kirmiravadha would be more interesting.

Mahabharat: Kirata parva would be presented separately in another article.

It is humbly prayed for the blessings of God Krishna upon us.

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