Gograhana Parva is the forty seventh upa parva included in the fourth Maha parva, namely the Virata parva in Mahabharata. Vyshampayana had narrated the historic events to Janamejaya on his queries.

What had been reported by the servants of Duryodhana after searching for the whereabouts of Pandavas? 

Duryodhana was very curious about the whereabouts of Pandava brothers and had sent his secret investigators to all directions. The servants had searched for ten months but could not find any signs of Pandavas anywhere on the Earth. When about eleven months had elapsed, some of the servants had returned. They reported regarding the death of Kichaka and his brothers, killed by unknown Gandharvas overnight. Kichaka was the enemy of Trigartha king, Susharma. Duryodhana was happy to hear the news since the Trigartha king Susharma was his friend.    

What had Duryodhana ordered on receiving the suggestions from Karna?

Duryodhana was interested to find the Pandavas during their Ajnathavasa. As per the terms and conditions, Pandavas had to go to forest again for twelve more years if their identity were recognized. Hence Karna and Dushasana suggested sending the servants to all sides once again. Then Duryodhana tried to seek opinions of other seniors.

Gograhana (cattle seizure) by Kauravas in Mahabharata
Gograhana (cattle seizure) by the Kauravas
What had Drona suggested?

Drona told Duryodhana that the Pandavas were brave, always possessed good health and maintained good character at all times. Such people never perish. And he suggested Duryodhana to proceed accordingly. 

What had Bhishma suggested?

Bhishma supported the views of Drona and suggested Duryodhana to decide further actions, taking into considerations of the views of Drona.

गावश्च बहुलास्तत्र न कृशा न च दिर्दुहाः 
पयांसि दधि सर्पींम्शि रसवन्ति हितानि च ॥

Meaning: Where there is a good person, there are cows plenty in number, they give good quantity of milk, they are neither weak nor unproductive, and also help to provide pleasing, tasty quality of curd. The country and palace would be rich and people would be always happy and sincere to the king. In the presence of Yudhishtira, nobody would be speaking any lies. Bhishma guessed properly and told them, the probable nature of Pandavas as they would be living in disguise. 

What was the opinion told by Kripa before the Gograhana war?
नया बहवः सन्ति शास्त्राण्याश्रित्य चिन्तिताः ।
तेषां हि युद्धं तु पापिष्ठं वेदयंति पुराविदः ॥

Meaning: In politics, there are many legal remedies with reference to the penal code of conducts, but resorting to the method of war is declined as it leads to sins.

Kripa suggested Duryodhana to emphasize, regarding the assessment of their own strength, capacity of soldiers, and stock of wealth in the treasury and to collect the support of fellow kings. In case Pandavas return after completion of Ajnathavasa, it would be better to have an agreement of peace treaty with them as Kripa liked peace. These were his suggestions before the Gograhana war.

Who was Susharma and what had he reported to Duryodhana? 

Susharma was the king of Trigartha. He was providing horses to the horse regiment of Duryodhana. Several times, Susharma had fought with Virata but Kichaka, who was the strongest, had defeated Susharma every time. He was a friend of Duryodhana and Karna. Susharma had reported the death of Kichaka and it was the best time to defeat Virata and capture many good cow herds from Virata. Susharma told Duryodhana there would be no gain in searching the Pandavas. Ultimately, their attention turned into capturing the cows of king Virata. 

Why was Virata King considered as weak, but rich by Susharma?

The Army commander of Virata was Kichaka and he was killed by unknown Gandharvas. The brothers of Kichaka, called Upakichakas, were also killed and hence Virata king was considered as weak but rich by Susharma.

How had Duryodhana planned the Gograhana or the capture of the cows of Virata?

Duryodhana had called his brother, Dushasana and ordered him to arrange his army into two parts. One part would be kept in the country to safeguard the borders as usual. The second part would be launching an attack with king Virata from the north east side on the upcoming eighth day of the black moon fortnight or Krishnapaksha Ashtami.

Susharma would go to Trigarta initially, and arrange his army to attack with Virata first. Susharma would declare a war with Virata and attack Mathsya from the south west side on the seventh day of the black moon fortnight or Krishnapaksha Sapthami. Karna would help Dushasana. Kuru army would start in consultation with Bhishma, Kripa and Drona. Accordingly, Dushasana had planned the Gograhana of Virata of Matsya. All of them were unaware of the existence of Pandavas in the palace of Virata, since Pandavas were in disguise in every aspect.

How had Virata arranged his army to face Susharma and what happened then?

When Susharma had captured the cows of Virata, Virata had ordered his brothers and all eligible soldiers to join the army to fight with Susharma of Trigartha and to release his cows. Vishalaksha and Shatanika were the brothers of Virata and wore steel covers over their bodies and prepared with their weapons. Since then, Shatanika was the commander in chief, his body cover was plated with gold. Madirashva and Suryadatta, the younger brothers of Shatanika wore steel protective body covers and attended the army. Also, Virata, the Matsya king, wore decorated body covers as a distinguished king. The brave soldier, Veera Shankha wore white ivory covers and attended the army.

Virata had ordered to provide chariots and weapons to the Pandava brothers in disguise as they could also join the war to recover his cows from Susharma of Trigarta. But the enemy troops were very strong and Susharma had captured Virata and tried to lift their cows to Trigartha along with Virata. Then Sahadeva had killed three hundred soldiers of Susharma.

Yudhishtira and Bhima had also used the chariots and weapons provided to them and fought with the Susharma’s army. Bhima had driven away the remaining soldiers and liberated Virata from the grip of Susharma and brought him back into his Matsya country. Then Nakula had driven the Susharma  army back into Trigarta. Yudhishtira told Virata to send back Sahadeva with cows to Virata’s headquarters with the news of victory. Virata king thanked the Pandava brothers but could not recognize them as Pandavas. 

What had been reported from the cattle grazers to the prince Bhuminjaya?

The Gopalakas had come from the north side of cattle grazers and reported to the prince Bhuminjaya about the capture of their cows by Duryodhana of Hasthinapura. The enemy was strong with six big chariot heads, and the Gopalakas requested to do something for the safety of cows.  

What did prince Bhuninjaya require to fight against the Kaurava army?

Prince Bhuminjaya was also known as Uttara Kumara, was boasting as he was a brave soldier. He was in the ladies room with his mother. He announced, if anybody could move his chariot he could drive away the Duryodhana’s army and would be able to recover his cows back easily and safely. 

What had Sairandri suggested then?

Sairandri heard the boasting words of Bhuminjaya. She suggested the dancing teacher could move his chariot to fight with the army. She told, previously Brahannada had worked as a charioteer to Arjuna. Accordingly Uttarakumara along with Brahannada arranged to fight with the Duryodhana army and left the Virata palace.

What was suggested by princess Uttara when Brihannada left for the battle?

Uttara had suggested bringing the colorful dresses of the soldiers for her dolls.  

How did Arjuna manage the battle with Kaurava and brought the dresses for the dolls of Uttara?

When the great army of Hasthinapura was visualized by Bhuminjaya, he lost his self-confidence and jumped out of the chariot and tried to run away to save his life. But Arjuna caught hold of him and put him in the chariot again. He plainly told his disabilities to Arjuna, but then Arjuna assured him as to who he actually was and they exchanged their dresses with their seats in the chariot. Arjuna was ready with his conch to fight with the enemies and Bhuminjaya moved as the charioteer.   

Arjuna wore the dress of the warrior and Bhuminjaya had given him the safety covers of the prince to fight in the battle. Equipped with the limited army, Prince Uttara or Bhuminjaya faced the Duryodhana army. The Prince was moving the chariot.

Arjuna had blown his conch and told Bhuminjaya to drive the chariot towards Duryodhana.  By hearing the sound of the conch of Arjuna, Drona had recognized him and told others to be ready to fight with Arjuna. Kripa told that only if six persons fought together against Arjuna, they could win the battle. Arjuna had struck the arrows to Kripa, and Kripa had fallen down from his chariot. Then Arjuna told Bhuminjaya to chase Drona. He had struck the arrows to Drona, and Drona had fallen down from his chariot.

Karna, Ashvathama and Bhishma were in the front row and Duryodhana was driving the cows out of the Matsya.  Arjuna told Bhumninjaya to chase Duryodhana and Arjuna had struck the arrows to Duryodhana. Finally, Duryodhana had fallen down from his chariot. By then, Arjuna had recovered the cows and driven them inside Matsya boarder. Their limited army had taken the cows into their headquarters immediately and safely.  

Arjuna also fought with Karna, Ashvathama and Bhishma and when they had become unconscious, he ordered Bhuminjaya to collect their dresses except that of Bhishma. When Duryodhana had recovered consciousness, he had moved to Hasthinapura as per the instructions of Bhishma.

Who had visited the battlefield when Arjuna was fighting to save the cows?

Indra and Ashvinikumars from the heaven had visited during Arjuna was fighting.  

What had been sought by the balance soldiers of Kaurava when Duryodhana had left them and he returned to Hasthinapura?

When Duryodhana had left to Hasthinapura, the remaining soldiers of Kaurava were afraid of Arjuna and they had surrendered to Arjuna. The Matsya Gopalakas had already recovered their cows and returned them to their headquarters under Virata. 

स्वस्ति व्रजत भद्रं वो न भेतव्यं कथं च न ।
नाहमार्तां जिघांसामि भृशमाश्वासयामि वः ॥

Meaning: You need not be afraid of any reasons. Have confidence in peace. I shall not kill anybody who surrenders to me, that I assure to you all.  

Arjuna assured the soldiers of Kaurava and left them to move to Hasthinapura. After collecting their dresses sufficiently for the dolls of Uttara, Arjuna and Bhuminjaya had returned to Virata’s palace.

Arjuna told Bhuminjaya to send the message of victory to Virata immediately.

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

Next post, Mahabharat: Uttaravivaha parva would be more interesting.

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

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

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