Pandavas In Exile

Pandavas In Exile
by Umesh Kotrru and Ashutosh Zutshi
Author: Umesh Kotrru and Ashutosh Zutshi
Publiher: notionpres, 2020
Pages: 288;
ISBN-13: 9781647835637
Pandavas in Exile is our third book. Our first book “Karna – the Unsung Hero of The Mahabharata”
was published in 2015 followed by “Bhishma an Enigma” ( in 2017. Both the books bring to light one of the most important and perhaps less understood or rather misunderstood characters of Mahabharata. One of the reasons behind choosing Karna and Bhishma for our first two books is that both of them have some striking similarities, some of which we would like to highlight. Both of them were well known for their adherence to righteousness and stood by their word until the last breath of their lives. Both of them ended up fighting a decisive war on the wrong side. Both of them gave their life in pursuit of defending their loyalties. Both of them committed their only wrong during the same event; the game of dice (Bhishma by his inaction and Karna by his inappropriate action).

Our current book again draws inspiration from the vast reserve of knowledge and stories contained in Mahabharata. The book covers the long period of exile, which the Pandava brothers underwent after losing the game of dice. This period in the life of Pandavas is covered in detail in the section of the epic well known as Vanaparva and forms the basis of our book. This period while on one hand was full of trials and tribulations for Pandavas and their wife Draupadi, it also provided them an excellent opportunity to earn spiritual merit and strength to face the ultimate and decisive confrontation with their adversaries. The period of exile also enabled Arjuna to visit Devaloka in person and obtain much needed divine weapons and training in warfare for this very purpose. During this period, several moral lessons in the shape of stories related to great personalities, rishis and kings were revealed through numerous discourses between Yudhishthira and the number of rishis who visited Pandavas from time to time.

It was not possible for us to cover all the stories and discussions that took place between Yudhishthira and the rishis, but we have tried to capture most of the important episodes in our book. Some of the stories captured in the book like that of King Harischandra, Nala and Damyanti, Satyavan and Savitri are well known among the masses and much has been written and spoken about them, however, there are some lesser known ones as well like Chayvana and Sukanya, Agasthya and Lopamudara etc. which we have covered in the book.

Besides bringing out the turmoil undergone by Pandavas in general and Yudhishthira in particular, the book attempts to capture the frailties of human nature. The book throws ample light on the fact that how despite being a knowledgeable person and highly conversant with the tenets of Dharma, Yudhishthira struggled to come to terms with harsh reality. Despite all the rishi’s with whom he interacted during the period of exile showing the mirror to him, he repeatedly kept asking the same questions.

The exile was also a period during which Pandavas roamed about almost all of Bharat Varsha (as India was known at that time) and visited almost all prominent places of pilgrimage. The disruption of many such places is covered in our book along with their importance and merit earned by one undertaking the pilgrimage.

It is not well known that besides the most important and the widely acclaimed “Bhagwat Gita” which covers Sri Krishna’s instructions imparted to one of his devout disciples or rather a friend, Arjuna, there are several other lesser known Gitas that also exist. We have captured events related to one such Gita known as “Ashtavakra Gita” in the book.

The book contains interesting episodes connected with the period of exile undergone by Pandavas, moral stories related to lofty ideals held by some of the great personalities in the history of our nation and description of many important places of pilgrimage. We believe that the narration will capture the imagination of the readers and will help in providing answers to some of the questions linked to the struggle called life.