The story of Sahadeva

Sahadeva is a character in the Mahābhārata. He was one of the sons of Madri, who invoked Ashvins using a mantra shared by Kunti for a son. He was one of the five Pandava brothers and had a twin brother named Nakula.

All the five Pandava brothers were wed concurrently to Draupadi, and each had a son by her.

During their incognito in the Matsya kingdom of king Virata, Sahadev was responsible for the cowshed and had taken a vow to kill the king of Gandhara, Shakuni who had tricked them all their life. He was successful in his vow in killing Shakuni the second-last day of battle.

Of the five Pandavas, Sahadeva was the youngest. He is nevertheless referred to as the wisest of all of them. Yudhishtra even speaks of him as wiser than Brihaspati, the divine teacher of the Devas.

Sahadeva as seen in the Javanese shadow puppet play (wayang)

Sahadeva as seen in the Javanese shadow puppet play (wayang)

Sahadeva was a great astrologer and was supposed to have known the events of the Mahābhārata war aforehand but was cursed that if he disclosed the knowledge, his head would split in pieces. Hence, his relatively silent role in the epic compared to the other brothers.

Like his brother Nakula, Sahadeva was an expert swordsman. He was married to Magadhan King Jarasandh's daughter and his brother-in-law's name was also Sahadev.

He is one of the greatest devotees of Lord Krishna. Krishna once asked Sahadeva, what should be done to stop the war. Sahadeva told that Krishna must be tied down and prisoned and all the Pandavas along with Duryodhana must be sent to forest and Karna must be made the king. When krishna challenged him to tie him down, Sahadeva started meditating and envisioned Krishna as a small baby and tied him down. Since Krishna could not move out of his bondage created by Sahadeva in his meditative trance, he blessed him with divine vision and Sahadeva released Krishna from the bondage which he made in his meditation.