Adi Parva is the first of the eighteen parvas of the great epic of Mahabharata. It is the first book and also considered to be the `Book of Beginning`. It deals with the initiation of this great Indian epic. In this first Parva, it is presented how the Mahabharata was narrated by Sauti who was assembled by rishis at Naimisharanya. Furthermore, the narration of the Mahabharata at the Sarpasatra of Janamejaya by Vaisampayana at Taxila has also acquired much importance. The history of Bharata`s race has also been described in the Adi Parva in detail. This Parva comprises of the first nineteen of the one hundred sub parvas in Mahabharata. Mahabharata is one of the factors that contributed to the growth of `Hindu` culture in India. It is being said that the Mahabharata exerts remarkable cultural influence throughout the Indian peninsula. This timeless creation by Sage Veda Vyasa is divided into eighteen books or chapters which came to be called as the 18 Parvas of Mahabharata and the 18 parvas are further subdivided into one hundred sub-parvas, of which the first nineteen sub-parvas are included in the Adi Parva.
The Adi Parva narrates the history of the Bharata race in detail. This Parva also traces the history of the Bhrigu
race. The early life of the princes of the two princely families of the Pandavas and the Kauravas is portrayed in this Parva of Mahabharata
. The book first describes in detail about the ancestors of the great brothers. The Adi Parva, among the 18 Parvas of Mahabharata comprises of the first nineteen sub-parvas out of hundred. The sub-parvas belonging to the Adi Parva in chronological order are Paushya Parva, Pauloma Parva, Astika Parva, Adivansavatarana Parva, Sambhava Parva, Jatugriha Parva, Hidimva-vadha Parva, Vaka-vadha Parva, Chaitraratha Parva, Swayamvara Parva, Vaivahika Parva, Viduragamana Parva, Rajya-labha Parva, Arjuna-vanavasa Parva, Subhadra-harana Parva, Haranaharana Parva and Khandava-daha Parva. These sub-parvas, together describe the early life of the Pandavas and the kauravas and the differences of opinion between the two families from childhood.
It describes the incident at Varanasi
, where a palace was constructed mainly with the use of Lac, a highly inflammable material. The Pandavas were told very highly of Benaras and about the newly-constructed palace for them and ultimately the five brothers and their mother Kunti
went to live in that beautiful palace. When the Pandavas came to know the intention of Duryodhana
, they were helped by one of the servants of Vidura
who constructed an underground tunnel from that palace to a nearby forest and one night they escaped through the tunnel with their mother after setting fire in the house of Lac. Thus, the pandavas escaped from the Lakshagriha and while they were in the forest, Bhima
killed the rakshasa named Hidimba
and married his sister Hidimbi
Death of Vaka
While the Pandavas lived in the house of a Brahmin
in a village after their escape from the Lakshagriha, they came to know about a rakshasa by the name of Vaka, who lived close to the village. The rakshasa was given a cart full of rice, two buffaloes and a human being to eat and the villagers offer those things in turn, thus the turn of a family comes after several years. When Kunti came to know of it, she ordered Bhima to go with the cart. Bhima obeyed the orders of his mother and killed the rakshasa Vaka.
Marriage of Draupadi
has also been described in the Adi Parva. While the Pandavas were living with their mother in the guise of Brahmans in the town of Ekachakra, there came one staunch friend and another out of their past life to visit them quietly. From one of those friends they heard that Drupada, the king of Panchala, had announced the swayamvara of his beautiful daughter Draupadi. Arjuna
won Draupadi in the swayamvara and as per the instructions of Kunti; all the five brothers married Draupadi.
The Pandavas lived with Draupadi and their mother Kunti in a village. They had made an agreement that the five brothers would live with Draupadi one by one and it started with Yudhisthir
. It was also decided that if someone other that who was then living with Draupadi enters the chamber then he would be banished in the forest for twelve years. Once there came a Brahmin whose cattle was carried away by some thieves and he cried before Arjuna for help. Arjuna, thus without any thought entered the chamber where Yudhisthir and Draupadi were sitting and took his bow and arrow and helped the Brahim get back his cattle. Thus, Arjuna, according to the rule, went to the forest for twelve years. This section of the Mahabharata also speaks about the marriage of Subhadra
The Adi Parva gives an account of the early life of the Pandavas and the Kauravas and the training of the princes under the guidance of Guru Dronacharya
. The first Parva of the epic Mahabharata commences with the introduction of Ugrasrava, the son of Lomaharshana
, surnamed as Sauti. Sauti was well-versed in the Puranas and once he approached the great sages of rigid vows in the forest of Naimisha. Having been entertained with due obedience by those holy men, he went on to recite the ascetics narrations. At his description he recollected his assembly of meditative Munis. It is also mentioned in the Adi Parva that the sacred and wonderful stories of Mahabharata were recited in full by Vaisampayana at the Snake-sacrifice of the royal sage Janamejaya