Q1. Of the five sons of Pandu – the Pandava brothers – Nakul was famous as:
a) The most intelligent of the five
b) The best-looking one
c) The most cowardly of the five
d) The best singer
e) The tallest one
Answer: Nakul was known as the best-looking of the five.
Q2. Matsyagandhi is another name for which of these royal ladies:
Answer: Satyavati. Apparently she smelt (rather awfully) of fish. Sage Parashara is said to have transformed this odour into a wonderfully appealing fragrance, in return for her submitting to his overtures.
Q3. Shikandin, Prince of Pancala had a son named:
e) He had no son at all
Answer: Yudhamanyu. Shikandin was married to the princess of the neighbouring Dasarna kingdom, who bore him a son. Yudhamanyu is also mentioned as fighting (rather well, in fact), during the Great Mahabharata War.
Q4. Mathura was the capital of which Kingdom during the times of the Mahabharata?
Q5. Who in the Mahabharata was known by the epithet ‘wolf-bellied’?
b) Syoddhan (Duryodhana)
Answer: Bhim – he is also known as Vrikrodara, meaning ‘wolf-bellied’. It seems to have been an allusion to the unique combination of his ravenous appetite and his (contrary to common perception) lean frame.
Q6. What assumed name did Pancali go under, during her period of exile/hiding in the Kingdom of Matsya?
Answer: Malini. While the common perception seems to be that she went by the name ‘Sairandari’, that is not a name, but a job title along the lines of ‘lady-in-waiting’ or ‘attendant’. Pancalu served as a Sairandari, under the assumed name Malini.
Q7. What is the name given to Govinda Shauri’s sword?
Answer: Nandaka. It means, strangely ‘that which brings bliss.’
Q8. Partha is often referred to in the Mahabharata by the term ‘Savyasachin’. What does this word mean?
b) Conqueror of All
c) A good friend
e) Someone who can shoot in the dark
Answer: Ambidextrous. Partha was equally skilled wielding his bow with either hand.
Q9. Govinda and Partha often refer to each other as ‘cousins’. This is because
a) They are descended from the same ancestor, Yayati
b) Partha’s mother is actually Govinda’s aunt
c) Govinda and Partha are brothers-in-law
d) It is a term of endearment and closeness
e) They are just being polite
Answer: Partha’s mother Pritha, is actually Govinda’s aunt. She is Govinda’s father’s sister, but was given in adoption, as an infant, to King Kuntibhoja. Hence, her patronym -Kunti.
Q10. In the Mahabharata, who kills Ekalavya?
Answer: Govinda. The two end up in a nasty confrontation during a particular attack on Dwaraka by the combined forces of Jarasandha, Shisupala of Chedi, and Ekalavya’s Nishada forces. Of course, TP Kailasam’s moving play ‘Fulfillment’ gives Ekalavya a more poignant end – stabbed by Krishna-Govinda, but not before the two indulge in some thought-provoking dialogue.