Sahadeva (सहदेव) was the youngest of the five Pandava brothers of Mahabharata. Nakula and Sahadeva were twins born to Madri. Like Nakula, Sahadeva's core skill lay in the wielding of the sword. Sahadeva is said to be mild-mannered, bashful and virtuous.
Due to Pandu's inability to bear children, because of the curse of Rishi Kindama, Kunti had to use the boon given by Sage Durvasa to give birth to her three children. She shared the boon with Pandu's second wife, Madri, who invoked the Ashwini Kumaras to beget Nakula and Sahadeva.
Madri became Sati
Later Pandu lost his life when he attempted an intercourse with his wife, Madri. The latter also immolated herself in her husband's pyre, so Nakula and Sahadeva lost both their parents at an early age. Later Kunti and the five Pandavas moved to Hastinapura.
Marriage of Sahadeva
All five Pandava brothers were wed concurrently to Draupadi, and each had a son by her. Sahadeva's son with Draupadi was Srutakarma. Sahadeva also married His maternal cousin Vijaya, the daughter of Dyutimat, the king of Madra, and had a son named Suhotra.
Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 28 tells us that Sahadeva was sent south by Yudhisthira to subjugate kingdoms for the Rajasuya sacrifice, after crowning as the Emperor of Indraprastha. He was specifically chosen for the south because of his expertise with the sword, and because Bhishma opined that Southerners are skilled with sword-fighting in general.
The Mahabharata mentions several kingdoms to the south of Indraprastha which were conquered by Sahadeva. Some of them are as under: Surasenas (शूरसेन), Matsyas (मत्स्य), Nishadas (निषाद), Goshringa (गॊशृङ्गं), Shrenimat (श्रेणिमन्त), Navarashtra (नवराष्ट्र), Kuntibhoja (कुन्तिभॊज), Charmanwati (चर्मण्वती), countries that lay on the banks of the Narmada,Avanti (अवन्ति), Bhojakata (भॊज), Bhismaka (), Kosala (), Natakeyas (), Heramvaks (), Marudha (), Munjagrama (), Nachinas (), Arvukas (), Vatadhipa (), Pulindas (), Nakula then subjugated Pandrya (), Kishkindhya (), Vanaras (), Sahadeva fights with Nila (), Pauravas (), Saurashtra (), Bhojakata (भॊजकट), Shurparaka (शूर्पारक), Talakata (), Dandakas (दण्डक), Tripura (), Nishadas (), Karnapravarnas (), Kalamukhas (), Kollagiri (कॊल्लगिरि) (Cole mountains), Surabhipatna (), Tamrahavaya (ताम्राह्वय) Copper island, Ramaka (रामक), Timingila (तिमिङ्गिल), Kerakas (), Sanjayanti (संजयन्ती), [[Pichchhandas (पिच्छण्ड), Karahatakas (करहाटक), Pandyas (पाण्ड्य), Dravidas (दरविद), Udra (उद्र), Keralas (केरल), Andhras (अन्ध्र), Talavanas (तलवन), Kalingas (कलिङ्ग), Ushtrakarnikas (ओष्ट्रकर्णिक), Antakhi (अन्ताखी), Roma (रॊम), Yavanas (यवन)
विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर ने लेख किया है ...अंताखी (AS, p.4) सिरिया या शाम देश में स्थित ऐंटिओकस नामक स्थान का प्राचीन संस्कृत रूप जिसका उल्लेख महाभारत में है-'अंताखी चैव रोमां च यवनानां पुरं तथा, द्तैरेव वशंचक्रे करं चैनानदापयत्' सभा0 31,72; अर्थात् सहदेव ने अपनी दिग्विजय-यात्रा में अंताखी, रोम और यवनपुर के शासकों को केवल दूत भेज कर ही वश में कर लिया और उन पर कर लगाया। (टि. इस श्लोक का पाठांतर- 'अटवीं च पुरीं रम्यां यवनानां पुरंतथा' है)
Sahdeva during Exile
Yudhisthira's loss in the game of dice meant that all Pandavas had to live in exile for 13 years. Once in exile, Jatasura, disguised as a Brahmin, kidnapped Nakula along with Draupadi, Sahadeva and Yudhisthira; Bhima rescued them eventually. In the 13th year, Sahadeva disguised himself as a Vaishya and assumed the name of Arishtanemi (within themselves Pandavas called him Jayadbala) at the Kingdom of Virata. He worked as a cowherd who supervised the maintenance and upkeep of all cows in Virata's kingdom.
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