Here im compiling a list of answers in response to some valid question posted here.
Ill answer as many as possible as per the time and as i get to research more and more on this topic. So please bear with me. Also please bear with the order of points. Ill rearrange them after i have all of the consolidated list.
Technically, the person who becomes the king is the one most capable, physically for taking on that role. In the most general case, it becomes the eldest son that takes this up. But since Dhrithraashtra was blind, the throne went to Paandu.
The whole of the Kurukshetra war was based on the single question of who was the rightful heir to the throne of Hastinapura. Is it Suyodhana because he was the eldest son of the eldest of the three brothers(D, P and Vidura) or is it Yudhishtira, for he being born the first among all the sons. [We cannot consider Karna here.He was never a prince or recognised or not known to be of royal lineage]
Well, yes, you can say so...Pandavas aren't technically sons of Pandu. They are sons of Kunti and Madri. See, in the most of the cases, the progeny need not always be related by blood relationship.
Janaki, Sita was the daughter of Janaka, born from earth[Vasudha/Vasundhara]
Karna, Radheya, son of Radha.
You can get many many such instances where the father's name was part of the progeny's name.
And you have instances of Ganga, as Bhaagirathi, because she was brought to the land from the sky to ground by Bhagiratha.
6. I cant say much about this. But how come polygamy is fine but not polyandry
? I dont see the similar question being raised when a man has 5+ wives...Is that not problem? How does it affect the sensibilities there?
He has no right and no commends him for that action. And thats why gambling is given as an example of things not-to-do.
Just because they havent been shown or talked about, doesnt mean hr/she doesnt exist. Abhimanyu was son of Subhadra. There were also five sons of Pandavas[borne by Draupadi] slayed by Ashvatthama at night[which is why his mani was taken by Krishna]. Anonymity doesnt negate their total existence, does it? And these characters werent given due importance, because they didnt add much to the story.
According to the standard texts, Gandhari wanted a hundred sons, and Vyasa
granted her a boon that she would have these. She became pregnant, but did not deliver for two years, after which she gave birth to a lump of flesh. Vyasa cut this lump into a hunderd and pieces, and these eventually developed into a hundred boys and one girl.
The other version is where on hearing Kunti having her first son Yudhishtira, Gandhari gets jealous and breaks her womb, which breaks into a 101 pieces. Vyasa is then said to have put each of them in a pot each, out of which children are born.
-- This is sometimes cited as the first instance of a test-tube baby in the whole of the history of ancient literature. Also, these need not be pots but just a figurative noun used for a surrogate womb. --updated 3:54pm 4th feb.2005
3. & 4.
At the end, while on their ascent to heaven, Yudhistira spurs the offer to ascend to heaven without the faithful dog [inspite of the pain of having lost all his brothers and wife].
Yudhishtira's character was for never telling a lie. I guess after searching the Mahabharata, you can get many such instances.
5. For this the generic answer is 'All is fair in love and war'. But give me time to answer each one individually.
At the end of the epic, the Pandavas are distraught at the destruction only that is left after the war. None of the next generation is left on either Pandavas side or Kauravas side. It is then that they give up their weapons and all and leave for aranya-vaasa[it is swargaarohana].
I dont exactly remember any instance where they becoming powerless is given. It was voluntary.
'Maatru devobhava, Pitru devobhava, Guru devobhava' When they were [considered]gods, guess giving boons doesnt appear so surprising. Of course, the character of the god is another matter. Devavrata is granted the boon of 'death at will' and not of infinite life.
This definitely clashes with the view that any of the Rakshasas could have asked for that...Quite interesting. Guess they were stupid to not to ask so.
Or consider their character. Death at will is a big issue. Any slang usage and gods might pounce at that very issue. Such a colloquial issue and he might just utter 'i want to die'.
'Oh my head is aching, its splittting.I want to die' Lo! and Behold! Dead.
'Its such a lousy day. I want to die' Oops :)
Seriously, the intention/premise of living forever is to be also considered. For Rakshasas is for their own self, to spread their tyrannical empire. Bhishma, for the loyalty of the kingdom.
Again as in (11), the reasons in both cases are different.Drona acted like Kshatriya for money. Parashurama had to act like a Kshatriya for killing the Kshatriyas.[Had to avenge the murder of his family]. And that was where his act like a Kshatriya ended. Thereafter he left for penance on Mount Mahesha.
-- The premise/intention is as important as the means and the end --
If Yudhistara did anything about it, his own identity would have come out and they would have to go into exile for another 12 years. Thats why all that was done in stealth.
It is this misplaced loyalty/feeling of dharma that was the cause of the Kurukshetra war. Bhishma's unfettering loyalty to the Kaurava dynasty inspite of all their acts; Krupacharya, Drona's loyalty to the king that employed them;Karna's misplaced loyalty to a friend even though he was doing wrong... their misconception of their own dharmas caused the war. And it was because of this the Kurukshetra war was called the 'Dharma Yuddha' , not for as much for the fight between evil and good as much as it was for the redefinition of 'Dharma'. Thats why Krishna's Gitopadesha achieves cult status here.