I write about Arjun exactly after a year, I wrote about Karna. I can honestly say that many individual’s response against Karna put me off to write about Arjun. Arjun was someone who was born into privileges and had things easy compared to karna plus he had the blessing of Krishna, but these things should not be interpreted as the reason for correctness of so called greatness.
The story of Arjun again cannot start or end without addressing curse on Pandu. Although, Arjun was known as Pandava but he was not the son of Pandu in biological terms. Pandu was cursed by a sage that he will die moment he tries to have sexual relations with any woman who included his wives.
This curse was owing to the fact that Pandu had killed the sage and his wife while they were have intercourse mistaking them for a deer (I still cannot believe, how did THAT happen, it was hell of a mistake, though it has been documented that the sage had transformed himself as a deer and so did his wife, additionally they were doing their mating stuff when Pandu shot them)
The curse was:
“What you have done is a heinous act which does not suit a king. Even the worst of humankind would not have killed a mating pair of animals. I am Rishi Kindam and I usually roam the forests like a deer. You have killed me without any reason. You will not be blamed for killing a Brahmin as you did not know that I was one, but you killed me when I was with my wife, so I curse you that whenever you make love with your wife you will die immediately.”
So Pandu now unable to give birth to sons or daughter (now we don’t need to be all chauvinistic here) let go of his kingly duties and left for forest along with his two young wives. The desire for a son was so huge for Pandu that he asked Kunti about the “gift” she can demand of any god and the gift was a son. The ancient text or should I say some priests give a very naïve interpretation of Mahabarat and the birth of these three sons plus Karna (as though they just landed up in her arms and she caught them just like you catch a cricket ball, yeah right).
Kunti gave birth to 4 sons by 4 different gods, 3 were known as Pandavas after Pandu and that last son she gave birth to was by god Indra or sometimes referred to as Zeus by the Greek mythology ( India and Greece has a lot of shit in common) .
There is a word for such process , it is called niyoga an alternate to it would be something like artificial insemination, however in the case of niyoga there is proper intercourse between second man and the wife of the man who is impotent, so that the woman can get impregnated and bear child, a practice employed in ancient India. (One can bet that the husband’s ego would be all but destroyed in this process, giving your wife to someone else so that he could impregnate her, not to mention enjoy her innumerable times in the meantime, authors have written that Kunti had seen the feeling of ecstasy in the face of her lovers, similar to the one she saw on Pandu’s face when he died after having sex with his second wife because of the curse . I however feel that the fem-nazi of the world would be ecstatic of the situation an act which allows them to humiliate a man, there by propagating their view point of woman emancipation and empowerment, fascinating stuff.)
Some authors also quote this as the reason for Pandu’s frustration.
Arjun’ s name and teachings
Mahabharat states that god’s sang when Arjun was born, this was owing to the fact that he was Indra’s son (Commander of gods like Zeus). He was trained in religion, science, administration and military arts by the Kuru and Dronacharya (who considered Arjun to be his best student).
Arjun also was called by many names:
- Arjuna – one of taintless fame and glow like silver (Argentum)
- Phalguna – one born on the star of Phalguna
- Jishnu – conqueror of enemies
- Kiriti – one who wears the celestial diadem, Kiriti, presented by Indra
- Swetavahana – one with white horses mounted to his chariot
- Bibhatsu – one who always fights wars in a fair manner
- Vijaya – victorious warrior
- Parth or Partha – Son of Pritha or Kunti. Incidentally his father is the Lord of Heavens, Indra.
- Savyasachi – Skillful in using both arms, ambidextrous.
- Dhananjaya – one who conquers bows (dhanu) referring to his skills as an archer.
- Gudakesa – One who had thick hair; gudha: dense and kesha: hair.
- Kapi Dhwaj – Having flag of Kapi (Monkey) in his chariot. (Arjuna’s flag displayed an image of Hanuman from a previous encounter)
- Parantap – one who concentrates the most, destroyer of enemies from his concentration
Arjun and Krishna
Krishna’s role in Arjun’s life is of great importance and in my view far greater than Dronacharya’s presence. Dronacharya was no doubt Arjun’s teacher who taught him warfare and made him a great archer. It was however, Krishna’s presence which saves Arjun many times and the knowledge of philosophy which Krishna provides to Arjun is in today’s era known as Bhagavad Gita, something which is of great importance to the South-Asian culture (not necessary to a term Hindu, on which I shall write).
Krishna’s connection to Arjun is also with the marriage alliance in which Krishna’s half-sister Subhadhra was married to Arjun, it is said that Krishna encourage the match of Subhadhra and Arjun. Through this union was born Abhimanyu (I must admit here that for longtime; I thought Abhimanyu was son of Draupadi, thank god he wasn’t, I donot like the character of Draupadi much owing to her egoistic behavior).
Krishna was however the reason for Arjun to marry Draupadi and reject Karna.
Krishna also plays major role in trying to get the rights of Pandavas, which led him to conflict with Duryodhan. During the battle of Kurushetra, Krishna eggs Arjun to kill Karna owing to the fact that Karna was responsible for Arjun’s son’s death and Draupadi’s humiliation. Even though Krishna knew about the fact that there were many players in that scenario.
Arjun’ story has another major character without mentioning whom Arjun’s life will not be complete. She is Draupadi. The wife of all 5 Pandavas, but there is a story behind it too. In Draupadi’s “Swayam Varam” where a woman is allowed to choose her husband, Arjun along with his brother went there dressed as Brahmin. Duryodhan had come there along with Karna. In that marriage ceremony as task was required to be done, that is to pierce the eye of a fish with arrow. When Karna went to pick up the bow for the task, Draupadi insulted Karna by calling him son of a charioteer who dared thought of marrying a princess. Her exact words were “A man who live off a king’s goodwill, how can he protect my honour.” Krishna also played a spoilsport here by instigating Draupadi. At that very moment Duryodhan appoints Karna as the king of Anga.
Anyhow, after Karna was so called “debarred” by that egoistic Draupadi. Now enters Arjun, disguised as Brahmin. Naturally he shoots well and wins. Here, it is tried to be said that he is Brahmin and his entry should be invalid, but again Krishna comes to rescue with his sweet talk.
Arjun then takes Draupadi to his home in order to show his new bride to his mother. He asks his mother to come out, so that he can show her what he has brought for her. His mother Kunti (full of accidental errors, read Karna) does another blunder by saying that “whatever you have got share it with your brothers”. Whether, that was to the horror or to the delight of Draupadi, I leave that thought to the choice of the reader. Reader may also question that it was just an accidental error, why did they go ahead with it. Well, they were living a life that time in which whatever you say needs to be done, so kunti’s accidental error needed to be followed. However, Yudhistra (the wise one) could have prevented it by his sweet talk and understanding but I guess his desire lied elsewhere.
So now Draupadi won by Arjun became Panchali, the one with five husbands.
Arjun is also married to Ulupi ( naga princess) and Chitrangadaa (Princess of Manipur). Both the sons by the respective princess were left with their mothers.
Exile and Curse of Urvashi
The pandav were exiled after being humiliated for failing the game of dice in which they lost everything, their kingdoms and got their wife stripped (very honorable conduct). During exile they were cursed in the way that for year they have live in anonymity and if they were found somehow, they will have to begin their 13 year exile again. So not only they had to go on exile, the Pandavas were left with the game of hide and seek with kauravas who were in a hurry to find them and repose longer exile terms.
During these 13 years for one year Arjun was forced to live like an eunuch owing to the curse of Urvashi (the hot as hell cheerleader of Lord Indra a.k.a Zeus, if you wish to imagine her beauty then go for the hottest female you have ever seen in your life and now raise it to the power of 10, it is a mathematical thing).
Now imagine that this female whom everyone in the world is dying to mate with, Arjun in his righteousness shuns her advance. Question is what she will do now ? It would be usual what a hot as a hell furious woman would do, BURN the house down. She sent Arjun straight to her interpretation of hell, which is impotency for one year.
This was during the time when Arjun was invited to the kingdom of his father in heaven and he was staying there for some time after he was rewarded with various weapons by many gods.
It is during this year that he taught in Place of King of Virata to his daughter Uttra. Once the curse was complete the king wanted Uttra to be married to Arjun, but Arjun stated that as he has been her teacher it would not be right in the duty of Dharma, to which the king was displeased. In this situation Arjun offered a better solution of his son by Subhadhra (half sister of Krishna ) to be married to Uttra. This proposal was readily accepted by the King. Abhimanyu was married to Uttra when both were 14-15 years old (child marriage).
Kurushetra war and Bhagavad Gita:
In this war Arjun was responsible for death of Bhishma, Karna and Jayadratha. The last one he held responsible of killing Abhimanyu.
Before the war began, Arjun was full of doubts of fighting his own brothers and teachers. To resolve this issue, Krishna came into picture in which he gave Arjun the knowledge of Dharma in which he told Arjun it was necessary for him to fight his cousins, grandfather and Teachers for greater good because all of them have forgotten true Dharma. Particularly they are supporting Duryodhan who is just after Pandavas due to ego of childhood, motivated by his evil maternal Uncle shakuni. Krishna also informs Arjun that where were these elders when your wife was being stripped, when your property was being taken away and when you were being humiliated by them.
In order to bring balance back to world, Arjun needs to fight them and kill them if needed, which included his beloved Great Grandfather Bhishma. He informs Arjun that it is his duty/ dharma to fight as he was a warrior.
In the war Arjun uses Shikhandi to kill Bhisma who was the reincarnation of princess Amba to whom Bhisma had refused marriage and she had set herself on fire. He kills Karna when Karna is armless (and riddled with curses of his life).
Arjun On management
Now this one is very interesting, Arjun is nothing without his two teachers Drona and Krishna. No doubt he had a potential since he was a child. It was however this potential which was harnessed by both of his teachers. Many authors write that Arjun was of clean image, well it is their interpretation. Success of Arjun on management is someone who looks up to his/her teachers in their daily duty and asks for their advice, even if that advice pitches him/her against his family. In short who fights for Dharma or righteousness under the guidance of a mentor.
Arjun in Today’s world
Arjun is someone born in prosperity and is gifted. The best analogy is a rich American kid, good in grades, goes to Ivy League University and then fights the so called “bad” world. In India too, it would be someone born in elite society and has all privileges but at the same time is intelligent too, unlike karna who was raised in poor family but was very intelligent.
PS: There was one anime movie also which came on Arjun the warrior prince, which I believe was a good effort. But was no box office success. The creators could have created Mahabharat on the line of Harry potter or Lord of The ring series in which there were 8 and 4 grand movies respectively.