Tag Archive: Arjun


krishna_radha

The story of Mahabharat is incomplete without its main character, Kṛṣṇa also known as Krishna. Kṛṣṇa was the main strategist for the Pandav Army even though his own army, “Narayani Sena” was fighting for the side of Kauravas.

He is referenced as a lover of Radha and their love songs are sung in south Asian societies, Radha never married Kṛṣṇa. He grew up to become a man (if we believe the stories of Mahabharat as a true story) who would be instrumental in changing the ideology of masses with his principles and lectures in Bharat/India.

Birth and childhood

Krishna or Kṛṣṇa as he was also called was the eighth biological son of Devki and Vasudeva (Royal Couple), who were imprisoned by Devki’s evil brother Kansa. In childhood, Krishna does all forms of miracles and there are numerous attempts on his life but he survives and eventually kills his maternal uncle Kansa.

He is transported from the prison cell on the day of his birth to Gokul as Yashoda and Nand’s child and was exchanged with their Biological child by his father Vasudev. In this way Kṛṣṇa is able to escape death on night of his birth. Kansa kills the biological child of Yashoda thinking as child of Devki (his sister) in prison cell by smashing child’s head against the wall. Quite a violent night. Kansa had killed previous six children of Vasudev and Devki like this.

In his childhood Kṛṣṇa is notorious for stealing and eating butter, as a teenage young boy playing a flute along with Radha (who is classified as his girlfriend, love interest, but is older to him). Love story of Kṛṣṇa and Radha is sung and passed on for many ages, since ancient India. No doubt it attracts many lovers of this age.

There are many instances when he watches young girls bath in ponds by hiding and sitting on top of trees, in some instances taking their clothes and running away. A true flirt in every sense. He is also documented to be dancing with many female companions of his, who are known to the world as Gopis of Gopal (Kṛṣṇa’s other name).

Some like to call these girls as his numerous girlfriends or friends or even cheerleaders, who were amazed by Kṛṣṇa’s antics in Gokul. Plus since he played flute very nicely, so it was another attraction. In short a stud for some.

krishna-stealing-the-cloths-of-the-gopis- painting

Personality and Teachings

A lot has been written on the personality of Kṛṣṇa by those who worship him (especially the Vaishnavites) and there are many schools of thoughts which sing praise of him. He for one seems to have a good sense of righteousness and believed that the principles need to be upheld even if it means breaking the laws. He was a spiritual guide and a teacher to Arjun, whom he uses/helps to win the war of Kurukshetra.

In the battle of kurukshetra, he motivates Arjun and pumps him up to fight Bhishma and Karna. Arjun in the beginning of the battle is reluctant to fight Bhishma and his teachers who were fighting with Kauravas side. During this time he reveals Arjun his real sense and updates him about the true meaning of life and lectures him on many topic, these lectures collectively are known as Bhagavat Gita.

However, there is another school of thought in India, who are fans of Kauravas who believe the Kṛṣṇa was a trickster and magician, who helped Pandavas to no end. His partisan viewpoint is also taken in to consideration in denouncing him as no god, since god will accept all, as he has created all.

Krishna and Balaram fight the Yadu Dynasty

Krishna and Balaram fight the Yadu Dynasty

Kṛṣṇa has an elder brother Balram who is the King of Dwarka, where Kṛṣṇa lives. Balaram was also child of Vasudev, transported to Gokul in stressful circumstances.

Once Radha is married off to someone else and Kṛṣṇa’s first love story ends (I presume she being elder to him plays a role here and his leaving Gokul to fight is uncle Kansa). He falls in love with Rukmini and then elopes with her and humiliates her brother while doing so (brother is represented to be egoistic), again this is story is a favorite of romantics.

He is shown as someone who gets his way through, no matter what the odds are and is rarely angry barring some instances. He is also definitely a poster boy for all the lovers in South Asia.

Marriages

 Kṛṣṇa had 8 queens who are collectively called the Ashtabharya—including Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Kalindi, Mitravinda, Nagnajiti, Bhadra and Lakshmana

Later, Kṛṣṇa married 16,000 or 16,100 women who were held captive by the demon Narakasura, to save their honour. He killed the demon and released them all. According to social custom of the time, all of the captive women were degraded, and would be unable to marry, as they had been under the Narakasura’s control. However Kṛṣṇa married them to reinstate their status in the society. This symbolic wedding with 16,100 abandoned daughters was more of a mass rehabilitation. He gave them shelter in his new palace and a respectful place in society. The chief amongst them is Rohini.

Most well-known among his sons are Pradyumna, the eldest son of Kṛṣṇa and Rukmini. Samba, the son of Kṛṣṇa with Jambavati was notorious one whose actions led to the destruction of Kṛṣṇa‘s clan

Arjun and Kṛṣṇa

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Mahabharat in its entire entity talks a lot about the relationship of Arjun and Kṛṣṇa. Their friendship and Kṛṣṇa’s mentoring of Arjun is the main drawing points. Arjun apart from being married to Draupadi, was also married to Kṛṣṇa’s sister Subhadhra, with whom Arjun has son named Abhimanyu.

Kṛṣṇa plays an important role in getting Arjun married, first to Draupadi and then to Subhadra. In Draupadi’s case, Karna was also there in the swamwar and is insulted by egoistic Draupadi.

Kṛṣṇa teaches Arjun the true meaning of life and the teaching and lectures are known as Bhagavad Gita.

Draupadi and Kṛṣṇa

Draupadi_Krishna

Kṛṣṇa was a friend Draupadi always had for consoling and when in trouble. He was instrumental in saving Draupadi from Drushashan, when latter was pulling away her saree and trying to strip her naked in royal court. He also helps her Husbands in getting the revenge for her insult in Hastinapur Royal Court at the hand of Kauravas.

However, I think he chooses to ignore Draupadi’s failings especially her handling of Karna and saying that Duryodhan is in capable of seeing path in front of him , since he is son of a blind man, in short like father like son.

Draupadi is also called Krishna, it is used for her to show that they are one in spirit and to commemorate their friendship. Also because Draupadi was of a darker complexion with fire inside her.

Karna and Kṛṣṇa

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The relationship between Kṛṣṇa and Karna is baffling to me. It is so that Kṛṣṇa admired Karna and knew that he had faced massive hardship to reach the place of respect. Kṛṣṇa never tried to help Karna out of his miseries, if he is god then a god can do anything, right or else he is no god but a human being, who is worshiped.

Here the story of karna and his pain shown in “just a sympathetic light”, instead of finishing or giving a resolution to it. It may well show the social construct of the times when the story was written and re-written by many Brahmins, who always view men like Karna as a threat to their social order and establishment (even today in 21st century, some ideologies never change).

Karna is being accused of saying bad words to Draupadi, if vocal harm is considered bad by Kṛṣṇa then not giving value to verbal abuses dealt by karna, is equally baffling. As stated before, It may be more about those era’s Brahmins who believed that “so called higher beings” can say anything and get away, but when a relatively social weaker being challenges and retaliates those verbal comments, he becomes worthy of being killed for his unworthy deeds towards a “higher order” egoistic woman.

I am really disappointed in Kṛṣṇa’s approach towards Karna in Mahabharat, but it has been said and believed that the Brahmins use to tell these stories to suit them first, they use to mold them as per their desires in past and create brahmanical order to profess their dominance or superiority over others in the region (same was Salafists do in Islam and try to subdue Sufis).

 

Bhishma and Kṛṣṇa

Bhishma and Krishna

Both of them had deep respect for each other and had a common belief of upholding the principles. However, the difference between them was Bhishma’s absolute devotion towards rules and his vow. Bhishma refused to break age old rituals and rules, he tried his best to be good but these became his failings.

Whereas Kṛṣṇa was of belief that rule can be broken but principles and human values must be maintained. Therefore many say that the fight of kurukshetra was to break the old order and establish the new older, since old had become too rigid.

Death

After 36 years passed, a fight broke out between the Yadavas, at a festival, who killed each other. Kṛṣṇa retired into the forest and started meditating under a tree. The Mahabharata also narrates the story of a hunter who becomes an instrument for Kṛṣṇa’s departure from the world.

The hunter Jara, mistook Kṛṣṇa’s partly visible left foot for that of a deer, and shot an arrow, wounding him mortally. After he realized the mistake, While still bleeding, Kṛṣṇa told Jara, “O Jara, you were Bali in your previous birth, killed by myself as Rama in Tretayuga. Here you had a chance to even it and since all acts in this world are done as desired by me, you need not worry for this”. The place of this incident is believed to be Bhalka, near Somnath temple.

Kṛṣṇa On management

Kṛṣṇa is someone who believes that rules which are obsolete need to be let go, for running any organizations in effective way, in short a reformist or a revolutionary. The principles for his organization will remain utmost priority and so would be welfare of his employees.

 

Kṛṣṇa in today’s world:

He is a leader and a calm adviser, he would be someone who will give principles top most value and would not hesitate from breaking rules to uphold them. Especially those rules which have become oppressive and benefiting only few. Many view Kṛṣṇa as a left-wing ideologue fighting an obsolete,rigid, non -productive and outdated system.

Principles would be same which most of the humanity believes in but some powerful men/women seem to not follow them for their personal gains and profit.

Lastly, he would most certainly be a rage among women, not to mention a true flirt.

Bhima

Bhima is a character which in true sense epitomizes an Alpha male. He is dominant and fierce. He was second Pandu brother among the five non Biological sons of Pandu.

His actions and presence was very significant in the rise of Yudhistra to the throne on Indraprastha and later in the war of kurukshetra.  He was mainly responsible for killing of 100 Kauravas brother and finally Duryodhan death (in which he employed unethical means).

He was older to Duryodhan and was constantly at war with him much like Arjun was at war with Karna.

He possessed the power of 100 elephants inside him, though which was a blessing given to him in childhood. He was also a very heavy eater who ate more than the amount of food which other four Pandav brothers could eat collectively.

Birth:

His birth was like his other brother out of a wedlock ceremony in which Kunti was impregnated by Lord of Wind (Vayu/Aeolus) much like Indra did in the case of Arjun, Yama/Hades in case of Yudhistra and Sun/Apollo in case of Karna. The reason being Pandu was cursed that he would die moment he has sexual relation with any of this two wives.

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Personality and Teachings

The teacher of Bhim was Dronacharya much like all the other Pandavas and Kauravas. He learnt the various Warcraft but his favorite weapon was a hammer or a club made of a heavy metal. His fights were frequent that too with Duryodhan who also liked same weapon. He can also be termed as a bully who loved to throw his weight around, especially on Kauravas brother. It was his repeated humiliation of Duryodhan which became a flash point of immense hatred towards Pandavas and Kuravas and visa-verse.

Though Duryodhan played his part by scheming and plotting against him and his Pandav brothers.

Due to heavy appetite he was name Vrikodara, `wolf’s belly.’ Apart from having feud with Duryodhan, he was in a habit of humiliating Karna at will. His actions increased Karna‘s anger towards Pandavas.

The Palace of the Pandava Brothers set ablaze

Duryodhan with his counselor Purochana hatched a plan to burn the Pandavas alive at a lake palace lakshagraha at Varnavrata that Duryodhan had built.

Vidura provided information to Pandavs of plan and helped them escape out from the palace. Here Bhima played a major role in carrying all five of them (Kunti and brothers) and escaping to safety. He barricaded the palace of Purochana and set fire to it, killing Purochana.

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Killing of Hidmb,Marriage and children

During this period, he also chanced upon the demon princess Hidimba whom he married, after killing the demon king Hidmb. Ghatotkacha was the son born to the two of them.

Hidmb was a man-eater demon who wanted to kill and eat all of the Pandavas but Bhima is able to challange him and kill him. After that he becomes king of Hidmb’s small tribe.

At a later stage, Bhima also married Valandhara, the daughter of the king of Kasi, and had a son named Sarvaga. Among Bhima’s three sons, Sarvaga did not participate in the Kurukshetra war, while the two others died in the battle.

Kunti and the Pandavas decided to stay anonymously for a while, during this time the Kauravas thought they were dead in the fire.

During this time, the Pandavas attended the Swayamvara of Drupada princess, Draupadi. The Pandavas, led by Arjuna, were successful at the Swayamvara. With his brothers, he was married to Draupadi, who gave birth to a son, Sutasoma.

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The game of Dice:

After Yudhisthira succumbed to Shakuni’s challenge in the game of dice, the Pandavas were forced into exile for 13 years, one of which was in anonymity. The exile period in the forests, saw the Pandavas come face to face with many rakshasas and asuras and Bhima played a crucial role in the epic in rescuing his brothers every time.

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Slaying Kirmira

In the beginning of the exile, in the woods of Kamyaka, the Pandavas meet the demon Kirmira, the brother of Bakasura and a friend of Hidimba. A fierce battle ensued between Bhima and the demon, where the two equally matched fighters hurled rocks and trees at each other. Eventually Bhima emerged victorious.

Back-To-Godhead-Bhima-Attaked-To-Raksasa

Searching for Saugandhika flower

Once in Badarikasrama forest, Draupadi scented the Saugandhika flower and was deeply attracted to it. The lotus species was not to be located easily. Bhima went in search of the flower and ended up at Kubera’s palace. He was stopped in his tracks by the demon called Krodhavasas, but he defeated them all and reached the lotus pond.

He also killed Maniman a wicked demon , who had in the past, incurred a curse from Rishi Agastya by spitting on his head. Bhima fell asleep on its shore. Later the Pandavas arrived with Krishna and Draupadi in search of Bhima. They met Kubera who offered them baskets of Saugandhika lotuses and sent them on their way.

Kubera was especially happy, as the slaughter of Maniman had relieved him of the curse too. It was also during this search that Bhima met Hanuman (his brother, as both were Vayu’s children) in the forest and sought his blessings.

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Killing Jatasura

In another minor incident in the epic, Jatasura, a rakshasa disguised as a Brahmin abducted Yudhisthira, Draupadi and the twin brothers, Nakula and Sahadeva during their stay at Badarikasrama. His objective was to seize the weapons of the Pandavas and to ravish Draupadi. Bhima, who was hunting during the abduction, was deeply upset when he came to know of Jatasura’s evil act on his return. A fierce encounter followed between the two gigantic warriors, where Bhima emerged victorious by decapitating Jatasura and crushing his body.

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Humiliation of Jayadratha

In another event in the Kamyaka forests, Jayadratha, a Sindhu King, abducted Draupadi when the Pandavas were away. On returning, the Pandavas learnt about this from Sage Dhaumya, followed and reached Jayadratha’s army in the forest. Jayadratha was no match to the strength of Bhima, who humiliated him by shaving his head and leaving him with just five patches of hair. Jayadratha later played a major role in the Kurukshetra War in slaying Abhimanyu.

Cook at Virata’s kingdom

Along with his brothers, Bhima spent his last year of exile in the kingdom of Virata. He disguised himself as a cook named Vallabh (within themselves Pandavas called him Jayanta).

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Defeating Jimuta

Once during a great festival, people from neighbouring countries had come to the kingdom of Virata. There was a wrestling bout where a wrestler from a different state, Jimuta proved to be invincible. Much to the delight of King Virata and his subjects, Bhima challenged Jimuta and knocked him out in no time. This greatly enhanced the reputation of the Pandavas in an unfamiliar territory.

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Death of Kichaka

Kichaka, the army commander of Virata, tried to sexually assault Draupadi, who was under the guise of a maid named Sairindhri. Bhima dressed himself as a woman and lay in wait for Kichaka inside Draupadi’s room. He slew him the moment he tried to touch him. Kickaka was crushed and slaughtered in to a meat ball by bhima .

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Susarma’s defeat

Susarma of the Trigarta Kingdom, under the command of Duryodana, waged a battle against Virata by stealing the cows in his kingdom. Bhima, aided in part by the other Pandavas and Virata, helped to defeat the army of Susarma easily. By this time, the 13-year exile period was completed and the rivalry between the siblings was renewed.

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Bhima and Arjun

It would be apt to say that Arjun and Bhima were two people on whose ability Indraprastha was built and protected, so that their righteous brother Yudhistra could rule.

Both of them are also responsible for killing of many demons and enemies in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. However, in terms of judgment Arjun can be said to have an upper edge, not to mention the fact that Arjun was favorite of Lord Krishna.

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Bhima On management

Bhima is in no way a thinker or a policy creator, he is policy enforcer. He would be someone provided with the task to enforce the rules and to get the job done. Some like the operations manager whose job is to meet the defined targets set out by the Chairman or CEO of an organization.

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Bhima in Today’s world

Bhima in today’s world would be easily identified; he is someone with a good physical strength and at the same time can be a bully but loves his family.  A perfect alpha male out to ravage, kill and tear apart anyone who violates his honour or targets his family. Though someone certainly not with a good judgement.

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Bheema

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhima

http://backtogodhead.in/bhima-fights-the-man-eater-translated-from-sanskrit-by-hridayananda-dasa-goswami/ 

http://anandatirtha.wordpress.com/parampare/the-greatness-of-bhima/

http://anandatirtha.wordpress.com/2009/03/22/the-significance-of-18/

http://mahabore.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/the-story-of-jayadratha/

http://books.google.co.in/books?id=HkUQYvw2HGkC&pg=PA191&lpg=PA191&dq=killing+of+hidimb&source=bl&ots=J398VT0rkY&sig=TIwmpRl1x-F1_BtvH7iBPOdkspU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=VVwiU8GjFYX3rQe9kYCwBw&ved=0CE8Q6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=killing%20of%20hidimb&f=false

ARJUN— Son of Indra/Zeus

Arjun

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.

 

Pandav

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

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

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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.

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Draupadi

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.

arjun-the-warrior

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.

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Other Marriages:

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.

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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).

Urvashi

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).

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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).

Arjuna

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.

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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.

References :

http://innertraditions.blogspot.in/2009/08/understanding-mahabharata-riddle-of_6378.html

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http://www.hinduhumanrights.info/why-did-krishna-choose-arjuna-instead-of-karna-drona-o-bhishma/

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http://anakinturnsevil.blogspot.in/2011/03/mahabharat-13-lucky-arjun.html

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http://www.flipkart.com/arjuna-saga-pandava-warrior-prince/p/itmdgqv6qftqvvja?pid=9789381576397&ref=0c2a387c-e71c-47f1-afdf-da8592745f3e&srno=s_1&otracker=from-search&query=arjuna

The story of Karna has to do a lot with how a girl’s curiosity for a “gift” led her to a miserable life which became a curse not only for her but also for her great son whose life was plagued with injustice. It can aptly be said that it is a story of a tragic hero who had royal blood in him but was never considered royal; leave aside the respect and honour he deserved. It is a story in which a warrior gave his life for friendship, even though it meant being on the opposite side of his brothers the Pandavas(who knew nothing of karna’s existence till he was killed by one of them, namely Arjun).

More notably it is a story of a great soul who was a great philanthropist and in one instance gave away his very protective body armor (‘Kavacha’) and a pair of earrings (‘Kundala’), which he was born with.( which the sun god, his father had given to him so that he could not be killed by anyone.)

Kunti:

The story of karna cannot begin or end without Kunti being the central character. She was Karna’s biological mother. The best metaphor to represent her in this present era are those girls who are from well to do families and want “freedom” but end up with teenage pregnancies and then abandon their new born, not letting anyone know in the process about what occurred, thereby manifesting a life of misery for the child.

Kunti’s other sons Yudhistra, Bhim and Arjun were sons by various other gods as Pandu was cursed that he cannot have physical relations with his wives or any women.(since pandu accidentally killed a Rishi in forest hunting who had taken the form of deer and was enjoying with his mate. The Rishi cursed Pandu that he would similarly die when he would mate with his wife therefore can never bear sons as per a curse by a sage).

In short Kunti was quite the matriarch, I bet modern feminist would be so proud of her achievements of having kids with whoever she wanted, though it is been reported in Mahabharata that she had a mantra that she could call upon any god for a “gift”.)

Karna’s Birth :

When Kunti called Sun god with a mantra to test the validity of the mantra, which was provided to her by a sage who was happy with her service towards her when the sage came to her palace (after all the women empowerment and liberation are key factors here) she got scared and wanted the Sun God to go away, but he pleaded his helplessness against the power of mantra. (she was one with captivating spell)

Surya dev  (or Sun God) however assured Kunti that even after being blessed with a son, she would still remain a virgin and would not have to suffer any opprobrium. And so Karna was born with kavach and kundal (armor which would make him invincible). Kunti was nevertheless afraid of social stigma and therefore she abandoned the child. She put Karna in a basket and placed the same in the Ganges river, the basket was seen by Adhirath, a charioteer, who had no issues. He picked up the baby and brought him up. That is why Karna is also sometimes called Sarathiputra. Thereby karna became the illegitimate eldest son of Kunti. (the irony of the situation is that there are many karnas born even today).

On a personal note one would never forgive Kunti for what she did to Karna,even though many feminist can go gaga over her problem. The point however would remain that she never owned up her responsibility and her fault till the end. So even though she was karna’s mother, from my view point she was the reason that karna had to suffer so much in life and one would rarely sympathies with such a character, her “pain” was nothing compared to the pain endured by karna throughout his life. (though many would disagree with my viewpoint)

Teachings and the curse by Parshuram:

As Karna grew up, he became more interested in the art of warfare than in merely being a charioteer like his father Adhirata. Karna met Dronacharya, who was an established teacher in the art of warfare. Dronacharya taught the Kuru princes, but refused to take Karna as his student, since Karna was a son of a charioteer and Dronacharya only taught Kshatriyas, or warriors. (another case of elitism in education system and deep arrogance)

After being refused by Dronacharya, Karna sought his brother Shona’s help. But in Indian culture, to learn an art you must have a teacher, so Karna appointed the sun god as his first taecher, learned to wield his weapons during the day by gathering information about the various weapons and practiced with them after sundown.

Karna was keen to acquire the Brahmastra mantra from the great teacher Parshuram.  However, he knew that Parshuram gave instructions to Brahmins (the priestly tribe) only (call it elitism in education system).  So he disguised as a Brahmin and beseeched  Parshuram to accept him as a disciple.  Parshuram accepted him as such and started giving him instructions.

One day when Parshuram was resting in Karnas lap, it so happened that a bee stung Karna on the lower part of his thigh (It was Lord Indra who did that by taking the form of a bee).  It was very painful and he started bleeding.  However, fearing that if he moved his legs, he would awaken Parshuram, he did not move at all and continued to suffer.  When Parshuram woke up, he saw Karna bleeding.

He cursed him immediately as he believed that a Brahmin cannot suffer so much physical pain.  Only a kshatriya (the warrior tribe) can endure so much discomfort.  Karna was obliged to disclose his identity.  Parshuram was greatly annoyed because he was a sworn enemy of Kshatriyas.  He therefore cursed Karna that as he had learnt through deceit, he shall forget the skill which Parshuram had taught him at the crucial juncture.

Karna pleaded that any student would have acted in the same way and that he was the son of Vasusena, a mere charioteer and not a Kshatriya. But while Parashurama regretted cursing Karna in a moment of anger, his curse was irrevocable (This shows how 2nd misjudegment after kunti’s resulted in the downfall of karna). In order to subside the curse Parashurama gave to Karna as a gift the celestial weapon called Bhargavastra, along with his personal bow called Vijaya, for being such a diligent student.

Then there was another curse in which he accidentally killed a poor bhramin’s cow who cursed him helpless in the same way the innocent cow had become, by his chariot wheels getting stuck to his ground. (The reason on his death he was not on his chariot when Arjun killed him)

 Karna

Draupadi and karna

The problem with Draupadi was that she was as flawed as Kunti but with loads of EGO inside her. (It seems to me that it was karna’s fate to have such flawed women in his life even though his quality as man was what women always wish in a son or a husband)

It is said that when Draupadi was once praying for a husband, she asked that her husband be:

1) Righteous and good

2) Strong and brave

3) A great warrior

4) Good looking

5) Handsome

Lord Shiva told her that no one man can have all the 5 qualities. But as usual Drupadi highly stubborn and egoistic would not relent, Lord Shiva granted her wish. Except she had to be the wife of 5 brothers- each Pandav brother had one of the qualities she desired.

Yudhistra (righteous and good)

Bheem (strong and brave)

Arjun (a great warrior)

Nakul and Sahdev (good-looking/handsome).

However it is said, Karna had all these 5 qualities- he was after all technically the eldest of Kunti’s son .

When he went for her swamwar (where a woman is allowed to choose her husband, yes it was very liberating experience back then in ancient India too), where Pandav were dressed as Brahmins or Priests. She insulted him by calling him a mere son of a charioteer who DARED to think of marrying a princess, being true to her egoistic nature (after all she considered herself to be very EDUCATED and she believed that she knew everything about karna, another case where her arrogance was at best, as in reality karna was of Royal Blood and eldest brother of 5 Pandav, so in short was the perfect husband for her, Krishna here too played his spoiler game by misguiding Draupadi)

Karna and Arjun

It would be right to say that their fight was much like two tigers fighting for their pride , only that in this case Karna knew the truth but Arjun didn’t. The hostilities between Karna and Arjun were since childhood were in when he heard his brother shone tell about Arjun piercing through the eyes of a fish. Karna retaliated that he could pierce through two eyes of the fish with just one shot.

The Arjun’s humiliation of karna again and again by calling him the son of a mere charioteer or shurdra ( lowly ranked Servant ) who DARED to fight the kshatriyas or warrior tribe men made the blood of karna boil. Then the biggest reason fight between them is Draupadi (who I think was born just to get Mahabharat started with absolute egoism)

Many have said Karna was wrong in calling Draupadi a whore while she was being stripped by Durshasan. He said that saying that a women having more than one husband is a whore (as Draupadi had five Pandavas to be called as Husbands).

Though one would like to bring a different perspective here. Karna’s attempt to humiliate Draupadi and damage her spirit can be seen as revenge act. Draupadi too humiliated karna and damaged his spirit and kept on doing so till the end, by calling a shudra ( son of a servant). If a woman’s pain and humiliation is taken into account then why shouldn’t a man’s pain be considered, after all earlier he gave her full respect and wanted to love and honour her as his bride but she called him names ?

Karna’s Death:

His death was a result of a series of curses which he received in his life. Those curses were due to the misjudgment of the ones giving them. It was also due to his mother who did not care about her eldest son but was content with her 3 sons and 2 step-sons, though she came to plead to him before the day he was suppose to fight Arjun to not fight,but Karna said it was too late for her to recognize him as her son.It was also result of his giving up of his body Armour and earning with which he was born to Lord Indra who came disguised as a poor Brahmin. Karna use to pray to Sun God at every noon and he was famous for giving away anything that some asked from him at that time even if it may lead to his death. Indra capitalized on that nobility of karna and asked for his armour to save his son. Indra, shamed into generosity by Karna’s gesture, reciprocated by giving Karna the boon to use his most powerful weapon, the Vasavi shakti, but only once. It was then that Karna earned the name Vaikartana, as he cut the armour off his body without flinching.

During kurushetra war,while fighting against Arjun, karna’s chariot wheel sank into the ground in loose, wet soil. Descending from his chariot to remove the wheel, he requested Arjuna to wait, as the etiquette of battle allowed. However, Krishna instructed Arjun to kill Karna while he was weaponless even though rules of war state that no warrior will raise his arms against an opponent who is without his weapon. But Krishna knew that in a fair war, Arjun would not be able defeat Karna. His rationale was that killing Karna was critical to win the war and hence a necessary evil.

 

The real deal and Karna on management:

The real deal is that world did not deserved a great and noble warrior as karna. His defiance, fight against odds, anger, philanthropy, courage, hunger for knowledge, honorable conduct, devotion to teacher and loyalty towards friend, all are traits for deep admiration. The world never recognized while he was alive his greatness. In corporate world there will be karnas who will keep on doing their duty because it shall be done, even though it means fighting against all odds. In the end they may or may not get RESPECT for their efforts.

Karna in today’s world:

They are all around you, the only thing is that  those of the likes of  Bhishma or Krishna can see right through them. For rest, it is no need to know who is Karna as their life of arrogance will get affected and so will Karna’s charm.

PS: for those who want a woman’s perspective on karna can visit http://seema-suchislife.blogspot.in/2010/05/complete-man-karna.html

Mahabharat is one of my favorite mythological books along with Iliad. Somehow I find it more real compared to Ramayana. Although many in India regard Ramayana as “the” book, I personally beg to differ. For me Ramayana symbolizes bondage but Mahabharata unleashing of spirits and thoughts, for someone who does not like bondage much, Ramayana might not excite much (Though I guess that talk might be blasphemous to some. I would just say it is the choice of having something spicier ).

Mahabharat offers a variety of characters whom we in this present world could relate to and I would be trying to give my own understanding of the characters as time goes on, hoping to find some answers myself too in the process. Additional to that I can say Business Sutra  reignited my interest for it providing a different perspective and a deep insight into Mahabharat. I enjoy the Business Sutra very much started on CNBCTV18 in which Devdutt Pattanaik  talks about mythology. I can honestly say that it is a delightful experience listening to him. I have rarely seen someone describe and enlighten people about Indian manuscripts and old age text like he does and use it in terms of management.

In the coming posts I would talk and think about certain characters which made me think and question. For a list they would be as follows:

  • Bhishma
  • Karna
  • Arjun
  • Yudhishtar
  • Bhim
  • Krishna
  • Duryodhan
  • Shakuni
  • kunti
  • shantanu
  • Ganga
  • Nakul and sehdev
  • Draupadi
  • Durshashan
  • Balram
  • Ghatotkach
  • Barbarika or Khatushyamji
  • Abhimanyu
  • Dhitrashtra
  • Gandhari
  • Pandu
  • Satyawati
  • Dronacharya
  • Sanjay
  • Vidura

Now one would try to start it generation by generation but would dare say that it would not always be that restrictive……. It may vary as per my admiration for the character (and mood)  so bear with me who ever will read it,apologies before hand if it puts you off. It will be more in terms my understanding of these characters…

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