|Publication Date||December 23, 2015|
Vrishninaam Vaasudevosmi Pandavaanaam Dhananjayah
I am Krishna among the Vrishnis, Arjuna among the sons of Pandu
Gita X – 37
Arjuna: His name means bright or one of taintless fame and glow.
He was the third of the Pandavas and along with Krishna, is considered the hero of the Mahabharata. He plays the listener in the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita, which is a philosophical conversation between Krishna and Arjuna where God speaks to Man!
Arjuna is considered the finest archer of his time and a peerless warrior as compared to other notable figures in the Mahabharata. He played a key role in ensuring the defeat of the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war and was the only undefeated hero.
Arjuna was an avatar of Nara – The primeval Man or eternal spirit pervading the Universe always associated with Narayana (the son of the primeval man), both are considered as Gods or sages and accordingly called ‘Deva, rishi, tapasao’.
In epic poetry, Vyasa says Arjuna is identified with Nara and Krishna with Narayana.
‘Naraayanam Namaskritya Naram Chaiva Narottama!’
I bow to divine sages Nara Narayana – The supreme persons —The most exalted
Arjuna was an avatar of Nara, who along with the avatar of Narayana, Krishna established Dharma in Dvapara yuga.
Mahabharata war had happened at the cusp of the ages and Kali was supposed to have begun at the precise point in time when Krishna departed from the phenomenal world. Shortly thereafter, Arjuna too left for his heavenly abode.
As an avatar of Vishnu, Arjuna embodies the Kshatriya manhood. Krishna being the Narayana of Nara Narayana avatar, symbolises atman (the soul), hence the two are inseparable. Arjuna was chosen by Krishna to be his dearest friend and disciple. In the great epic, on several occasions, Krishna reveals his great and eternal love for Arjuna. Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita refers to Arjuna as ‘Anagha’, which means pure of heart or sinless.
On the seventeenth day of the Great War when Karna was trying to extricate his chariot stuck in the mud, Arjuna hesitates to kill Karna as it was unheroic to kill an unarmed adversary. He kills him only at the behest of Krishna. This reveals his restraint and self control. Arjuna’s nobility was manifested in his magnanimity in victory and compassion towards adversaries. He bears all the injustices meted out to him and his family by the Kauravas, and Karna’s unprecedented hatred towards him with stoicism and yet hesitates to kill them just before the war.
This has been the theme of my book –
Two Krishnas and one Chariot – The story of ARJUNA
The subject has been dealt as under:
1) The dynasty of Emperor Santanu, The Kuru Emperor, and great grandfather to Arjuna.
2) Birth and early years – including the swayamvara where he won Draupadi’s hand in marriage in an archery contest.
3) Arjuna’s Tirtha yatra of 12 years where he met his other wives, Uloopi, Chitrangada, and Subhadra
4) The burning of Khandava vana and building the city Indraprastha with Maya Danava's Hall of Illusions – Maya Sabha
5) Conquest of Rajasuya
6) The 13 years of exile where he performed penance to Lord Siva for divine weapons; entered Devaloka with Indra and was cursed by Urvashi; and his year as the eunuch Brihannala at Virat’s court
7) The Kurukshetra war where Krishna narrates the Bhagavad Gita and the battles fought
8) Life as the Administrator of Raja Dharma in Yudhisthira’s kingdom
9) The death and departure of a hero
Sources: 1.Mahabharata original English K.M.Ganguly a 19th century authorised version.
2. Mahabharata Modern Interpretation- Ramesh Menon
3. Vishnu Puranam / Bhagavata Puranam
4. Related literature on Yagnaseni – Draupadi et al
5.Mahabharata by Kamala Subramaniam…Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan