Mahabharat and path of Righteousness
It’s said that in Ramayana Lord Rama lived as a normal human being while people said he is actually a god. But on the contrary in Mahabharat Lord Krishna said that he is a god but people chastesized him as Mayavi (player of tricks).
Not a single advice for the people has remained untouched in Mahabharat.
The first and foremost for a human being is having a right friend and maintaining the friendship till his existence in this world. When Karna was not allowed to completely participate in the swayamvar of Draupati since he is a Shudra born to Charioteer before people know his real antecedent although Draupati also for once was fascinated by seeing his personality. Lord Krishna only promptly told her not to get carried away by Karna. The only person who gave a friendly look towards Karna was Duryodhan and he made him the King of Angdesh and gave him a respect for his life. Once Duryodhan’s wife, Banumati and Karna were playing a friendly game of dice. During the game it so happened that Banumati was about to lose but at the same time she also saw Duryodhan coming and in order to give him respect got up.
Karna sensing that Banumati wants to run away since she is about to lose the game asked her where she is going and Banumati’s hip jewellery a pearl necklace came in the hand of Karna when he tried to stop her and the pearls were scattered all over the floor. On seeing this, a very friendly Duryodhan asked his wife Banumati, “intha malaiyai porukkavoa illai korkavoa (meaning whether I have to collect this pearls or make it as a necklace and give you back)”. This shows the complete confidence and trust Duryodhan had towards his friend Karna and he was pretty sure Karna only stopped her from getting up half way without completing the game and he had no other ulterior motives. I don’t think anybody else on earth can behave like this to a friend other than Duryodhan. Banumati got further bewildered with this reaction of Duryodhan.
When Kauravas and Pandavas decided to play a dice game Duryodhan told Shakuni to play on his behalf. Since Shakuni’s 100 brothers were killed in war against the likes of Bheeshma and others the dice was made with the bones of his brothers and hence he could get the same number asked by Duryodhan through the dice. But Yudishtir had all the ego in the world that was expected of a King and played the game on his own. No wonder he lost everything to Shakuni and Duryodhan including his 4 brothers, his kingdom and ultimately Draupati too. It is generally believed that during this gambling game Lord Krishna was only seated outside the gates of the closed Rajya Sabha but he only waited to come in after Yudishtir’s call to save him.
It also goes to prove the universal phenomena that god gives blessings or save you from despair when one calls for him. Had Lord Krishna played this gambling game on behalf of Yudishtir no world would have stopped him from defeating Shakuni and Duryodhan. Duryodhan called his brother Dushasan and ordered him to bring his slave Draupati to the Rajya Sabha since she was lost by Yudishtir in the gambling game. Draupati was very much hesitant to come with Dushasan and reasoned him about the grave blunder he is committed by calling her in front of her elders that too at a time of her menstruation. But Dushasan was not listening to one word of Draupati because his devotion to his brother Duryodhan and his orders were much more than the Kulmaryada (respect) of a woman.
After she came to the Rajya Sabha reluctantly Duryodhan ordered Dushasan to remove her saree since she is a slave. While Dushasan was removing her Saree Draupati did nothing else than closing her eyes and chanted Hare Krishna and she was saved by the divine saree provided by Krishna. When Lord Krishna came to Kaurava Sabha as an ambassador (shanti dooth) before the Kurushetra War Duryodhan challenged his guards to catch hold of Krishna and tie him as he was not happy with the fact that Lord Krishna wanted only 5 villages for the Pandavas. Lord Krishna in a fit of uncontrolled anger showed his Viswaroopa in the Rajya Sabha and nobody including Duryodhan were able to go near Krishna with his shining radiance.
Even a blind Dridrashtra was given divine vision by Lord Krishna to enjoy his Viswaroopa. While coming back to his normal human size Lord Krishna had a cut in his finger when his Divya Chakra disappeared. On seeing this Draupati immediatey tore her Saree pallu and tied it in the finger of Krishna. That time Krishna promised her that he will definitely help her in the needy hour for this gesture. That is the reason he helped her with a divine Saree when she was humiliated by Dushasan in the Rajya Sabha after the defeat of Yudhistir in gambling game. When Lord Krishna went to Karna and told him who he really was before the Kurushetra war he only chided Krishna for telling the reality and made him weak to fight with his own brother Arjun and not had a iota of doubt to leave Duryodhan and go back to his own brothers in the Pandava camp.
He respectfully told Krishna that when the whole world was against him for being a Shudra, Duryodhan was the only one who gave respect to him to lead a decent life. And he is duty bound to be with Duryodhan although he knew that he is now going to fight against his real brothers and his only purpose in life is only to repay the debt to Duryodhan. This shows that one should never forget the good deeds done by anybody in times of distress and also the fact how to maintain a healthy friendship and not leave him under any circumstances.
Mahabharata and Women
It is often said that women would never know how to keep a secret with oneself and whatever a woman knows will be passed on to others immediately. Karna after knowing his real antecedent was also made to meet his real Kunti mother through Lord Krishna. During that meeting Karna took a promise from Kunti that in the ensuing Kurushetra War she will have 5 sons intact and either him or Arjun will only die and others will be alive. He also took a vow from Kunti that all through his life he lived as a Shudra and what remained in his life was only humiliation and nothing else and requested Kunti to cry in the warfield with his dead body in her lap if he is killed by Arjun in the war.
As promised to Karna, Kunti wept uncontrollably by keeping the dead body of Karna in her lap and yelled, “Oh my son”. On hearing this, the Pandavas including Yudishtir and Arjun were very surprised to see that their mother weeping by keeping the dead body of their intimate enemy Karna in her lap. On this Lord Krishna also told them to leave Kunti as it is since she is only doing a prayachita for her good deeds. Further proding Kunti told Yudhistir that Karna was the Jyesht Kauntey (the elder brother of the Pandavas). On hearing this Yudhistir was very much petrified that all this while they were only waiting against their elder brother and also the fact that they are calling him a Shudra inspite of he being a Shatriya.
At that time Yudhistir gave a curse to Kunti that since you know the real antecedent of Karna but not informed to us and from this day no woman will be able to keep a secret in her mind for a long time. It is also normally observed in a war that once has to fight with a person who is of equal power to oneself. During the Kurushetra war, Nakul and Sahadev came to fight with Karna and Karna promptly told them to please go away from his as he cannot fight with people who are possessed with lesser power than himself. Thus also kept the promise given to Kunti that he will if required kill only Arjun in the Kurushetra and nobody else.
It also so happened that Drona was remaining unconquered in the Kurukshetra war since he is the guru of the Pandavas and being a Sishya of Parasuram was almost undefeatable. He immediately called Yudhistir who is synonymous with Dharma to go near Drona and say, “Ashwatama Ataha Kunjaraha (being Ashwatama is killed and Kunjaraha an elephant in a very low voice)”. Meaning Ashwatama is killed in the War. Just like any other father Drona was very much attached to his son Ashwatama. On hearing that his son Ashwatama is killed in the war Drona was totally devastated and threw away his bow and arrow in despair.
At that time, Draupti’s brother Drupad came and cut Drona’s neck with a sword and thus Drona was killed in the war. Arjun who revered Drona as his ardent Guru told Lord Krishna how you have advised say a lie to Drona that his son is killed in the war and advised Drupad to kill Drona. For that also Lord Krishna gave him a very justifiable reason. He informed Arjuna when your son Abhimanyu was killed in the Chakravyuha by all and sundry what Dharma you think they followed and Arjuna had to keep quiet.
When Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu was killed inside the Chakravyuha, Jayadrat was the chief conspirator of his death. It is said that while Arjuna’s wife Subadra was pregnant with Abhimanyu she was narrating him the story of how to enter into a Chakravyuha and come out of it successfully which is known only by Arjuna. Subadra narrated the story of entering into Chakravyuha to Abhimanyu who has in her stomach through divine blessings while she is about to tell him how to come out of Chakravyuha she felt tired and slept and thus Abhimanyu knew only how to go inside a Chakravyuha and not known how to come out of it. Here it is signified that when somebody hearing a story it has be listened to its fruition to have a complete effect.
Arjuna’s Vow in Mahabharat
On hearing that Jayadrat paved the way for killing Abhimanyu in Chakravyuha, Arjuna took a vow that he kill Jayadrat the same day or else he will end his life. Jayadrat had a unique blessing from the sages that whoever kills Jayadrat and his head fells apart the head of the person who killed him also will be split into pieces and die. Lord Krishna told Arjuna about the blessing Jayadrat has and told Arjuna to wage a bow whereby the severed head of Jayadrat will fall on the lap of Jayadrat’s father and he will also get killed. While Arjuna tried to kill Jayadrat it was about evening time and both Jayadrat and Arjuna fought tirelessly with a volley of bows from either side.
According to the rules of war one should stop the fight after the sunset. Just when Arjuna was tried to shot a bow towards Jayadrat Lord Krishna waved his hand to Surya the sun god and he disappeared. On seeing this Jayadrat became very happy and jumped with joy that now he will not be killed by Arjuna and he will also end his life according to his promise. When Jayadrat was very happy Lord Krishna played a trick and asked Suryadev to come back denoting that the day is not over. After Suryadev came back Lord Krishna ordered Arjuna see now Suryadev is back with his radiance and there stands Jayadrat and you can kill him.
Immediately Arjuna held to his bow and arrow and as advised by Lord Krishna Arjuna waged a divine bow through which Jayadrat head was severed and fell at the lap of his father and both Jayadrat and his father were killed at the same time. Since Jayadrat was fighting in the camp of Kauravas who are in the path of Adharma Lord Krishna played these tricks to reinstate Dharma.
Also there is a reason why this war of Kurushetra happened and what made Duryodhan to wage a war against the Pandavas. When Pandavas and Kauravas were in friendly terms before the Pandavas made a very beautiful palace and invited Duryodhan to have a look at the same. The palace was built with such rich architecture that there was a fountain in between the floor which was not visible due to its fine building structure. Duryodhan was walking normally and could not see the fountain and his clothes were completely wet. Now after becoming wet once Duryodhan also adored the superb architecture of the palace and he held on to his garment under his hip and was walking very cautiously this time not to get fooled by a fountain again and become wet. On seeing this scene from top Draupadi funnily said; Andhe ki beta bhi andha (meaning Duryodhan is also blind just like his father Drishrashtra). This incident also made Duryodhan made angry against Pandavas and in particular towards Draupati.
During the course of the war Duryodhan lost all his 99 brothers and also Karna. On this scenario, Gandhari who was living a life of a blind woman by tying a cloth around her eyes to respect the feelings of her husband Dridhrashtra. She ordered Duryodhan to take bath and come naked in front of him and she could remove her eye band and see him once and can offer divine powers to his whole body by her vision. When Duryodhan took bath and was walking to meet his mother Gandhari Lord Krishna saw him. Lord Krishna knew pretty well that if Gandhari gives a divine look at Duryodhan he will become all powerful and nobody will be able to kill him.
On seeing Duryodhan walking naked Lord Krishna asked him innocently where he is going like this? Duryodhan not knowing the trick Lord Krishna having in his mind told him that he is going to meet his mother as per his wish. Lord Krishna told Duryodhan immediately what you are doing even though Gandhari is your mother but she is also a woman and how can you meet her absolutely naked. Then Duryodhan asked Lord Krishna you tell me Vasudev what else can I do than obeying my mother’s advice.
Lord Krishna advised him to keep a leaf on his private parts and cover his body from thighs in order that he may not be fully naked before his mother. Duryodhan respectfully followed Lord Krishna and kept a leaf from thighs to his private parts and met Gandhari. On seeing Duryodhan like this Gandhari also chided him why you have come to meet me with a leaf on your private parts? In the ensuing battle between Bheema and Duryodhan wherever Bheema hit him with his Gadha he was totally undisturbed and laughing as if nothing has happened. Then Lord Krishna showed his hand to Bheema and suggested him to hit him in the thighs with his Gadha and Duryodhan was killed.
Lord Balaram was the guru who taught the act of fighting with Gadha to Duryodhan and he was very angry with Lord Krishna that you have taught Bheema to hit Duryodhan in his thighs which is not acceptable as per fighting with a Gadha. On hearing that Lord Balaram was angry with Lord Krishna as he revered him as his elder brother. Lord Krishna told affectionately to Balaram, “Tau a shatriya’s dharma is fight a war against their enemy but you went to a Theerth Yatra when Kurushetra war was happening. And also told him that you think Kauravas followed complete Dharma in this War? This prompting by Lord Krishna somehow pacified Balaram and he went out of the place in anger.
It is also believed before the Kurushetra War, Lord Krishna went to both Pandavas and Kauravas; what help they required from him to fight the war. Duryodhan in his foolish ways always thought Lord Krishna as a Mayavi (player of tricks). And told him what I will do by having you one person with me; and I require your Sena (army) for fighting the war. But on the contrary the Pandavas told Lord Krishna they have complete trust on him and if he is by their side they can win a war against anybody. Thus here too Lord Krishna signifies that he is not a human and a God. And it happened that the complete Sena of Lord Krishna was filled in the Kurukshetra War but he remained alive and also showed the path of victory to the Pandavas.
Article Submitted By – Balaji Sivaraman
Mr. Balaji is a resident of Chennai and has contributed articles in the past; for Speaking Tree and The Times of India. He is also a former employee of ECOS (I) Mobility & Hospitality, and helios and matheson information technology ltd. He studied at the University of Madras, Chennai