Mahabharata: Epic retold -3

Arjuna Versus Karna

Once inside, my brother had fought brilliantly. Ashwathma and the Bahlika prince Bhoorisravas had challenged him – only to retreat. Karna had then faced Arjuna. The two fought a dazzling duel.

Kauravas Cheer

But, as dusk approached, and Jayadratha was yet to be sighted, Krishna asked Arjuna to pretend to give up on his vow and withdraw, dejected. Seeing Arjuna turn back, the Kauravas had cheered. For a brief moment, the formation parted to reveal an ecstatic Jayadratha.

Krishna Takes A U-Turn

That was all Krishna needed. Whipping the chariot around with amazing speed, he presented Arjuna a clear shot of his quarry. The Gandiva spoke. Jayadratha fell, an arrow through his throat.

Bheema Introspects

Leaving Yudhisthira’s tent, I walk to mine. A vow fulfilled. Jayadratha killed. But has Abhimanyu been avenged? Will it return him to life? What about Kshatradharma? And Jayadratha himself? It occurs to me war is an endless cycle of revenge.

Bheema Offers Food To Drishtadyumna

Drishtadyumna is waiting for me at the tent. He must have come straight from the battlefield. I notice blood oozing from under his armour. Knowing no words to console him, I ask Visoka to bring food. Drishtadyumna eats absently. I am glad for the silence.

Drona’s Fall Certain

“Drona must fall,” he says, when he finishes. “I do not say that because of Kshatradharma alone. Drona must fall for us to win this war.” He adds as an afterthought, “I almost had him today.”

So What If Arjuna Kept His Word?

“Still, today we were lucky,”‘ I say. “Our losses weigh heavy, but Arjuna kept his word–“. “Yes, his foolish word. Though that was the work of midnight messengers. Not luck!”

What If Krishna Broke His Vow?

Seeing the expression on my face, Drishtadyumna says, “Krishna threatened to break his vow and fight if Jayadratha did not fall today.” Drona understood the danger. Krishna as charioteer was one thing, but allegiances would falter if he fought for us.

Division In the Ranks

The old brahmin knew how many under his command revered Krishna. They would find it difficult to raise a weapon against him. The Kauravas could lose divisions.

Wily Brahmin Who Bartered His Own

“The wily brahmin thought Jayadratha was a fair price to pay,” Drishtadyumna says. “Why do you think he kept away from the chakravyuha?” Ghatotkacha is right. We are worse than animals. We barter our own if it suits our purpose.

War Is Always Ugly

Seeing my troubled face, Drishtadyumna says softly, “War is ugly. There never has been one without treachery. There never will be. “The righteous war you seek exists only in Yudhishthira’s mind… Come, we must prepare for the battle at night!”

Om Namah Shivay

***Write ” Om Namah Shivay ” if you ask for God’s blessing on your life today. Please Like, Tag and Share to bless others!

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