Should we all follow Arjuna the warrior?
This seems like a religion to me,
some form of Humanism, each person
being their own god, each person thinking they
are god, each person thinking they are more
powerful than God by being a war-rior
( war = Statist Killing of people) , yes killing
a human that God created. Each person being
their own god and as a result having
six billion rulemakers and six billion
different moral codes.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Arjuna (Sanskrit: अर्जुन, arjuna) is one of the heroes of the epic Hindu Mahabharata. His name means 'bright', 'shining', or 'silver'. The third of the five Pandava brothers, Arjuna was the youngest of the children borne by Kunti, first wife of Pandu.
Arjuna was a master archer and played a central role in the conflict between the Pandavas and their adversaries, the sons of Dhritarashtra known as the Kauravas. To begin with, Arjuna was reluctant to take part in battle because of the slaughter he knew he would cause in the enemy ranks, which included many of his own relatives. He was persuaded by his charioteer and close friend Lord Krishna, to change his mind. Their dialogue about issues involved in war—courage, a warrior’s duty, the nature of human life and the soul, and the role of gods—forms the subject of the Bhagavad-Gita, one of the key episodes in the epic Mahabharata.
Pandu had been cursed with death in case he ever indulged in intercourse. He therefore was unable to sire a child. His first wife, Kunti, had in her maiden days received a boon from sage Durvasa, which enabled her to invoke any deity of her choice and beget a child by such deity. Pandu and Kunti decided to make use of this boon; Kunti invoked in turn Yama Dharmaraja, Vayu and Indra and gave birth to three sons. Arjuna was the third son, born of Indra, king of the Gods.
Arjuna is depicted as a wholesome and well-rounded personality, a healthy mind in a healthy body, a person whom any mother, wife and friend would cherish and be proud of. The son of Indra, Arjuna is said to have been well-built and extremely handsome; something of a ladies' man, he married four times, as detailed elsewhere. Arjuna was also true and loyal to his friends; he enjoyed a life-long rapport with his cousin and brother-in-law, Sri Krishna. He was also sensitive and thoughtful, as demonstrated by his misgivings about the Kurukshetra war, which caused Sri Krishna to impart the Gita to him. His sense of duty was acute; he once chose to go into exile rather than refuse to help a brahmin subject, a story detailed elsewhere.
The Diligent Student
But it is as a warrior that Arjuna is best remembered. The foundation for his career as a warrior was laid young; Arjuna was an outstanding and diligent student, learning everything that his guru Dronacharya could teach him, and early attaining the status of "Atirathi" or outstanding warrior. A story regarding his concentration at study is known to every Indian schoolboy. Guru Dronacharya once decided to test his students. He hung a wooden bird from the branch of a tree and then summoned his students. One by one, he asked his students to aim for the eye of the wooden bird and be ready to shoot; then, when they were ready, he would ask the student to describe all that he was able to see. The students generally described the garden, the tree, flowers, the branch from which the bird was suspended and the bird itself. Guru Dronacharya then asked them to step aside, saying that they were not fit to shoot.
It was now Arjuna's turn. Guru Dronacharya asked him the same question: "What do you see, Arjuna?" He replied "I see the eye of the wooden bird". "What else do you see, Arjuna?". "Nothing". "Come now, Arjuna, describe all that you see". "I only see the black eye of a wooden bird". Such was his concentration! Dronacharya bade him shoot; needless to say, he hit the target exactly.
His skill in archery was to have an unlikely utility: it won him the hand of Draupadi, his first wife, the daughter of Drupada, king of Panchala. A contest was held by Drupada to choose a suitable match for his daughter. A wooden fish was suspended high above a pool of water; furthermore, the fish rotated in a circle. Contestants were required to string a heavy bow and then use it to hit the eye of the rotating fish. They were allowed to take aim at the eye of the fish only by looking at its reflection in the pool of water. Many princes and noblemen vied for the hand of the princess of Panchala. Some, (including Karna, another hero of the Mahabharata) were disqualified on grounds of supposedly low birth. However, although the Pandavas and their mother were in hiding at that time, Arjuna had prudently dressed as a high-caste Brahmin and was allowed to compete. This was just as well, since it was eventually Arjuna, the peerless archer, who alone was able to accomplish the set task; he won the hand of Draupadi.
All the five Pandava brothers had attended the tournament without informing Kunti, their mother, about it. They returned home in triumph, bringing the princess Draupadi with them. From outside the house, they shouted out to their mother: "Mother, you will never believe what we have got here! Make a guess!". Busy with her work, Kunti refused to be baited. "Whatever it is, share it between yourselves equally, and do not quarrel over the matter" she said. So seriously did the brothers take even this casual statement of their mother, that they resolved upon making Draupadi their common wife! It says something about the magnanimity of Arjuna that, having won his bride single-handedly, he 'shared' her with all his brothers willingly. One possible reason he took this action was to prevent any breach or jealousy arising between the brothers.
Adherence to his Duty
The brothers agreed upon a protocol governing their relatons with Draupadi, their common wife. An important point of this agreement was that no brother would disturb the couple when another brother was alone with Draupadi; the penalty for doing so was exile for a year. Once, when the Pandavas were still ruling over a prosperous Indraprastha, a brahmin came in great agitation to Arjuna and sought his help: a pack of cattle-thieves had seized his herd, he had recourse to none but Arjuna for a remedy. Arjuna was in a dilemma: his weaponry was in the room where Draupadi and Yudhishthira were alone together for the night, and disturbing them would incur the penalty agreed upon. Arjuna hesitated for but a moment; in his mind, coming to the aid of his subject in distress, especially a brahmin, was the raison d'etre of a prince. The prospect of exile did not deter him from fulfilling the duty of aiding the brahmin; he disturbed the conjugal couple, took up his weaponry and rode forth to subdue the cattle-thieves. Upon finishing that task, he insisted, in the teeth of opposition from his entire family, including the two people whom he had disturbed, upon going away on exile.
Apart from Draupadi, Arjuna was the husband of three other ladies, namely Chitrangada, Uloopi and Subhadra. All of these events occurred during the period when he went into exile alone after having disturbed Draupadi and Yudhishthira in their private apartments.
Chitrangada: Arjuna travelled the length and breadth of India during his term of exile. His wanderings took him to ancient Manipur in the eastern Himalayas, an almost mystic kingdom renowned for its natural beauty. Here he met the gentle Chitrangada, daughter of the king of Manipur, and was moved to seek her hand in marriage. Her father the king demurred on the plea that, according to the matrilineal customs of his people, the children born of Chitrangada were heir to Manipur; he could not allow his heirs to be taken away from Manipur by their father. Arjuna agreed to the stipulation that he would take away neither his wife Chitrangada nor any children borne by her from Manipur, and wed the princess on this premise. A son, whom they named Babruvahana, was soon born to the happy couple--he would succeed his grandfather as King of Manipur.
Uloopi: While Arjuna was in Manipur, Uloopi, a Naga princess of otherwise noble character, became infatuated of him. She caused him to be abducted after he had been intoxicated with potent concoctions; she had him conveyed to her realm in the netherworld. Here, Uloopi induced an unwilling Arjuna to take her for wife. Later, the large-hearted Uloopi restored Arjuna to the lamenting Chitrangada. Uloopi later did much to further the comfort and happiness not only of Arjuna, but also of Chitrangada and the young Babruvahana. She played a very major part in the upbringing of Babruvahana; she enjoyed much influence over him, and was eventually also to restore Arjuna to life after he was slain in battle by Babruvahana.
Subhadra: Arjuna decided to spend the last portion of his term of exile at Dwaraka, the residence of his cousins Balarama, Krishna and Subhadra, who were the children of his maternal uncle Vasudeva. Here, he and his cousin Subhadra fell in love with each other. This matter was abetted by Sri Krishna, who had always been particularly attached to Arjuna, and wished nothing but the best for his sister Subhadra. Knowing that the entire family would view with disfavour the prospect of Subhadra becoming the fourth wife of her cousin Arjuna, Sri Krishna facilitated the elopement of the couple and their departure for Indraprastha. In a twist to the tale, at Sri Krishna's advice, it was Subhadra who drove the chariot from Dwaraka to Indraprastha. Sri Krishna used this fact to persuade his family that Subhadra had not been abducted; on the contrary, it was she who had kidnapped Arjuna!!
A single son, Abhimanyu, was born to Arjuna and Subhadra. Parikshita, the posthumous son of Abhimanyu, was destined to be the sole surviving dynast of the entire Kuru clan, and succeeded Yudhistra as the emperor of Pandava kingdom.
After Arjuna's return to Indraprastha, several crucial incidents described in the Mahabharata took place, culminating in the exile of all the five Pandava brothers and of their common wife Draupadi. Arjuna's training during this period is particularly significant in the War to come.
Pashupata: During the fifth year of their exile, Arjuna leaves the others and proceeds to the Himalayas to do tapas to Lord Shiva, to obtain the Pasupata, Shiva's personal astra (i.e. "weapon"), one so powerful as to lack any counter-astra. After obtaining this astra, he then proceeds to Indraloka (heaven) spending time with his biological father, and acquiring further astras from the devas.
Urvashi's curse: While in Indraloka, Arjuna was propositioned by the apsara (nymph) Urvashi. Urvashi had once been married to a king named Pururavas, and had borne a son named Ayus from that liaison; Ayus was a distant forbear of Arjuna. Arjuna reminded Urvashi of this connection while rejecting her advances. Urvashi rebuked Arjuna and told him that a nymph is not concerned with earthly relations of any sort. Yet Arjuna could not overcome his scruples; "I am a child in front of you" he said. Chagrined at this response, Urvashi cursed Arjuna with impotence. Later, at the behest of Indra, Urvashi modified her curse to last only one year, and Arjuna could choose any one year of his life during which to suffer the life of a eunuch. This curse proved fortuitous; Arjuna used it as a very effective disguise for the period of one year when he, his brothers and Draupadi all lived incognito while in exile.
After spending 12 years in the forest, the Pandavas spent the thirteenth year of exile 'incognito', as stipulated by their agreement with the Kauravas. This year is spent by them in disguise at the court of King Virāta. Arjuna made use of the curse put on him by the apsara Urvashi, and chose this year in which to live the life of a eunuch. At the end of one year, Arjuna single-handedly defeated a Kaurava host that had invaded Virāta's kingdom. In appreciation of this valour, and being appraised of the true identity of the Pandavas, King Virāta offered the hand of his daughter Uttarā to Arjuna. Arjuna demurred on grounds of age as well as that Uttarā was like a daughter to him, owing to his having been (as a eunuch) her tutor in song and dance. He proposed that Uttarā should marry his young son Abhimanyu. This wedding duly took place; the posthumous son born of that union was destined to be the sole surviving dynast of the entire Kuru clan.
Outbreak of war
Upon finishing the period of their exile, the Pandavas seek the return of their kingdom from the Kauravas, who refuse to honour the terms of the agreement. War breaks out.
The Bhagavad Gita
Krishna's elder brother Balarama, ruler of Dwaraka, decides not to take sides in the war, as both Kauravas and Pandavas are kinsmen of the Yadavas. However, Krishna in his personal capacity decides to be near Arjuna and protect him. Krishna becomes Arjuna's personal charioteer during the 18-day war and protects Arjuna upon numerous occasions from injury and death. It may be mentioned that the term "Charioteer" in connection to Krishna is interpreted as "One who guides" or "One who shows the way"; apart from protecting Arjuna from all mishap, Krishna also showed Arjuna the righteous way by revealing the Bhagavad Gita to him in the hours immediately preceding the start of battle.
This happened thus: As the two armies fell into battle-formation and faced each other on the battlefield, Arjuna's heart grew heavy. He saw arrayed before him his own kinsfolk; the elders of his clan on whose knees he had once been dandled as a child; the very guru Dronacharya who first taught him to wield the bow all those decades ago. Will it be worthwhile, he asked himself, to annihilate his own kindren for the sake of a kingdom? Arjuna sees his spirit faltering at this crucial juncture just as the war is about to begin; he resorts to Krishna for guidance.
It is at this juncture that Lord Krishna reveals the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. It is beyond the scope of this page to detail the wisdom contained in one of the most revered of Hindu scriptures; it will suffice for our purposes to note that that the Lord deems it Arjuna's duty to struggle to uphold righteousness, without consideration of personal loss, consequence or reward; the discharge of one's moral duty, he says, supersedes every other pursuits, whether spiritual and material, in life.
The Bhagavad Gita is a record of the conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna. The relationship between Arjuna and Krishna is representative of what is ideal for all mankind: Man guided by God. The Bhagavad Gita records the Lord comforting and guiding a mortal who is facing a terrible moral crisis, and is an important scripture in Hinduism.
The Kurukshetra war
Thus fortified in his belief of the righteousness of his chosen course of action, Arjuna takes up arms and essays a vastly important role in the winning of the war by the Pandavas.
The slaying of Karna
Arjuna killed his uterine brother Karna, another formidable warrior who was fighting in aid of the Kauravas against the Pandavas. This act of fratricide was committed by him while in ignorance of the relationship.
Karna and Arjuna form a terrible rivalry when Karna seeks to revenge himself upon Arjuna's guru and the princely order for casting him out and humiliating him. Arjuna is further provoked when Karna insults Arjuna and the other Pandava's wife Draupadi and has an indirect role in the murder of Arjuna's son Abhimanyu in battle. They both bring this terrible and personal rivalry to a climactic battle of terrifying proportions. For a long, long time, powerful weapons are discharged by the two warriors at terrifying pace without relent. The prowess and courage of both is marvelled by the millions of other soldiers. Karna, knowing that his support for evil is his own doom, nevertheless mounts his best-ever attack and puts together all his power, force and knowledge into two volleys - one meant to dazzle Arjuna, and the immediate second meant to capitalize and kill his personal enemy. But the Lord Krishna saves his friend and devotee Arjuna at this crucial juncture, and though it may be said that Karna attained a superiority in skill to Arjuna, his sins too bear fruit. Arjuna is urged by Lord Krishna to kill Karna when he is attempting to raise his chariot, reminding him of Karna's own apparent lack of mercy and regard for the rules of war in the killing of Arjuna's son Abhimanyu in a terrible and brutal fashion. Arjuna thus kills Karna, and establishes his superiority as not just in skill, but in righteousness, the true contest of the Mahabharata.
The slaying of Jayadratha
In another memorable battle, it was Arjuna who annhilated a whole akshauhini, or hundreds of thousands (109,350) of Kaurava soldiers in one day to avenge the terrible murder of his son Abhimanyu, who was killed by all of the strongest warriors of the Kaurava Army, attacking simultaneously and especially when Abhimanyu was exhausted and deprived of weapons and trapped in a formation impossible for anyone save the Kuru general Drona, Arjuna, Krishna and Krishna's son Pradyumna to escape from. Having pledged to enter the fire if he failed to kill the Sindhu king Jayadratha, whom he held principally responsible, by the end of the day, Arjuna in the process kills an entire akshauhini, or more than hundreds of thousands of soldiers. In the climactic moment, the sun is close to setting and thousands of warriors still separate Arjuna and Jayadratha. Seeing his friend's plight, the Lord Krishna, his charioteer raises his Sudarshana Chakra to cover the Sun, faking a sunset. The Kaurava warriors rejoice over Arjuna's defeat and imminent death, and Jayadratha is exposed in a crucial moment, where upon the Lord's urging, Arjuna sets loose a powerful arrow that decapitates Jayadratha. This note of the act of protection of Krishna of his righteous friend and disciple will be incomplete without adding that Jayadratha's father, the old and sinful king Vridhakshtra had blessed his son that anyone who caused his head to fall to the ground would cause his own head to burst. Jayadratha's head is carried by the arrow to his own father's hands, who was meditating near the battlefield; who in his shock drops the head and himself dies of his own blessing.
After the War
After the conclusion of the war, the Pandavas take charge of Hastinapura, the undivided realm of their ancestors. Their great victory, the wide support they gained for their cause and the defeat of the many kings who had supported the Kauravas, all unite to make them feel that the time is right to hazard a further venture: the performance of the Asvamedha Yagna, or "horse sacrifice", whereafter the title of Chakravarti ("Emperor") may be assumed. The sacrifice required that after preliminary rituals, a horse is let loose to wander where it will. The kings upon whose lands the horse wanders all have a choice: they may either accept the master of the horse (in this case, Yudishthira, eldest of the Pandavas) as their own leige lord and offer their submission to him, or they may offer resistance and wage war. Arjuna led the armed host which followed the horse around its random wanderings. He had occasion to receive the submission of many kings, either without or following an armed confrontation. He was thus instrumental in the expansion of the Pandava domains.
In course of time, the Pandava brothers decide, at an advanced age, to renounce the world. They entrust the kingdom to Parikshita, the son of Abhimanyu and grandson of Arjuna. The Pandavas, including Arjuna, then retire to the Himalayas and eventually depart the world.
“...I realized I had to gain more knowledge to protect against evil and to protect myself from not becoming evil myself. This is our major goal in life...\" Terry Lee