Thursday, September 18, 2008

PDE Mahabharata: Krishna and His Army

Reading Guide. As you have already seen, the relationship between Krishna and Arjuna is very intense, and that will become even more clear in this episode when, given a choice between Krishna alone and the whole army of Dwaraka, Arjuna is glad just to have Krishna by his side.

Source. The Story of the Great War by Annie Besant (1899). [400 words] You can find out more about the author here: Annie Besant.

War | 55. Krishna and His Army | Mission

Now Duryodhana and Arjuna alike desired to secure the alliance of the mighty Keshava [Krishna] and both, setting out for Dwaraka, arrived there on the same day and found Shri Krishna sleeping. Duryodhana thereupon haughtily seated himself on a handsome seat at the head of the bed, while Arjuna, bowing humbly to the sleeper, stood with joined hands at his feet.

As he awaked, his eyes fell first on Arjuna, and, after greeting them, he asked the reason of their visit. Duryodhana answered first, claiming the aid of Shri Krishna in the impending war and urging compliance with his request on the ground that he was the first to ask assistance. The Lord accepted his assurance that he had arrived first, but said that Arjuna was the first to be seen by him on awaking; he should therefore help both. He had an army of ten crores of mighty soldiers that he would give to one suppliant; he himself, unarmed and not fighting, he would give to the other. Arjuna, as the younger, had the right of choice.

"You may, Son of Kunti, first select whichever of these two commends itself to you."

Arjuna, without a moment's hesitation, selected the adorable Krishna, whom he loved above all things on earth, while Duryodhana joyfully accepted the powerful army which fell to his share. Krishna's brother Baladeva refused to fight on either side, and Duryodhana departed contentedly home with his fighting men, far preferable, to his mind, to Shri Krishna who would not fight.

Then Shri Krishna asked his friend why he had selected himself, who would not engage in the battle, and Arjuna answered that he could himself slay his enemies, but he yearned for fame, and that followed Keshava; long had he wished that he should drive his car in battle.

"I therefore ask you to fulfil my desire, cherished for a long time."

"I will act as thy charioteer," replied the Lord. "Let thy wish be fulfilled."

Then with a glad heart Kunti's son, accompanied by Krishna as well as by the flower of the Dasharha [Yadava] race, came back to Yudhishthira. With a glad heart, in truth, for where Shri Krishna was, there was victory.

War | Krishna and His Army | Mission

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