Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Gurus of Hastinapur - Part 40

Princess Devaki, the princess of Mathura had chosen her husband. She had chosen to marry the handsome Vasudeva and she was thrilled with her choice.
She was about to go to Vasudeva, when there was a snarling noise and she turned and nearly quailed in fear to see King Somadatta, walking towards her.
Somadatta was about to catch the hands of Devaki and watched Vasudeva angrily. ‘This princess of Mathura is mine! I will marry her. NO ONE ELSE CAN!’ Somadatta said ferociously as he looked at the slightly aging Vasudeva.
SAYS WHO?’
All the people in the court turned to see King Sini pulling out his sword and walking towards Somadatta with utter hatred in his heart.
The princess has chosen!’ Sini said standing between Devaki and Somadatta, looking very dangerously at Somadatta. ‘And you cannot change it.’
And there was a glorious fight there in the kingdom of Mathura between Somadatta and Sini (who was fighting on behalf of Vasudeva), for princess Devaki. They fought for half of the day. And finally Sini threw Somadatta on the ground and at that time pulled the sword and hit Somadatta on the feet....As all the other kings come to the Swayamvara watched as Sini humiliated Somadatta there in Mathura....

I do not wish to kill you!’ Sini said angrily, as he walked away from there....

**************

The swayamvara was over, but Somadatta’s anger was not. Not by a long stretch.

Wanting revenge for his treatment in the hands of Sini, Somadatta prayed to the three-eyed Shiva for a son and when Shiva appeared before him, Somadatta had but one boon. ‘I need a son, who will strike Sini’s son, as a thousand people watch it and who will strike Sini’s son in the foot! Just like Sini did to me....’
***************
Right now in the war, Bhurisravas, could take it no more. He, the son was Somadatta was one of the protector of the Kaurava army. And Bhurisravas could just not take the fact that his army had been penetrated not once, but three times.....And it was the second time was the one which really really hurt Bhurisravas. Because the person who had come in was....Satyaki, the son of Sini....As far as Bhurisravas was concerened, the existence of Satyaki was an insult to Bhurisravas and his family....

Letting out a hoarse shout, Bhurisravas was watching expectedly as Satyaki came within his line of vision inside the Kaurava army.
It is my luck that you have come in front of me.’ Letting his arrow fire at Satyaki, Bhirusravas looked at Satyaki viciously. ‘Just like Lakshmana, the brother of Rama, killed Indrajit, I am going to kill you.’
Satyaki stopped the arrow effortlessly and snorted at Bhurisravas. ‘All you do is talk!’ Satyaki said. ‘Useless words.’ Satyaki fumed and he pulled his own arrow out.
The fight was long drawn and magnificent. Each killed the other’s horses and they even broke each other’s chariot.
Now having no charge, they pulled out their swords and metal caught metal caught in midair as the two warriors clashed...
But Satyaki was a tired man. He had just ploughed through the Kaurava army and he had exhausted most of his weapons.
And the inevitable happened. In the fight between Bhurisravas and Satyaki, Bhurisravas was slowly was gaining the upper hand.

Krishna sensed something wrong long before he could see it and even without meaning to he started turning the chariot, away from Jayadratha.
Krishna?’ Arjuna asked confused, clutching the Gandiva in his hands tightly.
Satyaki!’ Krishna said grimly, as he turned the chariot and was driving at top speed towards Satyaki.
And as they reached the place, the two Krishnas met with a terrible sight.
Bhurisravas was toying with the tired Satyaki, who looked like he had reached the limits of his endurance. Bhurisravas hit Satyaki hard on the shoulder with the hilt of his sword and Satyaki stumbled as he fell on the ground. Clutching Satyaki’s hair, Bhurisravas savagely pulled Satyaki through the battlefield, hitting Satyaki again and again and finally struck Satyaki on the foot....
Kill him Partha!’ Krisha said as he watched Bhurisravas.
Arjuna needed no further call and though he found Bhurisravas’s fighting techniques far superior to that of his own disciple, without a second thought, Arjuna affixed his arrow to the bow and let it fly...
Bhurisravas was shocked when out of nowhere, the arrow came and pierced his hand....sharply..
Taking in a deep breath, Bhurisravas turned and looked angrily at Arjuna. ‘YOU?’ Bhurisravas said drawing another breath to control the pain. ‘You have committed a great sin today, Arjuna.’ Bhurisravas spat out angrily. ‘You fought with a man who did not challenge you in battle. My fight was with Satyaki....’ Bhurisravas spat angrily, watching the nearly unconscious Satyaki lying on the ground. ‘..And you interfered. Though you had no business to!’ Bhurisravas said angrily. ‘ARE THESE THE RULES OF BATTLE THAT YOU FOLLOW?’ Bhurisravas demanded angrily.
Satyaki is my disciple.’ Arjuna roared angrily. ‘Mine! Someone for me to protect. He is here fighting this war for my sake. I am responsible for him.’ Arjuna continued angrily. ‘And now that you want to behead him with your sword, what am I supposed to do? Let you do that?’ Arjuna demanded angrily.
Bhurisravas watched Arjuna with growing anger as Arjuna continued. ‘I am inside the Kaurava army. Deep inside it.’ Arjuna said savagely. ‘Every one I see here, is trying to kill me. And you think is such a situation it is possible for me to engage just one person in battle. There are so many arrows, so many swords and spears flying at me from everywhere and I am engaged in battle with all of them. I judged wrongly. I thought that you were also one of the warriors attacking me!’ Arjuna spat out angrily.
Arjuna watched Satyaki who was still lying barely conscious on the ground. ‘And you are one to talk about rules. If you had just killed Satyaki, I would probably have not have even interfered...But you tried to humiliate my student by dragging him through the battlefield.’ Arjuna fixed the next arrow in his bow. ‘That I cannot allow!’ Arjuna said pointing his arrow at Bhurisravas.
Strange though it may seem, on hearing Arjuna's words, Bhurisravas lost all the will to fight back. Bhurisravas felt that there was nothing more he could do....At that minute then and there, Bhurisravas gave it all up. Bhurisravas threw his weapons and watched Arjuna, with bleary eyes. Bhurisravas sat down on the battlefield, and started to meditate.
Though Arjuna lowered his bow and did not fire, he was angry as he watched Bhurisravas who was now beginning to meditate. 
And you cheered the man who killed my boy when when my son was all alone inside this very battlefield.’ A hurt Arjuna snarled as he told Bhurisravas. Arjuna watched the man and realizing that Bhurisravas had chosen his own manner of death was about to turn away as he watched Bhurisravas one last time. ‘I fought you because Krishna asked me to. Now under the very guidance of Krishna, go and enter the regions of heaven like your ancestors.’ Arjuna told his enemy who was now deep in meditation.

And that was when Satyaki slowly got up from the ground. Stumbling from the ground, Satyaki pulled up the sword and Satyaki did something impossible....Satyaki beheaded Bhurisravas.

All the soldiers watched Satyaki in disgust at the crime that Satyaki had committed. Satyaki had just killed a man who was not even fighting. That was unacceptable.
Satyaki looked at them angrily. ‘This man cheered the killer of Abhimanyu. That is why he deserved to die. And in the heat of battle, we all do things like this.’ Satyaki watched the body of Bhurisravas in anger. ‘I should have done this myself when Bhurisravas was dragging me in the mud....But Partha robbed me of this glory.’ Satyaki said feeling disgusted with himself, as he pulled out the weapons from the ground, getting ready for battle again....

And so as the Kaurava army watched, Bhurisravas lay dead in the battle, killed by Satyaki, the grandson of Sini....

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Mahabharatha - Chapter 14 - The marriage of Kunti

Kunti muttered to herself, the mantra which was fresh in her mind. And unfortunately for Kunti she was doing that as she was staring at the Sun God....
For a few seconds, Kunti was shocked because she heard a sound behind her. Wondering who it was behind her, she whirled around startled and was shocked.....
Standing before her, completely thrilling her in his brightness was Surya, the Sun God. Kunti had no doubt in her mind that this was indeed the Sun God. The aura which emanated from the man was something that only a Deva could have. And the pleasant warmth coming off the man made it clear as to who he was....
Kunti was horrified, wondering what it was that she had done. She was just thinking about the Sun God....Was it....? Suddenly the words of the Sage Durvasa struck her – Any Deva would appear before you....
Kunti was struggling to control her raising panic, as the Surya Deva spoke. ‘Why have you summoned me, princess?’
Kunti was lost for an answer. She...? She blinked at the Sun God unable to reply as the Sun God continued. ‘Why did you invoke the mantra on looking at me?’ the Sun God asked in his melodious voice.
That was when Kunti found her voice. She realized that there had been no misunderstanding. The mantra of Sage Durvasa was devastatingly efficient. ‘It was a mistake!’ Kunti mumbled, falling at the feet of the Deva. ‘Please! It was just the foolish curiosity of young girl! Please forgive me, Arka.’ Kunti said watching the Deva. ‘I invoked the mantra without realizing its power.’
Surya was surprised and then he was perturbed. ‘I am afraid, I cannot leave you. The mantra binds me.’
Kunti was hyperventilating as Surya Deva continued. ‘The mantra which summoned me, requires me to give you a child, who has my powers.’
Kunti blinked as she was watching the worst nightmares come true. ‘NO....’
The Sun God unfortunately did not have much choice in that matter. He blessed Kunti with a son and vanished from there.
**********
Kunti watched the baby and was still reeling from the shock. The baby was powerful and was born with a naturally strong armour around his body. But Kunti was really not admiring the beauty of the child before her. What had started out as a simple case of curiosity was now rapidly out of hand.
She watched her palace and decided to do the most prudent thing, which she could do at that time.
Taking the child, she wrapped the child in her clothes and without anyone noticing, took the child to the river and put the child inside a box and let the box float through the river....
(The box was found by Adhiratha’s wife Radha and they adopted the child immediately. And because the child was born with a natural armour and earrings, they named him Vasusena meaning the one who is born with wealth. Even as a child, Vasusena spent hours praying in the Sun and would give anyone anything that they wanted, when he was praying. Indra, the Lord of the Devas, came to Vasusena and demanded the natural armour from Vasusena. Because Vasusena took away his armour and gave it to Indra, he was called as Karna – the one who peeled his own armour)
***********
Meanwhile back at Kuntibhoja’s household, Kuntibhoja was a worried man. Though his daughter was an unrivaled beauty and extraordinarily intelligent, he still had no offers for her marriage.

Kuntibhoja then hoisted a Swayamvara, which was attended by the kings of the country and there, Kunti married Pandu, the prince of the Hastinapur....

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Mahabharatha - Chapter 13 - The daughter of Surasena

Surasena, one of the chief of the Yadavas was a worried man. The promise made by him to his cousin Kuntibhoja, who was Surasena’s paternal aunt’s son, was the reason for the chief’s worry.
Surasena saw his two children – the elder daughter – Prutha and the younger son – Vasudeva
Surasena caressed the baby girl’s cheeks, lovingly, a tinge of sadness in his heart....
He had made a promise and he was bound by it...
Prutha!’ Surasena cooed the baby girl’s name as he cradled her in her arms. Knowing that he could not put off his promise anymore, Surasena carried the child with him to another anxious Yadava chief – Kuntibhoja who was waiting outside the chambers.
Mustering up a smile, Surasena handed over the girl baby to the trembling hands of Kuntibhoja.
She is my first born, Kuntibhoja!’ Surasena said his voice almost cracking with emotion. ‘Just as I have promised, I have given my child to you to raise as your own daughter!
Kuntibhoja took the girl in his hands his heart soaring with the strange emotion....He had no children, which was the sole worry always eating away his heart. He was cradling the child in his arms and saw the beautiful black eyes of the girl child look at him and nearly laughed with joy. Now no one, not one person, shall call Kuntibhoja as childless. He had a daughter, his own daughter....
Kuntibhoja was delirious with joy as he saw Surasena.
Kunti!’ Kuntibhoja said a beautiful smile lit up his features. ‘She is not Prutha anymore! She is my daughter! So she shall be called Kunti, the daughter of Kuntibhoja!’
And with that Kuntibhoja left with his daughter.
(In some versions, it is mentioned that Kunti was adopted when she was a teenager. Veda Vyasa’s Mahabharatha does not specify whether Kunti was a child or a teenager when she was adopted.)
*****

Kuntibhoja was the very happy man. He felt he was blessed. Ever since the day, he had bought Kunti into his house, his rule had flourished. And Kunti was extremely mature for her age.
Even in her teens, Kunti was responsible and practically looked after all the affairs of the kingdom. So much so that her father had made her in charge of the hospitality given to guests and Brhamins – a post which required a lot of diplomacy and tact.
The young Kunti took the post with the maturity that belied her age.
And it was during that time, that Sage Durvasa, came to the household of Kuntibhoja.
Kunti was very careful while dealing with the man. She had heard of the terrible temper of the sage and the consequences of angering that man. And Kunti gave it her best shot and was even able to keep the sage happy.....
The sage was pleased with the young Kunti and wanted to repay her for her intelligence. And so just before he was about to leave Kuntibhoja’s household, he called the young Kunti aside.
I wish to repay your kindness for looking after me!’ He said without any preamble.
Kunti watched the sage not saying anything. Presumably because there was nothing that she could say to this statement.
There is a mantra! Using this mantra, you shall be able to summon any Deva!the sage continued.
Kunti frowned. Deva? Why would she need to summon a Deva? Kunti wondered. But still she asked nothing.
The Deva shall come and bless you with children!’ the sage finished, a strange smile on his lips.
Kunti was actually aghast and struggled from not showing anything on her face. ‘Why are you teaching me this mantra, sir?’ she asked finally, watching the sage, a growing fear gnawing at her stomach.
The sage smiled. But it was not a happy smile. It was a smile of a man who genuinely knew more than her.
It is important that you know this!was all the sage said.
Kunti did not understand. But she knew that she could get no further explanations from the sage.
A steady fear was growing in her heart as she learnt the mantra that the great sage taught her.
Having completed his work there, Sage Durvasa walked away from the household of Kuntibhoja.
*******

The knowledge that Kunti got from the mantra, seemed too impossibly good for her to believe. Any Deva? The sage had told her that any Deva was bound by her summons! Was the mantra really effective?
Kunti was watching the rising sun from her window as a sudden thought assaulted her. Any Deva! Any Deva she called by the mantra would come to her.....

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Gurus of Hastinapur - Part 39

Satyaki and Alamvusha were having a spirited face off in the battlefield. But today Satyaki was unbeatable. All the duals that he had faced had only two outcomes – either the person who faced him was killed mercilessly or they retreated from battle. The battle with Alamvusha was no different either. Satyaki killed the four horses of Alamvusha and angrily pushed passed Alamvusha, and that was when Satyaki met Dusshasana. And Dusshasana was not alone. Dusshasana’s entire division tried to attack Satyaki in the hopes of containing the man.
They might have as well tried containing a hurricane for all the effect it had.....
Satyaki ploughed through Dusshasana’s division like it was nothing and killed four of Dusshasana’s horses and drove from there....towards Arjuna and Krishna.
As Satyaki was approaching the two Krishnas, he was intercepted by Bhurisravas. Arjuna saw this when Krishna spoke. ‘Partha!’ It was the Dark Lord. ‘Satyaki is here!’ was all Krishna told Arjuna.
But then both Arjuna and Krishna knew what that meant and that was not good at all....
How could Yudhishtara do this?’ Arjuna asked grimly. ‘How could Satyaki do this? I have Satyaki and Bhima here with me inside the Vyugha!’
Krishna said nothing as Arjuna was getting more and more angry. ‘Yudhishtara is all alone! Bhurisravas is going to attack Satyaki and I have not yet reached Jayadratha!’ Arjuna watched the sun furiously. ‘And I have precious few hours of the day remaining!’ Arjuna looked at Krishna. ‘What should I do, Krishna!’
**********
The way the battle between Karna and Bhima was going, it seemed almost certain that Kunti could have only five sons alive by the time the battle was over.
But Bhima had already run out of his weapons. So he did the next best thing – He almost challenged Karna to a fist fight. But there was a huge problem with that – Bhima was so strong that Karna could never survive a fist fight with Bhima. And Bhima remembering that Arjuan had vowed to kill this man, refrained from challenging Karna to a dual.
And so Karna had set his arrow on the practically unarmed Bhima and let his arrow go....
The arrow shot through and pierced Bhima and Bhima nearly fell unconscious.
Furiously, Karna remembered the promise that he had made to Kunti and angrily decided not to kill Bhima.
Instead of letting his arrow fly, Karna came close to Bhima and hit Bhima on the head with the horn of his bow. But that apparently was the wrong thing to do....Because Bhima was so angry with Karna that Bhima snatched Karna’s bow and hit Karna on the head with Karna’s own bow.
Karna was shocked and shouted angrily at Bhima. ‘Glutton fool! You have no weapons and nothing to me fight with! You have lived in the forest and that is your place. A battlefield is not a place for a person like you. You have no skills to fight in battle!’ Karna sneered angrily. Karna again pushed Bhima back with his bow. ‘You should fight others! Not with someone like me!’ Karna told Bhima angrily. ‘Go and the two Krishnas would protect you!’
Bhima actually had the audacity to laugh at Karna. There was not a shred of fear in Bhima’s eyes as he watched Karna. ‘How many times have you been defeated by me now, Karna?’ Bhima asked Karna softly. ‘And if you are really so desperate, why don’t you just fight with me with your bare hands!’ Bhima said his eyes nearly glowing with hatred. ‘Do you know Keechaka?’ Bhima finished. ‘After him...’ Bhima watched Karna almost with smiling insane eyes. ‘.....You.....I will just rip you apart as all these people watch!’ Bhima finished.
And that was when the two Krishnas came.
And it looked like Arjuna had really heard what Karna had been taunting Bhima with. Arjuna gave no respite to Karna and relentlessly fired into Karna.
Karna fell back and fell back hard.....
In fact Arjuna was so impossibly ferocious that Karna really did not have a choice and fled from the scene leaving Bhima.
Bhima nodded his thanks to his brother and he got on inside the craft of Satyaki who had also reached the place.
But Arjuna was not done with Karna. Not by a long way. Arjuna pulled his bow and fired at Karna, however, the arrow was again cut off by Ashwattama.
Snarling with anger, Arjuna saw Karna move away from the place and turned his attention to Ashwattama.

Having got the attention of Arjuna, Ashwattama now entered the division of the Kaurava army with plenty of elephants and chariots....As if that was going to stop the charging Arjuna....

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Gurus of Hastinapur - Part 38

As Karna was defeated by Bhima, five other of Duryodhana’s brothers – Durmarshana, Duhsala, Durmada Dudhara and Jaya, rushed against Bhima. And Karna also joined the five brothers. And as Bhima watched the six warriors coming towards him, he smiled…
Because Bhima remembered the vow he had made in the Kuru assembly when Duryodhana, this very vile Karna had humiliated his wife Draupadi. Bhima had promised that he was going to kill every single son of Dhirdarashtra, and right now five of them were coming towards him….
Bhima kept this word that day. Not only was Bhima able to resist Karna, he also killed the five sons of Dhirdarashtra who charged against him, trying to help Karna.

Karna was watching helplessly filled with guilt and shame that five warriors – people who were like his own brother were lying dead in front of him. All because they came to help him. They died because of him. Unable to control the hatred or the guilt he felt, Karna picked up his bow and this time knew that brother or not, this Pandava deserved to die….What Karna did not know that Bhima was fighting mad. Bhima could never forgive the haughty Karna and blamed Karna and Duryodhana for all the misfortunes that Bhima and his brothers faced.
The two warriors exchanged arrows almost as if they had both decided that only person was going to walk out of this fight alive. And impossibly, Bhima cut off Karna’s bow, again. Bhima was ruthless and killed Karna’s horses and charioteer.
Karna had almost reached his limit and desperately pulled he pulled the mace from his chariot. Bhima the mace warrior, stopped Karna’s mace with his arrows and sensing the desperation of the warrior before him, repeatedly fired more arrows into Karna. One of Bhima’s arrow even penetrated Karna’s armour….And Karna then realized that he could not defeat Bhima, not today. Karna ran away from the battlefield….
Duryodhana watched the entire scene and sent six more of his brothers – Chitra, Upachitra, Charuchitra, Sarasan Chitrayudha and Chitravarman. Duryodhana lost six of his brothers to Bhima that day.
Ridden with guilt and morose, Karna again tried to keep up the attack against Bhima and failed again.

During this battle, however the tide of the battle turned and Karna was able to break Bhima’s chariot. Uncaring, Bhima pulled out a sword from the chariot and attacked Karna. But Karna was too good for that and cut off the hilt of the sword. Karna knew that he could not give Bhima another chance and kept firing repeatedly. Bhima however rolled over as he managed to avoid most of the arrows and reached Karna’s chariot.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Gurus of Hastinapur - Part 37

Thanks to both Arjuna and Satyaki who had entered the Vyugha before him, Bhima had a relatively easy time inside the Vyugha.
Bhima razed through the Bhoja division and after destroying that division, he massacred the Kamvoja division. Bhima knocked out the last soldier in the Kamvoja division, when he let out a shout of victory.
And Bhima was shocked at the sight which met him. Because standing before him was Satyaki who was fighting with the Kaurava enemies.
Grinning, Bhima passed Satyaki and within some time, he saw Arjuna with Krishna…..
Bhima let out a roar of happiness, which was heard almost all over the battlefield.
Yudhishtara who was on the other side of the Vyugha, heard Bhima's roar and let a glorious smile cover his face. Bhima...My Bhima..He is a source of joy. He had never said no to me and he ploughed through this field, just for me and now he has given me the best news that a man could hope for. Bhima has spotted both Satyaki and Arjuna and they are both fine.
Yudhishtara closed his eyes, blessing his brothers and praying that Arjuna fulfilled his vow today….
*********
Hearing Bhima's shout almost terrified the Kaurava soldiers, as they ran away from there.
Karna angrily, came forward towards Bhima, trying to stop Bhima's carnage.
Bhima saw Karna and Bhima felt like he was going to burn up in his anger. This Karna….This very Karna was the reason for this war...This man misbehaved with his wife….
Bhima thought no more as Karna and Bhima exchanged arrows with great ferocity.  
Karna shot repeatedly and fired close to a thirty arrows at Bhima. However Bhima cut off the arrows and in no time at all, managed to even cut off the bow of Karna. As Karna was hastily picking up another bow, Bhima killed Karna's charioteer. Angrily Karna pulled a golden arrow and aimed it at Bhima and let go….That arrow should have killed Bhima. But today, Bhima fought marvelously well. Bhima shot seven successive arrows one after the other and cut off Karna's arrow.
Soon it became so bad that the area where Karna and Bhima were fighting, nothing was visible. Nothing other than a throng of arrows going in both directions….
Looking ferociously angry with each other, the two warriors were determined that there was going to be only one survivor in this battle….And Bhima now was completely filled with the battle rage. And that was when Bhima broke Karna's bow for the second time! As Karna pulled out another bow, Bhima killed Karna's charioteer (Bhima had already killed one charioteer. So probably, all chariots had two charioteers or someone from Karna's division had come to drive his chariot, after the death of the first charioteer.) and Bhima also killed all the four horses of Karna.
Duryodhana was speechless, as he saw Karna struggle against Bheema. He shouted to his brother Durjaya. 'Karna needs you, now! Go!'
After the dice game, Bhima had promised that he was going to kill all the sons of Dhirdarashtra and Gandhari. And on this day, Duryodhana himself provided an opportunity to Bhima by sending his own brother to fight Bhima. The battle between Bhima and Durjaya was ridiculously short.
Karna watched in horror as Bhima let out a roaring shout and killed Durjaya. Karna watched the dying man, grief blinding in his eyes and now he turned his attention back to Bhima. And Karna now wanted nothing more than to kill the Pandava….
Bhima did not even care as he pulled out his mace and threw it at Karna. The mace broke Karna's chariot.
Duryodhana could not believe it and foolishly sent another of his brother – Durmukha to protect his friend. The only thing that did happen after that, was that Duryodhana lost Durmukha to Bhima.
Karna continued to fight Bhima, but that day belonged to Bhima and Bhima defeated Karna….
Karna abandoned his chariot and ran towards the chariot of his brother – Vrishasena, who led him away from Bhima. Bhima felt like he had vanquished Karna and let out a roar of happiness.
Yudhishtara on the other side of the Vyugha smiled again, when he heard his brother's roar…..

**********

Duryodhana could not believe the mess in the Vyugha. Arjuna and Krishna themselves were unstoppable. Now that they were joined by both Satyaki and Bhima, the Kaurava soldiers had nowhere to run. No matter where the Kaurava soldiers ran, the Kaurava soldiers were caught by one of the three fighters and killed mercilessly.
Duryodhana ran towards his teacher – Dronacharya.
'What do we do?' Duryodhana asked breathlessly. 'I do not know what to do against them?' Duryodhana looked at Dronacharya with sudden anger. 'HOW COULD YOU LET BOTH BHIMA AND SATYAKI INSIDE?' Duryodhana shouted. 'You are Drona! You are our teacher! You are meant to be invincible and you have failed!' Duryodhana ranted for some more time. But then he realized that his shouting was doing nothing good to the morale of his men. 'What should we do?' Duryodhana asked finally, in a strangled whisper.
'It is not me!' Drona said. 'The dice that you let your uncle play, in the Kuru assembly! That is the dice which is coming back to you, in the form of these arrows!' Drona said watching Duryodhana without any expression.
'What should I do?' Duryodhana repeated as he watched Drona with a stone cold expression.
'Jayadratha!' Drona said quietly. 'We have to put all our soldiers to protect that man!'
As Duryodhana was proceeding towards Jayadratha, two familiar faces met him – Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas. They were the princes of Panchala and were the protectors of Arjuna's chariot wheels. It was just that today Arjuna and Krishna proceeded so fast inside the Vyugha that neither Yudhamanyu nor Utamaujas could accompany Arjuna. But they were making all efforts to get back to Arjuna.
Duryodhana angrily, let out a shout of anger as he attacked the two princes. In quick succession, Duryodhana cut off Yudhamanyu's standard and Yudhamanyu's charioteer. Yudhamanyu, jumped off from the chariot as he broke Duryodhana's bow. Duryodhana picked up another bow and attacked Uttamaujas. Duryodhana destroyed Uttamajas's horses. Angrily, both Yudhamanyu and Duryodhana picked up their maces and fought with each other. Duryodhana rendered both the princes without their chariots and without horses with his mace as he got on the chariot of Shalya and drove away.


Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas angrily got on other chariots and tried to go towards Arjuna...


Thursday, December 31, 2015

The stories of the single tusked Ganesha

In most of Ganesha’s idols, the left trunk of the Lord is found broken. There are many stories for this broken tusk.
The story in the Brahmanand Purana goes as this:
Parasurama beheaded the last one of his enemies and let out a shout of victory. He had just waged a war against Kartivirya Arjuna and the arrogant king’s entire army. And Parasurama had won. The burning revenge which had consumed him since he saw his father Jamadgni, lying dead in the mud with 21 scars all over his body, seemed to be slowly mitigating….Parasurama looked around tired as he saw the massacre around him and realized that none of his enemies were standing.
Parasurama fell down on the earth, feeling bone tired, as he glanced at the axe in his hands. He was called Parasurama – which meant Rama with the Axe. Parasurama considered this axe as the gift from Lord Shiva himself, who was also his teacher in martial arts and the arts of warfare. If anything else, it was Lord Shiva…Parasurama realized that he owed his entire victory to the three-eyed Lord.
Parasurama did not even blink, as he got up from the battleground and walked towards Mount Kailash, the image of Lord Shiva, almost drawing him like a magnet and the tiredness which he had felt, just vanished.
Very soon, the sage found himself just outside Kailash and was surprised when he found Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and Parvathi outside the door. Sage Parasurama was about to enter the house, when Ganesha stopped the man.
“You may not enter now!” Ganesha said sharply.
“Why?” Parasurama asked feeling completely bewildered.
“My parents are sleeping. I do not want anyone to disturb them, now.” Ganesha said firmly.
Parasurama looked at Ganesha, a tiny seed of anger building up. “I am Lord Shiva’s devotee and his student. I should be allowed to visit him anytime.” he said quietly.
“No!” Ganesha said with the same quietness and as one warrior would know another, Parasurama knew that Ganesha would not let him in….No matter what.
“Let me in or I will attack!” Parasurama said so quietly that Ganesha hardly heard him. But then Ganesha did not need to hear him.
Ganesha pulled up his weapon watching Parasurama. “No! I will not let you in.” Ganesha repeated.
And so the two men fought.
The two men matched each other, blade for blade, weapon for weapon. But Ganesha seemed like he was winning. Ganesha was more in control of himself and was able to fight wisely, observing Parasurama’s fighting technique.
Parasurama was however angry and he was getting more and more angry. He was being rash and could not believe that he was losing. In anger and desperation, Parasurama, hurled his axe at Ganesha.
For a second, Ganesha stood still. It took Ganesha less than the time for the weapon to leave Parasurama’s hands to realize that the axe was something which Parasurama had used on Lord Shiva, himself. (There are two versions on how Parasurama got the axe – according to one version, Lord Shiva challenged Parasurama to a fight and Parasurama was able to hurt Shiva with the axe and second version was that Lord Shiva presented the axe to Parasurama because of Parasurama’s extraordinary fighting prowess)
Ganesha realized that if he stopped the weapon, it would mean disrespect to his own father..
Ganesha closed his eyes, as he concentrated on the weapon.
The axe moved towards Ganesha and cut off the tusk of the elephant God, as it landed on the ground with a loud thud, waking up everybody around.
This woke up the Lord Shiva and the Goddess Parvathi.
Goddess Parvathi came out of the house first and all she saw was an axe with her son’s tusk lying on the ground.
Parasurama was shocked, when he saw the beautiful Goddess Parvathi, morphing before his very eyes. The eyes of the Goddess which were generally loving and peaceful, changed. And standing before Parasurama was one of the most dangerous warriors, Parasurama had ever seen – Goddess Durga, the warrior Goddess.
“You hurt my son!” The Goddess thundered looking at him angrily, bringing the weapon in a sweeping ark, as Parasurama watched the Goddess shocked, words utterly failing him. “For this, I will cut off your arms!” the Goddess said viciously, pulling her weapons.
“MOTHER!” Ganesha shouted, trying to get his mother to see reason. “It was a battle and it was me who let....” the words of Ganesha, were in vain.
Goddess Durga was burning with anger and she was in no mood to listen to anyone.
“Parvathi!” Shiva said sharply, trying to get the attention of the Goddess. “Please just look at Parasurama for what he is.”
For a huge second Durga watched Shiva and then she turned to Parasurama still angry. Taking a deep breath to control herself the Goddess turned to watch Shiva.
“Parasurama is my student and he is also like your son.” Shiva said quietly. “See him as your son and forgive him.” Shiva said.
Parvathi turned to Parasurama and then slowly, almost imperceptibly, Parasurama sighed in relief, as the Goddess changed to her normal form.
Parasurama realized that he owed his life to his teacher and....Ganesha.
Parasurama looked at Ganesha and realized what made the elephant headed God so special. It was out of respect for his father, that Ganesha had lost his tusk to the axe and despite that, Ganesha had still asked his mother to spare Parasurama's life.
Parasurama bowed to the elephant headed God with utmost devotion.
Ganesha watched the warrior-sage with a smile, as Parasurama handed over his beloved axe to him.
“This is yours, my Lord. Please forgive me!” Parasurama said, as Ganesha laughed.
The other story for the loss of Ganesha’s tusk is from the Mahabharatha, which involves Ganesha himself taking the tusk out to write the Mahabharatha, because that was the only pen, Ganesha could find to match the speed at which Veda Vyasa narrated the Mahabharatha.
There is also another story about the broken tusk:
Ganesha was very happy. His devotees had given him plenty of sweets and he had taken as many as he could and stuffed himself with quiet a lot sweets as he was walking home.
Naturally Ganesha was traveling on his vehicle – the mouse, and the two of them scurried along, back home.
As they were passing along a dense forest basking under the bright moonlight, out of nowhere, came a huge snake.
Naturally, Ganesha mouse trembled and ran from there.
Ganesha did not even have time to soothe his pet, as he fell down hard on the ground, and the sweets which he was carrying split and scattered all over the ground. But Ganesha had a bigger problem. As Ganesha had fallen, his stomach was pierced.
Quickly, Ganesha pulled the snake with one hand and tied it as a belt around his stomach to prevent any further damage.
However Ganesha’s misadventure was something which was not completely unobserved.
The moon God – Chandra Deva saw this and unable to stop himself, laughed. Angrily, Ganesha pulled his tusk and threw it at the Moon God, breaking the moon into many pieces. Chandra Deva was shocked but Ganesha was not yet done. “You will always be dark!” Young Ganesha cursed the Moon God.
Finally with the intervention of Lord Shiva, Ganesha agreed to modify the curse and so came the fifteen days of growing moon and the fifteen days of the waning moon.

And as Ganesha plucked his tusk and threw it at the Moon, 
it is believed as one of the reasons why Ganesha has only one tusk.

*This story is available on Kindle Amazon in the book the Lord of the Ganas: Story of Hinduism