Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Gurus of Hastinapur - Part 34

Satyaki spoke with Bheema, the third Pandava, ensuring that the man would protect his brother, Yudhishtara when Satyaki was going inside the Vyugha.
Yudhishtara turned to Dhrishtadhyumna and Vasudhana. 'We are going to attack the Kauravas, giving Satyaki a diversion, to enter the Vyugha!'
However Yudhishtara's measures were unnecessary. Satyaki himself, destroyed the Kaurava first line of defence which was about to attack him, even before he entered the Vyugha.
Satyaki eyed the Kaurava army and saw that the path which his Guru – Arjuna had chosen, which was marked by the most destruction. Realizing that it was the easiest way inside the Vyugha, Satyaki directed his charioteer towards that direction.
But unfortunately for Satyaki, he met the same problem that Arjuna had – Dronacharya.
Dronacharya fought with his experience and he realized that Satyaki had been a perfect student of Arjuna. Satyaki had learnt all the tactics brilliantly from Arjuna and used it to the same devastating effect....
But then Drona was hardly a man who could be trifled with. He had been the teacher of Arjuna and had many tricks up his sleeve. Drona was able to effectively halt the progress of Satyaki, who was now looking like an angry snake, as he was eying the teacher.
Drona smirked at Satyaki. 'Your teacher ran away from our battle like a coward! He completely avoided even fighting with me!' Drona said in a sneering tone.
Drona was definitely expecting Satyaki to get more angry and expected him to fight recklessly, hoping to find some flaw in Satyaki's fighting technique.
In fact what happened was quiet the opposite....Satyaki laughed jovially. 'I am here because my king ordered my inside the Vyugha! And I was losing precious time fighting with you! If Arjuna, the great archer, himself, was a coward and ran away from you, I am after all his disciple and I have no problems in following my teacher's footsteps!'
Satyaki turned to his charioteer and whispered quietly. 'The Valhikas and the armies of the people from the South – pass between the two divisions – their elephants and the other animals, would give us cover from Drona and drive towards Karna's division!'
The charioteer nodded as Satyaki fired a few random arrows towards Drona. 
Drona frowned and was trying to stop the progress of Satyaki when he saw Satyaki's chariot swerve. Drona suddenly realized what Satyaki was about to do and shouted to his men, trying to close the gap between the two divisions....
But though Satyaki's horses were not as fast as Arjuna's horses, they were definitely quick and before the order of Dronacharya could be carried out, Satyaki was already inside the Vyugha.....
Satyaki grinned as he saw Drona following him angrily being cut off by the Kaurava's troops themselves. 
Satyaki turned his attention to Karna's troops when he was stopped by someone else...Another Yadava – Kritivarman.
The two warriors exchanged arrows angrily and quiet unexpectedly Kritivarman broke Satyaki's bow.
A lesser warrior would have been shocked unable to react. Satyaki just pulled his shaft and threw it at Kritivarman. Kritivarman watched shocked and hastily cut down the shaft with his arrows when Satyaki pulled out another bow from his chariot.
Before Kritivarman could even blink, Satyaki pulled out his broad arrow and killed Kritivarman's charioteer.....
Kritivarman was about to aim the arrow and fire at Satyaki, when he felt his chariot move wildly out of control. He realized what Satyaki had done and angrily abandoned his weapons trying to control his animals.
Satyaki watched Kritivarman with a smile and moved away from there....
Kritivarman got his horses under control and pulled out his bow and arrow when he saw Satyaki was already inside the Vyugha. Angrily he turned his attention to Bhimasena and the other Pandava warriors who were following Satyaki.
Kritivarman almost routed the Pandava soldiers who almost raced back to their own line instead of trying to follow Satyaki. 
Kritivarman watched the running Pandava army with a jeering smile, when he made a split second decision and followed the Pandavas.
There he faced the three Pandava brothers – Nakula, Sahadeva and Bhima.
Kritivarman almost destroyed Nakula and Sahadeva, before they could even realize what was happening. And that was when he met Bhima.
Bhima and Kritivarman fought exceedingly well, but in no time at all, Kritivarman cut off the bow of Bhima. Kritivarman smiled pulling out his arrow and had almost marked Bhima, when there was a loud shout from his side....
Yudhishtara screamed loudly as he came blazing with his chariot and bow and arrow. Yudhishtara quickly repelled Kritivarman and by this time Bhima recovered and threw his shaft at Kritivarman.
Kritivarman was now on fire...
He was about to attack Bhima, when Shikhandin interfered.
The two angry warriors fought, but Kritivarman was the better warrior and in a few minutes, Kritivarman hurled his arrow with so much force and accuracy that it penetrated Shikhandin's armour and Shikhandin almost passed out on his chariot.....
And that day Kritivarman singlehanded fought the Parthas, Chedis, Srinjayas and the Kekayas and routed them all.....
The screams of the Pandava soldiers running in fear was being heard everywhere, when something changed all that....

Satyaki who was right now deep inside the Vyugha could not understand why he felt something was different. And that was it struck him...The cries of the warriors....theses were the Pandava soldiers. Realizing that Yudhishtara's orders were immaterial right now, he turned to his charioteer.
'TURN AROUND!' He shouted.
'My Lord?' the charioteer asked puzzled.
'NOW!' Satyaki fumed as the charioteer did not even ask any questions and turned the horses.

Kritivarman's wish was granted as he finally got to meet Satyaki again in battle, blazing angrily, coming towards him....
Satyaki lost no time and did not even waste time attacking Kritivarman. In a movement too quick, he killed all the horses of Kritivarman. Before Kritivarman could react, Satyaki destroyed Kritivarman's bow.....
Satyaki was angry and fighting mad. He hit Kritivarman's charioteer and all the other warriors who were protecting Kritivarman's chariot.....He was about to destroy all of them when he remembered Yudhishtara's order.
Huffing angrily, as he looked at the running Kaurava soldiers, Satyaki realized that his help was no longer needed here.

Satyaki turned back...into the Vyugha....

Monday, October 5, 2015

The son of Parvathi - Part 1 of 2

Jaya and Vijaya, the two guards of Goddess Parvathi were speaking with her. 'Devi! How is Kailash?'
Parvathi smiled unable to stop herself. Her smile saying a lot more than she ever could.
The beautiful Kailash mountains were a breathtaking sight and it never failed to impress Parvathi. After her marriage with Shiva, living with Shiva, his ganas and his sages Parvathi loved living here. She smiled as she looked around the snow clad mountains and knew that this would be the case, always....
'Shiva, the ganas, Nandi....they are all fine!' Parvathi said unable to stop smiling. 'Do you know, how much Nandi loves the Lord?' Parvathi said with amazement. 'Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I would never have believed it!' Parvathi said shaking her head. Parvathi was always struck by how much the Nandi loved Shiva. The devotion that the half man, half bull had for Shiva was something that astounded Parvathi no end.
'And now that I am the consort of the Lord, Nandi's love is for me too!' Parvathi said with a radiant smile.
Jaya frowned. 'But they are all Shiva's gana's, Devi!'
'So?' Paravathi asked quizzically.
Jaya and Vijaya said nothing as they went away from there......

'I am going for a bath! Please stand guard outside' Parvathi said as she found Nandi, who was waiting on her today.
'Yes,Devi!' Nandi said nodding his head.
'Let no one in!' Parvathi said with a smile.
'Never!' Nandi said vehemently and then realized that the Goddess was making fun of him and she walked away.

Nandi was still standing guard outside when he felt rather than see the Lord come towards him. Nandi turned right sharply and saw that it was indeed Lord Shiva back. The man rushed forward bowing to the Lord.
'My friend!' Shiva acknowledged Nandi as he walked inside his home with a smile.

Parvathi was decking herself when she heard some noise in the outer chambers. Parvathi almost pulled out her weapon when she realized exactly who the person was.
Shiva was very surprised to say the least when he saw his wife looking angrily, almost reaching out for her weapon. 'What are you.....?' Shiva started.
'Shiva!' Parvathi said. 'Its you!' she said breathing in deeply.
Shiva said nothing as Parvathi continued. 'I asked Nandi to stay guard while I went and took a bath!' she said finally.
Shiva grinned. 'You expected Nandi to stop me from entering my own house?'
Parvathi was annoyed. 'I asked him not to let anyone in!' she muttered as she walked inside.
Shiva laughed saying nothing.
Parvathi was still annoyed.....

But they are all Shiva's gana's, Devi....Jaya's words were somehow ringing in Parvathi's mind as she was unable to shake it off. She watched Nandi who was outside and somehow the words still kept repeating. Parvathi suddenly nodded to herself, her jaw in a set firm line.....

The boy that Parvathi had created from her own body looked handsome beyond words. His twinkling and intelligent eyes masked the ferocious strength and valour that the boy had....Parvathi smiled as she admired the boy for one last time and then she breathed life into him....
'Mother!' the boy said and Parvathi felt a happiness she had not felt ever before in her life.....
'You are my son!' Parvathi said unable to stop gazing at the boy. 'You are mine!' Parvathi said.
'Mother! Why did you create me?' the boy asked as his eyes searched for answers.
'I needed someone for myself!' Parvathi said simply. 'Someone who would answer only to me!' she continued.
'Command me, mother!' the boy said. 'What should I do?'
Parvathi smiled to herself. 'I am going to take a bath! Please make sure that no one comes inside, without my permission!' Parvathi picked up a strong stick from the ground. 'Take this and stay on guard!'
The boy took the stick and went outside, looking around.
Parvathi watched the boy for one last time and then she went inside...


Shiva was back and as usual was about to go inside his house when he saw an unusually handsome and strong boy outside his house. The boy's eyes were shining with curiosity as he was looking around. More importantly, Shiva knew that the boy was standing outside his house with a specific reason...
'Who are you?' Shiva asked, the boy.
'My mother has asked me to stay here and stay guard! She wanted no one to enter inside without her permission!' the boy looked at the Lord. 'Who are you?'
'I am Shiva!' Shiva said trying to walk inside, when the boy hit Shiva with this staff.
Shiva winced and was shocked as he watched the boy twirling the staff.
'No one enters without my mother's permission!' the boy said every word clearly.
Shiva was blazing as he watched the boy. 'I am Shiva, the husband of Parvathi! How dare you stop me from entering my own house?' he demanded angrily.
The boy hit Shiva with the stick again, pushing Shiva back, saying nothing more.
Shiva looked at his ganas who were watching the entire scene with horror.
'Ask who that boy is and what is doing here!' Shiva said, almost snarling at his ganas, as he walked away from there....

The ganas went towards the boy. 'Who are you? What are you trying to do?' the boy looked at the ganas as if he was already picking out targets, as the ganas continued. 'If you want to stay alive, walk away from here!' they said trying to threaten the boy.

The boy watched the ganas coolly. 'Who are you? What are you trying to do? And why are you fighting me?'

The ganas looked at the boy warily. 'We are the ganas of Shiva! And we are the ones who look after him! And we will kill you if you do not move away from the door!' the ganas said looking at the boy....

The boy said nothing as he clutched the stick tightly studying the ganas, waiting for any of them to make the first move....

The ganas however first went to Shiva. 'That boy.....' the ganas said telling Shiva everything that had happened.
Shiva looked at the ganas contemptuously. 'I want him out of there!' he said deliberately and refused to hear anything more....

The ganas went back to the boy and this time there was a ridiculously short battle between the boy and the ganas.....and the ganas were defeated....None of them wanted to fight the boy who was all alone and added to the fact, the boy was a very good warrior....

The ganas looked at the boy with troubled eyes nursing injuries. 'That man is Shiva, the husband of Parvathi! Why do you not let him enter his own house?' one of them asked angrily.

The boy stopped for a few seconds looking uncertainly.....


Parvathi frowned as she thought she heard something from outside the house. She called her friend. 'Find out what is happening outside!' she snapped.
Parvathi's friend went outside and she saw all that had happened till now. Angrily, she came back inside the house. 'These ganas of Shiva!' she blazed angrily. 'They want to enter your apartment! And they don't care whether you want them inside or not....And your son! They fought with him too!' she said angrily.

Parvathi heard this and a slow anger made way into her heart. 'Shiva tried to force his way inside his own house! He did not even wait!' she said angrily. She turned to her friend, with her anger almost threatening to consume her. 'Go to my son and tell him that no one is to enter my house, without my permission! NO ONE!' She said finally.

The friend raced outside to the boy. 'Sir! Your mother tells you that you are not to let anyone force their way inside the house!' the friend saw the ganas who were limping and wincing in pain. 'Who are these ganas before you! Can they really hope to win against a person like you?' the friend asked....


The boy smiled as he looked at the ganas. 'You are the ganas of Shiva and I am the son of Parvathi! You have to carry out the wishes of Shiva and I am bound to Parvathi! So you do what you think is right and I will do what I am supposed to do!' the boy said holding his staff tightly as he looked at the ganas with a dangerous smile on his lips...


The ganas went back to Shiva told Shiva all that had happened and the what the boy had told him. For a few seconds Shiva looked at his ganas not able to talk.
'Parvathi!' Shiva whispered finally, to himself, shaking his head.
Shiva took a deep breath turning to his ganas. 'That boy is preventing me from getting inside my own house!' Shiva looked at his men fiercely. 'The boy....' Shiva took a deep breath trying to control himself. 'wants a war! And he shall have it!'


Nandi looked at his men and then back at the boy. 'I will go and fight him first!' Nandi looked at Bhringin. 'If I fail, you will follow me!'
Bhringin nodded as Nandi came forward.
Nandi got down and tried to catch the boy by his feet. Realizing that the boy was more powerful, Bhringin charged at the boy, catching his other leg.
The boy saw the two men and hit them hard with his stick. In pain the two warriors let the boy go. Scrambling back, the boy picked up an iron club from the ground and twirled it around watching the men.
The other ganas also started attacking the boy....and it definitely looked like it was going to be an uneven battle. But then nobody knew what the boy was capable of....And the ganas were in for a shock. A very rude shock.
The boy fought with natural skill of a warrior and was fighting mad....He almost fought like he was possessed and no one...or all of the ganas together were able to contain the boy. The boy did not care who he was facing or what they were doing. He twirled the iron club and the damage he did with it was incalculable. Most of the ganas were hurt badly....some with broken bones and many with shattered knees...
The ganas were frankly scared as they even heard the sound of the iron club and most of them fled from the battlefield.
The boy looked around as he watched the ganas. He looked at the doorway once more and picked up the stick that his mother had given him and along with the iron club, he walked back the doorway. He stood there with a proud face as he watched the ganas run....


Narada, the divine sage who roamed all over the worlds was watching the battle and he was frankly terrified of what he was watching. The ganas....the ganas of Shiva were being routed in battle and it was not done by some huge demon or any powerful being...It was done by a little boy, who wanted to fulfill the wishes of his mother. Narada looked around wondering what to do and decided that battle was definitely not the way, this matter could be resolved.....

'Lord Brahma!' Narada said with any preamble as he met his father at Satyaloka. 'We need your help before things really go out of hand!' Narada continued.
'What happened?' Lord Brahma asked.
Narada sighed...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Gurus of Hastinapur - Part 33

Meanwhile outside the Vyugha, Bhima was fighting with Almabusa, a Rakshasa, who practiced magic. It was Alambusa with his magical powers and Bhima with his brute force.
Alambusa looked angrily at Bhima. 'You killed my brother Vaka in the forest! I was not there at that time! But today you shall face the Vaka's revenge! I am going to kill....'
Alambusa never completed the words because Bhima had already started fighting. The first of arrow of Bhima nicked Alambusa on the shoulder. Alambusa pulled out the arrow from his shoulder angrily and using his magical powers, he turned invisible. Turning invisible, Alambusa started firing arrows on Bhima.
Bhima was flummoxed for all of two seconds, but then he did not care. Subconsciously, he started firing his arrows at the places by calculating the trajectory of the arrows being fired on him. And this proved more damaging for the Kaurava army than anything else Bhima did. The arrows that Bhima fired not only did they hurt Alabusa, but when Alambusa vanished from that place, it hit the other Kaurava soldiers, killing countless soldiers on the spot.
Alambusa tried fighting back but he was unsuccessful at fighting against the Pandava and eventually fled from Bhima.
But then Alambusa did not run from the battle. He ran to another side of the battle and as his luck would have it, there he met Gatothgaja, the son of Bhima.
Like Alambusa, Gatothgaja was well versed in magic. The illusions that the two warriors created in the battlefield was breathtaking....
Alambusa stopping the magic tricks, and already angry with the defeat in the hands of Bhima engaged Gatothgaja in a physical battle.
Almabusa all but destroyed Gatothgaja as the Pandavas watched.
'Save him!' the Pandava soldiers shouted as they rushed towards Alambusa. Alambusa got flustered as he saw all the Pandava soldiers rushing at him.
The moment of hesitation was what Gatothgaja needed and he counter-attacked Alambusa. And Gatothgaja came back with a vengeance. Gagatohgaja fought with Alambusa so well that the Pandava soldiers almost applauded as Alambusa,unable to cope up with Gatothgaja, ran away from the battle for the second time.....

Again in another part of the battlefield, Drona was fighting the battle as if he was going to destroy all the Panchalas today. Satyaki was the only person who was able to contain the teacher and he successfully was rallying the troops to counter the attack of the teacher. Yudhishtara watched the fight with bated breath and thought that Satyaki was going to turn this fight in their favour.
That was when Yudhishtara was shocked out of his wits when he heard the Panchajanya sounding loudly from the field.
The Panchajanya was so loud that it drowned out the sound made by the sound of the Gandiva.

A gnawing fear developed in Yudhishtara's heart as he tried to search for Krishna's chariot inthe battlefield. But there was so much smoke and fire that nothing was visible anywhere. The fear grew into terror as Yudhishtara wondered whether the Dark Lord was calling for help because something had happened to Arjuna...
Without thinking, Yudhishtara drove his horses towards Satyaki.
He found Satyaki who had just pushed the teacher's forces back.
'Arjuna needs your help!' Yudhishtara blurted without thinking.
Satyaki could scarcely even understand what Yudhishtara was saying.
'What?' Satyaki was sure he had heard something wrong.
'I can heard Krishna's Panchajanya, but I do not hear the Gandiva! I think...' Yudhishtara chocked as he swallowed. 'I think something terrible must have happened to Arjuna and Krishna is asking for our help! Please go...Please go and save my brother!' Yudhishtara pleaded.
Satyaki was looking at Yudhishtara like he had lost his mind as Yudhishtara continued rapidly. 'Arjuna told me that you were one of the best in battle! And I also know how much Arjuna means to you! He is like your brother, your friend and your mentor! Please go and protect him!' Yudhishtara pleaded.
Satyaki was honestly lost for words. 'He is Arjuna!' Satyaki finally spluttered. 'He does not need out help! And he has Krishna with him!' Satyaki said. 'Nothing will happen to the two of them, my king!' Satyaki watched Yudhishtara was steadily looking depressed. 'Besides, today in the morning, Arjuna called me aside and told me that I am not to leave your side today! Drona has promised to take you captive! If I leave you alone with Drona in a form like this, Arjuna will be very angry with me! Please king, do not ask this from me!'
'I have Bhima and Gatothgaja with me!' Yudhishtara said rapidly. 'Besides the Panchalas and Nakula and Sahadeva would not let anything happen to me! Please!' Yudhishtara said with tears in his eyes. 'My heart is restless and I will not know peace, until I know what has happened to my brother! Please Satyaki! I am your king! Do not say no to me!' Yudhishtara saw Dhrishtadhyumna coming in sight before him. 'This fire born prince, is born to kill Drona! As long as I have him near me, nothing can happen to me! Please Satyaki! Please!'

Satyaki sighed. He realized that nothing he said would make the slightest difference to Yudhishtara. He looked at the king realizing that if he went inside the Vyugha after Arjuna, Arjuna was going to be very angry with him for leaving Yudhishtara at the mercy of Drona and if he did not go, the Pandavas would think that he was a coward and that he was unwilling to get inside the Vyugha.
Satyaki unhappily nodded as he looked at Yudhishtara.
Yudhishtara beamed happily. He turned to his soldiers. 'Have Satyaki's chariot filled with five times the number of weapons that he has right now!'
The weapons were filled and after the other preparations, Satyaki was off inside the Vyugha.....

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Gurus of Hastinapur - Part 32

After the horses had been rested, as if he had all the time in the world, Krishna yoked the horses. Arjuna fired one last arrow to discourage the approaching Kaurava soldiers from coming any further, as he quickly got on the chariot.
All charged up, Krishna drove the horses almost to the limit. 
Arjuna's arrows were firing with an almost two mile range and clearing the place where the horses had to go. Krishna weaved through the battlefield and suddenly the impossible happened...The two warriors found themselves out of the second Vyugha which Drona had so painstakingly constructed in the morning.
'The six Maharathas of the Kaurava army, Partha!' Krishna announced quietly. 'They are the only people who stand between you and your....'
Krishna stopped as he frowned and turned towards the Kaurava army out of which the two of them had just come out. The entire battlefield was just littered with the bodies of soldiers, horses and elephants and it was very easy to observe the eldest Kaurava prince come towards the two of them.
'Duryodhana!' Krishna said tightly. He looked at the six Maharathas, the first of whom was Ashwattaman. Ashwattaman was already firing at Arjuna who was cutting down the arrows.
Krishna made a quick choice. He turned the horses. 
Arjuna fired the weapon at Ashwattaman, as he felt the horses move in the wrong direction. 'Krishna!' Arjuna said rapidly, looking confused.
'Duryodhana!' was what Krishna said as he urged the horses towards the very Vyugha, they had come out.
Arjuna looked at Duryodhana, the same Duryodhana who was the very root cause of the war...the same Duryodhana who had humiliated his brother...the same Duryodhana who had ordered Draupadi to be dragged in the court of Hastinapur....the same Duryodhana who had ordered all the Maharathas of his army to attack Abhimanyu.
An almost feral anger possessed Arjuna. He forgot all about his vow. He forgot about the six Maharathas, now behind him. Because now Duryodhana was approaching him. And Duryodhana was coming to him all alone. This was one opportunity that he was not going to let go. Arjuna looked at Krishna, almost smiling at the Dark Lord. Duryodhana was all that mattered now....
'I am going to kill him!' Arjuna said viciously twanging his bow, which sent an almost unearthly sound.
Krishna said nothing. He was thinking about why the Kaurava prince was suddenly coming to meet Arjuna, all alone. Duryodhana knew that he was no match to Arjuna...then why? Krishna frowned.
The first arrow of Duryodhana was easily cut down by Arjuna. The two chariots were very close.
'I am challenging the great Krishnas!' Duryodhana said in a taunting voice. 'Do you just talk or do you also do anything useful?' he continued. 'My men have to see how their king defeats the great Krishnas...and that is before the great Arjuna keeps his vow!'
Duryodhana's chariot and Arjuna's chariot was driving in circles, facing each other and firing arrows.
Duryodhana started his attack as he pulled out the arrows quick and fast. 
Arjuna quiet easily cut it down. Then he got the perfect opportunity. He almost smiled as he pulled the arrow and fired.
The arrow should have penetrated Duryodhana and killed him on the spot.
Both the Krishnas watched the arrow as it very easily penetrated Duryodhana's defences. But that was when the two of them received the shock of their life.
The arrow bounced off Duryodhana's armour.
Both Arjuna and Krishna looked at each other, not able to believe what they were just seeing.
'Again, Partha!' Krishna said as he drove the horses slightly away.
Duryodhana saw the arrow bounce away and let out a whooping shout as the flow of arrows from him, became even stronger, perhaps charged with the fact that the two Krishnas were powerless against him.
Arjuna almost fumbled as he placed another arrow on the Gandiva and let it go. And this time he let his defence slightly down. Duryodhana had pierced both him and Krishna and Arjuna again. And worse, this time also Arjuna's arrows also he met with the same result.
'Partha!' Krishna panted as Duryodhana's arrow nicked him on his shoulder. 'What is happening? Why is the Gandiva not....'
'His armour!' Arjuna said suddenly, as he realized the truth. Arjuna pointed at his armour. 'Archarya taught me how to wear the armour, such that it would be very difficult for weapons to pierce it!' Arjuna nodded to himself. 'I think Dronacharya has given him, his own armour!'
'Do you know how to counter it?' Krishna all but shouted as he just weaved to the right as one of Duryodhana's arrows missed them.
Arjuna rapidly shook his head. 'Forget me! Not even Indra can penetrate that.....' Arjuna suddenly blinked. 'I know of only one weapon! But it is a dangerous...'
'USE IT!' Krishna shouted, as one of the arrow hurt their horses.
Arjuna needed no further encouragement. He pulled out his arrow and muttered a mantra....

Ashwattaman was fighting Arjuna and was shocked when he found Arjuna's chariot going away. That was when Ashwattaman saw Duryodhana's chariot coming towards them. At first he could not understand why the Kaurava prince was coming singlehanded against the two Krishnas. It seemed to be perfect recipe for disaster.
But that was when Ashwattaman saw the armour. Even at this distance, Ashwattaman could not mistake that armour.
He settled back and watched the fight. He was sure this was going to be interesting, to say the least...
Ashwattaman almost laughed as he saw the faces of both Krishna and Arjuna as the first arrow bounced back. And a part of Ashwattaman was shocked. He knew that his father's armour was powerful...but this was the first time he had seen it work.
But then Ashwattaman's fun stopped short. He realized that Arjuna had pulled back another arrow and was muttering a mantra.
'No! No!' Ashwattaman muttered as he urged his horses forward. Just as Arjuna let his arrow fly, Ashwattaman broke Arjuna's arrow from the side!

Arjuna looked aghast as he saw the arrow break and cursed himself for not noting that Ashwattaman was coming.
And to add to their problems, Duryodhana was still firing arrows, laughing at them.
'I cannot use the arrow again, Krishna!' Arjuna shouted. 'That arrow came with a caveat! If I use it again, it will destroy us and our troops!'
'Forget about what you cannot do!' Krishna said above the din of the battlefield. 'See what you can!'
This time the smile that lit up Arjuna's face was genuine, because he realized what Krishna was telling him.

Duryodhana was feeling invincible to say the least. He had that feeling that nothing could go wrong. Duryodhana genuinely believed that with the armour, no one could defeat him. Even Krishna and Arjuna themselves seemed helpless against him...
He pulled out another arrow and was about to let it fly when he saw Arjuna pull out another arrow.
Duroydhana was stupefied because he realized that Arjuna was not aiming at him. 
And before Duryodhana could realize why, Arjuna let the arrow fly.
As the arrow came whizzing towards him, Duryodhana realized too late what Arjuna was trying to do....
The first arrow killed all his horses, the second arrow killed his charioteer...Duryodhana was just blinking as Arjuna let his next arrow and this time Duryodhana fell on the ground with a thud along with his broken chariot. 
Duroydhana was still coughing away dust and smoke as he watched Arjuna give him a small smile and this time the arrow was aimed straight at him.
Duryodhana did not even have time to blink as he felt a sharp twisting pain when he saw an arrow peaking out of his right palm. Duryodhana did not even have time gasp as another arrow pierced through his other palm.....The only part of his body which was not covered by the armour...
Duryodhana blinked back the pain as he realized that he could not fire back on the two Krishnas...

Ashwattaman knew that Duryodhana needed help and he needed it right now. 'All of you...Attack the Krishnas! Protect the King! Protect Duryodhana now!' he shouted at this battalion.
The soldiers threw themselves at the Krishnas, in an attempt to save Duryodhana.
Krishna saw the soldiers coming towards them from all over the field and realized that this would only make it more difficult for Arjuna, to fulfill his vow.
He turned to Arjuna. 'Twang your bow, Partha!'
Arjuna looked at the soldiers who were trying to surround them and nodded his head as he twanged his bow. The sound from the Gandiva was almost unearthly and was so loud that it scared the soldiers and sent them running away. 
But then what was more terrifying was the sound of Krishna's Panchajanya. The conch was louder than the twang of the Gandiva. The sound was so loud that the Kaurava soldiers ran away from the field instead of towards the two of them....As the soldiers ran away, it cleared a path for the two warriors to go towards the Maharathas who were protecting Jayadratha....

Daruka watched the battlefield with anxious eyes. The Dark Lord had asked him to come when his conch sounded the Rishabha note. As Daruka heard the Panchajanya, he almost hurried towards the chariot....but then he realized that this was not the Rishabha note.

Daruka looked at the battlefield and sighed. The Dark Lord had not called him. Not yet.....

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Gurus of Hastinapur - Part 31

The Kaurava warriors could not believe what they were watching. Till now, the gleaming chariot with the two dark men was nothing more that blur, in the battlefield. No matter what or who appeared before them, either Arjuna mercilessly destroyed them or Krishna weaved through them with his chariot. The galloping of the horses was accompanied by a steady twang of the arrows making an impossibly beautiful rhythm. But then unexpectedly it stopped. More from the sudden absence of the sound than anything else, the Kaurava soldiers looked up towards the direction of the twanging of the arrows....Without the accompanying galloping of the horses, the twanging of the arrows seemed....almost incomplete.

That was when the Kauravas had the second shock....
Right there in the middle of the battlefield, Krishna had unyoked the horses and as Kaurava soldiers watched, Arjuna got down from the chariot. The Kauravas glanced at the sun warily hoping...really hoping that the sun had set, because otherwise there seemed no other reason for the actions of the Dark Lord. But the day was not yet over of surprises.
Krishna was tending to the horses as he was running his hands through the wounds of the horses, presumably treating them! Right there, in the middle of the battlefield...
That was when one of the Kaurava soldier realized the inevitable truth as he shouted out aloud. 'ARJUNA IS NOT IN THE CHARIOT!' He shouted. He looked at his fellow warriors, quiet frankly not able to believe what he himself was saying. 'Arjuna is not in his chariot!' the others repeated. The word got around the Kaurava army in surprisingly short time.
There were many warriors who believed that Arjuna was a great warrior only because he had the Dark Lord as his charioteer. While it was true that Krishna and Arjuna together were invincible, but Arjuna by himself was a formidable warrior and that time he proved it....
The Kauravas warriors probably thinking that Arjuna without the Dark Lord was weak, attacked him, as he was standing right there in the middle of field, his bow and arrow ready in his hands.....

Krishna murmured as he lovingly tended to the animals.
Looking at him, it definitely looked like Krishna did not have a care in the world. The fact that the sun was now setting, the fact that they were in the middle of the battlefield, surrounded by completely hostile enemies, did not seem to matter to him at all. Right now, his job was to attend to the injured animals and get them refreshed and that was all he cared about.....
Krishna smiled as he saw his lone warrior standing before him, firing arrows rapidly one after the other, at the warriors who was attacking him. The two of them were supposed to be surrounded by enemies, but then not one arrow reached Krishna...not one, actually...Arjuna had made sure of that. It almost seemed like there was an invisible barrier between Krishna and the Kaurava warriors, one that they they could not breach, no matter how hard they tried.
Krishna saw that the horses were now almost well, as he looked at Arjuna. 'Partha! The horses need water!' he called out above the twang of the arrows.
Probably it was not correct to disturb a warrior when he was fighting off almost an entire army standing right in the middle of it. But Krishna did not seem to think it wrong.
There was a rapid change in twang of weapons as Krishna heard a whizzing sound almost next to him. The Kaurava warriors who were facing Arjuna definitely did not know anything different, as the stream of arrows coming towards them seemed as relentless as before...
But none of the Kaurava warriors could explain it, when right there in the middle of the battlefield, where until a minute back was nothing but hard ground, was a beautiful lake...
'Let the horses have their fill, Krishna!' Arjuna said putting the Varunastra back. Arjuna permitted himself a small smile, as he saw the impossible expression which came on the faces of the warriors who were facing him....


Duryodhana was furious. In fact Duryodhana was beyond that. This was the second time in two days, when what he had thought was a simple job was getting steadily out of hand. Yesterday, it had that boy...Abhimanyu, whom Duryodhana had dismissed nothing more than a young kid....Abhimanyu proved to be so disastrous that even his death could not make up for the loss that Abhimanyu had inflicted on the Kaurava army.
And today...All the Kaurava army had to do was to keep Arjuna away from Jayadratha and considering the sheer size of his army, that could not be an impossible task...or so Duryodhana thought. But Duryodhana had not counted on Arjuna's expertise, or the Dark Lord's capability of handling the chariot. The two men together were probably destroying more people today than most of his warriors had done overall till now...As if adding insult to injury, Arjuna was now taking time off coming out of his chariot and letting his horses rest...
Duryodhana was so furious that he drove his horses directly towards the man whom he thought was responsible for all this.
'You were our teacher!' he said as he found himself face to face with his teacher. 'You were invincible! You said no one could penetrate this Vyugha!' Duryodhana said as his words slurred in anger, as he looked dangerously close to the brink. 'And those two men defied you! Just like that!' 
Dronacharya looked at Duryodhana with hurt eyes as Duryodhana continued viciously. 'I think you are also like Bheeshma! You merely say that you will fight on my behalf and all you do is TALK!' Duryodhana shouted loudly.
Dronacharya closed his eyes as his took deep breaths to control himself. He opened his eyes and looked at Duryodhana. Dronacharya probably realized that no matter what he did, Duryodhana would probably never trust him. Dronacharya also realized that talking with the prince was also a waste of time. The prince would not believe anything he said anyway.
Dronacharya shook his head as he removed his armour.
Duryodhana looked shocked as Dronacharya got down from his chariot with his armour in his hand. 'This is one of the most powerful armours, which was given to me! The armours have also been made strong by the mantras of ancient times! Wear it, my prince! Nothing can penetrate this armour!'
Duryodhana looked shocked as he looked at Dronacharya, probably a little ashamed, that he had doubted his teacher. 'I am sorry! I....' Duryodhana said fumbling with apology as he saw his teacher helping him on with the armour.
'You are like Ashwattaman to me! I would forgive him too, if he spoke that way to me!' Dronacharya said quietly. Dronacharya took a deep breath and continued with a small smile. 'And go and fight, my prince! Go and fight the Pandava warriors and remember that nothing can hurt you...GO NOW!'

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Gurus of Hastinapur - Part 30

Krishna drove the chariot deeper inside the enemy territory...and for once, the thick arrows around them proved a useful cover to him. His warrior was hurt and hurt badly. Krishna quickly turned as he pulled out the lance from Arjuna's body.
Arjuna gasped as he blearily glanced at Krishna.
'Get up, Partha!' Krishna muttered as he looked at the closing Kaurava army.
Arjuna slowly nodded his head, as he looked around realizing what was happening.
'The aindrastra!' Arjuna muttered even as he struggled to get up on his feet.
Arjuna fixed the arrow on his bow, even before he was fully alert. Arjuna spotted Srutayus almost immediately as he let loose the aindrastra.
The arrow found its mark.....Even before the surprised Srutayus could react, the Aindrastra hit him and his brother, killing the two brilliant warriors on the spot.....


Yudhishtara watched his brother go with the Dark Lord inside Drona's army. The battle between the teacher and his brother was breathtakingly beautiful. Though his brother escaped from Drona, Yudhishtara realized that he could not risk Drona attacking Arjuna again, now that the two Krishnas were deep inside the Vyugha.

Yudhishtara eyed the outer Vyugha and turned to Bheema. 'Take your division! Attack Jalasandha and his men!' Yudhishtara looked at the Vyugha again. 'I am going after Kritivarman's division!'

Bheema hefted his mace and looked at Yudhishtara. 'What about the teacher? Whom are we going to send to fight him?'

Yudhishtara looked at the prince of Panchala, Dhrishtadhyumna, the one who was prophecised to kill Dronacharya, who was his wife – Draupadi's, brother.

'Let Dhrishtadhyumna meet the teacher!' Yudhishtara said turning to the prince of Panchala.

As Arjuna had asked Yuyudhana (Satyaki) to protect Yudhishtara, Satyaki accompanied Yudhishtara's division.

Before the Kauravas could recover from Arjuna's attack, Yudhishtara started his attack. For a brief second it looked like the Pandavas had an upper hand....For a very small second.....

Yudhishtara had not counted on Drona's expertise nor the ferocity with with Drona countered the Pandava attack.

Dhrishtadhyumna and Drona fought arrow for arrow, blade for blade, but then Dhrishtadhyumna did not have the experience of his teacher and neither did he have the knowledge. Without thinking, Dhrishtadhyumna got in too close to the teacher. The teacher now started using a variety of weapons against Dhrishtadhyumna and not just his bow and arrow. And the way the teacher was going, Dhrishtadhyumna did not look like he was going to make it out alive....

Yudhishtara looked almost horrified as Dronacharya was letting arrows fly real fast at Dhrishtadhyumna. Dhrishtadhyumna tried fighting back, but there really was no hope for him. It looked at Dhrishtadhyumna was almost living on borrowed time and that the teacher was going to do the impossible and make the prophecy false.....But then out of nowhere, a warrior came from the Pandava army. Arjuna's student and the only Yadava (besides Krishna, of course) who fought on the side of the Pandavas – Satyaki.
[Before the start of the war, Krishna had promised that the Yadavas would fight on behalf of Duryodhana, whereas he himself would be on the side of the Pandavas. However Satyaki, though he was a Yadava, as he was a student of Arjuna, he was allowed to fight on behalf of his Guru.]
As Drona let the last arrow fly towards Dhrishtadhyumna, almost everyone in the Pandava army had written off Dhrishdhyumna. And that was when Satyaki came. At the last minute as the arrow almost reached Dhrishdhyumna, Satyaki, emerged from Yudhishtara's division and cut off the arrow.
The other warriors also reached Dhrishtadhyumna as Drona dismissed the prince of Panchala and turned his attention to Satyaki.
This fight was brilliant – almost like the one between the Dronacharya and Arjuna. Arjuna had taught Satyaki real well and it showed. Satyaki was able to counter almost everything that Drona did and was able to do it with the same confidence that his teacher had. It is said that in this battle, Satyaki broke Drona's bow, not once, or twice, but sixteen times continuously.....
Drona watched almost dazed at Satyaki from the other side with a smile, as he realized that the warrior before him was really good.

Drona fired the Agneyastra. Screaming, the astra made its way to Satyaki. Without blinking, Satyaki fired the Varunastra.
The sound made by the two weapons were so ferocious that the soldiers who had stopped to watch the fight were sure that the two weapons were powerful enough to end the world....They watched with a horrid fascination as the two arrows met.....
The perfect counter for the Agneyastra was the Varunastra and the two weapons were fired by persons who knew what they were doing. Miraculously, the two weapons canceled out each other, rendering each other useless....

As Drona was about to pull his next arrow, he briefly eyed the sky....It was past noon. For a second, Drona turned and saw his favourite pupil who was storming inside the Vyugha, a single thought burning through Drona's mind...Could his student actually reach Jayadratha before the day was up?.........

After the almost game changing fight by Srutayus and Achyutayus, almost no one was able to stand up to Arjuna.
But then the princes of Avanti – Vinda and Anuvinda gave a brief fight to Arjuna. But then Arjuna did not want to waste too much time on them. Arjuna injured the two brothers very badly without actually killing them. But the two brothers would not give up so easily. Though injured, they followed the two Krishnas deeper inside the Vyugha.
Realizing that the two warriors were so brilliantly synchronized as to cover for each other's mistakes, Arjuna first took out Vinda.....
Anuvinda watched horrified as his brother lay dead before him. Screaming, Anuvinda, pulled out his mace and raced after the two Krishnas. With utter hatred and anger, Anuvinda lashed out with his mace. Anuvinda could have aimed better, or atleast tried to hit the right person. The mace hit Krishna who bore the brunt of the mace attack.
And after that Anuvinda really had no hope. Arjuna did not waste even a single second as all the next six arrows found Anuvinda, with unerring accuracy. Anuvinda met the same end as his brother. Arjuna was now dispatching the Kaurava warriors before him, with disdain, as he plodded deeper inside the Vyugha.
Arjuna resembled a forest fire and burnt everything which came in his path. He actually looked like he was going to finish the war that day. But then Krishna knew that they were having problems, really, big problems....
Arjuna frowned as he felt the horses moving sluggishly. 'Krishna! Why....'
'Partha! The horses!' Krishna said as he looked around.'They are hurt, tired and thirsty! They need some rest!'
Arjuna looked at sun and then at Jayadratha, who was looking a lot closer than he had been a few hours before. Arjuna then looked at Krishna and nodded. 'Stop and tend to the horses, Krishna!'
The Dark Lord almost smiled as he urged the horses to stop, right there in the middle of the battlefield....