Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Gurus of Hastinapur - Part 41

Once Bhurishravas fell, Arjuna turned his attention to Krishna. “Krishna, we can have no more diversions. I need to get to Jayadratha. The sun is going to set.”
Krishna nodded and the three warriors – Arjuna, Bheema and Satyaki hurried towards Jayadratha, who was still in the centre of the army.
Duryodhana saw this and turned to Karna. “Your time has come, my friend. You are the only one who can stop Arjuna. If you stop Arjuna today, then Arjuna would not be able to kill Jayadratha and Arjuna would kill himself. None of the Pandavas can live without each other. So if Arjuna goes, the other brothers would kill themselves and the war would be over.”
Karna let out a shuddering breathe nodding. Karna’s entire body was covered with blood from the day’s battle. “I will fight Arjuna till I can and as long as I keep shooting arrows at him, I can stop Arjuna.” Karna said resolutely. “But victory is something that only destiny can decide.” Karna said ominously driving towards Arjuna.
And so, Ashwattaman, Karna, Vrishasena, Duryodhana, Shalya and Kripa attacked the three warriors from the Pandava army.
And that battle was a gory sight.
The three people from the Pandava army and the august warriors from the Kaurava army. And leading the charge for the Kauravas was Karna.
Karna was fighting with Arjuna in a spirited fashion and doing his level best to stop Arjuna. But then Arjuna was not alone. He was here with two of the best warriors from the Pandava army. And Bheema and Satyaki supported Arjuna more than ably.
And soon it was Karna alone on one side against the three Pandava warriors and Karna was able to keep the three warriors at bay. Arjuna pulled out an arrow with all the power of the Sun and was about to fire it at Karna. If fired, the arrow would have burnt Karna to a crisp. But Ashwattaman fired the crescent shaped arrow at Arjuna, at the last minute, breaking the arrow just as soon as the arrow left Arjuna’s bow. It was said that the broken arrow broke fell through the earth burning the portions that it fell on.
Arjuna wanted to finish the battle quickly and killed Karna’s four horses and also killed Karna’s charioteer.
Karna was in the battlefield without his horses and his charioteer when Duryodhana yelled at Ashwattaman pointing him at Karna. Ashwattaman drove furiously at Karna and Karna got on Ashwattaman’s chariot and the Kaurava warriors attacked Arjuna together.
Arjuna first tried the Varuna astra – the weapon of water, to push the Kaurava warriors back. But unfortunately for Arjuna, though he was able to invoke the weapon, the Varuna astra did not stop the Kauravas. Despite the water, the Kaurava warriors still attacked Arjuna.
Arjuna then pulled out the weapon and darkened the skies around the Kauravas.
And then Arjuna took his entire fighting to another level. Using all the astras in his command, Arjuna soon fired an astra which confused the enemy. The Kauravas soon started seeing Arjuna all around them. And in the confusion, the real Arjuna pulled out his weapon with such light handedness that the soldiers did not know when they were hit and from which which direction.
The Kaurava soldiers just kept falling.
And Arjuna pulled out the Aindra astra immediately afterwards. The Aindra astra brought out the fiery burst from the skies like meteors hurling on the Kauravas. And as the Kaurava soldiers were screaming under the glare, Arjuna made the entire battlefield dark again and killed off the confused soldiers.
And all the devastation paid off.

 Arjuna saw Jayadratha in his line of sight for the first time, since the battle had started. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Tara, the Queen of Kishkinda - Part 1 of 2

Tara, the Queen of Kishkinda, was the wife of Vali, the Vanara King. She is one of the most under-spoken and definitely one of the most brilliant women in the Ramayana epic.
Her story starts with a buffalo demon by name Dundhubi.
Dundhubi was so arrogant and vain that he believed that he was strongest man in the world. The foolish demon went to the King of the Oceans.
“I will fight you and prove that I am the greatest warrior in the world!” Dundhubi said as he watched the Ocean waters, arrogantly.
The king of the Oceans rose up from the waters and shook his head. “I am not capable of giving you the fight that you want. King Himavan, the king of the mountains is the right person for that task.” The King of the Ocean said.
“Himavan?” Dundhubi asked in a sneering tone.
“Yes!” The King of the Ocean nodded. “He is the father-in-law of Lord Shiva himself and he shelters the sages in his caves and he has power of the mountains. He is the right person for you to fight.”
Dundhubi looked angrily at the King of the Ocean for the few minutes and then without a second glance, turned away from there.
Like an arrow shot from a bow, Dundhubi landed straight in the door steps of Himavan. Yelling hoarsely, Dundhubi pushed himself towards the mountains and pulled up rocks from the mountain.
“Give me a fight, King Himavan!” Dundhubi yelled. “The king of the Ocean said that you were the best person for me to fight with. Which is why I have come here. Fight me, so that I can prove to the world that I am the strongest person in the world.” Dundhubi said haughtily.
King Himavan watched the power hungry demon for a few minutes.
“Go to the city of Kishkinda. There you will find the son of Indra.” Himavan said with shining eyes. “His name is Vali.” Himavan smiled without meaning to and continued. “He will give you a fight.”
Dundhubi had no idea what a huge mistake he was about to make, as he approached the city of Kishkinda.
Meanwhile back in the city of Kishkinda, Vali was in his palace fast asleep with his wives. It was at that time that a loud roar was heard through the entire kingdom.
Being the king of the Vanaras, Vali ran outside of his palace and found Dundhubi there, looking fiercely at him. Vali’s wives followed him as they were standing around Vali to help him in case of need.
“Give me a fight.” Dundhubi yelled loudly. He then saw Vali and his wives and snorted. “I came here thinking that you would be able to give me a fight.” Dundhubi snorted again. “You were asleep. I do not deem it worthy to fight a man who is half asleep.” Dundhubi said trying to walk away.
Vali was enraged as he saw the buffalo headed demon. “You dare make fun of me? You think I need to be awake to fight a pathetic creature like you?” Vali demanded angrily as he pulled the golden pendant he wore around his neck, coming forward.
Vali realized that the foolish demon really did not know much about him. The pendant that Vali was wearing was no ordinary pendant. It was a gift from his father – Indra. The power of the pendant was such that if any person who challenged the person wearing the pendant, the challenger would lose half his strength.
Without further talk, Vali engaged Dundhubi in a fight, then and there. And it was a really gruesome fight. Though Dundhubi tried to hurt Vali, Vali was way more powerful. In no time at all, Vali hurled the badly injured Dundhubi, far back. In a few more minutes, Vali effortlessly won the fight against Dundhubi and killed the demon.
And then Vali proved his actual strength. Vali lifted the dead demon and flung him far away.
And that was Vali’s mistake.
Because Dundhubi’s body landed in the ashram of the Sage Matang. 
The sage was angry because that disturbed his meditation. Furious on seeing his hermitage destroyed, the sage used the powers of his meditation and realized who had done this.
“I curse you, Vali. And I also curse any of your friends in this forest.” the sage thundered angrily. “If any of you ever come within one “yojana” (a measure of distance) of my hermitage, you would be petrified.” the sage cursed.
Vali’s Vanara friends were living in the forest and when they heard the words of the sage, they all hurried away from the forest and they told Vali all about the curse of the sage.
Vali tried apologizing to the sage. But it was of no use. The sage was adamant and the curse was not even modified.
Many days after this event, another demon called Mayavi challenged Vali to a fight. And this time Vali was in his court in the kingdom. Not shying away from the challenge, Vali fought the demon and easily defeated the demon.
Facing defeat, the demon fled the kingdom. Vali was however not satisfied and he and his brother Sugriva gave chase to Mayavi. 
Mayavi fled into a cave slightly further away from the kingdom.
Vali was about to enter the cave after the demon, when he called upon his brother Sugriva. “Though the demon is tired and has lost a lot of blood, be careful.” Vali told his brother. “If I do not make it out of the cave, close the cave and go back to Kishkinda.”
Sugriva watched his brother, looking scared, as Vali nodded. “Take care of Kishkinda, if anything happens to me.”
Sugriva was speechless but before he could say anything, Vali went inside the cave.
And inside the cave, Vali and Mayavi, fought. Sugriva was guarding the cave outside. The fight went on, not for a day or two but for twenty eight days.
And suddenly on the twenty eighth day, from inside the cave, came a blood curdling scream.
Sugriva was getting nervous outside the cave. And he thought of the worst when he heard the scream. He was sure that his brother was no more. Sugriva closed the mouth of the cave with a huge rock and ran back to the Kishkinda.
He told the people all that had happened there.
And as Vali was no more, Sugriva being the younger brother was crowned as the king of Kishkinda.

As Vali was presumed dead, his widow Tara married Sugriva.

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.
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.