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 - Part 2 of 2

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....' 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 travelling 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, the 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.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The stories of the single tusked Ganesha - Part 1 of 2

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 saw that none of his enemies were standing.
Parasurama fell down on the earth, as he felt all his adrenaline leave him, 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.
And so Parasurama walked towards Kailash.
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. He 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 is 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…..

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Gurus of Hastinapur - Part 36

Watching his brother Duhshana fall in battle to Satyaki, Duryodhana could take it no more. Satyaki was already deep into the battle and Duryodhana had no hope of reaching the man. And so in anger Duryodhana started attacking the Pandava army.
Bhima was furious when he saw Duryodhana and he retaliated Duryodhana's attack with unimaginable ferocity.
Duryodhana and Bhimas whirled around in their chariots, shooting arrows at each other. But Duryodhana fought like one possessed. He shot Bhima, Yudhishtara, Nakula, Sahadeva, Virata and Drupada as his chariot almost flew around the Pandava army.
Duryodhana roared in triumph as the Pandavas were astounded with his prowess. But Yudhishtara was not about to let Duryodhana get away so easy.
Yudhishtara shot Duryodhana repeatedly and broke Duryodhana's bow. Yudhishtara shot Duryodhana straight in the chest. Unfortunately Yudhishtara had the same problem that Arjuna had when Arjuna encountered Duryodhana. The armour that Duryodhana was wearing, was so strong that Yudhishtara's arrows shattered when they hit Duryodhana.
But as the other Pandavas saw Yudhishtara penetrate the defences of Duryodhana, and they all saw an opportunity to destroy the Kaurava prince. They quickly came around Duryodhana, surrounding him.

Drona who was in the edge of the army, shouted as he saw the Pandavas around Duryodhana.
'FORWARD!' He shouted at his chariot, as he pointed at Duryodhana. The chariot nodded as he rode furiously towards the Kaurava prince.
Vrihatkshatra was the first Pandava to meet Dronacharya as he stormed inside the Kaurava army. He gave no opportunity for Dronacharya to recover as he shot the Brahma weapon. Dronacharya was shocked for all of two seconds, but he then pulled out his own Brahma and nullified the effects of the weapon shot by Vrihatkshatra.
Dronacharya wanted to bring the battle to an end immediately, as he shot Vrihatkshatra without giving him a break. The arrow penetrated through Vrihatkshtra's armour and passed straight through the body. Almost swooning, Vrihatkshatra pulled out his own arrow and shot Dronacharya's charioteer. But now Dronacharya was mad through and through. He shot Vrihatkshatra's four horses and without wasting another second, shot Vrihatkshatra's charioteer.
Vrihatkshatra was unable to understand what was happening, when Drona shot his last arrow straight at the Vrihatkshatra and the prince fell down, never to get up again....
Dhrishtaketu, the son of Sishupala, saw Vrihatkshatra fall and angrily charged at Drona. However, he too was no match for the acharya and met his end.
After Dhrishtaketu's son, Jarasandha's son charged towards Drona and he had no better luck and he also fell.
(A strange feature in this part of the story is that both Sishupala and Jarasandha were enemies of Krishna. Bhima, the second Pandava, killed Jarasandha, just before the Rajasuya yagna of Yudhishtara and Krishna killed Sishupala during the Rajasuya yagna of Yudhishtra. Despite this, Veda Vyasa's Mahabharatha states that their children fought the war on the side of the Pandavas. One of the most possible reasons for this could be that, after killing the respective kings, their children – in Jarasandha's case, his son – Sahadeva and in Sishupalas' case, his son were crowned as the next king. As they were crowned by the Pandavas, they owed allegiance to the Pandavas and fought on behalf of the Pandavas)

Meanwhile back to the story, Drona was becoming unstoppable and the dead bodies of the Pandava soldiers kept mounting and after Jarasandha's son, another prince Chetikana also met his end in the hands of Drona.
Drupada, the father-in-law of the Pandavas, angrily proceeded towards Dronacharya – his oldest friend and his most hated enemy, now.....

**********

Yudhishtara was a worried man. Dronacharya was ripping his army to shreds and there was nothing he could do to stop the man – both Arjuna and Satyaki, the only two people who seemed to have any success against Dronacharya were deep inside the Chakravyugha. It was at that time that Yudhishtara noted something impossible. He had been so engrossed in the battle against Dronacharya, that he had failed to notice that he could not hear Arjuna's Gandiva anymore. And added on top of it, Yudhishtara was even more worried, because Satyaki also could not be seen – the very man whom Yudhishtara had sent inside the battle after Arjuna...
Yudhishtara turned and saw his second brother. Hastily, Yudhishtara, turned to his charioteer. 'Take me to Bhima!' he said.
The charioteer frowned, but said nothing as he turned the horses towards the second Pandava.
'I cannot hear Arjuna's Gandiva!' Yudhishtara told Bhima without any preamble.
'WHAT?' Bhima asked, barely able to understand what Yudhishtara wanted right now. But then as he spoke, he saw that Yudhishtara was genuinely worried... 'What do you want me to do?' Bhima muttered as he saw the eldest Pandava.
'Go after Satyaki and Arjuna! I wish to know what happened to them! NOW!' Yudhishtara said looking at the huge Kaurava army which was filled with nothing but smoke and dust. 'Please!' Yudhishtara said looking at Bhima, desperately. 'I am your elder brother! Please listen to me and do not say no to me!' Yudhishtara pleaded to his brother!
'Stay with Yudhishtara!' Bhima told his brother-in-law Dhrishtadhyumna, as Dhrishtadhyumna nodded and Bhima readied his chariot and was set off inside the Chakravyugha in search of Satyaki and Arjuna.

In the outskirts of the Vyugha, Bhima met the acharya. Drona was feeling very smug, now that he had practically annihilated the battalion which had come against him.
'Your younger brother and Krishna ran inside the Vyugha with my permission! But you...Bhimasena...' Drona said angrily. 'I will never let you in!'
Bhima smiled at Drona coldly, arming his weapon. 'Arjuna could have destroyed you, if he wanted to! Because he still respects you! I....' Bhima's eyes were blazing with anger as he looked at Drona. 'I used to respect you like my father! But now you are my enemy and I shall treat you as such!' Bhima had not even finished his sentence when he picked up his mace and with unerring accuracy threw it at Drona's chariot.
Drona was really not expecting anything and with widened eyes, he threw himself back from his chariot. Drona landed on the hard ground which was a good thing, because his chariot was reduced to rubble as Bhima's mace destroyed it completely....
And Bhima waited no more. Using all the weapons at his command, he hacked his way through the Kaurava army.

Dronacharya hastily got inside another chariot, but by that time, Bhima was already deep inside the Vyugha....

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Gurus of Hastinapur - Part 35

'Back into the Kaurava, army!' Satyaki said grimly. The reason for his grimness was obvious. Satyaki had come out of the Chakravyugha. And now on the way inside, he had to meet Dronacharya again. This time the acharya would make sure that Satyaki would not get off as easily as before.
Satyaki met Drona. Unlike the previous time, Drona wasted no time in talking with the warrior. He had probably realized that Satyaki just needed half a chance to win and the veteran was fighting constantly without a break. Much to Drona's outrage, he realized that Satyaki was effortlessly able to counter his moves. Drona realized something that Arjuna had known for some time ago – Like Arjuna, Satyaki too was a perfect student of archery....someone who had learnt the art so well that the bow and the arrows seemed to obey Satyaki's thoughts instead of his fingers....
Unfortunately for Drona two things were against him – his age and his temper. Drona was too much of a seasoned warrior to be affected by anything in the battle. But Satyaki right now was fighting mad. The battle between him and Kritivarman had brought out the perfect rage inside Satyaki who was learning to temper it in battle and in the battle between Drona and Satyaki, slowly Satyaki was winning...
Suddenly Drona broke Satyaki's bow. Shocked, Satyaki threw his mace at Drona with a perfect aim. It was Drona's turn to be shocked, as he fired three arrows one behind the other, breaking Satyaki's iron mace. Quickly, Satyaki picked up another bow, as Drona realized that he could not touch Satyaki. Suddenly Drona fired straight at the charioteer of Satyaki. With his new bow, Satyaki was unable to react in time, as the arrow as usual found its aim and Satyaki's charioteer swooned in the chariot. The horses were going wildly, when Drona saw something that he had rarely seen in his life...in fact it was something that very few people in the battlefield had seen. Satyaki effortlessly managed the horses and fired back at Drona as if nothing had changed...
Satyaki watched as his charioteer was slowly waking up, when he realized what he had to do....Satyaki fired one after another arrow at Drona and suddenly he fired at Drona's charioteer. Drona was not quick enough as the charioteer fell...Unfortunately Drona was not able to manage his horses.
'SAVE THE TEACHER!' A shout went through the Kaurava army. Most of the warriors ran after Drona's chariot and Satyaki smiled as he saw the almost empty battlefield before him...
'Drive!' Satyaki said to his charioteer who was now recovering.....
Winning that battle against Drona made Satyaki feel almost invincible right now. The first king he met after Drona was Sudarsana. It was a wasted affair. The king was nowhere near the class of Satyaki and Satyaki killed him in no time. 'The path where there is most destruction in the Kaurava army – that is the path which Arjuna has taken! Follow it!' he told his charioteer.
The Kamvojas, Sakas and Barburas....all threw their armies before Satyaki and Satyaki destroyed all them. Jalasandha's troops were no match for Satyaki. As Satyaki destroyed Jalasandha's division, he was surrounded by the troops of Duryodhana, Chitrasena, Duhshasana, Vivinsati, Shakuni, Duhsala and Durdarshana and Kratha. It is said that in that single encounter, Satyaki killed three hundred horsemen and four hundred elephants.....
The brilliance in the battle suddenly shifted from Arjuna to Satyaki and the way he fought it seemed like there was almost no difference between teacher and the pupil....Satyaki destroyed the troops and moved closer to Arjuna.
Having no other choice, Duryodhana asked the Samshaptakas to attack Satyaki in a useless attempt to stop him.
Watching the carnage by Satyaki, Dushasana had a sudden idea. Duryodhana had befriended some people from the mountains, who were skilled in fighting with stones. Dushasana went to the mountaineers. 'Fight for Duryodhana! Your methods of fighting are something that neither the Kauravas nor the Pandavas know!' Dushasana said hastily, as he swallowed painfully watching Satyaki destroy the last unit of the troops which were against him.
The mountaineers rallied and picked up huge boulders and had them thrown at Satyaki. It did not stop Satyaki at all. In fact it did not matter to Satyaki what was before him....And Dushasana's move was being counterproductive. As Satyaki destroyed the boulders being thrown at him, the sharp shards of the stones, hit the soldiers of the Kaurava army, further injuring them....Dushasana panicked and ran from the battle.....
*********
'My Lord!' Drona's charioteer outside the Vyugha, suddenly turned the horses towards the Chakravyugha. 'Inside!' he said.
Drona watched and was shocked as Dushasana came running from inside the Vyugha, looking terrified.
'Your elder brother trusts you!' Drona said angrily. 'It was you who insulted Draupadi in the open court, because of which we are seeing this day! And now you are facing the fruit of your actions, you are running away?' Drona asked in a sneering tone. 'And you are facing one man – one man from the Satwata race! What will you do when Arjuna, Bhima or the twins come and face you?' Drona demanded angrily. 'You are a warrior! You cannot run away like this! What will your soldiers do, when they watch their prince running scared? Go back and fight!' Drona thundered angrily.
Wordlessly Dushasana watched Drona and then went back and fought Satyaki again.
In his anger Dushasana was fighting better than before. The Kauravas who accompanied Dushasana, ran away in fright, but not Dushasana. Seeing Dushasana fighting passionately, Satyaki abandoned the normal arrows and using the mantras, made himself, his horses and his charioteer invisible. Being invisible, Satyaki attacked Dushasana.
Duryodhana who was across the battlefield, shouted wildly as his brother suddenly disappeared under the constant barrage of arrows. 'Trigarthas!' Duryodhana shouted. 'Protect Dushasana!'

Three hundred Trigarthas surrounded Satyaki. But then today Satyaki was determined to teach Dushasana a lesson. Quickly moving in close to Dushasana, Satyaki, killed Dushasana's horses, charioteer and broke Dushasana's chariot. The leader of the Trigarthas watched shocked as he threw his men at Satyaki to let Dushasana escape on the chariot with him....
'My Lord!' Satyaki's charioteer shouted as Satyaki still seemed intent on Dushasana. 'We are here for Arjuna under Yudhishtara's orders! Please let the Kaurava prince go!'
Satyaki frowned angrily, and finally nodded.

Meanwhile outside in the Vyugha, Drona, wanted nothing more than to go and face Satyaki. But he was having quiet a job in his hands. The Panchalas had surrounded him. Dhrishtadhyumna and Drona fought a spirited battle in the outskirts of the Vyugha. It almost seemed like the battle was going to go Dhrishdhyumna's way, and that he was going to keep the oath for which he was born. Drona however killed Dhrishtdhyumna's charioteer. Dhrishtadhyumna fled the battle....
Drona watched the Pandavas angrily, picking out random soldiers. But the Pandava soliders were too scared and none of them countered the attack.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Lord of the Ganas - The son of Parvathi - Part 2 of 2

Both Brahma and Vishnu came to Shiva and were shocked to find him angry and morose. Shiva spotted Brahma and went towards him. ‘I do not wish a fight!’ He said without any preamble. ‘There is a boy outside my house and he is not letting me inside!’ Shiva looked at Brahma with piercing eyes. ‘Just talk to the boy!’
Brahma nodded as he along with a few of the Ganas went to Shiva’s home. There he found the boy watching them warily.
Brahma signaled the others to stop as he went near the boy. ‘I am not here to….’ That was as far as Brahma got. The boy came forward and without giving Brahma a chance to explain himself started pulling Brahma’s beard!
Getting scared, Brahma tried to pull himself back, when the boy picked up the iron club. Brahma saw no more as he ran with the Ganas following him. The boy caught some of the Ganas and attacked them, as the others escaped…
Gasping for breath, Brahma told Shiva all that had happened.
Shiva was very angry by the time Brahma finished talking. He turned to Indra and his son Kartikeya. ‘Muster up all our forces! Get the boy out of there!’ Shiva said with blazing eyes.
*********
Parvathi was talking to her friends when she felt a sudden start. She stopped talking as she looked around….Something had just happened… Something not good at all…. Parvathi frowned as she closed her eyes and concentrated.
Parvathi’s friends were genuinely terrified as the Goddess opened her eyes. That she looked scary was a given. What was more terrifying was the firm set jaw of the Goddess which clearly showed that the Goddess was going to do something terrible….
The friends watched, as from Parvathi emerged two extraordinarily powerful women. The two women who were created were beautiful but their ferociousness masked all their beauty. They looked like mean fighting machines who would kill without a second thought.
Command us, Mother!’ The two Shakthis told Parvathi.
There is an army coming after my son!’ Parvathi said coldly. ‘Protect him!’
********

The boy watched as almost something the size of an army was coming towards him. The Ganas whom he had fought till then seemed almost docile compared to the army which was coming towards him. What was more scary were the leaders of the two groups. They seemed phenomenally powerful and exuded a confidence of having fought and won battles before this.
The boy clutched the iron club more tightly, when he watched the army surround him from all sides. The boy took a deep breath as he relaxed when he felt it….. It was something so powerful that he was sure that even his opponents had felt it.
The boy turned and was shocked. Standing beside him were two powerfully built women who looked more ferocious than the entire army that he was facing.
One of the Shakthis turned to the other. ‘None of their weapons should reach him!’ She said watching the army around them.
The boy watched as the Ganas hurled their weapons at him. He kept his iron club ready to ward off the weapon, when the boy watched shocked as the weapon stopped just as soon as it left the hands of the Ganas. The Ganas were themselves shocked as they all threw their weapons at the boy.
This time the Goddesses smiled dangerously as the weapon turned. The weapons went and hit the very Ganas who had hurled them.
It took a second for the boy to understand what was happening and grinning he picked up his iron club started twirling it, around to deal with the Ganas who were attacking him without any weapons…..
It was a ridiculously short battle. The boy was unstoppable even all by himself and with the two Shakthis there was nothing anyone could do….
The Ganas ran from battle again, but Kartikeya did not run. He and the boy were exchanging blows as the Ganas ran back to Shiva….
But Kartikeya was also no match for the boy and he lost the fight….
**********
We… We thought….’ The Ganas panted as they saw Shiva. ‘We thought that just because we were the Ganas of Shiva no one could stop us!’ One of the Ganas told Shiva. ‘But our arrogance is now gone!’ The Ganas turned to Shiva. ‘This boy, Lord, whoever he is, you are the only one who can stop him! Even Lord Kartikeya himself is no match for him!’ The Ganas fell at the feet of Shiva.
Shiva watched the Ganas with absolutely no expression on his face. He then turned to Vishnu ‘I believe we have a battle in our hands! Was all he said.
********

The boy watched as this time it was just two people who were coming towards him and one of them was Shiva. The other Ganas were standing at a distance. The Shakthis watched the two men warily. The boy twirled his iron club as he hit one of the two warriors – Vishnu. Lord Vishnu turned to Lord Shiva. ‘I will use my Maya and keep him engaged!’ he said as something powerful shot out of his hands.
The Shakthis joined their forces together and fused their powers inside the boy’s body. The boy was unable to believe it as something powerful ran through him… Using the power the boy was able to fight Vishnu’s Maya.
In between, Shiva attacked trying to find an opening in the boy's defences. But the boy fought like one possessed. He threw his iron club at Shiva's Trident, as it fell from the Lord's hands...Angrily Shiva picked up his Pinaka, his bow, trying to shoot the boy but he was protected by the Shakthis.
The boy fought unbelievably fast and he was able to decimate Lord Vishnu’s attack. Vishnu threw his discus at the boy and at the last minute the boy brought down the club on the discus. Without a second thought, the boy threw the club at Vishnu and Garuda caught the club in his mouth.
Remembering his mother, the boy picked up the staff which she had given him and started fighting with Vishnu again.
For a few seconds it looked like the boy was going to win. Lord Vishnu fell down as the boy hit him with the staff. The boy turned his attention to Shiva, failing to understand that Vishnu was only feigning to have fallen down.
The boy was getting ready to attack Shiva when he heard movement behind him. The boy realized that Lord Vishnu was only pretending to have fallen and hastily turned around. The boy turned as Shiva picked up his Trident and there was no mistake in Shiva’s aim.
And Parvathi’s son lay dead in the battlefield as the Trident decapitated him…..
*******
For a second there was complete silence in the battlefield. Nobody could actually believe that the battle was actually over. But the boy was lying in the battlefield unmoving…. Shiva’s Ganas were unable to believe it and then there was a sudden scream of joy.
'The boy is gone!'
'We have won!'
'Lord Shiva has won!'
It became a crescendo of shouts and soon all the Ganas were rejoicing.
They were so jubilant that none of them noticed that Lord Shiva was not even remotely happy…. In fact he was remorseful, knowing that he had done something unforgivable.
************

For a second, Parvathi felt that the entire universe had gone quiet. She watched her trembling hands and was filled with rage...A rage which she just could not control.
She saw everything that had happened and saw the Ganas rejoicing in the battlefield. All around her dead son. The Goddess watched the scene as it replayed in her mind and within a span of a few seconds standing before her were hundreds and thousands of bloodthirsty Shakthis, all of who had emerged from her.
'Command us, Mother!' the Shakthis said.
'They killed my son!' Parvathi said listlessly. She turned her furious eyes to her Shakthis. 'None of them deserve to live! Not while my son is dead!' The Shakthis watched each other as Parvathi was steadily losing control over herself. 'Kill them all!' the Goddess said simply.
And so the madness began.....
The Shakthis commanded by Parvathi saw nothing and heard nothing. They destroyed everything that came in their path. Sages, Yakshas, Gods...nothing survived the Shakthis. And it looked very bad. Most of the Gods were sure that the end of the world was near, because nothing seemed to stop the Shakthis and their numbers just kept multiplying...
Having no other choice to stop this madness, the Gods along with Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma went to Parvathi.
'Please forgive us, Goddess!' they said and the Goddess just refused to listen to them.
'Please Devi!' Lord Vishnu said gently. 'We will do whatever you want! Stop this massacre!'
Parvathi watched Vishnu and slowly some semblance of control came to her. 'I need my son back! And I need him to have an honourable status among you!' she looked at Vishnu. 'If that is done, there will be no more killing! Otherwise....' Parvathi smiled mirthlessly as she did not even bother completing the threat.

The Gods hurried back to Shiva and he heard all that they had to say. He turned to them. 'Go north! Find the first living thing that you see and bring its head!' the Gods definitely knew when not to waste time and were out almost as soon as Shiva commanded them.
They took the body of the boy with them and traveled north. The first animal that they saw was a single tusked elephant. They cut the head of the elephant and they attached it to the boy's body. Using the powerful mantras and the holy waters, they were able to attach the body of the boy with the head of the elephant.
They brought the boy to Shiva who watched the boy with a strange smile. Shiva closed his eyes as he touched the boy.
The Ganas were shocked, as the boy with the elephant head, woke up as if he was just sleeping. He was very handsome looking with the face of an elephant. The red complexion of the boy outlined his fine features and his eyes showed an intelligence which belied his age...
The Gods took the boy to Parvathi and the Shakthis which emerged from her just vanished, without a trace. If Parvathi had felt that her son was handsome before, she had no words to describe her boy right now. She hugged her son tightly, as words completely failed her.
Shiva came up from behind the Gods and the ganas as he watched Parvathi and the boy.
'This is my other son!' he said proudly.
Parvathi could not hide her smile as Shiva continued. 'Me, Vishnu and Brahma are all worshiped in the three worlds! However this son of mine shall be worshiped before all of us!' Shiva turned to the ganas. 'He will be your Lord henceforth, the Lord of the Ganas – Ganesha! My son Ganesha!' Lord Shiva said with quiet pride.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Gurus of Hastinapur - Part 34

Satyaki spoke with Bheema, the second 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....