Thursday, July 4, 2013

Krishna and Bhishma - Part 2 of 3

Though Krishna had warned Arjuna that this would be the most possible outcome of all his negotiations with the Kauravas, Arjuna was still depressed when he saw a morose looking Krishna come back from Hastinapur.

'I tried.... I really tried!' Krishna said as he looked at the Pandavas. 'I even prayed for five villages.... one for  each one of you, to avert the war!' Krishna shook his head. 'Duryodhana refused to listen....' Krishna laughed mirthlessly. 'He said he would not even part with the land the size of a  needle head.... to the Pandavas....' Krishna took a deep breath.

Arjuna looked at the Dark Lord and said softly. 'War it is!'

Krishna nodded his head. 'War it is!'

And so massive preparations had started for the Kurukshetra  war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas for the land of Hastinapur.....


Arjuna was now standing in the beautiful chariot pulled by four white horses as the Dark Lord sat at the saddle before him minding the horses. Arjuna felt a he saw Krishna with the horses. Arjuna knew that anybody who came close to Krishna immediately felt a calming effect....Krishna had that effect on people...Animals were obviously  no exception.  The white horses looked confidently as Krishna patted them....

Arjuna was thinking about how Krishna had kept the promise he had made to Duryodhana. Krishna said he would not fight the war with weapons... and he did not. That was the reason... and his inborn gift with animals made Krishna  participate in the war as a charioteer to Arjuna...Arjuna knew that with Krishna's infinite wisdom and  guidance he could ask for nothing more.....But deep down it rankled....Krishna...his Krishna as a charioteer.....not as a warrior....But as a charioteer....

Krishna looked at Arjuna with great love and affection. He stared at the enemy lines and the great people who stood proudly willing to fight....Krishna smiled mirthlessly....This was the battle....It was for this battle that he had come....To remove the warriors....all of them from the face of the earth before the onset of Kaliyuga....Krishna looked at Arjuna...Arjuna was the tool through which he was going to do it....

As Krishna stared at Arjuna, he felt something from the young warrior.... Krishna narrowed his gaze... Doubt...Fear....Regret.... Krishna was puzzled. Arjuna was a brilliant warrior. In fact the only flaw Arjuna ever had was that he tried to be fair no matter what....Fair to his enemies even if they did not deserve it.... Krishna studied Arjuna once more..... Genuine doubt and regret.....Krishna nodded.... Arjuna was slowly coming to understand the enormity of the situation.....


Arjuna was staring at the ranks of the Kauravas. In that  morning when he was talking with Krishna, it had been so simple....Take out the Gandiva, kill the enemy and take back what is rightfully yours and everything would go back to normal....But now...Arjuna eyed Bhishma – his grandfather, Drona, his teacher, Kripacharya, Duryodhana.....his cousin....The words formed in Arjuna's mind even before he could stop it....Duryodhana was his father's brother's son......For all practical purposes Duryodhana was his family.....And they were standing on opposite camps in a war ready to annihilate each other....Arjuna stared as his hands as they started trembling slightly....The Gandiva which had been his power, his companion, his soul..., for the first time felt like a heavy burden on his shoulders.....

Arjuna looked at Krishna. 'What are we doing, Kesava?' he asked looking at Krishna with wide, innocent and tired eyes. 'What am I doing?'Krishna looked at Arjuna saying nothing. Arjuna continued as tears unbidden came to his eyes. 'Krishna! We are in a battlefield...And do you know what?' Arjuna looked around and turned to Krishna, his eyes looking wild, 'I do not see anyone whom I want to kill. I see....' Tears clouded Arjuna's eyes as his voice broke. 'I see teachers, uncles, grandfathers, sons, brothers....I see only my'

Krishna sensed that there was more and waited for Arjuna to continue. Arjuna looked at the other side of the battlefield and took a deep breath trying to control himself. 'I....I....cannot kill them...Not for the whole universe....' Arjuna looked at Krishna. 'You want me to kill them for a mere kingdom...' Arjuna sobbed. 'What will we get? What will we get from all this?' Arjuna pointed around him. 'You really think I would get peace by killing all these people...The only thing I will get by killing these people is guilt and sin...' Arjuna shook his head in disgust. 'You want me to kill for that?'

A sudden crazy light came to Arjuna's eyes. 'Madhusudhana! You will tell me that they are evil and wicked...But you are forgetting Krishna...' Arjuna shook his head. 'You are forgetting that we know what is evil..We know that destruction of the family is nothing but pure evil...And you want me to do that! Why?' It was a plaintive cry of a child unwilling to accept that he had to do what needed to be done. Arjuna shivered. 'People who destroy their own family are in for the worst hell and....and...' Arjuna put his head in hands and cried. 'I cannot do it, Krishna! would be better if Duryodhana just kills me now!'

Arjuna looked at Krishna almost angrily. 'I will not fight....' For the first time in his life, Arjuna let the Gandiva slip from his hands.....He wanted absolutely nothing to do with it....It was a weapon of destruction....He would become a sinner if he used it....

Krishna looked at Arjuna with a strange light in his eyes. 'Kaunteya! Why?' Arjuna looked at Krishna with a frown. 'Why am I even hearing these words from you? These words.....they do not suit a warrior....And you are a warrior....A fighter!'

Arjuna looked broken. 'Bhishma and Drona are...people whom I have to worship....' Arjuna looked resolutely as he shook his head. 'I would rather beg and live on the streets than fight and kill such people!'

Krishna looked at Arjuna and started softly. 'Arjuna! You....You are wasting your breath thinking about people who do not deserve your pity.' Krishna almost smiled. 'But you speak wise words! Wise words!'

Arjuna looked at Krishna uncomprehendingly as Krishna continued. 'You said these people are your relatives....' Krishna shook his head. 'No.....they are not!' Arjuna looked surprised as Krishna continued. 'Wise men from all over the world....they have found that the souls inhabit the body for a short time and move on to another body...what do you see in these people....their bodies or their souls?.....The bodies are perishable....will be there today and cease to exist tomorrow....That is the law of nature. Whoever is born has to die!' Krishna looked at Arjuna. 'Is that what you are afraid to destroy Partha? Their bodies?'

Arjuna stared at Krishna as he continued. 'As far as their souls are concerned....' Krishna almost smiled. 'I do not think anyone has the capacity to destroy the soul. It can neither be created nor can it cease to exist, my friend.....It will always be there....No matter what...'

Krishna smiled. 'You are a warrior! It is your duty to fight! Think about it, my friend! If you die in the battlefield, you go to heaven! If you win, you win the earth!' Krishna smiled. 'Fight! Fight treating both pleasure, pain, victory, defeat, everything alike....Just do your duty without expecting the results....That way you do not incur any sin, my friend!' Krishna continued as he saw his distraught friend. 'Our actions are what define us, Arjuna! All of us have to act. We always keep doing something....When we do our duty....and do it without expecting the results.....that is when you become the Karma Yogi!' Krishna pointed around. 'Fighting this war is your duty....Do it....Do not look at the result of your action....Just do what you have to do and....' Krishna looked at the battlefield and smiled. '...leave all your worries, regrets and fears to me!'

And so the greatest discourse continued.....right there in the battlefield with Arjuna as the audience. Krishna knew that the words which came from his mouth were not only for the one man before him, but for the whole mankind..... A guide.... for people to follow.....The words were the Song of the Lord....or the Bhagawat Gita.

Krishna revealed his Vishwaroopam to Arjuna, which was the supreme form of Lord Vishnu. With awe Arjuna saw that the entire universe originated in Lord Vishnu and resided in him.....

When Krishna finished, Arjuna glanced at the Gandiva which felt strong in his arms once again. He looked at the people surrounding him in battlefield. He now knew what he had to do and he would do it....with Krishna as his charioteer.......

 The author thanks Mr. A. Narayanan for his review comments.


  1. Each line of the story has an inner meaning.Hindu mytological stories are metphores and they mean more than what they actually mean.One can understand it only when one read it wholeheartedly and once it is understood the esssence of GOD is injected to the heart