Sunday, June 1, 2014

The mighty warrior - After the end

Arjuna and Krishna had just finished decimating the Samptikas when the conch for the end of the day's battle sounded. Arjuna was about to heave a sigh of relief when he felt an almost giddy, nauseous feeling pass through him. He was finding it difficult to breath when he gasped. 'Keshava! Som...something is wrong!' He said clutching his heart. Krishna said nothing as Arjuna rapidly came out of the chariot. Arjuna looked at the battlefield from far. 'Something terrible....' Arjuna had not even finished talking when he saw the morose looking Pandava camp.
He was breathing in gasps as he continued. 'The tents are normally lighted! Why is it dark?' Arjuna looked around suspiciously. 'Abimanyu is the first one to congratulate me on the end of the day's battle! Where is he?'
The two entered Yudhishtara's tent which still had no Abhimanyu when Arjuna looked at Yudhishtara. 'Dronacharya formed the Chakravyugha today! Whom did you send inside it?'
Yudhishtara looked at Arjuna with bleary eyes silently as Arjuna continued. 'None of you can break it! Abhimanyu is the only one who can break it!' By now Arjuna's was almost sobbing. 'You did not send him alone, inside, did you?' Arjuna demanded as Yudhishtara was still silent.
Yudhishtara did not answer at all when Arjuna looked at Yudhishtara incredulously. 'How can you send a sixteen year old boy against the entire Kuru army?'
Arjuna was feeling a mixture of anger, hatred, grief so badly that he was unable to maintain his balance as he swooned and fell unconscious. When his brothers woke him up, Arjuna was whispering. 'What am I going to tell Subhadra?'Arjuna suddenly looked panic stricken. 'What am I going to tell Uttara? Oh my God! They have been married a few months back....'
'How did he die?' Arjuna asked his brothers. 
None of his brothers said anything as Arjuna shouted. 'TELL ME HOW HE DIED!'
'Jayadratha stopped us!' Bheema said haltingly. For the first time in his life, Bheema looked afraid of his younger brother. Arjuna looked like he was almost over the edge.
'What do you mean Jayadratha stopped you?' Arjuna asked sneeringly. 'YOU single-handed defeated him, at the Kamakya forest!' Arjuna looked at Bheema. 'How on earth can that man stop you especially when my son's life was at stake?'
The brothers said nothing because there was nothing that they could say in their defense....
'Jayadratha has a boon of Lord Shiva, my friend!' It was Krishna who answered. 
Arjuna whipped his head as he looked at Krishna. 
'Lord Shiva gave Jayadratha a boon that he can stop the four Pandavas if Nara and Narayana were not with them!' Krishna said so quietly that Arjuna was the only one who heard him.
Arjuna closed his eyes as the earth suddenly seemed spinning very fast. He wished that the earth would swallow him up.....at least then he would be where his son was, right now....
kaleidoscope of images of Abhimanyu life came to Arjuna. 
A bright child who had made him proud every single time, he had done anything....A child with whom he had spent pitifully less time.....Abhimanyu had died for a battle, which had absolutely nothing to do with him. Abhimanyu got nothing from this war. And he still fought it and fought with his body, mind and soul...And happily gave up his life...
Arjuna felt a sharp anger course through him, almost burning him....
Jayadratha...Jayadratha killed a sixteen year old boy, who was the bravest of them all....
'JAYADRATHA DIES TOMORROW!' Arjuna shouted into the night. 'As sure as the sun rises tomorrow, as sure as Abhimanyu is dead today...Jayadratha dies tomorrow!' Arjuna looked fiercely at all of them. 'If that does not happen by sunset....I will reach the realms of my father by tomorrow evening!' Arjuan said twanging his Gandiva which gave a terrible sound shattering the quiet of the night....
**********
The next day Dronacharya realized was the day which would determine the victor of the battle. If Arjuna could not get to Jayadraratha, Arjuna would keep his word and kill himself. Dronacharya knew that without Arjuna, the battle against the Pandavas was half won. 
The next day Dronacharya forms three vyughas - the shakata vyugha and behind it the padma vyugha and behind these two vyugha the Maharathas were arranged in a needle like a straight line. 
Dronacharya genuinely believed that the three vyughas would have been enough to stop Arjuna.....Dronacharya nearly succeeded too...
Arjuna with clinical efficiency laid waste to almost half the Kaurava army. Even with all his magnificence, Arjuna all but failed at getting to Jayadraratha. It was Krishna, who using the fact that the day was an eclipse, allowed Arjuna to kill Jayadraratha at the time the sun was about to set.
That was the day which singlehanded changed the fate of the battle. After that it was almost a certainty that the Pandavas were going to win...
And all that was because a sixteen year old warrior stood up against the might of the entire Kuru army, all alone....
**********
After the death of Abhimanyu, Princess Uttara was inconsolable...She thought of giving up her life but the fact that she was carrying Abhimanyu's and her child made her go on.....
However even that story had twist..... 
After the Pandavas won the war, Ashwattaman, the son of Drona, unable to take in the deceit with which the Pandavas had killed his father, had his revenge. 
On the day the Pandavas were not in the camp, when the other Pandava soldiers were sleeping, Ashwattaman massacred all the Pandava soldiers, in their sleep...every single one of them.....
The ghastly turn of events, left the Pandavas beyond being shocked...The Pandavas had won the kingdom but had absolutely no one to share it with. 
As if Ashwattamana felt that the damage he did was not enough, he aimed a Brahmastra at the Pandavas. Arjuna countered with his own Brahmastra. But at the advice of the sages, with great concentration, Arjuna recalled the Brahmastra. 
But Ashwattaman never learned how to recall the weapon and instead of recalling it, he fired it at Drauapadi and the other women in the Pandava family. The weapon left the women barren for life.
The child in Uttara's womb died from Ashwattaman's cowardly attack.....
******
As always it was Krishna who came to the rescue of the Pandavas. It is said that Krishna brought the child back to life.
As this child of Abhimanyu, had already been tested by death, the child was called Parikshit. After the Pandavas ruled for 36 years, the Pandavas gave up the kingdom to Parikshit and retired to the Himalayas......
*******
Thus back to the beginning, Abhimanyu's life and death marked the fulfillment of all the boons given to Soma Deva, based on which Soma Deva had let Varchas incarnate on the earth, as Abhimanyu. 
Soma Deva could not be separated from Varchaas for more than 16 years, which was the year Abhimanyu had died. Abhimanyu had decimated one-fourth of the Kaurava army when neither Arjuna nor Krishna (Nara and Narayana) were there. 
And finally, the almost extinct Pandava race was continued by Parikshit, the son of Abhimanyu.... 

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