Category: Mahabharta

Parashurama and Bhishma

Parashurama and Bhishma, two of the greatest warriors of the epics, shared an interesting history together as guru and student. Bhishma was a Kuru prince, and Parashurama instructed him in the martial arts as a boy. Their conflict began years later, with the beautiful princess Amba. Along with her sisters Ambika and Ambalika, princess Amba had been abducted by Bhishma in a misunderstanding between two kingdoms. Now, with her honor tainted, no man would take her for bride, and she was condemned to remain destitute. Bhishma himself was unable to marry due to his bhishana pratigya, or vow of celibacy, and allegiance to Hastinapur. Amba then sought the help of Parashurama to kill Bhishma.

Taking pity on her plight, the avatar agreed to fight his former student on her behalf. The battle lasted twenty-three days, by the end of which, both warriors were bloodied and filled with arrows. Bhishma had knowledge of the divine deadly weapon Prashwapa, which had the power to put a foe to sleep, and of which Parashurama was unaware. When he was about to use the celestial weaponry, all Gods rushed to Bhishma and asked him to hold his hand, as it would humiliate his guru. Out of respect, Bhishma acquiesced.

Pitrs then appeared and obstructed the chariot of Parashurama, forbidding him from fighting any longer. The spirit of Parashurama’s father, Jamadagni and his grandfather, Rucheeka, spoke to him:

O son, never again engage in battle with Bhishma or any other Kshatriya. Heroism and courage in battle are the qualities of a Kshatriya, and study of the Vedas and the practice of austerities are the wealth of the Brahmans. Previously you took up weapons to protect the Brahmans, but this is not the case now. Let this battle with Bhishma be your last. O son of the Bhrigu race, it is not possible to defeat Bhishma.
—Mahabharata 188:5

In the end, the Gods showered praise on Bhishma, and he sought the blessing of Parashurama as his guru. The avatar then acknowledged that his former student was truly invincible, telling Amba:

Using even the very best of weapons I have not been able to obtain any advantage over Bhishma, that foremost of all wielders of weapons! I have exerted now to the best of my power and might. Seek the protection of Bhishma himself, thou hast no other refuge now.
—Mahabharata 189:1

Source – Wikipedia


Five Arrows of Bhisma

As the Kauravas were losing the battle, Duryodhana approached Bhishma one night and accused him of not fighting the battle to his full strength because of his affection for the Pandavas. Bhishma, greatly angered, immediately picked up five golden arrows and chanted mantras declaring, “Tomorrow I will kill the Pandavas with these five golden arrows.” Duryodhana, not having faith in Bhishma’s words, asked Bhishma to give him custody of the five imbued golden arrows saying that he would keep them with him and return them the next morning.

Long before, when Pandavas were in living in the forest, Duryodhana once came to the forest to flaunt his material opulence in contrast with the Pandavas who were living in exile due to his wicked usurption of their kingdom, thus displaying his venom and hubris. He placed his camp on the opposite side of a pond where the Pandavas used to stay. Once, while he was taking bath in that pond, the heavenly princes, named Gandharvas, came to take a bath.

Duryodhana could not tolerate this; he had a fight in which the Gandharvas captured him. On the request of Yudhisthir, Arjuna saved Duryodhana and set him free. Duryodhana was ashamed, but being a kshatriya, he asked Arjuna what benediction or boon he would like. Arjuna replied that he would ask for the boon later when he needed it.

It was during that night that Krishna reminded Arjuna of his unsatisfied boon and told him to go to Duryodhana and ask for the five golden arrows. When Arjuna came and asked for the five golden imbued arrows, Duryodhana was shocked, but knowing full well his honour and duty as a kshatriya declared, “I will give you the five golden arrows. But can you please tell me who told you the five golden imbued arrows existed in the first place?” Arjuna replied with a smile, “Who else other than Shri Krishna could have advised me?” Afterwards, Duryodhana honourably kept his word and gave the five golden arrows imbued with a lifetime of austerity and power by Bhishma. Later, Duryodhana broke his customary manner and conceded to himself privately, “All of the rishis say Krishna is the Supreme God, maybe they are right.” Being shocked and convinced by Arjuna’s knowledge of the very existence of the five golden arrows, Duryodhana secretly got on his knees and said a quick prayer to Krishna.

Duryodhana again went to Bhishma, informing him of all that happened and requesting another five golden imbued arrows. To this Bhishma laughed and replied, “That is not possible, child. The will of the Lord is Supreme and undeniable. I have already spent the merits of my lifetime of celibacy and austerity in those five arrows, a potency strong enough to end all the five Pandavas. However, Krishna, being the Supreme Lord has foreseen this, knowing past, present, and future as He alone can, and has thus arranged for you to voluntarily give up the five golden arrows, imbued with the power and potency of my lifelong austerities. I cannot imbue another five arrows, having spent all of the merits of my austerities. However, tomorrow I shall fight like a lion, and this time, either I will kill Arjuna or I will make Lord Krishna break His promise of not picking up any weapons during the war.” On the next day there was an intense battle between Bhishma and Arjuna. Although Arjuna was very powerful, he was no match for Bhishma. Bhishma soon shot arrows which cut Arjuna’s armour and then also his Gandiva bow. Arjuna was helpless before the wrath of the grandsire.

As Bhishma was about to kill Arjuna with his arrows, Lord Krishna threw down the chariot reins and jumped off the chariot onto the battlefield, lifted a chariot wheel and charged Bhishma. Arjuna tried to stop Lord Krishna, but the Lord said, “In order to protect my devotee, I must break my own promise.” However, this is actually a double entendre. Krishna, one who was a perfect Yogi and in control of senses including anger, lifted the Chariot Wheel in order to respect and uphold Bhisma’s promise and word, as the latter promised he would make Krishna yield weapons.

Eventually, however, Arjuna convinced Krishna to return to the chariot and put down the wheel, promising to redouble his determination in the fight. All the while Bhishma stood with folded palms and tears in his eyes, awed by the beauty of the wrath of the Lord and the intense love that God bears for his friends, so great that He is willing to endure the censorship of ignorant foolish men. Later the Lord told Arjuna how he could bring down the old grandsire, through the help of Sikhandhi. Using Sikhandhi as a shield, Arjuna shot arrows at Bhishma, piercing his entire body. Thus, finally, Bhishma gave up the fight, focusing his life force and breath, sealing the wounds, and waiting for the auspicious moment to give up his body.

Its said that once Bhishma fell down pierced with arrows he was feeling thirsty. Duryodhana went to fetch water, but Arjuna shot an arrow at the ground and water came pouring out directly into Bhishmas mouth. Its actually river goddess Ganga coming to satisfy the thirst of her son Bhishma.

Source : Wikipedia

History a mystery

Whether Mahabharata is actual history or only a myth is unknown.And if it’s actual history then there are lots of chances that winner of Mahabharata distorted the facts.And main reason of this doubt is that names of Kauravas are changed to show them in bad light.I think if someone is bad then you need not to change his/her name as his acts will define his characters.So it seems writer of Mahabharata purposely changed the name as well as characteristics of characters.
Please share what you think on this.

Killing of Bhurishravas

Bhurishravaswas a prince of a minor kingdom in the kingdom of Bahlika and played a role in the Mahabharata epic.Bhurishravas’ father, Somadatta, once clashed with another prince called Sini. When Devaki, the mother of Lord Krishna was still unwed, many princes competed for her hand in marriage including Somadatta and Sini who fought a great battle over her. Sini, fighting on behalf of Vasudeva won the battle. This incident launched an hatred between the Sini and Somadatta families leading to a sibling rivalry.

By the time of the Battle of Kurukshetra, Saini’s grandson Satyaki, now a king of the Vrishnis, was allied with the Pandava army while Bhurishravas, now aged, sided with the Kauravas and was one of the eleven commanders of the Kaurava army.

On the 14th day of the battle Bhurishravas challenged Satyaki. When Satyaki began to tire after a long and bloody battle, Bhurishravas battered him and dragged him across the battlefield. Arjuna, the leading warrior on the Pandava army, was alerted to Satyaki’s danger by Lord Krishna. Just as Bhurishravas was preparing to kill Satyaki, Arjuna came to the rescue, shooting an arrow cutting off Bhurishravas’ arm.

Bhurishravas wailed that by striking him without a formal challenge, and from behind, Arjuna had disgraced the honor between warriors. Arjuna in turn rebuked Bhurishravas for attempting to kill an unarmed Satyaki – an act also against the rules of war. Arjuna reiterated that protecting Satyaki’s life at all costs was his responsibility as a friend and comrade in arms.

At this point, realising his folly, Bhurishravas laid down his weapons, and sat in the lotus posture to practice yoga.
But then Satyaki emerged from his swoon, and before Arjuna could stop him, swiftly decapitated his enemy.

The warriors on both sides of the battle universally condemned Satyaki for this act – one of the incidents in the epic showing the superiority of dharma and honor against the uncontrollable power of hatred. Symbolically, as Bhurishravas’ attempt to kill the unarmed Satyaki immediately resulted in his own death in the same manner, Bhurishravas can be seen as representing the binding effects of one’s material actions (karma).

Source – Wikipedia

Bheema’s Dharma and Yudhisthir’s Dharma

In the latter part of Agyatvas. Kitchaka proposed draupadi for marriage and she refused it. So Kichaka brought her to the palace of Virat and he insulted Draupadi in front of whole assembly. Bhima intentionally gets up with rage to save Draupadi. But Yudhisthir forced him to sit down. Then kitchaka leaves draupadi after insulting her.

In above incident ,Yudhisthir seems very intelligent while Bhima seems angry.

According to politics Yudhisthir was Right, But according to Vedas Yudhisthir was wrong. Because “To Save his wife’s dignity from others” Is One of the main principles of Vedas. Vedas tells us that every Husband should save his wife in any difficult condition. Husband must sacrifice his Body, Mind and Money if necessary to save the dignity of his wife. But Yudhisthir didn’t take any action to save draupadi

If Bhima had killed Kitchak with the permission of Yudhisthir then Pandavs identity will be revealed. And then they have to go for vanavas again. Otherwise draupadi might have to lose her dignity

So Yuddisthira had two choices

1] Save draupadi and accept vanavas again

2]Be seated, watch draupadi getting insulted and get his Kingdom back after the completion of agyatvas.

From which, Yudhisthir choose the second choice. Yudhisthir remained silent for all time. He didn’t do anything to save Draupadi. Yudhisthira had already made every Pandava to pursue for vanavas, just for following his dharma. It means that Yudhisthir was ready to pursue vanavas for his dharma, But he was not ready to pursue vanavas for protecting his wife(Protecting one’s wife is also dharma). While on the other hand Bhima was ready to take vanavas again for draupadi.

This incidence is not about Intelligence of Bhima. It is about Love of Bhima for Draupadi. Bhima never loves his enemies But he always loves his friends , brothers , mother and wife. And he was ready to take any risk for them. This thought is very important for Indians. That we have to love our people and we should keep our mind away from loving or caring for enemies. Because if we love or care for our enemies, they will harm us even more. For example when Jayadratha was caught trying to kidnap  draupadi, bhima wanted to kill him but  yuddithira cared for him and let him go. But what happened in the end, Jayadratha was the main reason for the death of abhimanyu. Abhimanyu would have been saved if jayadratha was killed in the first time itself. So loving friends and family helps us but loving or caring the enemies will harms us.

 Written By,

Tejas Umbrajkar.