Friday, February 10, 2012

Mahabharata/Jaya - Virata Yudh

"Only 6 people could kill Keechak. Bheeshma, Bhima... Krishna, Jarasandh, Duryodhana and I. But we know the wherabouts of all the people except for Bhima. So it would be Bhima who killed Keechak, the army general of Matsya Kingdom. My friend, we have to attach that kingdom for shielding our enemies and to identify the Pandavas. In that case they can go back to the 13 year exile". Thus spoke Karna on hearing the news of Keechak's death.

Duryodhana was elated with the hope of keeping Pandavas at bay for another 13 years. Karna, always noble yet loyal and blind to Duryodhana, instructed that they must not let the elders be aware of this.  Shakuni and Duryodhana then informed the Trigartas to attack the Matsya kingdom.  Maybe that was the practise of the times to nab and steal cattle of other kingdoms. Cattle must have been counted as assets of a kingdom.

King Virata was alarmed when the Trigartas attacked the kingdom and led an army against them. But Kanka assured King Virata that cook Ballav and the 2 Stable boys were good soldiers in the army of Emperor Yuddhistira. Due to this, all the 4 of them were included in the regiment. With the 4 Pandavas present, victory was ensured. Sushurma was captured and brought to King Virata for sentencing his punishment. King Virata checked with Kanka as to what Emperor Yudhisthira would have done. Kanka states "Emperor Yudhistira did not believe in slaying an already captured enemy as that is against his Dharma. He would warn and let go of the prisoner". King Virata follows this step.

At the same time, the Kurus attack and steal the cattle from the other end of the kingdom. The Kuru battalion had Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, Duryodhana, Karna, Ashwatthama and Dushassana. When the news was relayed to the royal palace of Matsya, the women were worried. This is when Prince Uttar (who is just a teenager) boasts about his prowess. He claims, "No need to inform my father who is fighting a battle at the other end of the kingdom. I am here and I will defeat all the kurus.". Sairandhri somehow convinces him to take Brihanalla as his charioteer stating that Brihanalla has done that for Arjun. This is where Vyas has included some humour into the story. Brihanalla acts as if she does not know how to wear the shield or the warrior costumes and Prince Uttar helps him out. Just before they leave, Princess Uttara takes a promise from them to get the clothes of the Kurus so that she can stitch some clothes for her dolls.

At first, the Kurus laugh when they see a teenage prince in a chariot driven by a eunuch advancing towards them. Prince Uttar gets shaky and scared when he sees the Kuru army with great fighters like Bhishma, Drona, Karna and Duryodhana. Prince Uttar says, "Brihanalla, forget all this. Turn back the chariot. I cannot be fighting these people. They will easily kill me". Brihanalla responds, "Huh! In the royal palace, you were boasting so much in the presence of women. Now what happened? DOn't be afraid. I am with you. Let's go and fight". Prince Uttar is so scared that he jumps from the chariot and starts running back. Brihanalla stops the chariot and she/he runs behind him. This leaves the Kuru camp in splits.

Brihanalla gets hold of the fleeing prince, lifts him and places him in the chariot. Then she/he takes the prince and the chariot to a tree nearby. He/she instructs Prince Uttar to bring down the seemingly dead-body covering cloth from the top of the tree but Prince Uttar does not oblige. This is when Brihanalla discloses the fact that he is Arjuna in disguise and the cloth does not contain a dead body but the weapons of the famous Pandavas. Prince Uttar brings down the cloth and is surprised to see the weapons. Yet, he is not convinced that the eunuch in front of him is Arjuna. This is when Arjuna reveals his ten names and the reasons for the same.

Armed with his famous Gandiva bow and Prince Uttar as his chariot driver, Arjun proceeds back to the Kuru army. The kuru army is now surprised and shocked to see the Gandiva bow and realizes that the eunuch is none other than the powerful and skilled Arjuna. Duryodhana is happy and he goes to the elders stating that the Pandavas were not succesful in keeping their identity a secret in the 14th year and hence must go back and resume another 13 years of exile. Revered Bhishma responds, "Your calculations are wrong. As per the calendar we follow, the 14 years have already completed. Yet, noble Yuddhistira, has waited for an extra month to ensure there are no complications". Duryodhana does not agree and is ably supported by Karna.

The elders does not have any other choice but to fight against Arjuna. Arjuna single handedly defeats all of them. One to note here is that in the first offical encounter between Arjuna and Karna, Karna is injured and he leaves the battlefield. This is also observed by Bhishma who later uses this instant to insult Karna to call him "Ardha Rati" (Half foot soldier). But it is never deeply explained as to why was Karna defeated in that duel.

Arjuna uses his divine weapon and puts all the Kurus to sleep. He then instructs Prince Uttar to bring pieces of cloth as promised to Princess Uttara. Another interesting highlight is that he instructs Prince Uttar not to kill the sleeping enemies and robbing them of a piece of their cloth is an enough of an insult.

No comments:

Post a Comment