Thursday, 11 October 2007

Visiting Mahabharata 27--The Plot (revisited in 2011)

Dhritarashtra is in a dilemma, while he was the king, it was really his brother Pandu who extended the land of the Kurus. On top of it Yudhishthira was older than his son Duryodhana. Bheeshma, Drona and Vidura were eloquent in their praise of Yudhishthira. Dhritarashra feeling constrained by all this installs Yudhishthira as the Yuvaraja. This as expected upsets Duryodhana and his brothers.

Meahwhile Duryodhana and Bheema learn the art of wielding the mace from the great Balarama. It transpires that Balarama becomes very fond of Duryodhana. Arjuna also finishes his education with Drona, who tells him that he is the greatest archer in the world, barring one and advises the obviously upset Arjuna to develop humility (Sad that this lesson in humility did not include Ekalavya.) and tells him that it is his cousin Krishna from the house of Vrishnis, who 'is the greatest of the greatest'. He also advises Arjuna to develop a friendship with Krishna.
Within one year Yudhishthira gains popularity with the people. Duryodhana being told of this fact by his spies reproaches his father for his rash act. Dhritarashtra tries to pacify him by telling him that after his brother's death that he had to accept Pandavas as his own. Anyway Duryodhana manages to convince his father to send the Pandavas away on some pretext to Varanavata for an year and he would try to gain acceptance of the people during that time. Dhritarashtra equally jealous of the popularity of his brother's son realises that his son has hatched a plot to ensure that the Pandavas would never come back, but keeps silent.

Dhritarashtra also seeks advice from one Kanika a friend of Sakuni, who advises him to get rid of Pandavas by killing them.

(So the plot thickens as the saying goes! It appears that succession of Kings, father to son, was not always the rule. It appears that Dhritharashtra had to do choose Yudhishthira as the yuvaraja because of his popularity with the people. Advise by Kanika is equally revealing, covert action by statesmen, it seems is as ancient as history!
My mind wanders a bit and I wonder whether wielding a mace was all strength and skill or were there mantras that imparted special powers. It would be interesting to know if there was a 'Bramhaastra' like in the case of shooting arrows.)