Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Arjuna's Pilgrimage! Visiting Mahabharata 49

The sage Narada appears by chance and Yudhisthira receives him with due honor. Narada was one of the sons of Brahma, the creator. He gives them valuable advice on many things. He tells them the story of Sunda and Upasunda, two inseparable brothers who fall in love with the same apsara and in their rivalry destroy each other. His message was 'You are powerful as long as you are united'.

The lesson goes home and the Pandavas take a decision. Draupadi will spend one year in the house of each of the five brothers. If, when alone with one of them, if any other brother should intrude on their privacy, he must go away to the forest and stay away for a year. (Vachana Bharata says 12 years!)

One day a brahmin comes to Arjuna. His cows are stolen and he asks Arjuna to recover them. Arjuna rushes to the palace where the weapons are kept and then stops as he remembers it is in the house of Yudhisthira and Yudhisthira and Draupadi are there by themselves. He tells the brahmin that he would recover the cows for him, but later.  The brahmin gets desperate and Arjuna relents and gets the weapons. Recovers the cows for the brahmin and is blessed by him.

Arjun seeks permission from Yudhsthira to go on a pilgrimage as he breached the code of conduct set. Yudhisthira says 'Arjuna it is unnecessary. It was an emergency'. But Arjuna argues that the conditions set should be followed and Yudhisthira reluctantly allows Arjuna go on this voluntary exile.

 Narada as I had seen him in plays and movies was a troublemaker. Here, his advice was well meant and in any case the outcome for Arjuna was not too bad! It could be that there was a couple of years of wait for his turn to come. Anyway the outcome of this happenstance gives us an entertaining break! 

First, on his journey he takes a bath in the river Ganga and is captured by a very beautiful maiden. Overcome with shyness as the astonished Arjuna looked at her with a smile in his eyes said: 'I am the daughter of the king of Nagaloka. My name is Ulupi. I saw you in the river and have fallen in love with you. You must accept my love'. Arjuna tells her who he is and how he is in exile for a year and adds: 'Now that you know everything, you must let me go. I have to observe brahmacharya.' She replies: 'I see what you mean. You have not, however, understood the conditions of your exile. Your brahmacharya stands as far as Draupadi is concerned. It does not apply to any other woman you are pleased to take'  and bends her head in shyness. Arjuna pleased with her and her beauty, spends a happy night with her and returns to earth the next day. He relates his adventure to the rishis on the banks of the Ganga and resumes his journey.

Arjuna travels to  the Himalayas, and then turns towards south. Bathes in the rivers Godavari and Kaveri. He then reaches Manalur, ruled by the king Chitrasena. He sees and falls in love with his daughter, Chitrangadaa and approaches the king for her hand. The king replies: 'In our family, for the last so many generations, there has been an only child. My daughter is all I have and her child will be heir to my throne. If you are willing leave the child to me as my heir and not claim it, I will be very happy to give my daughter to the greatest hero in the world'. Arjuna agrees and marries Chitrangadaa. Spends three months with her. He then moves further south and sees the southernmost end of Bharata and then travels along the west coast.

1 comment:

Raghunath said...

I think I have referred to this earlier. During this exile Arjuna also encountered Hanuman and acquired divine weapons. It was a harbinger of the Kurukshetra war