Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The duel. ......Visiting Mahabharata. 56

 Krishna, Bheema and Arjuna, dressed as snataka brahmins, go past many places, mountains, rivers and the Mithila city, before they sight Girivraja, the capital of Magadha, from the Goratha hills. Soon they are at the gates of the city. They do not enter the city through its door but climb the nearby hill which acts as a boundary wall, destroy the three drums (bheri) placed at the top of the hill and sneak into the city.

As they enter the city, walking in an aggressive manner, they stop at a shop to buy garlands to wear and apply sandalwood paste on their bodies. Get into the palace under the pretext of seeing the goshala (Cowshed). People are amazed to see these men, tall like the sala trees, broad chested and strong like the elephants.

Climbing the three floors of the crowded palace, as if they own it, meet Jarasandha.  Offering them the hospitality due to bachelor brahmins, Jarasandha addresses them: 'Snataka brahmins do not wear garlands or apply sandal paste and your shoulders are seen to have marks of a bow. You also show the demeanor of rulers. Further you did not accept my hospitality. So tell me the purpose of your visit. Brahmins are known to be adept with their words!'

Krishna replies that they are indeed khsatrias. And adds: 'Our strength is in our bravery and not in words, our speech is blunt as you will see. We did  not walk in through your door as friends, but chose a devious route to enter as enemies would do. Those who enter an enemy territory with a purpose should not accept their hospitality, the reason why, we did not accept your hospitality.'

Jarasanda asks 'How did I become your enemy? I have no memories of having harmed you.' and says: 'If you blame an innocent person, not only will you stop being praiseworthy but you will also invite misfortune'.

Krishna accuses Jarasandha for imprisoning many khsatrias and says it is their purpose to release these men. He then reveals their identities and threatens: 'Release the khsatiryas or face death!' Jarasandha replies: 'I have defeated these kings and I have right to do with them as I please. It is khsatriya dharma. I am not afraid to fight. You can choose to fight a proper war or I am ready to fight one, two or all of you together.'

Krishna asks Jarasandha to choose one amongst them and he chooses Bheema. They fight for a long time (Fourteen days says Samhita!) and gradually Jarasandha tires. Krishna tells Bheema to demonstrate his special powers and Bheema lifts Jarasandha above his shoulders and whirls him around at great speed and smashes him to death. (Again there are variations in Kamala's narration. Bheema splits Jarasandha into two and throws away the split parts . The parts manage to come together and the fight starts again. Then Krishna demonstrates with a banana leaf how to turn the split parts away from each other so that they do not join again and Bheema gets it right the next time!)

The victorious trio then race to release the imprisoned kings, who swear allegiance to the victors. Krishna asks them to help Yudhisthira in the Rajasuya yaga. The son of Jarsandha surrenders and they install him as the new king of Maghada and return to Indraprastha.

 Krishna thus succeeds in getting Jarasandha killed and again demonstrates his cleverness, and returns to Dwaraka. Pandavas' fame spreads far and wide with this victory over Jarasandha. It also enhances the love of Draupadi for them.

(Read about Valmiki Ramayana being published in french. The author Denise was asked 'Why Ramayana, why not Mahabharata?' A good question! One of the reasons she gave was that she needed 7 volumes to complete Ramayana and Mahabharata would require 28 volumes. So she chose Ramayana. Very sensible decision. Those interested can buy it for 850 euros now. It will be 940 euros next year! Hurry up!)

No comments: