Saturday, 22 October 2011

Yudhisthira's desire. Visiting Mahabharata. 54

Ever since the visit of Narada, Yudhisthira is lost in thought. He was leading a peaceful life and the message of his father carried by Narada changed it. So a peace-loving king is now thinking of Rajasuya yaga. Vachana Bharata says Yudhisthira thinks of Rajasuya on his own; Narada finds no mention.

He consults his brothers and others about performing the yaga and they all think that it is within their capability! Yudhisthira realises that this needs a deeper study and sends word to Krishna who had returned to Dwaraka with a request to come to Indraprastha.

He then broaches the subject with Krishna: 'It is not something that happens just because of your desire, my friends and well wishers tell me that I am capable; I however cannot decide without your opinion. It is true that, some because of their love for me, will over look the difficulties or our shortcomings; a few will think of the rewards they would get for speaking things that are pleasing to me. But I know you will view it dispassionately and tell me what is right!'

Krishna after a deep thought says:'Maharaja! You are indeed capable of performing a Rajasuya. You have the necessary qualities, still I need to say a few words. Jarasandhra has subjugated many kings and is proclaiming that he is an emperor. Sisupala and Dhantavakra who possess strong prowess are his  followers. The Bhojas, Shurasenas and many others unable to face him have scattered far and wide. After I killed Kamsa, Jarasandha went after us to avenge the death of his son-in-law and we in fear had to flee from Mathura to Dwaravati. So, it is impossible for you to perform Rajasuya as long as he is alive. Hence, in my opinion, we need to kill him and free the kings who have been imprisoned by him.'

The conversation that ensues between the Pandava brothers, Yudhisthira, Bhima and Arjuna and Krishna reflects the Khsatriya psyche and their priorities. While Yudhisthira still aspires to be an emperor, he is also hesitant to risk the lives of his beloved brothers and Krishna. 'Bhima and Arjuna are like my two eyes, and Krishna is like my mind. How can I live without my eyes and my mind.' And wants to give up his desire to do Rajasuya.

 Arjuna feels differently: 'Maharaja, did we not attain the astras, arms and territory for ourselves! We are warriors, and I like to do heroic deeds. Let us have courage and belief in our strength. We can be destroyed  if we lack this belief in our strength or if we are unduly overconfident. I think we have the ability to kill Jarasandha, so do not think we cannot do this. If we do not try, it is as good as not having any ability. We can surely have peace if we decide to wear saffron clothes! So if you want to be an emperor, we are ready to fight all those who oppose.'

 Krishna also supports Arjuna:' Arjuna has spoken like a true son of Bharatha vamsha. Surely, none of us can know the time we die, whether it is in the night or in the day! Even a man who does not fight cannot escape death. In our effort to save the kings, whether we kill Jarasandha or we get killed, it is certain that we shall go to heaven.' He then speaks of the need for the right strategy as there is no way they can be victorious in war against Jarasandha. It is best to fight him individually. The plan is to provoke him to fight when he is alone and he is sure that Bhima would be able kill him in such a man-to-man combat. And tells Yudhisthira 'If you believe in me. Send Bhima and Arjuna with me!' .

Yudhisthira is convinced as he has total confidence in Krishna and says: 'Those who are with you can never be unlucky.It is as if we have already killed Jarasandha and have performed Rajasuya. Please go ahead and do what you think is best.'

It is perhaps part of our nature to aspire for more. Whether for yourself as it is narrated in Vachana Bharata or for your forefathers when  Narada brings a message from above. Kamala's narrative also tells us that it is all part of Krishna's plan, purpose of his avatara, to reduce sin as mother earth is overburdened with it.

Our lives are often affected by events apparently not even directly linked to us. I am sure all of us have experienced this, some event or someone upsetting the proverbial apple cart. Reminded me of the chaos theory,  the butterfly effect, how a storm could be caused by a mere flutter of the wings of a butterfly.

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