Saturday, 25 February 2012

War preparations go on with token overtures for a settlement. Mahabharata 103

As Krishna travels back to Dwaraka, serious war preparations begin. When Duryodhana hears that kings are joining the pandavas, he reacts by inviting his friends for a meeting. A lot of activity is seen on both the sides. Meanwhile Drupada sends his old priest to meet Duryodhana. While he has little hopes that this visit would have any effect, he hopes that Bheeshma and Drona would support the message brought by the old priest and Duryodhana would need more time to convince them to accept his stance. Pandavas would thus gain some more time to prepare.

As Krishna and Balarama reach Dvaravati, they are immediately followed by Duryodhana and  later by Arjuna on the same day. Krishna is asleep at that time and they both go to his room and wait for him to wake up. Duryodhana occupies a seat near Krishna's head and Arjuna chooses to stand with his hand folded near the foot. Krishna waking, notices Arjuna first and then Duryodhana who is  sitting by his side. After greeting them, he wants to know the purpose of their visit. Duryodhana is the first to speak 'Krishna, I have come seeking your help in the war. Both I and Arjuna are equal to you, but as I came ahead of him I feel it is right for you to agree to help me!'

Krishna as diplomatic as ever, 'Duryodhana, it is true that you came first. But I saw Arjuna first so I will help you both!  As Arjuna is younger, I will give him the first choice. Arjuna tell me whether you want me or my millions-strong army? Know that I will also not fight in the war.' Arjuna not worried that Krishna will not fight, chooses him. Duryodhana is happy to get a huge army and later goes to meet Balarama. Balarama tells Duryodhana 'I cannot be away from Krishna and he is with Arjuna. So I have decided not involve myself. You are a khsatriya, go and fight like one!' Duryodhana is happy with Balarama's decision. He then meets Kruthavarma and a collects a large army and returns.

Krishna, curious, asks Arjuna who is still with him, 'Why did you want me Arjuna, even when I said that I would not fight?'  Arjuna is very clear about his choice, 'Krishna, I know you can demolish them all by yourself. Even I feel confident I can defeat them by myself. Please be my charioteer, that is all I want and I have been wanting it for a long time!' Krishna agrees to be Arjuna's Saarathi and wishes him luck.

Udyog parva so far has a different texture! The story moves at a human level. It is as if gods have taken a back seat for a  while. Narada does not come on a visit to initiate god's will. Vyasa who has been in and out officiating in rituals has not made an appearance! It is as if the humans are given an opportunity to decide for themselves!

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