Sunday, 29 April 2012

The war! Mahabharata 137

After his dialogue with Krishna, Arjuna is ready to fight.  Yudhisthira  meets Bheeshma, Drona and other gurus and receives their blessings and is praised by all the rajas for his devotion and concern for elders and is now prepared.

There is again a small variation in detail between versions.
Yudhisthira walks towards Bheeshma, does not explain to his confused brothers the reason why, and the enemy army becomes quiet and watchful. They think Yudhisthira is approaching Bheeshma to surrender! He falls at Bheeshma's feet and seeks permission 'Grand father, I am waging a war against you! Please permit me and bless me!'  Bheeshma is happy, 'Yudhisthira, I am glad you came, if not,  you would have been cursed and would have lost the war. I permit you to fight. Fight and be victorious. You can ask me anything, but do not ask me to stop the war. I am obliged to fight the war along with kauravas, but you are assured of victory!' 

In the same manner, Yudhisthira prostrates before Drona and is blessed by his guru. Drona says 'I give you permission,  with Krishna as your mantri, your victory is assured.'  Dharmaraja has one question, 'Acharya, how do we win against you?'  Drona reponds, 'As long as I am fighting you have no hope of a victory! So you and your brothers must plan to kill me very quickly'.

Yudhisthira then asks, 'Acharya then please tell me the way we can do this, I beg you to tell me with folded hands!'  Drona suggests, 'I do not think anyone can kill me while I am fighting. The only way is to kill me when I drop my weapons and sit still. For me to give up my weapons  in a war, I should hear a very unpleasant news from someone I totally trust.' Yudhisthira also meets Kripa and Shalya and gets thier blessings and permission. Shalya remembers the promise he had given Yudhisthira and tells him that he will try to demoralise Karna as promised....

To signal the beginning of the war, conches are sounded and drum are beat. Dussasana begins the attack as Bheeshma leads  them from the front. Pandavas counter attack with Bheema in the lead. They fight relentlessly, forgetting relationships and earlier friendships. By afternoon Uttara is killed while in combat with Shalya. Bheeshma radiant like the afternoon sun, showers arrows continuously without stopping from his bow. Pandavas' army scatters unable to face this incessant stream of arrows. They scream in pain and distress. By that time, the sun sets and it becomes dark and the combat is stopped due to lack of visibility.

The second day, the combat begins again in the morning, Dhristadyumna sets the formation of 'Krauncha'  a heron and installs Arjuna as its leader in front. Arjuna engages Bheeshma, Dhirstadyumna attacks Drona and Bheema  kills the king of Kalinga. As kaurava army withdraws with exhaustion by evening, the second day of war ends.

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