Monday, 21 May 2012

The fight intensifies further. Mahabharata 147

Yudhisthira seeing Satyajeet die, tries to leave the battle field in haste. Drona gets closer to capture  Yudhisthira, but Bheema and others block him. Bhagadatta riding a strong and handsome elephant named Suprathika goes after Bheema and scatters thousands of  pandava soldiers. A strong wind creates a dust storm and visibility becomes poor. Arjuna hears the trumpeting elephant and seeing the rising dust, tells Krishna, 'Bhagadatta is equal to Indra! Only we can stop him and his elephant.' Arjuna then pounds his opponents to pulp with his vajra astra and goes to help Bheema.

Bhagadatta then turns his elephant towards Arjuna, Krishna with great dexterity avoids their chariot being crushed by the huge elephant. There is an intense duel between Arjuna and Bhagadatta. Bhagadatta invokes a 'Vishnu astra' and aims his spear it at Arjuna's heart and throws. Krishna moves in front of Arjuna and takes it on his chest.  Arjuna is upset and asks, 'Krishna! How is it that you forgot your vow not to fight! It was alright if I had lost concentration or was incapable of protecting myself. I am capable of defeating the whole world! Why did you have to do it?'    

Krishna pacifies Arjuna by telling him that no one else could have withstood the astra and tells him, 'Bhagadatta is now without an astra, kill him the way I killed his father Narakasura.'  Arjuna  then severs Bhagadatta's head and also kills his elephant. Hence Drona is unable with the constant protection given by both Arjuna and Bheema, to fulfil his promise to capture Yudhisthira.

The next day Duryodhana complains. 'Acharya, Yudhisthira was within your reach, still you did not capture him. It seems you consider us as your enemies. If you had made up your mind, you could have captured him, even if Devatas were protecting him. It seems the boon you gave me so happily is now being changed.  Acharya, you should not disappoint your devotees this way!' 

This accusation upsets Drona a little, 'Duryodhana, do not feel like this. Gods and asuras, yakshas and gandharvas, no one can defeat the person who is protected by Arjuna. I will form a chakra vyuha today. I will kill one of their great warriors, but you must find a way to draw Arjuna away from the battle field and you will see I take my vows seriously.'

Drona starts the war by  forming the chakra vyuha (also called 'padma' lotus vyuha!). Pandavas are unable to break this and make inroads into the kaurava army and suffer great losses. A worried Yuhisthira calls Abhimanyu and tells him that there are only four in the world who can break this formation. 'There is no one except; you, Arjuna, Krishna  and Pradyumna who can penetrate the chakra vyuha. Let us not be censured by Arjuna for not doing enough. Go and breach this formation.'

Abhimanyu tells his uncle that he has only learnt how to break the formation and get inside, but he has not learnt how to come out of it in case he is in danger. Yudhisthira thinks that they could easily follow him as he makes his way in and protect him. With this assurance from his uncle, Abhimanyu is ready!

Yudhisthira concerned with the loss of men, worried with what Arjuna would say, takes a decision typical of a man who lacks depth as a warrior, no matter how well versed he is in matters of dharma.
The chief of Pandava army Dhristadhyumna and Bheema prove to be over optimistic. The story of Abhimanya is often used as an example of how half-knowledge is dangerous. It is now also used to support the new trend of educating a child right in the embryo!  Hope the kids thus educated do not go the Abhimanyu way.

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