Friday, 18 May 2012

The war intensifies with Drona in charge. Mahabharata 146

On that day kauravas used the falcon formation and pandavas chose the pheasant shape. Drona went through the pandava army like the forest fire and killed many. But the plan to capture Yudhisthira failed. It is sunset and the two armies get  back to their camps. Drona addresses Duryodhana, sad and embarrassed, 'When Arjuna is there facing you, I had said  this earlier, even Indra cannot defeat him. It is impossible for me to defeat the team of Krishna and Arjuna. Find a way of leading them away, let some one else challenge Arjuna, he will not return till he has defeated them. In the meanwhile I will go in and as Dhristadhyumna looks on, I will capture Yudhisthira and bring him to you.'

On hearing this, Trigarta raja Susharma and his brothers volunteer. They have in the past suffered insults from Arjuna and are keen on avenging them now. More warriors also volunteer to face Arjuna and take a vow to kill him at any cost. These men send a challenge to Arjuna.

Arjuna goes to Yudhisthira, 'Elder brother, Susharma and other संशप्तक (warriors who have taken a vow to fight till death) have challenged me and I cannot refuse. Please permit me!'  Yudhisthira replies, 'You have heard Drona's intentions. He is a fearless and a skilled warrior. He has taken a vow to capture me. Make sure that he does not succeed.' Arjuna replies, 'When I am not here, Satyajeet, (a panchala prince) will protect you. You have nothing to fear till he is alive. If he dies just do not stay in the battle-field!' 

Thus taking permission from Yudhisthira, Arjuna goes after the volunteers like a lion chasing deer. In the battle field the kauravas and pandavas converge in a tumultuous battle, like the rivers Ganga and Sarayu in a turbulent confluence during the heavy rainy season.

As Drona rushes towards Yudhisthira, Satyajeet manages to protect him for a while. Later Drona demolishes Satyajeet's charioteer, his chariot and the horses, snaps his bow and finally severs his head with a half-moon shaped arrow.

I have yet to understand this aspect of human nature fully! What is it that motivates some humans to keep fighting even when they know the final result is death? This death wish must be in their genes. We do know that some animals do fight unto death, but that is instinctive. Why do we take orders from higher ups when we know certain that we are used as 'cannon fodder'? Why do we accpet to be the pawns in this war of higher ups.

As I recall, Balrama was the only conscientious objector and there was another king who decided to become neutral as neither pandavas or kauravas approached him properly. What about a common soldier? In modern warfare draft dodging was a crime and a shame. Deserters were  arrested and shot! They were treated as cowards and not as people with a conscience!

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