Tuesday, 25 September 2012

A scene from Dwaraka and the birth of Parikshit, before we continue with Ashwameda. Mahabharata 196

The author takes us away from Hastinapura to Dwaraka.

Once Yudhisthira starts functioning as a king, Krishna goes back to Dwaraka along with his sister Subhadra. He has been away a  long time!  Krishna, who allowed the Mahabharata war to be fought, was returning home like Devendra, who returned after killing all the demons! Every one is happy to see Krishna and felicitate him. After responding suitably to the invitations of the Bhojas, Vrishnis and others, Krishna goes to meet his parents.

A happy Vasudeva asks; 'Dear child! I have heard stories from others  about this extraordinary war! You have seen this war with your own eyes, you were involved with it and I would like to hear from you, as a man of valor, how this war was waged by pandavas and by Bheeshma, Karna, Krupa and Drona. Krishna, tell us as it happened, in detail .'

Krishna replies that it will take a hundred years to describe the miraculous feats by the great warriors in this war! He describes the war briefly from the time Bheeshma takes charge as the chief of the army until the death of Duryodhana. He does not tell them about the death of Abhimanyu as he deliberately avoids it, to spare his father from hearing about his  grandson's death. Subhadra who was present asks, 'Why did you omit the death of Abhimanyu? Tell him!'  And she faints and falls down just at the thought of her dead son.

Vasudeva also faints and on recovering asks Krishna, 'You are known in the world as a man who always speaks the truth. How is it that you hid the news of my own grandson's death? Tell me! How did he die? What was his message to his mother? Did he tell me anything? Oh, how I loved him! I hope he did not hesitate to fight and was not killed while he tried to run away?

Krishna gives his father the full details of Abhimanyu's bravery and declares that he has surely gone to heaven as there is nothing more sacred for a khsatriya than to die in a war, especially with death caused by a weapon. He also speaks about Subhadra going practically mad with grief and the way Kunti consoles her, advising her to behave like a true khsatriya woman;  face the death of her son bravely and take care of Uttarae, her daughter-in-law who is fully pregnant.

Meanwhile Yudhisthira collects enough money and materials from Himalayas and starts preparations to perform Ashwamedha yagna. Krishna and Subhadra return to Hastinapura. While there Uttarae gives birth to a son. As was expected it is a stillborn baby as a result of Ashwatthama's astra. The happiness at the birth of a child to perpetuate the vamsha turns into a uncontrollable wail of sadness.

Kunti, Draupadi and Subhadra and the rest appeal to Krishna, 'Krishna you had promised that you would save the child. It is now without life. We will all live if that child lives, all our prana is now in that child.'  

Krishna walks into the room where the child is lying lifeless. He looks solemnly at the child and speaks, 'If I have not uttered a single lie even in fun, have not retreated from a fight in a war, let this child live! If dharma and brahmins are dear to me, let this child live. If truth and dharma  recide in me, let this child live.'  Krishna then moves his palm from its feet to the head and the child starts breathing. As the child is born after the clan of kurus was destroyed, he is given the name Parikshit, one who extended the lineage!

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