A excruciating war starts | Mahabharata Paintings

Pandava finished their exile life

Pandava-s sought refuge at Virata's palace
Pandava-s sought refuge at Virata’s palace and completed their incognito life

Gaurava-s sniffed about Pandava-s hiding in Virata. They attacked Virata without giving any opportunity for Pandava-s. There was a small war in which Arjuna fount as Brihannala. Virata-s won the war to save their kingdom with Brihannala/Arjuna’s help. With that, the 13 years of exile life came to an end!

They exposed themselves to Virata. Virata apologized for treating them as servants. In turn, Virata offered his daughter Uttara to get married to Arjuna. As Uttara was the taught by Brihannala, Arjuna said he could not marry her. But he would accept her as his daughter-in-law. Uttara married Abhimanyu later.

The messengers

Pandava-s took temporary shelter. They sent messengers to Hastinapur to ask Duryodhana to return Hastinapur. Duryodhana refused. Messengers came back empty handed. Krishna felt it was the final chance to avoid war. He himself went to Hastinapur as a messenger carrying Yudhishthira’s message.

Sanjaya
Sanjaya

Krishna meets Duryodhana

Duryodhana understood about Krishna’s arrival. He arranged for food and shelter on his way. But Krishna refused to enjoy his hospitality. Even after Hastinapur, he refused to stay at the palace. He stayed at Vidura’s house.

The negotiation started. Duryodhana was adamant in his claims. He was a good ruler. He rules both Hastinapur and Indraprastha without any concerns. He asked Krishna, why should he return his kingdom, while he offered good governance.

Krishna made it clear that he did discuss the good or bad governance there. The discussion is about his promise to give back Indraprastha after Pandava’s exile. It was a failed negotiation. Krishna asked for five villages, then five houses. Duryodhana refused to give even five inches of land. Krishna warned him not to pave the way for the destruction of families on both sides. It looked trivial argument to Duryodhana. Krishna then warned him that Pandava-s would meet them in Kurukshetra. Let that red soil decide who holds the dharma. Being angry at his statement, Duryodhana ordered his squad to arrest Krishna.

Krishna as messenger. Duryodhana issue orders to arrest Krishna. Satyaki protests. Image (c) Raja Ravi Varma
Krishna as messenger. Duryodhana issue orders to arrest Krishna. Satyaki protests. Image (c) Raja Ravi Varma

Krishna asked him, what did he think about him. Krishna transformed himself into Vishvarupa. The kings assembled over there were spellbound.

Dhritarashtra asked Sanjaya what the kings saw there? As there was no reply, He asked Krishna himself if he could get vision to see him. He had been gifted with vision to see the Vishvarupa. He thought he did not want to see anything else with his eyes there after. He continued to be blind as usual. Kings saw Brahma, the creator god, Lord Shiva, the destroyer in Krishna’s Vishvarupa. The eyes, mouth and ears were fuming. They saw all the creatures inside. That was the end of negotiations. The kings dispersed from the negotiation hall one by one.

Krishna meets Karna

Krishna met Karna before he left Hastinapur. As a great warrior, Karna added an enormous amount of power to Kaurava-s. Krishna wanted to divide and rule Kaurava-s. He asked Karna, why did he support Duryodhana, even if he knows his way is against the Dharma. Karna asserted his commitment to Duryodhana, his friend.

Karna with Krishna
Karna with Krishna

Krishna told him the secret of his birth, the information he wanted to know, the information that will bring him out of his low-birth complaint. Krishna told him that he is the ender son of Kunti. By law, he came the son of Pandu, Hence he is the elder Pandava. He can be the emperor supported by all Pandava-s and Kaurava-s. Draupadi will accept to accept to him as well.

Karna was spellbound. But he recalled Duryodhana’s recognition since the day he appeared against Arjuna during a skill display ceremony. It was due to Duryodhana, he had been crowned as King, that helped him to come out of the low-caste derision. Even with that offer, Karna refused to change his camp.

Duryodhana was confident of his success in war because of Karna, Bhishma, Drona, and himself. Krishna’s effort to stop the war (or divide and rule) did not work out.

Krishna meets Kunti

Krishna met Kunti to ask her, if she had anything to inform his sons. She asked them to fight abiding by the law of war.

Kings taking sides

Both parties have started to finalize their alliance with friendly countries. Yadava army joined Kaurava-s. Krishna joined Pandava-s with a condition that he would not fight. Balarama did not join the war. Rukmi was rejected by both parties. The final collection of troops traveled to Kurukshetra.

Aravan kalapali

Both parties looked for an auspicious time to start the war. It was decided as well. Kaurava-s army has more akshauhini-s than those of Pandava-s. So there was a widespread demotivation among the Pandava army. To motivate the force, troop leaders a self-sacrifice to Kali, the goddess of war.

Self-sacrifice is a cruel form of killing a human being and offering him to God. All humans cannot do this. A man with a predefined set of anatomy would be chosen for this. Among the troops there were three persons with such body features – Krishna, Arjuna, and Iravan/Aravan. Krishna and Arjuna cannot be lost. So Aravan became the natural choice.

Aravan was the son of Arjuna through Ulupi, a Nagini during his visit to north eastern part of Bharatha khanda. Arjuna asked if he is ready to do a self sacrifice. He asked for three boons. To make him as a war warrior; to make arrangement so that he can view the war completely; To find a wife to cry after his death.

First option was agreed.

After he did self-sacrifice, his head would be kept in a place, from where the whole war field could be observed from a bird’s- eye perspective. So the second request was also agreed.

The third option was difficult. To find a bride for Aravan, that too in a war field, is not possible. As per the stories, Vishnu took Mohini form and married him. As per Jeyamohan’s Venmurasu, she was assumed as a third gender, and came with troops. The marriage was conducted. Aravan was given as a sacrifice to Kali by beheading him. The transgender woman cried out loud about her husband. This is celebrated as Aravan Kalappali festival in Tamilnadu, Sri Lanka and Singapore.

The war starts

Pandavas headed by Yudhistira and accompanied by Krishna ask Bhishma permission to start the war
Pandavas headed by Yudhistira and accompanied by Krishna ask Bhishma permission to start the war

The great war of Mahabharata began at Kurukshetra after blowing the conch Panchajanya by Krishna.

References / Gratitude:

  • The illustrated Mahabharata, Dorling Kindersley India, Penguin Random House, 1st Ed. 2017
  • The Mahabharata Set Of 10 Volumes, Bibek Debroy
  • Senna Vengai / Venmurasu by Jeyamohan

This blog post is a part of Blogchatter’s WRITE A PAGE A DAY campaign. (320 words)

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