Sunday, June 4, 2017

29. The Brahmastra

One year after the public demonstration of their talents by the princes, Dhritarashtra installed Yudhishtira  as the heir-apparent of the kingdom. Yudhishtira, within a short time, earned the goodwill of the people through his admirable manners, good behaviur and righteous attitude. He even overshadowed his father, the late Pandu.

Bhima continued his education in the skill of using the mace and the chariot from Balarama, Krishna’s elder brother, as did Duryodhana.

Arjuna  received acclamation for his sklilful use of weapons  having attained unrivaled proficiency in  the firmness of his grasp of the weapons, lightness of motion,  accuracy of aim etc. Drona declared that there was none in the world who could equal Arjuna in dexterity and proficiency in the use of any weapon, straight, curved or heavy.

Once in an assembly of  the kaurava ana Pandava princes (Though the title kaurava will include the Pandavas also, for differentiating between the sons of Dhritarashtra and the sons of Pandu, the term Kaurava is being used to denore the former and the term Pandavas to denote the latter), Drona told Arjuna “By undergoing severe austerity, I obtained the most powerful weapon Brahmastra from Agnivesa, a disciple of Agastya. This weapon is similar to the thunder in its impact and it has the power to consume the whole earth. Once released, it will never become futile.  While imparting this powerful weapon to me, my preceptor had ordained that this should never be used on any human being especially on one on. This weapon should pass from one to his disciple. I am imparting this weapon to you by virtue of you being my most deserving disciple. I ask you to give me the preceptor's  fee (Gurudakshina) in the presence of your brothers, cousins and other relatives.”

Arjuna said that he would give whatever fee that was demanded by his  Guru. . Drona said, “You should fight with me when I fight with you.”

Arjuna pledged his word to do  so and touched Drona’s feet.

Nakula  became an accomplished chariot warrior (Ati-Ratha)

Sahadeva  learnt the Science of Morality, Virtues and Duties from Brihaspati, the Guru of the Devas (the Celestials).

Arjuna and his brothers conquered several powerful kings. These included Sauvira who had performed a sacrifice for three years, undaunted  by the attacks by the Gandharvas to disrupt the sacrifice, the king of the Yuvanas, whom even the powerful Pandu  could not defeat and Vipula, the king of Sauviras, a long time foe of the Kuru kingdom.

Arjuna, assisted by Bhima, overpowered all the kings of the East who were backed by ten thousand chariots. He also conquered the whole of the South.

Arjuna, with the help of his brothers, thus, extended the boundaries of the Kuru kingdom.

King Dhritarashtra, witnessing the prowess of the sons of Padu, began to develop a feeling of animosity towards them, his sentiments having become poisoned by his affection towards his own sons. He could not even sleep peacefully.

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