The story of Mahabharata includes many characters and each of them has it’s own influential role in the epic. Since it is a composition of Ved Vyasa, hence it centres around the supreme lord and hence, it is meant for people who are devoted to him and wish to enjoy his pastimes in various forms.
Since Krishna is never alone, he is always surrounded by his devotees and hence, while mentioning of Krishna, his devotees are always mentioned.
In Mahabharata, there are many devotees of Lord Sri Hari and each of them has a separate role as well as eternal relationship with him. There are five major relations and seven minor relations.
The five major relations are:
- Shanta (Passive)
- Dasya (Servitorship)
- Sakhya (Friendship)
- Vatsalya (Parental affection)
- Madhurya (Conjugal love)
Arjuna is related to the lord in the relation of Sakhya i.e. he is a dear friend of the lord. The lord himself states in Bhagwad gita(4.3)
yogah proktah puratanah
bhakto ‘si me sakha ceti
rahasyam hy etad uttamam
In the 11th century i.e. in the post-Mahmud Ghazni era, the most powerful Hindu Kingdom in North India was that of the Gahadwala’s or Rathod’s who were a Rajput clan. The founder of the Gahadwala line was Jai chand.In Jaichand’s days, a rival Rajput clan had established itself in Delhi (Pithoragarh). The ruler there was Prithviraj Chouhan. Pritviraj was a romantic, chivalrous and an extremely fearless person.The story of Prithviraj’s bold exploits spread far and wide in the country and he was the center of much discussion in the circle of the nobility. Sanyogita, the daughter of Jaichandra Gahadwala fell secretly in love with Prithviraj and she started a secret poetic correspondence with him. Her father the haughty Jaichandra got wind of this So that he arranged a Swayamwara. Jaichandra invited all the big and small princes of the country to Kannauj for the royal Swayamwara. But he deliberately ignored Prithviraj. To add insult to injury, he even made a statue of Prithiviraj and kept him as a dwarpala .On that day, Sanyogita walked down the aisle where the royals had assembled and bypassed all of them only to reach the door where the statue of Prathviraj was established and garland the statue as a doorman. When sayongita came near to the statue, Prithviraj who was hiding behind the statue, also in the garb of a doorman, whisked Sanyogita away and put her up on his steed to make a fast getaway to his capital at Delhi. Then Jaichand decided to take revenge. For this he met with the another ruler Mahmud Ghori who was from Ghori in Afghanistan, they were attack on Delhi but he was defeated many times by Prithviraj, so Jaichand decided to help him by his own army and then Ghori who re-attacked Prithviraj with a stronger army and defeated him. As a prisoner in Ghor he was presented before Mahmud, where he looked Ghori straight into the eye Then Ghori ordered to the prisoner that Prithviraj’s eyes be burnt with red hot iron rods. This heinous deed being done.In those days Prithviraj was joined by his former biographer Chand Bardai, who had composed a ballad-biography on Prithviraj in the name of Prithviraj Raso. Chand Bardai told Prithviraj, that he should avenge Ghori’s betrayal and daily insults.
The two got an opportunity when Ghori announced a game of Archery. On the advice of Chand Bardai, Prithviraj, who was then at court said he would also like to participate. On hearing his suggestion, the courtiers guffawed at him and he was taunted by Ghori as to how he could participate when he could not see whereupon, Prithiviraj told Mahmud Ghori to order him to shoot, and he would reach his target.On the said day, Ghori sitting in his royal enclosure had Prithiviraj brought to the ground and had he unchained for the event. On Ghori’s ordering Prithiviraj to shoot, we are told Prithiviraj turned in the direction from where he heard Ghori speak and struck Ghori dead with his arrow. This event is described by Chand Bardai in the couplet,
“Char bans, chaubis gaj, angul ashta praman, Taa Upar Sultan hai. Ab mat chuko Chouhan.”
(Ten measures ahead of you and twenty four feet away, is seated the Sultan, do not miss him now, Chouhan).
Thus in the end of the story Prithviraj showed his braveness and courage in front of us and then he became a extreme fearless or brave king of India.
The fearless daughter of Hada Rajput, named Rani Hada was married to Rao Ratan Singh of Salumber, Mewar. Rao was mesmerized by the beauty of her wife and in his infatuation ignored his call of duty. In around 1653-1680 a battle was fought between Maharaja of Mewar and Aurangzeb. Being a part of the Rajput fraternity and helping to save their province, Maharana Raj Singh called Rao Ratan along with his army. When called by Maharana Raj Singh to join the battle against Aurangzeb, he sent his army but refused to come along because of his newly married wife. Rani Hada was disturbed due to his husband’s cowardly attitude and held herself and her beauty responsible for it.
Rani Hada had grown up hearing the tales of bravery of Rajput kings and queens and thus she finally convinced his husband to follow his ‘Kshatriya dharma’. Rao was finally prepared to leave for the battle and requested his wife to offer him a memento that reminds him of her.
Rani Hada requested her daasi to bring a box and sword and instructed her to handover the box to Rao ji. Daasi shouted in shock as Rani Hada chopped off her head with the sword. Abiding by the orders, she kept Rani Hada’s head in the box and ran to Rao ji.
Looking at her wife’s head Rao ji was broken and also proud of his brave Rani. She sacrificed her own self to make her husband follow his Rajputana dharma. Determined to pay homage to her wife’s sacrifice he bravely fought with the army of Aurangzeb and won over them. After winning over Aurangzeb he got on his keens and cut his neck because he had lost the desire to live anymore.
Even today the palace of Salumber has the statue of Rao Ratan Singh with Rani Hada’s head and she is remembered as an epitome of valour. Rani Hada was indeed a true Rajputani and kept her morals higher than anything else. Her sacrifice is immortal and will be remembered till time immemorial.
This is daily Gita and Bhagwatam Series in which we present their timeless and valuable teachings.
dṛṣṭvemaṁ sva-janaṁ kṛṣṇa
sīdanti mama gātrāṇi
mukhaṁ ca pariśuṣyati
Arjuna said: My dear Kṛṣṇa, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a ﬁghting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.
Any man who has genuine devotion to the Lord has all the good qualities which are found in godly persons or in the demigods, whereas the nondevotee, however advanced he may be in material qualiﬁcations by education and culture, lacks in godly qualities. As such, Arjuna, just after seeing his kinsmen, friends and relatives on the battleﬁeld, was at once overwhelmed by compassion for them who had so decided to ﬁght amongst themselves. As far as his soldiers were concerned, he was sympathetic from the beginning, but he felt compassion even for the soldiers of the opposite party, foreseeing their imminent death. And while he was so thinking, the limbs of his body began to quiver, and his mouth became dry. He was more or less astonished to see their ﬁghting spirit. Practically the whole community, all blood relatives of Arjuna, had come to ﬁght with him. This overwhelmed a kind devotee like Arjuna. Although it is not mentioned here, still one can easily imagine that not only were Arjuna’s bodily limbs quivering and his mouth drying up, but he was also crying out of compassion. Such symptoms in Arjuna were not due to weakness but to his softheartedness, a characteristic of a pure devotee of the Lord. It is said therefore:
yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā
sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ
harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā
mano-rathenāsati dhāvato bahiḥ
“One who has unﬂinching devotion for the Personality of Godhead has all the good qualities of the demigods. But one who is not a devotee of the Lord has only material qualiﬁcations that are of little value. This is because he is hovering on the mental plane and is certain to be attracted by the glaring material energy.” (Bhāg. 5.18.12)
This is daily Gita and Srimad Bhagwatam Series in which we present their timeless and valuable teachings.
atha vyavasthitān dṛṣṭvā
dhanur udyamya pāṇḍavaḥ
hṛṣīkeśaṁ tadā vākyam
idam āha mahī-pate
senayor ubhayor madhye
ratham sthapaya me ‘cyuta
At that time Arjuna, the son of Pāṇḍu, seated in the chariot bearing the ﬂag marked with Hanumān, took up his bow and prepared to shoot his arrows. O King, after looking at the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra drawn in military array, Arjuna then spoke to Lord Kṛṣṇa these words.
The battle was just about to begin. It is understood from the above statement that the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra were more or less disheartened by the unexpected arrangement of military force by the Pāṇḍavas, who were guided by the direct instructions of Lord Kṛṣṇa on the battleﬁeld. The emblem of Hanumān on the ﬂag of Arjuna is another sign of victory because Hanumān cooperated with Lord Rāma in the battle between Rāma and Rāvaṇa, and Lord Rāma emerged victorious. Now both Rāma and Hanumān were present on the chariot of Arjuna to help him. Lord Kṛṣṇa is Rāma Himself, and wherever Lord Rāma is, His eternal servitor Hanumān and His eternal consort Sītā, the goddess of fortune, are present. Therefore, Arjuna had no cause to fear any enemies whatsoever. And above all, the Lord of the senses, Lord Kṛṣṇa, was personally present to give him direction. Thus, all good counsel was available to Arjuna in the matter of executing the battle. In such auspicious conditions, arranged by the Lord for His eternal devotee, lay the signs of assured victory.
“Na ca saknomy avasthatum bhramativa ca me manah nitmittani ca pasyami viparitani kesava”; meaning- O Krishna, I am unable to keep composed; my mind is unsteady, and I see dire indications of inauspicious omens.” The supreme Krishna guided the perplexed Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra and the direct gospel from the lips of Lord Krishna holds significance in our daily lives and provides solutions to everyday troubles.
The 700 shlokas across 18 chapters as a part of epic Mahabharata highlights the Vedantic views, which needs to be imbibed in our lives. The core philosophies of karma, dharma, reincarnation, atman, brahman, maya and moksha forms the basis of the teachings of Krishna.
In the beginning of the chapter, the act of knowing your true self i.e. leaving apart the physical body and materialistic possessions that are delusion, identify your higher self or eternal soul. When man is free from the effect of happiness, sadness, fear, anger, anxiety and other such emotions; then he completely connects with the supreme power and stays neutral and contented at every situation in life.
Be in the moment:
Gita explains about the relevance of cherishing the journey more than the final destination. Whatever field you have mastered in, the pleasure of creating yourself up to that level is more inspiring and beautiful than the final end of creation. So be it any phase of life, if you live in that very moment without being judgemental about results, the greed and curiosity for more, vanishes.
Gita highlights the necessity of weighing everyone at the same level, be it friends or foe. “He alone sees truly who sees God in every creature he does not harm himself or others.” If the Supreme father doesn’t discriminate among all his kids, then how can we mortal beings perform against the law of nature? As the feelings of acceptance indulges the flower of love blooms within us and provides the strength to treat everyone as One human family.
Be cautious about your actions:
Lord Krishna explains Arjuna that every situation in our life is the result of our prior actions; fate and destiny need not to be blamed. Think about what you are doing right now, as your present actions decides your future results. The beautiful life is a gift of God, utilise it now and get rid of your flaws within time.
Have faith on HIM:
Almighty is infinitely more, beyond what can be seen, felt, heard by our physical senses; so it’s pointless to be thoughtful about every action on this planet. Have faith on his supreme blessings and say ‘I am in you and you are in me’. This bestows you with strength that prevents you to get trapped in the vicious circle of life.
Perform your duty:
“You might like another’s duty, and dislike yours. But still, do your own duty, and not another’s, even if you can do another’s duty very well. Or you’ll go on being caught up in the field of opposites. And there will be no end to your suffering.” It is much easier to become a hermit and stay in forest, leaving your family and responsibilities; but the true challenge is to perform your duties within the world of illusion and stay connected to the true self every second.
Act good, the lord is watching:
As a watch keeper, the Lord is aware about every act you perform. We can fool other mortals but not the supreme power. So be true to yourself and act wisely, without expecting the fruitful results, as it is your journey that matters. Gita says that you keep doing your duty in the best way you can and there will always be bigger power that will protect the truth. In short, never stop your war against injustice just because your enemy look so formidable. ‘In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to re-establish the principles of truth, I advent Myself time to time.’
The elements of Bhagvad Gita has been inspiring from the life of Mahatma Gandhi to Robert Oppenheimer, so why not you. Each one of us is Arjuna on the karmic battlefield of life, and the teachings of Lord guide us to win the battle against our own blood relations.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja