Chapter XXIII - 82 Home | Index | Previous | Next

"But, note that your grandfather was not afflicted or affected with fear or cowardice. He saw before him Bhishma, the revered grandparent who loved to keep him on his lap and who caressed him as his own child; he saw his respected teacher, Drona, from whom he had learnt archery from A to Z; so, his heart lamented, 'Alas! Has this too to be endured by me, this bloody warfare with these great elders, persons whom I ought really to worship with tender lovely flowers? How can I shoot arrows at them? Have I to wound the very feet which I must really place reverentially on my head, when I dutifully prostrate before them?' The sentiment that overpowered him was really this emotion of 'adoration'. It was this that rendered him despondent, and not any other weakening emotion."

The feelings 'I' and 'Mine' grew so intense in him that he turned to Krishna and said, 'Krishna, set the chariot back towards Hasthinapura, I wish to go away from all this'; Krishna laughed in derision, and commented with scarcely concealed scorn, 'My dear brother-in-law, evidently you seem to be scared of fighting; well, I shall take you back to Hasthinapura, and bring instead, your consort, Droupadi; she has no fear. Come, we shall return. I did not realise you are such a coward; or else, I would not have accepted this position as charioteer for you. It is a gross error of judgement on my part.'"

"While Krishna was saying thus and many other harsh statements besides, Arjuna retorted: 'Do you think that I, who fought with God Siva and won the Pasupatha weapon from Him will quail before these common mortals? It is a sense of reverence and mercy that makes me desist from killing these kinsmen. It is not fear that holds me back.' Arjuna spoke for long, arguing on the lines of 'I' and 'Mine', but, Krishna did not appreciate his arguments. He explained to him the basic principles of all activity and morality and made him take up the arms he had laid down; He induced him to follow the dictates of the moral and social obligations of the Kshatriya caste to which he belonged."

"When in the midst of battle, the Kaurava warriors all in one gang rained arrows simultaneously on Arjuna, Krishna saved him from the shower, as He had done earlier, when He lifted the Govardhan hill to save the villagers of Gokula and the cattle from the floods of hail rained on them by the angry God Indra. He drew all weapons on Himself and rescued Arjuna, seated behind him in the chariot, from the deadly onslaught. Blood flowed from the wounds on His body, but, nevertheless, He held it against the shower of fiery arrows let loose by the enemy. His aim was that Arjuna must be preserved from harm. He intended also to reduce the might and pride of the wicked opponent and heighten the glory and reputation of Arjuna."

"He held no weapon Himself; but, He brought about the annihilation of the enemies and proclaimed before the world the magnificence of the path of Dharma, which the Pandava brothers adhered to. Often during the battle, your grandfather was pained at the role that Krishna had taken on Himself. 'Alas, that we are using You for this insignificant purpose; You whom we ought to install in the Lotus of the heart, we are seating you on the charioteer's plank! We have reduced you to the status of a servant! We have devalued the Lord so meanly; alas, that we are reduced to such straits!' he used to lament within himself."