When Arjuna killed Yudhishtira

In the Karna Parva of the Mahabharata, a very interesting incident takes place on the 17th day, just prior to the slaying of Karna by Arjuna. This particular episode has some great lessons that are valid even today.

Karna and Yudhishtira enter into a duel. Karna defeats Yudhishtira very badly and in fact the Pandava suffers serious injuries. He is carried back to the camp and is made to rest and recover there. Arjuna after fighting valiantly with the Samsaptakas approaches Bhimasena and enquires about Yudhishtira. Bhimasena tells him about how the King was badly injured fighting Karna. Arjuna then requests Bhimasena to head back to the camp and check on the older brother’s health. Bhimasena refuses to do this. He says that he will never return from the battlefield leaving a fight in-between. He instructs Arjuna to check on Yudhishtira and calmly assures him that the Samsaptakas will be taken care of!

Heeding to Bhimasena’s advise, Arjuna returns to the camp with Lord Krishna and approaches Yudhishtira. Being very weak on account of the injuries and seeing Arjuna near him, Yudhishtira mistakenly assumes that Karna has been killed and Arjuna has returned to give him that news. Insult and injury by Karna makes Yudhishtira’s anger towards him very acute. Arjuna replies that he had arrived there only to check on him and that he will return back and kill Karna. This news disappoints Yudhishtira a lot and he resorts to berating Arjuna. Yudhishtira vents out all his frustration at Arjuna and accuses him of deserting  Bhimasena and returning from the battlefield.

In the heat of the moment, Yudhishtira asks Arjuna to “give up the Gandiva” and says that he will ask Bhimasena or Lord Krishna to kill Karna. This statement makes Arjuna extremely furious. He draws his sword and rushes towards his brother. Krishna stops him and asks him the reason for drawing the sword. Arjuna replies that he has a secret vow that anyone who asks him to give up his bow shall be slain by him. In those days, Kshatriyas had the habit of making a secret vow at the time of completion of their training and they were expected to keep the vow at any cost. Yudhishtira, in fact, had a vow of his own that he would never refuse an invitation for a game of dice. No wonder he ended up losing his entire world, and twice at that. Similarly, Bhimasena had a vow that he would kill the person who calls him moustache-less (which was a symbol of manhood then).

Arjuna tells Krishna that he had to stick to his vow at any cost and hence he would kill Yudhishtira. Krishna tells him that he is making a mistake with such senseless insistence and reminds him of his bigger Dharma – that of winning the war. He tells Arjuna that the right, and only, way to “kill” an elder was to use harsh words and berate the elder. He instructs Arjuna to do the same against Yudhishtira. Arjuna complies and showers his choicest abuses on Yudhishtira. In his outburst, he keeps telling his brother how only Bhimasena has the right to snub him (Arjuna) and not Yudhishtira. He calls Yudhishtira incapable.

Upon completing his outburst, he draws his sword out once again. A seemingly surprised Krishna asks him the reason for this repeat act. Arjuna tells him that he can no longer live after having abused his beloved brother in this manner. Krishna once again counsels him and reminds him that suicide is not appropriate for any human being as the body is the “Kshetra” where the “Sadhana” of the soul can take place. Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha can be achieved only by utilizing the body and therefore self-destruction of one’s body is strictly prohibited. Krishna then provides a way out for Arjuna to atone for the sin. He tells him that self-praise is equivalent to suicide and so he should praise himself from the core of his heart.

Arjuna follows Krishna’s advice (once again!) and indulges in heavy self-praise for a while. He goes on about how powerful he is and how many kings and kingdoms were defeated by him. Thus, Arjuna “kills” himself.

At the end, Yudhishtira who is very down because of Arjuna’s abuses proceeds to kill himself. Krishna stops him and explains the whole situation. Arjuna falls at his brother’s feet and begs for pardon. Yudhishtira excuses him and both of them embrace each other.

Thus, Arjuna “kills” Yudhishtira and also commits “suicide” during the war.

Relating this incident and Krishna’s message to our own lives, it is startling that murder and suicide are the two things we repeatedly commit in our lives, almost on a daily basis. Berating elders and self-praise is among the most prevalent habits in society today. We do not even realize the extent of the evil in both these behaviors.

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Jayanti Nirnaya, Anu Bhashya and Yati Pranava Kalpa

I have added the Kannada, Devanagari and English transliterations of Srimadacharya’s “Jayanti Nirnaya”, “Anu Bhashya” and “Yati Pranava Kalpa”  to the Mantras page. Check under “Sarvamoola Granthas”.

Jayanti Nirnaya is a small composition by Sri Madhvacharya where he gives directions on how to determine the right day/time for celebrating Sri Krishna Jayanti. Details on how to celebrate the festival are also given. This is a short but very useful composition.

Anu Bhashya is a short work which is like a concise summary of Srimadacharya’s Brahma Sutra related granthas.

Yati Pranava Kalpa is a work on the methodology in intiating a person into Sanyasa. It also has details on the discipline to be followed by Sanyasis and the various kinds of Japas and rituals they need to perform. It also talks about the philosophical tenets that they need to adhere to and propagate.

P.S: I have also uploaded the english text of Sadachara Smruti and the Devanagiri+English text of Kanduka Stuti at the same location.

Mantra additions – 24th April 2009

Some search engines don’t pick up edit changes to “Pages” on blogs. They only seem to notice changes to “Posts”. So, in order that new additions to the Mantras page become visible, I make periodic posts with a list of the things added. Some recent additions are

  1. Dadhi Vamana Stotra
  2. Hayavadana Ashtakam
  3. Vishnu Ashta Nama Stotra
  4. Vishnu Shata Nama Stotra
  5. Lakshmyaaryavruttam
  6. Anu Vayu Stuti
  7. Madhva Muni Prataapaashtakam
  8. Medha Suktam

These can be downloaded from the mantras page. Kannada and Devanagari versions are available.

Hierarchy of the Daityas

Just like there is a hierarchy amongst Devatas, there is a hierarchy amongst Daityas also. The leader of the Daityas is Kali and, in decreasing order of evil, the list goes on till we reach “Adhama Manushyas” or “Lowest forms of humans”. The following information is compiled from the “Daitya Taratamya Sandhi” Of Harikathamruthasara, the Dvaita encyclopaedia written by Sri Jagannatha Dasa.

  • Kali, just like Lord Brahma, has a lifetime of 100 years. The rest of the Daityas have decreasing evilness in the hierarchy till we reach Adhama Manushyas. Amongst evil qualities, Kali and his wife Alakshmi are matchless.
  • There is only one Kali for every 100 years of Lord Brahma. The rest of the demons reach Andhan Tamas after completing their share of evil. Once 100 years of Lord Brahma is complete, their Linga Deha is destroyed by the mace of Lord Vayu.
  • The Daityas then reach Tamas and, by virtue of their inherent nature, undergo sorrow. Even in Tamas, they continue their hatred for Vishnu. Kali is again at the head of this group.
  • After Kali comes Alakshmi, his wife. She is less evil than him by 100 attributes (Gunas). Viprachitti, who incarnated as Jarasandha, comes next and has 100 attributes less than Alakshmi. Following Viprachitti is Kalanemi who incarnated as Kamsa.
  • Madhu-Kaitabha come next and have 5 attributes less than Kalanemi. They incarnated as Hamsa and Dibika during Krishna Avatara. Narakasura is at the same level as Viprachitti. Next comes Hiranyakashipu who is less than Narakasura by 100 attributes.
  • Hiranyaksha is less than Hiranyakashipu by 3 Gunas. Manimanta is equal to Hiranyaksha. Bakasura comes next. Demon Taraka is next and has 20 attributes less than Bakasura. Shambarasura is lesser to Taraka by 6 Gunas.
  • Salva is equal to Shambarasura and less than Manimanta by 10 Gunas. Hidimbasura is lesser than Shambarasura by 6 Gunas. Hidimba, Banasura, Dvapara and Keechaka are equals.
  • Namuchi, Ilvala and Paka are equals. They are 10 Gunas lesser than Banasura and others. Vatapi is lesser by three Gunas. Dhenukasura is lesser than Vatapi by 100 Gunas. Keshi is less than Dhenukasura by half a Guna.
  • Trunavarta is equal to Keshi. Lavanasura, who was killed by Shatrugna in Ramayana, is lesser than Trunavarta by 11 Gunas and is above Arishta by 5 Gunas.
  • Dushashana, Vrushasena are equal to Jarasandha (Viprachitti). Kamsa (Kalanemi), Koopa and Vikarna are equal to each other. Rugmi is lesser than Kamsa by 100 Gunas. Shatadhanva and Kirmeera are lesser than Rugmi by 100 Gunas.
  • Kalakeyas are the Abhimani daityas for alchohol. Next to them are the abhimani daityas for the Indriyas.

– Kali took avatar as Duryodhana
– Alakshmi took avatar as Duryodhana’s wife. She was also Manthara in Ramayana (Kaikeyi’s maid)
– Viprachitti was Jarasandha
– Kalanemi was Kamsa
– Madhu and Kaitabha were Hamsa and Dibika
– Bakasura, Hidimba, Jarasandha, Duryodhana, Dushashana, Vikarna, Kirmeera and Manimanta were all killed by Bhimasena
– Kamsa, Hamsa, Dibika, etc were killed by Lord Krishna

The number killed in the Mahabharata War

My previous article on the Akshouhini gave rise to some interesting discussions in the comments section. Sri Chiraan rightly pointed out that the actual number of people who participated in the war had to be much more. It was, after all, the “Maha”bharata war!

I recalled reading in the Tatparya Nirnaya that the number 18 Akshouhinis was just the core army. The actual army *had* to be much bigger! So I got down to doing some research on this and yes, the Bhaarata has captured this detail as well. We find details of the actual fatalities (and survivors) in the war in the Stri Parva. The Pandavas, along with Krishna, come to meet Dhritharashtra and Gandhari. At one point, Dhritharashtra asks Yudhishthira if he knows the number of people dead and number of survivors. The numbers that Dharma reveals are

  • Fatalities : 1 billion, 660 million and 20,000!!!
  • Survivors : 240,165

Today’s world population is 6 billion, 700 odd million. Even in today’s terms, about 25% of the population got wiped out in the war!

This piece of information is in the Stri Parva (11th Parva) of the Mahabharata. I reproduce below the original shloka(s) and Ganguly’s translation of the same.

dashayutanam ayutam sahasrani cha vimshatihi |
kotyah shashtishcha shat chaiva ye asmin rajamrudhe hataha ||

alakshyaanam tu veeraanam sahasraani chaturdasha |
dasha chaanyani rajendra shataam shashtis cha pancha cha ||

One billion 660 million and 20,000 men have fallen in this battle. Of the heroes that have escaped, the number is 240,165″

Truly, the war was a Maha Yuddha!

Sarvamoola Granthas

One of my goals for this portal is to make available all the 37 Sarvamoola Granthas, or Works or Sri Madhvacharya, in Kannada and Devanagiri.  As a first step towards that, I have started transliterating the Sankeerna Granthas. Tomorrow being Hanuman Jayanthi, it is an excellent occasion to post the first result of this initiative. You can download the “Sadachara Smruti” in Kannada and Devanagiri from the below link.

This is a classic work of Srimadacharya, giving us simple guidelines on pious living. It has instructions on what activities one should follow in one’s life. It is a short but loaded composition.

The same link also has two other short works of Srimadacharya – the Dvadasha Stotra and the Kanduka Stuti. I had completed these a while ago and have just re-organized them in this category.

Initially, I plan to complete the shorter (note the word shorter, I don’t mean smaller) works of Srimadacharya including Anu Bhashyam, Krishnamruta Maharnava, Yamaka Bharata, Tantra Sara Sangraha and Yati Pranava Kalpa. Later, I hope to graduate to his bigger works.

Rama Stotras

Today is the auspicious ocassion of Sri Rama Navami. Today is the day when Lord Rama appeared on earth as the son of Dasharatha and Kausalya. Lord Rama, being the Supreme Lord himself, is not subject to birth (and death) like mere mortals. His avatars are all just “appearances”.

On this ocassion, I managed to transliterate a few Rama Stutis and Stotras. You can download the same, in Kannada and Devanagiri scripts, from here. The stotras are

  1. Rama Stuti
  2. Rama Stuti (2)
  3. Rama Stotra
  4. Rama Panchakam
  5. Rama Dashakam
  6. Rama Charitram
  7. Sri Rama Ashtottara Shatha Nama Stotra
  8. Rama Ashtakam
  9. Sri Rama Ashta Vimshati Nama Stotra
  10. Collection of Rama Stutis from Srimadacharya’s Dvadasha Stotras

Of course, these are available from the Mantras page as well.

May Lord Rama bless all!