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  • Writer's pictureanjali mohapatra

Arjun's acquisition of divine weapons!


King Janmejaya joined his hands and bowed to Rishi Vaishampayana. Very humbly he said, ‘O great Rishi! Tell me in detail what had happened to Pandavas after they were exiled. How did Arjun obtain all the celestial weapons?’ 


The wise-learned Rishi Vaishampayana smiled. Once again he started his narration:


The five Pandavas entered into the forest- Daityavana. While resting in Daityavana, there was a deep conversation between Yudhisthira, Draupadi, and Bhimsen. Both Draupadi and Bhimsen openly showed their anger at King Yudhishthira for his apathetic behavior towards wicked Duryodhana. Hearing the harsh words of Bhimsen, the ever-virtuous Yudhisthira revealed his fear of their incompetency to face the mighty-armed heroes of the Kaurava side such as Pitamaha Bhishma, invincible preceptor Guru Dronacharya, Ashwatthama, mighty Shalya and Karna. Having heard these words of his elder brother, the impetuous Bhimsen became alarmed and thoughtful. He didn't utter a word. 


Knowing by his yogic power what was going on in Yudhishthira’s mind, the great ascetic Vyasa dev approached there in haste. He was duly worshiped by all the Pandavas. Then, after taking his seat he spoke, ‘O best of Bharata race! Knowing your anxiety, I have come to you. The injustice done to you by Duryodhana is sinful, indeed! Now, follow my instructions as I say. Ask Dhananjay (Arjun) to acquire all the celestial weapons from Lord Rudra, Indra, and Lokapalas. He is the portion of Narayana. He is invincible, ever-successful, and eternal. And it is time for all of you to leave this place and go to Kamyaka Aranya.’ Thus, advising and showering his blessings upon Pandavas, the chastiser of foes, Rishi Vyasa dev then disappeared.


The follower of truth king Yudhishthira with his brothers set out for Kamyaka Aranya on the bank of Saraswati. The Pandavas lived there for some time devoting themselves to the science of arms and listening Vedas. Once, Dharmaraj Yudhishthira summoned Arjun and told him everything as Vyasadev told him. He said, ‘O Arjun! Our opponents are excellent and masters of the science of arms. The whole world is under the reign of Managovinda! We are all dependent on Bhimsen and you for your excellent might. It is time for you to go and obtain all the celestial weapons from all the Lokapalas, Indra, and Lord Shiva. Our Grandsire has told us that you are invincible but you have to obtain all these divine weapons. So, go, get it. O Arjun! Without giving way to anybody, go towards north.’


With the command of Yudhishthira, Arjun set out for the Himalayas to meet Lord Indra. The high-souled Rishis including Draupadi showered their benedictions on Dhananjaya for his success. He walked many dangerous and uneven spaces of Gandhamadana and the Himalayas. Suddenly he heard a voice, ‘Stop.’ Having heard the voice, Arjun stopped there and looked at all sides. 


He then saw a blazing ascetic sitting at the foot of a tree. The ascetic was lean and thin and he was browny. The ascetic asked in a deep voice: ‘O son, who are you? Nobody comes here with a bow and arrows, clad in armor, scabbard, and gauntlet devoted to Kshatriya usage! This is the place of tranquility- a place of peaceful Brahmanas ascetics who are beyond the shadow of joy or anger! O child! Throw your bow. No need to fight here! You have obtained the highest state of life!’


But Arjun didn't move by the Brahman’s words. Beholding his firmness, the Brahmana being pleased with him, smiled and said, ‘O Arjun- the slayer of foes, be blessed. I am Lord Indra! Ask a boon you desire to have.’


Arjun joined his hands and bowed to Lord Indra paying his heartfelt respect. He said, ‘O Lord of gods! If you are pleased, then grant me to learn all the weapons from you?’


Indra tried to lure him with other bliss but Arjun rejected everything except obtaining the celestial weapons. Seeing his determination, Indra advised him with sweet words to meet the three-eyed deity, Lord Shiva, the wielder of the trident. ‘O son of Kunti, when you meet Lord Shiva, then only all your desires will be fulfilled,’ saying thus, Indra disappeared. 


Arjun stayed at the spot, he engaged himself in severe asceticism. Seeing his austere asceticism, the great Rishis went to the great God and said, ‘O Lord of Lords! We are not aware of the reason why the greatly energetic Parth has engaged himself with severe penance on the breast of the Himalayas! But, being heated by his severe penance, the earth is sending smoke. It causes pain to us. O exalted one, you ought to stop him.’


Smiling at the Rishis, Shiva spoke, ‘No need for anxiety. His desire is neither for heaven, nor for prosperity, nor for long life. I will fulfill it today what he wants! Stay happy and go back whence you have come.’ Thus assured by the lord, the Rishis went back to their abode.


                                                *******


Lord Shiva took his form as a Kirata (hunter) accompanied by Uma(Parvati) in the same custom came there where Arjun was hovering around. At that very moment, Muka (a danava) in disguise as a boar rushed toward Arjun to kill him. Immediately, Arjun shot an arrow at the boar to defend himself. But, the Kirata (Lord Shiva) also shot an arrow to kill the boar. Both the arrows of Lord Shiva and Arjun fell on the boar at the same time. 


Looking at the Kirata and his wife (Uma in disguise) surrounded by her maids, Arjun said, ‘O golden-splendor one, why are you wandering in this solitary forest surrounded by women? Are you not afraid of this fearful forest? Why have you pierced the boar that was already aimed by me? If you behave adamantly, then I will be forced to take your life.’


Lord Shiva smiled at Arjun and said, ‘O hero! Don't bother with my dwelling in the forest. We spend our lives here only. But you look delicate. Why do you wander alone in this solitary forest?’


A moment later, they both claimed the boar as their own. Arjun said, ‘This boar is first shot by me. So, it's mine.’


The Kirata said, ‘O fearless one! This Rakshas is shot by me first. And he died by my shot. So, this one is mine. And being proud of your strength, do not blame others for your fault.’ When the dispute over one boar raised high, Lord Shiva (Kirata) said, ‘O wicked-minded wretch, you will not escape from me today with life. I shall shoot at you the most powerful arrows. Try if you can save your life.’ Thus,  Lord Shiva went on addressing him wretch again and again. 


Slowly the hot argument between the two reached its peak and both of them started hurling the powerful poisonous snake arrows at each other. Once again Arjun determined to send the unidentified mountaineer to Yamloka. He hurled thousands of arrows. But, the Creator of the world, with a cheerful heart bore that shower of arrows of Jishnu (Arjun). 


The arrows of Arjun were soon exhausted. And he was seized with great fear. Beholding the resistance of that Kirata to his powerful arrows, Arjun was astonished! He couldn't believe that! Being frustrated he thought, ‘Alas! Who is he? What shall I shoot now from my bow? Who is he who swallows up all my arrows? Except Lord Shiva, no one can withstand the terrible force of my arrows shot from my Gandiva! Is he the wielder of Trident himself or any divine Yaksha? How can my arrows be exhausted without giving any effect?’ At last, taking up the bow, he dragged the Kirata with his bowstring and struck him with heavy blows like thunderbolts.  


The angry mountaineer then snatched that bow from his hand. Out of anger, Arjun rushed with great force at the Kirata with a sword in hand. When he attacked him on his head, the sword broke into pieces. Then, he began to fight with trees and stones. The fight with fists from both the side Arjun and the Kirata created a huge sound like a thunderbolt. Arjun clasped the Kirata applying all his force and pressed him with his breast. And the Kirata did the same as Arjun did. Pressed by the great God, Arjun lost his consciousness. He looked like one who was dead. The combat between the two became terrible emitting smoke as charcoal does in fire. 


Somehow, he regained his senses and he mentally worshiped his clay deity- Lord Shiva with garlands of flowers. And to his surprise, the garlands that he had offered to the clay image adorned the head of the Kirata. Seeing the marvelous sight, Arjun was overwhelmed with joy! He prostrated himself at the feet of the Kirata.


Lord Shiva was pleased with Arjun and said, ‘O Falguni! I am pleased to see your matchless deeds! There is no Kshatriya who is equal to you in courage and patience. O sinless one! Your strength and prowess are almost equal to mine. O mighty-armed hero! I will allow you to see my real form and shall grant you all the weapons.’.


Overwhelmed with joy, Arjun addressed, ‘O lord of lords! You are Shiva in the form of Vishnu and Vishnu in the form of Shiva. O lord! I surrender myself on thy feet. If you are pleased to give me the boon, then grant me your fearful weapon- Brahmashira which can destroy the entire universe. The weapon by which I can get victory over Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, and Karna.’


Lord Shiva was so much pleased with Arjun that he agreed to give him all his divine weapons including Pashupat and taught him how to control it. But he warned him not to use that most powerful weapon against an ordinary person without a reason or it would destroy the whole universe the other way round. 


Lord himself taught him the method of discharging, hurling, and withdrawing. The moment Arjun accepted the Mahashakti- Pashupatastra, thousands of conchs, drums, and trumpets were heard. The earth, mountains, forests, and seas began to tremble. The creator of three worlds- Lord Shiva asked Arjun to go to heaven and obtain all the other divine weapons from the Lokapalas and Indra too.


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