The novice and the legend - Part 2
Updated: Aug 16
Beholding the vast battalions of Kauravas, Uttara lost his mind. His heart throbbed in a very fast pace. In a half choked voice he appealed to Brihannala, ‘O Sakhi- Look at me! I’m too young to face these vast troops! Tantipal had never mentioned it to me before. Please turn the chariot back. Let them take all the cows, I don’t care. I’ll even gift you thousands of best of the cows and as much gold, emeralds, whatever you want but please let’s go back. I can’t fight with this ocean of soldiers all alone.’
Hearing the weakening voice of Uttara, Brihannala spoke angrily, ‘O Prince- why did you make the fake promises before your mother and sister Uttaraa? Once you have landed on the battlefield, you can’t go back until you win or lose! There are hundreds of people who have single handedly resolved their problems. They are gone but their valour and virtue remained forever. You are a prince, so behave like a prince. Be brave and face the consequence. I can assure you, till I’m with you nothing can happen to you. Trust me and do me a favour— Be my charioteer and I’ll fight with them.’
‘What did you say?! You’ll fight! Ha, ha..you make me laugh.’
‘Yes, I’ll show you who I am!’
Assuaging Uttara, Brihannala moved the chariot at lightening speed. Uttara failed to convince his unwillingness to fight. He cursed himself being with Brihannala- a eunuch. Having no other choice, he jumped off from the chariot and ran. Brihannala ran after him and dragged him back to the chariot again.
The running and chasing game of two strangers created an amazing scene for the Kauravas. It was not easy for them to identify exactly who they were, especially from a distance. Mahaveer Karna clapped looking at the fun game of both the strangers.
Shakuni assumed the couple as King Virat and his wife Sudeshna. He laughed loudly and said, ‘Virat king is scared looking at our vast troop and maybe Sudeshna, being a brave lady, chasing after him to bring him back.’
Pitamaha Bhishma asked Guru Dronacharya, ‘O Dronacharya— Tell me who are these two strangers?’
Dronacharya observed keenly through the blurry air and said, ‘I have no idea who the runner is! But the chaser’s running style seems to be that of Arjun only.’
The Kauravas sarcastically laughed at Dronacharya’s perception. Duryodhana got furious and accused the Guru being always thinking of Pandavas. He reminded them that all the Pandavas were burnt alive in the jungle long back. Since Dronacharya had always a soft corner for Pandavas, he assumed everyone as one of the Padavas. One by one all the Kauravas criticised Dronacharya for his babbling. After some time Duryodhana was overwhelmed with joy and said, ‘O wise Dronacharya— if it is Arjun then they would be out before the due date of Agnyata vanavas (staying incognito in the forest) and they have to suffer for another twelve years in the jungle. How amazing it is!’
While they were continuing conversations, the Sun dipped down in the western horizon and darkness suffused all around. And the two strangers remained as a mystery for the Kauravas. In the meanwhile, Brihannala asked Uttara to drive the chariot to the Shami tree in the forest. Uttara hesitantly drove fast towards the jungle following all the instructions given by Brihannala. On the way to jungle Uttara satirically whispered, ‘O Sakhi! Did your heart missed a beat? Want to run away from the vast troop? Why are we here in the night?!’
'What do you think? I’ll fight without any weapon, isn’t it?’ Brihannala spoke sternly. Without further argument Uttara drove the chariot. When they approached close to the huge Shami tree, a terrible screeching sound was heard. Uttara stopped the chariot under the tree and saved himself from falling down being terribly scared. He shook like a leaf and stuttered, ‘Who made that terrible sound? Brihannala smiled meaningfully said, ‘It’s a Bettal (a dead body). He looks after the weapons secretly kept by the Pandavas. You just bow down to the tree then go up. There is a big hole on the tree. Climb up and bring the weapons kept inside. Later I’ll explain everything to you.’
Uttara did exactly what he was told. He climbed up with much difficulty. At last he saw the hole on the tree. He was surprised looking inside the hole. It was lit up brighter than day-light. Slowly Uttara inserted his hand inside to pick up the weapons. Suddenly he screamed and fainted there. Brihannala was stunned. He found out that Uttara was poisoned by a snake. He removed the poison as he was blessed with a boon(garedi mantra). When Uttara got back his senses, he was curious to know the reason of his senselessness. Brihannala told him about the snake bite.
In the mean time, the snake(named Soshaka) briskly moved away from the tree and went to Karna and surrendered to him saying, ‘O mighty Karna, please save my life from Arjun’s wrath.’
Karna was astonished at first and asked, ‘Why are you afraid of Arjun?’
‘Um…it’s a long story!’ Taking a long breath he said, ‘Once Agni Dev got a disease He tried everywhere to get rid of his dreadful disease but failed. At last the sages advised him to ask Arjun to set fire to Khandava vana(the name of a forest) which was full of medicinal plants. Being crafty, Agni Dev tricked Arjun to make a promise for setting fire to the Khandava vana. Arjun was a man of virtue. So he kept his words. As a result many innocent animals died. My father was one of them. I wanted to take revenge. So, I hid myself inside the Shami tree and waited till he would come. Unfortunately instead of Arjun I bit Uttara. Now he’ll take his revenge by killing me. You can use me on your arrow when you’ll have a fight with Arjun. That’s the only way I can repay my father’s debt.’
Karna assured him his protection and conveyed the message to King Duryodhana. They were all happy for one reason that Pandavas’ Angyata banavas would be leaked out before completion. Although Pitamaha Bhisma and Guru Dronacharya advised them to wait till it would be confirmed, but stubborn Duryodhana didn’t appreciate their concern. So they kept their silence.
Continued in Part 3