The novice and the legend - Part 3
In the jungle, Uttara took out the weapons one after another. Unable to lift Bhimsen’s mace, he brought only five bows and ten quivers then got down from the tree. He was amazed with the beauty of those bows and quivers. They were looking unusual to Virati(son of Virat- Uttara is known as Virati). Enthusiastically he asked Brihannala, ‘O Sakhi- you said these are Pandavas’ weapons. But how do you know that?! Why it is concealed here in this jungle?!’
Brihannala took a deep sigh and said, ‘Yes, all weapons belong to five Pandavas. They hid their weapons in this Shami tree so that easily they could spend one year angyata banavas without difficulty.
‘Ha! You are speaking as if you know them very closely,’ Virati said mockingly.
‘Hmm…you are right! Maybe…’ replied Brihannala.
Uttara tried to find out the reason behind Pandava’s Angyat Vanavas and said ‘By the way, why incognito?! What had happened to them?’
Brihannala described to him in short what had happened between Kauravas and Pandavas and why Pandavas were in Angyata vanvas. Uttara was dumbfounded and asked, ‘O Sakhi! Where are the Pandavas now?’
'Arjun thought for a while then said, ‘If you promise me to keep the words secret, then I would disclose the truth. Can you?’
‘For God’s sake, my beloved parents sake! I won’t mutter a single word. Trust me,’ Uttara vowed firmly.
‘They are in Virat’s kingdom, in your royal palace in disguise.’
'W- what?!! What did you say?! In..in our royal palace?! Are you insane? Have you lost your mind? You are kidding, right?!’said Uttara, his eyes bulging out in equal amounts of shock and awe.
‘No, I am serious. Now listen: The courtier in your royal court- that Kontavatta or Konk is no one but eldest Pandava Dharmaraja Yudhisthira. Vallava is the second Pandava- Bhimsen, the most wise and handsome man who looks after your horses - Granthikar is Nakul and the youngest wisest one is Sahadev- in charge of your herds. And myself Arjun— a eunuch dancer.’
‘Ah! You made me laugh- Sakhi! You are what?! Arjun?! Incredible! Ok, if you can say all the ten names of Arjun, then I can believe you as him. And why a eunuch? Tell me clearly. Go ahead—
Arjun enjoyed his childish behaviour. One after another he pronounced the names with the related incidents how he obtained those names. He explained the reason of his being ‘eunuch’ as a curse of Urvasi. And that period was over.
Uttara was fully convinced with his remarkable narration. Overwhelmed with joy he said, ‘O Maharathi Arjun! I’m blessed with your presence! Now onwards, whatever you command, I’ll do it without any second thought. I’m not afraid of anything now.’
Arjun was impressed too. He precisely described about the individual bows of all four Pandavas. Precious gems like diamond, pearl, gold, emerald and much more were attached to each one of the bows. The startling beauty of the bows were beyond words. When he held his own bow, tears rolled down from his eyes with happiness.
Like roaring of a lion, Arjun blew the Debadatta conc with full volume which resonated across the jungle and everywhere. It seemed as if the thunderbolt had fallen down from the sky! The lightening expelled the darkness for a moment! The dreadful sound shook everybody in Kaurava’s camp including the Maharathis.
Lord Krishna in Dwarika perceived the message of Arjun being prepared to face the opponents in Virat’s kingdom. He became happy and asked Daruka, his own charioteer, to hand over the Nandighose chariot to Arjun. He himself intricately decorated the chariot with innumerable precious gems, kept all the celestial weapons in it and four excellent horses who could run very fast. Loyal charioteer Daruka obeyed His command and within a short time landed in front of Arjun with the chariot. He conveyed the message of Lord Krishna presenting the divine chariot to him. Uttara became speechless at the sight of wonderful chariot. He couldn’t believe his eyes. After a while Daruka left the jungle.
Uttara became the charioteer of the same chariot on which Lord Krishna would be the charioteer and Arjun would be the Rathi (warrior) in Mahabharata war. Arjun commanded him to land the chariot in front of the Kauravas. He repeatedly advised, ‘O Uttara— listen to me carefully. Neither you will panic nor you will get down from the chariot at any cost. Remember this- the moment you will get down, you will be perished. Till you are on the chariot, nobody even the devas can’t do any harm to you.’
As the chariot advanced on the ground, all the maharathis- Drona, Bhishma, Salya, Krupacharya, etc. were surprised. They were strangers for Uttara. Arjun portrayed each one’s valour, name and fame as they deserved. At last Arjun asked Uttara to stop the chariot in front of king Duryodhana.
Beholding the emblem’ Kapidhwaja’ in the chariot, Managovinda (Duryodhana) yelled sarcastically, ‘Hey Arjun! Are you shameless? You forgot the term of Angyata vanavas? Don’t you know still ten days are left for completion? Maybe you have lost your honour and pride in the jungle living like a beggar. Well, good to see you. Poor boy! Again twelve years in jungle. I feel so sorry!’
Ignoring Duryodhana’s insults, Arjun paid respect to Duryodhana from his chariot. As arrogant, stubborn Duryodhana remained unchanged, Arjun retorted in the same tune and said, ‘O Brother! Perhaps you have forgotten how many times you are saved by one of us. Remember the attack of Pandabasura, demon Hiranya, Gandharva Chitrarath and other incidents? Each time you’re saved by one of us.’
Hearing the offensive words from Arjun, Duryodhan became furious. He attacked him violently and showered nonstop arrows upon Arjun. No longer Uttara could tolerate the continuous attack of the king of Hastinapura. He appealed to Arjun, ‘O noble Warrior! Please fight back! The arrows showered by king Duryodhana is unbearable now. Do something.’
Before starting the combat Arjun paid homage to Gurudev Dronacharya and all his elders- Pitamah Bishma, Kripacharya, Shalya. At last he bowed in his mind to Dharmaraj Yudhisthira. His mind was also deeply connected to Lord Krishna all the time. Then Arjun released the arrows towards Duryodhana.
Drona was a farsighted wise man. He blessed Arjun to win over the battle. Whatever celestial arrows released by Duryodhan, Arjun nullified it on the way. After a severe combat between the two, Arjun hit the charioteer of Duryodhan and broke his chariot too. Duryodhana jumped off from the chariot and ran in bare feet.
Uttara screamed, ‘O Parth(Arjun), he is running away.. Don’t miss this opportunity, attack him. Arjun smiled said, ‘O Uttara! Still you have no sense. One who shows his back to the battle should not be attacked— this is Kshyatria dharma. Let him go.’
Looking at Duryodhana’s miserable condition, Karna came forward to attack Arjun. The war continued for a long time. Though both were talented in archery, yet Arjuna beat him. He then searched the whereabout of Duryodhan. After defeated by Arjun, Duryodhana had taken shelter on Bhisma’s chariot.
Bhisma said, ‘O Duryodhana, I warned you many times to stop adharma (illegally usurping other’s property) but you never paid any attention to my words. Now we all have to suffer the consequence. Nobody can save us from Arjun’s wrath.’
The battle between Arjun and Kauravas Maharathis increased its pace time to time. When Karna was defeated by Arjun, Pitamah Bhisma, then Salya, Kripa all fought and miserably defeated by Arjun. Furiously Dronacharya screamed, ‘O mighty Arjun! Let me see how powerful you are!’ Out of frustration he used all the heavenly weapons at Arjun. But Arjun cancelled all his gurudeva’s divine arrows. The war between Guru and shisya took a terrible form. Without lingering any more Arjun released the ‘mohanastra’ which made everybody senseless except Bhisma and Drona.
Uttara overwhelmed with joy said, ‘O Arjun, all the Kauravs and the whole troop is dead. We won over the battle. Let’s move now.’
Arjun smilingly reminded him about the request of Uttaraa(sister of Uttara) to bring the crown and Uttariya(loose piece of upper body clothing) of warriors. He got down from the chariot with Uttara to accomplish the work. Very cautiously he said, ‘O Prince, remember one thing- never try to touch the crown or the uttariya of Pitamaha Bhisma or Guru Dronacharya. They are not unconscious at all. Just to respect the power of celestial weapon, they lied down. And don’t dare to snatch the crown of king Duryodhana. That crown is so phenomenal. Only Duryodhana has the power to bear it. Rest of the crowns of the warriors is welcome.’
Both of them marched forward to collect the things that Uttaraa asked. In the mean time, the cow herds happily led all the cows to Virat kingdom.
At last Arjun blew the conch as a sign of victory and Uttara moved the chariot towards Matsyades- to his father’s kingdom.