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Saturday, October 21, 2017

End of the Kurukshetra Battle (Book 9) - Maha Bharatha Series 49


The Kuru army had been devastated by the Pandavas. The only remaining heroes are Duryodhana, Kripa, Kritavarman and Aswattaman. Sanjaya is caught by the Pandavas, but released at the intervention of Sage Vyasa. (Vyasa shows up suddenly at critical moments). Yuyutsu, the son of Dhrithrashtra by a Vaisya wife, and thus a half-brother of the Kauravas, who had joined the Pandavas is alive. He takes permission from Yudhishtra and Krishna and goes back to Hastinapura to report to the king. Later, he performs the funeral rites for his half-brothers as suggested by Lord Krishna.
Duryodhana hides himself in a lake and solidifies the waters using his powers. The Pandavas learn about his hiding place with the help of some hunters who supply meat to Bhima. The Pandavas go to the lake and Yudhishtra asks Duryodhana to come out like a man and fight. The main reason for my writing this section is to bring to your attention the conversations between Yudhishtra and Duryodhana. 
Yudhishtra teases Duryodhana about his so-called valor and might and asks him “Why are you afraid?” Dhuryodhana says: “Fear is common among all living creatures. But, now I am not afraid. But tired ”. When Dhuryodhana talks about virtues and rules of combat, Yudhishtra asks why he did not think about virtues when the Pandavas were mistreated. Duryodhana then says: “What is there for me to rule after I have lost all my brothers, sons and friends? You can take it all”. Yudhishtra replies that he will not accept a gift, but wants to earn what is due to him and his brothers in a battle. Besides, he points out that Dhuryodhana is not in a position to make a gift, but must fight like a warrior. 
Dhuryodhana is thus coaxed and goaded into accepting the challenge. He comes out and says: “I am alone. I do not have any armor or equipments. I am tired etc” and says how he should not be expected to fight with all of the Pandavas at once. He offers to do combat with one of the Pandavas at a time. Yudhishtra asks how these rules were forgotten when several of the Kaurava heroes surrounded and killed Abhimanyu, when he was alone.
Yudhishtra is always kind-hearted and soft. He allows Dhuryodhana to choose his weapon and agrees to battle him one at a time. He also offers, without any reason, that if Duryodhana defeats only one of the Pandavas, the kingdom will be his! Duryodhana chooses a mace.  
Lord Krishna gets upset with Yudhishtra and chastises him! You should read the words as written by Lord Vyasa!! Krishna tells Yudhishtra: “What is wrong with you? Why did you offer to battle one at a time? Are you back to your ways of gambling? May be, you are destined to spend your entire life in exile! Duryodhana has been practicing with the mace against stone pillars all his life, getting ready for this moment. He has great strength, and more important, he has great skills. None of you, except Bhima has any chance of beating Duryodhana. Bhima has might and power, but he does not possess skill. In battles, skills are more important than might”. 
Fortunately, Bhima chooses himself to do the battle with the mace. 
The rest of the story is well-known. My point in bringing this episode is to make you, the reader, to read the conversations in the original. What a great story-teller Vyasa is! And, how beautifully he brings out many important facts of warfare and individual battles in the form of conversations!!  

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