Stories From Great Indian Epics: Mahabharata
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War Clouds Loom Large
Exile Comes To The End
Thus ended the exile of Pandavas. They could successfully fulfill all the conditions of banishment. Duryodhana and Shakuni had no excuse now, but to offer Pandavas their due portion of kingdom. But greed and hatred ruled the heart of Kauravas. Their rule extended almost all over north India, a vast expanse of power and possession. To part with a part of land and wealth was not acceptable to Duryodhana, as is the case with almost every ruler! Therefore, Shakuni insisted and Duryodhana concurred not to anything to Pandavas.
As such Kauravas were least afraid of five Pandavas, there was no army to support them in war. Kauravas were sure to win even if Arjuna and Bhima convinced Yudhisthira for war. Here Bhima and Arjuna knew how ungrateful Duryodhana and Shakuni could be, they had anticipated that Duryodhana would never agree to give Pandavas their rightful kingdom. They told Yudhisthira to prepare for war, indeed it was the only option left to regain their glory and wealth.
Accordingly Arjuna was sent to Dwaraka to seek advice and help from Sri Krishna. Moreover, there were one hundred kings who were obliged by Sri Krishna in their release from the jail of demon king Jarasangha.
Preparation For War?
When Arjuna reached Dwaraka, he found to his surprise Duryodhana was also camping to seek help from Sri Krishna. His purpose was to ask for Sri Krishna's army to fight on his side. Next day, Duryodhana reached the palace of Sri Krishna and was told to wait for a while as Sri Krishna was asleep. Soon Arjuna also went. Duryodhana took his seat at the head of the Lord, while Arjuna sat at the holy feet. In a while Sri Krishna opened his eyes to see his dear friend and disciple at his feet. Said the lord, "O Arjuna, what brings you here so early in the morning?"
But Duryodhana could not wait, he intervened and said, "O Krishna, I have come before Arjuna. Therefore, please speak to me first."
The lord jested, "But I saw Arjuna first. Let him talk to me first."
But the sober Arjuna himself told the lord, "No, Duryodhana is right. He has come before me. Let him put forward his purpose of visit."
Thus given chance, Duryodhana asked of Sri Krishna to fight on his side. Sri Krishna said, "But Duryodhana I have vowed not to pick up arms in this war. But army can be on your side. Decide what do you want, me or my army."
The foolish Duryodhana thought : "There is no use of Sri Krishna if he is not fighting, I will ask for his huge army." Thus all army of Sri Krishna went to the side of Kauravas. Arjuna was pleased for all Pandavas wanted was gracious lord on their side. He thanked Duryodhana for his choice.
Yudhisthira sent message to Dhritarashtra to give them half of the kingdom which was their right. Dhritarashtra asked Duryodhana to consider the demand, but proud and indiscreet Duryodhana refused to part with any portion of his kingdom.
Yudhisthira then requested to grant to give them five villages, one each to five Pandavas. But still Duryodhana refused.
Thus the clouds of war loomed large as Bhima and Arjuna wanted to take their due even by force.
Sri Krishna was informed and requested to settle the matter. As a last appeal Sri Krishna accepted to act as their ambassador. He went to the court of Dhritarashtra and pleaded with the king to see reason. "Be just, O king", said Sri Krishna, "Save the kingdom from annihilation. Your and Duryodhana's irresponsible behavior would bring calamity to whole race. Pandavas must be given their right. Where has your sense of justice gone? Control your foolish son, otherwise this kingdom will see only widows as its inhabitants!"
But the helpless king was overpowered with his love for his son. he left the decision to Duryodhana. Duryodhana replied, "O Krishna, why are you wasting your time. what to talk of half kingdom, I will not part with even that much of land that a needle could hold on its tip!"
List of All Episodes in This story
Also of interest:
Stories From Great Indian Epic: Ramayana
Science and Vedanta
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