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Arjuna Indian Mythology Mahabharat Series of Seven

Seven little known facts about Arjuna

Arjuna, the gifted archer of his times, has struggled and humbled few times. Being a good disciple, he had the liking of his Guru and Lord Krishna, which provided him invaluable edge. Presented here are some of the lesser knows stories of Arjuna.

Arjuna’s son sacrificed himself before Kurukshetra war

Iravan, was the son of Arjuna from princess Uloopi. Before the start of the Mahabharata war, he agreed to be sacrificed to Goddess Kali to ensure victory for Pandavas. But he had a wish to be married before he died and this created a problem.
There was no girl who would be willingly married to a person who was about to die. Enter Shri Krishna. He became Mohini and married Iravan thus fulfilling his last wish. Not only this, after the death of Iravan, Mohini wept and was sorrowful like a widow.

 

Shri Krishna and Iravan

Uloopi’s boon

While on exile, Uloopi, a naga princess, fell in love with Arjuna. One day, while Arjuna was taking bath, he was abducted by the princess and she explained that she plans to marry her. Arjuna said that he was in exile and if it is alright to marry, then let it be. Sooner, Arjuna married her and Uloopi granted him a boon that no amphibious creature would be able to defeat him. Uloopi also restored Arjuna’s life when he was killed by Babhruvahana.

The salvation of crocodiles

When Arjuna was in exile, he reached a ashram. In those ashram, sages told him to help them for crocodiles who do not allow any living thing to bathe and perform other activities. Arjuna promised to help them as he was protected by a boon from Uloopi, his wife.
Soon, he entered the lake and took the crocodile to the surface. The crocodile turned into a woman and said that she was under a curse from a sage after she and her four friends disturbed the sage. Her name was Varga. The sage said that when brave warrior pulls them out of the water. the curse will end. She now asked him to help her friends as well. as they are also living as crocodile. Arjuna obliged and freed Saurabha, Samichi, Lata, and Budbuda.

Arjuna pulls out the crocodile

 

Arjuna saves Drona from crocodile and wins Brahmastra

This is an interesting story that Arjuna came in possession of Brahmastra. One day, a crocodile caught Drona. He could have easily defended himself, but wanted to test his students. He cried for help, and seeing this situation, everyone became clueless. But Arjuna knew what to do and soon enough, he release arrows to kill the crocodile. Guru Dronacharya was extremely happy with Arjuna’s presence of mind and applying his skills in a life situation.

He soon given him the knowledge of Brahmastra, complete with the means for launching and withdrawing it , which could make him invincible. This is notable that Drona did not part this information with his own son, Ashwaththama, his son.

Drona providing knowledge of Brahmastra to Arjuna

Arjuna wanted to kill Yudhishthira

Strange but true, Arjuna indeed wanted to kill Yudhishthira. This is when Karna was the commander of Kaurava’s army and he defeated Yudhishthira. The eldest pandava was ashamed of this and he hoped that Arjuna would take his revenge. But he came to knew that this did not happen, so Yudhishthira started to say ill things to Arjuna and asked him to leave his weapons as they are of no use. Arjuna was under an oath that he wpuld kill anyone who asked to part with his weapons. As his elder brother said to relinquish his weapons, Arjuna was bound to kill his brother. Lord Krishna again saved the day for Pandavas when he suggested a way out of this.

Arjuna was defeated by Kirata and wins Pashupatastra

Before the start of battle of Kurukshetra, Arjuna went for search of weapons. This was to ensure that Pandavas win the battle with the help of these weapons. Once, he encountered a wild boar on which a Kirata also lay claim. Sooner a fight broke between these two and eventually Arjuna was defeated. It was later revealed that the hunter was none other than Lord Shiva.
Lord provided him with his own weapon – pashupatastra. The whole story can be read here.

When Arjuna was humbled

Arjuna was an ace archer and naturally he became proud of the skills he possessed. Once, while on a pilgrimage, he happened to come across Hanumana. This place was Rameshwaram, where the bridge to Lanka was made by vanaras.

The challenge between Arjuna and Hanumana

Arjuna boasted before Hanumana, saying that “Lord Rama need not have asked the monkeys to build a bridge. If I were here, I would have built a bridge with arrows.” “A bridge of your arrows! Leave alone the Vanara army, it will crumble under my feet” replied Hanuman. Well, it developed into a challenge. It was decided that Arjuna should erect a bridge with his arrows and Hanuman should walk on it. If the bridge collapsed, Arjuna should jump into fire; otherwise, Hanuman must adorn Arjuna’s banner.

The Bridge was built

True to his word, Arjuna soon built a bridge with his arrows. When Hanumana tested the bridge and set a foot on it, the bridge disintegrated into thousand pieces. Arjuna got ready to jump into the fire.

Lord Krishna arrived

Arjuna and Hanumana

Just then, Shri Krishna reached the place. He asked them to repeat their performances. When Arjuna erected the arrow-bridge, Krishna touched the bridge with his divine hands as if to test it. Then when Hanuman danced on it heavily, it did not even shake. Hanuman was shocked and then realised that Krisha is none other than Rama. Hanuman kept his word and entered Arjuna’s banner.

This story is similar to Bhima and Hanumana story where Bhima was humbled by Hanumana.

Further reading:

Seven little known facts from the Mahabharata(2)

Seven little known facts about Karna from the Mahabharata

Pandavas exile – seven little known facts from the Mahabharata (3)

Seven unknown facts about Karna

When incarnation of Lord Vishnu could not defeat his bhakta

Seven unknown facts about Mahabhrata
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Arjuna

Arjuna and Kirata

 Arjuna and Kirata

There is a humbling story about Arjuna who was humbled by Kirata. The world’s greatest archer, did not know how to beat an ordinary Kirata. He was made to understand that being greatest archer did not mean he was invincible.

Mukasura and his death

Arjuna did great penance in quest of Divyastras. Just when he was completing his worship, a demon named Mukasura, came to kill him. Being an accomplished archer, took aim of the beast and killed the demon, which took the form of a boar. As he killed the demon, he noticed another arrow in the body of the boar.

Argument between Kirata and Arjuna

Surprised and thinking that who could have killed the boar, he went about to examine the kill. It happened that a kirata (hunter) has shot the arrow and claimed the boar. He became angry with him saying that he deserves the prey as the hunter has killed the boar from behind. Kirata countered that there is no rule saying that a prey cannot be killed from behind.

Kirata and Arjuna

Arjuna worships Lord Shiva

After the argument, a fight broke between them and to his surprise, his adversary happened to be an equal warrior. More surprise was in store as Arjuna was losing the battle, first in archery, then as wrestlers. Hapless, he decided to worship Lord Shiva and made a shivlinga on the earth. Then he brought some flowers and worshipped Lord Shiva. When he decided to face the hunter again, to his surprise, he found the flowers on Kirata.

Lord Shiva gives Pashupata to Arjuna

He understood that this hunter was Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva bestowed his blessings on him and he said that he wanted to test him whether he was worthy of Pashupata-astra. This weapon was the ultimate weapon to have in one’s armoury. Lord said that he was happy with Arjuna’s skills and he would bestow his blessings on him. In this way, Arjuna got his lesson and the Pashupata-astra, the great weapon.

Arjuna receiving Pashupata
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Arjuna Indian Mythology Mahabharat

Curses on Arjuna (Mahabharata – Indian mythology)

Curses on Arjuna

Mahabharata is full of incidents of curses, yet when curses are mentioned with reference to Mahabharata in Indian mythology, we would normally associate Karna, but Arjuna also had some curses. But this can be argued that though these have been curses, Arjuna was able to use them to his and Pandava’s advantage.

Curse of Vasus

Chitrangada, in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, is one of Arjuna’s wives. Arjuna  travelled through India during his term of exile of twelve years. His visited Manipur in the eastern Himalayas, an almost mystic kingdom renowned for its natural beauty. There, he met Chitrangada, the daughter of the king of Manipur, and was moved to seek her hand in marriage.

Her father demurred on the plea that, according to the matrilineal customs of his people, the children born of Chitrangada were heir to Manipur; he could not allow his heirs to be taken away from Manipur by their father. Arjuna agreed to the stipulation that he would take away neither his wife Chitrangada nor any children borne by her from Manipur and wedded the princess on this premise. A son, whom they named Babruvahana, was soon born to the couple.

Babruvahana would succeed his grandfather as king of Manipur. Long after the battle of Kurukshetra, Yudhishthira decided to conduct the Aswamedha Yaga. The yaga horse enters the dominion of Manipur, where Arjuna challenges their King Babruvahana for a fight. Babruvahana kills his father in the ensuing battle.  However Arjuna’s snake-wife Uloopi resuscitates him to life by using the magical mritasanjivani gem owned bythe Nagas.

Uloopi reviving Arjuna after Babhruvahana defeated and killed him

 

Arjuna’s death in the battle is also attributed to the curse of the Ashta-Vasus. The Vasus, enraged by Arjuna’s deceptive tactic of using Shikandi as a shield to kill Bhishma (an incarnation of one of the eight Vasus), cursed Arjuna that he would be slain by his own son. This curse comes to pass during the battle between Arjuna and Babruvahana.


Curse of Urvashi

 Arjuna was received with all love and affection by his father Indra. Arjuna spent some very pleasant time going around and seeing the world of Indra. Capital of Indra was called Amaravati. In the court of Indra all the Gandharva’s sang divine songs and all the beautiful apsaras gave dancing recitals. All the apsaras, Rambha Urvashi, Menaka, Tilottama were there Arjuna watched all there performance and was very much fascinated. He kept looking at Urvashi. She also noticed Arjuna’s interest in her and the fire of love was kindled in her. Urvashi fell in love with Arjuna. Urvashi could not sleep in the night. She was constantly thinking about

Arjuna. She became too overpowered by her desire for Arjuna. She stole in to Arjuna’s chamber. Arjuna welcomed her with love, courtesy and honour. Urvashi expressed her desire for Arjuna. A surprised Arjuna told her that he had heard about the great romance between her and his ancestor Pururva. That was the reason he was kept watching her in Indra’s court as a child looks at her mother whom he had never seen. He only regarded her as the beloved of his ancestor. She was like a mother to him. Any other relationship was impossible even to contemplate.

Arjuna and Urvashi

Urvashi was very much mistaken,she thought Arjuna was interested in her as an admirer. Urvashi became furious with rage. She took it as a great insult to be turned down by a mere mortal. She said it was not proper to refuse a woman, her desire. Arjuna, by doing so has insulted her. Therefore, she declared, Arjuna, shall never be able to enjoy a woman’s company. He will become a eunuch. Arjuna was dumb with the injustice done to him by Urvashi. In the morning he told these things to a Gandharva, Chitrasena who he had befriended. Indra, being informed about Arjuna’s curse, came to him to console him. Indra said that he would request Urvashi to reduce her curse for a period of one year. The Urvashi curse will be of great help to Arjuna during the period of one year when they were to live in disguise. Arjuna stayed in Amravati for sometime. Indra gave him all the divine astras. Then he came back to earth but before that he learnt the art of dancing and singing from his friend Chitrasena and he became quite an expert in these fine arts.

Thus we see, such is the beauty of mythology stories from Mahabharata, where every incident serves a purpose and fits impeccably in the bigger scheme of things. Everytime I hear these stories, I wonder about the master story teller. A priceless contribution to world mythology.