Seven little known facts about Arjuna

Drona providing knowledge of Brahmastra to 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
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 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
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
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.

The Ramayana (Rama, Ravana and Indrajit) story in pictures – Yuddha Kand (9)

Indrajit

The day of Indrajit and Laxmana

As the war progresses and Ravana keeps losing his warriors, the battle of Lanka seems to be heading towards its end. This article details about how Rama and Laxmana were helped by Vibheeshana in their quest of getting Sita back.

Ravana summons his mighty son Indrajit

Following the advice of Ravana, Indrajit joins the battle again. Indrajit was fighting behind the demons and was difficult to locate. Vibhishana advises to Hanumana to kill the demons so that Indrajit becomes visible.

Ravana dwells
Ravana dwells

Vibhishana takes Lakshmana to the place where indrajit is performing the sacrificial rite. He advises Lakshmana to destroy Indrajit even before he finishes the sacrificial rite at a banyan tree. Because if Indrajit had completed the ritual, he would become invincible.

Indrajit sees Vibhishana there and starts talking harsh words to him, saying that he has ditched him by bringing Lakshmana to that place. Vibhishana replies that because of Ravana’s vices, he has left him and joined Rama’s side. He further adds that Indrajit and his army will not survive under the range of Lakshmana’s arrows.

Indrajit becomes angry

Hearing these words from Vibheeshana, Ravana’ s son becomes red from anger and starts challenging Laxmana. Soon, a fierce battle between these two great warriors start.

The battle begins

Laxmana stretching five steel arrows upto the ear, dug them into the demon’s chest with a great speed. The arrows, blazing like serpents and feathered with fine plumes, shone like sun-rays in that demon’s chest. Struck with arrows by Laxmana, that enraged demon pierced in return three arrows well-directed towards Laxmana.

Indrajit
Indrajit

The fight continues

That fight between Laxmana, the foremost among men and Indrajit, the formost among demons, who wished to conquer one over the other in battle, was most terrific and tumultuous. Both were endowed with strength. Both were distinguished for their prowess. Both were exceedingly difficult to conquer and peerless in strength and courage.

Vibheeshana helps Laxmana

A lot of time lapsed in the meanwhile past the two warriors. They neither turned their back from the battle nor experienced any fatigue. Then, to provide some rest to Laxmana, Vibheeshana took his position in the battle field.

Vibheeshana kills many demons. He encouraged monkeys and urged them to carry on the combat. The monkeys started a furious attack on the demons. Hanumana also begins to destroy thousands of demons.

Indrajit and Hanumana
Indrajit and Hanumana

He rushes towards Laxmana and starts fighting. Rama’s  younger brother kills his charioteer. Monkeys kill Indrajit’s horses and destroys his chariot.

Laxmana Kills Indrajit

The battle finally reaches its conclusion. After fighting for so many hours the end is nearer. After his chariot was destroyed, Indrajit brought new chariot. Riding atop this, he attacks the monkeys. Monkeys sought help from Laxmana. They again indulge in fierce battle and Laxmana again destroys his chariot.

Indrajit - the mighty son of Ravana on his chariot
Indrajit – the mighty son of Ravana on his chariot

Indrajit strikes three arrows in Lakshmana’s forehead and Lakshmana strikes five arrows on his face. When Indrajit strikes Vibhishana with arrows, Vibhishana kills his horses. Finally, using a missile presided over by Indra the lord of celestials, Laxmana addressed a prayer on Lord Rama and discharged it towards Indrajit.

Indrajit’s head gets chopped off and falls to the ground. Witnessing his death, all the monkey-chiefs, Vibheeshana, Hanuma and Jambavant applaud Laxmana.

Laxmana treated by Sushena

After killing of Indrajit, Laxmana was treated by Sushena. Rama becomes delighted by the news whereas Ravana gets saddened by hearing the loss of his great son.  Rama further intensifies the battle and kills many demons. In Lanka, female lament the loss of monkeys. Finally, Ravana comes out to fight Rama.

The Ramayana (Rama, Ravana and Hanumana) story in pictures – Yuddha Kand (8)

 Yuddha Kand and Hanumana – Part 8

In the ensuing battle, Indrajit uses Brahamastra and renders Rama, Laxmana and numerous other warriors unconscious. Hanumana, the snakat mochan, brings the mountain of heavenly herbs to the battle ground and the brothers are revived.

Indrajit promises his father

Seeing Ravana in a dejected state, Indrajit assures his father that he will soon kill Rama and Laxmana and end all worries of Lanka. After saying these, Indrajit, with a clear objective, sought permission from Ravana. After this, he mounted his chariot with great speed. The great warrior Indrajit, the annihilator of enemies, having ascended a chariot looking like the chariot of the sun, rushed to the battle-front.

Ravana
Ravana

Indrajit performs a ritual

After reaching the battle field, Indrajit completed a sacrificial ritual. Then he becomes invisible in the sky. Then he throws multiple arrows towards monkeys and monkeys lose their consciousness. He kills monkeys with his mace and arrows. Those monkeys, wielding mountains as their weapons, roaring in the battle field, without turning back, abandoned their lives, showing their courage for the sake of Rama.Continuing to stay in the battle-field, those monkeys rained trees, mountain-peaks and rocks on Indrajit.

Indrajit Nikumbala Puja
Indrajit Nikumbala Puja

He attacks all great monkeys and cause injuries

Indrajit then struck Jambavant with ten arrows and Nila with thirty arrows. He also struck Sugreeva, Rishabha, Angada and Dvividawith sharp and terrific arrows endowed with boons and made them breathless. That enraged Indrajit, then looking like an excited fire that is to destroy the world, tormented other chiefs of monkeys too with many arrows. Indrajit the excellent demon struck all those foremost of monkeys, namely Hanuman, Sugreeva, Angada, Gandhamadana, Jambavan,  Sushena,  Vegadarshina,  Mainda,  Dvivida,  Nila,  Gavaksha,  Gavaya,  Kesari,  HarilomaVidyuddamshtraSuryananaJyothimukha, a monkey called DadhimukhaPavakakshaNala as also a monkey named Kumuda.

Indrajit causing havoc at Rama's army due to a boon from Brahma
Indrajit causing havoc at Rama’s army due to a boon from Brahma

Indrajit was undefeatable that day from the power of Brahma’s boon

As Indrajit has performed the worship of Goddess Nikumbala, he could not be defeated that day. After completing the worship, a celestial chariot appears on the horizon, and while Indrajit is riding the chariot, he could not be defeated.

Rama again shows his leadership skills

As Indrajit was proving a handful and he was decimating Rama’s army. Rama thought of a way to neutralize him. Rama says to Laxman that they both can act as thought they fell unconscious, so that Indrajit can return to Lanka, boasting of his laurels of victory. In this way, further loss of lives of Vanaras can be saved. Rama showed is exemplary leadership qualities and accepted this situation by stepping back. So when, Indrajit struck with Brahmastra, Rama, Laxman and innumerable monekys fell unconscious.

Rama and Laxman
Rama and Laxman

Indrajit, getting eulogized by the demons, quickly reached the city of Lanka which was being protected by Ravana’s arms. Then, Indrajit cheerfully informed all that had happened, to his father.

Hanumana and Vibhishana start the revival process

Vibhishana and Hanuma saw Sugreeva, Angada, Nila, Sharabha, Gandhamadana, Gavaksha, Sushena, Vegadarshi, Mainda, Nala, Jyotimukha and a monkey called Dvivida, who were struck down on the battle-field. The found Jambavant in the battle field. Jambavant says that if Hanumana is alive, then whole army can be revived. Hearing this Vibhishana quickly went to Lord Hanuman and requested him for assistance.

Hanumana brings Sanjeevani
Hanumana brings Sanjeevani

Jambavant provides details to Hanumana

Jambavant advises Hanuman to bring the Sanjeevani. He provided the location as a herbal mountain, which exists between two peaks of Mount Rishabha and Mount Kailash. This herbal mountain contains a number of herbs. On the head, there are four blazing herbs. They are Mrita Sanjeevani (for restoring the dead to life), Vishalyakarani (for extracting weapons and healing all wounds inflicted by weapons), Suvarnakarani (restoring the body to its original complexion) and Sandhani, the great herb (for joining severed limbs or fractured bone). He then asks Hanumana to bring all these herbs.

Jambavant advises Hanuman - Ramayana
Jambavant advises Hanuman – Ramayana

Hanumana proceeds to bring herbs

On advise of Jambavanta, Hanumana quickly proceeded to bring the requisite herbs. There, another problem was posed. On the mountain, knowing that some foreign body has come, these heavenly herbs have made themselves invisible. Hanumana decided to take the whole mountain with him in order to revive Rama and Laxmana. Soon, with the power of herbs the two brothers and numerous other warriors of Sugriva’s army,  gained consciousness.

Hanuman brings mountain containing herbs
Hanuman brings mountain containing herbs

The battle resumed

Sugriva instructed monkeys to set Lanka on fire with their torches. Enraged by this, Ravana sent both Kumbha and Nimkumbha, the sons of Kumbhakarna, along with a multitude of demons. By the orders of Ravana, Yupaksha, Shonitaksha, Prajangha and Kampana along with the aforesaid sons of Kumbhakarna set out for the battle.

More demons were killed

Soon, a fierce battle started and more demons were killed. Angada kills Kampana and severely injures Shonitaksha, the demons in battle. Angada, along with Mainda and Dvivida the monkey-warriors encounter Shonitaksha, Yupaksha and Prajangha. Angada kills Prajangha. Shonitaksha dies in the hands of Dvivida and Youpaksha at the hands of Mainda. 

Kumbha and Nikumbha were also slain

When Kumbha throws down Angada in the battle-field, Rama sends some more monkey-chiefs headed by Jambavan. Sugriva, with his thunderbolt-like fist, strikes Kumbha with a heavy blow and kills him. Seeing Kumbha his brother killed in battle, the enraged Nikumbha with an iron club as his weapon roars and faces the battle. Hanuma directly attacks Nikumbha, by striking his fist forcibly on Nikumbha’s breast. Unmoved by that blow, Nikumbha lifts Hanuma, off the ground. Hanuma in retaliation frees himself and throws down Nikumbha on the ground. Hanuma descends on Nikumbha, pounds his chest with his fist, catches his head and tears it off. Thus, Nikumbha dies at the hands of Hanuma.

End of Maharaksha

Ravana orders Makaraksha to proceed to the battle-field with an army and to kill Rama, Laxmana and the monkeys. Makaraksha, surrounded by his army of demons, set out for the encounter. His army march forward in the battle-field, to reach Rama and Laxmana. He was interecepted by Rama on the battle field and later killed by the lord himself.

Ravana sends Indrajit again

Ravana once again, then turns to Indrajit for help and asks him to go to the battleground to fight with Rama and his army, Indrajit complies.

Ravana
Ravana

The Ramayana (Rama and Ravana) story in pictures – Yuddha Kand (3)

Yuddha Kand (3) from Ramayana

In this article, events pertaining to final war are described. Ravana sends spies to Rama’s camp, and Rama makes his own strategies. He even devises that what would be the appearance of his army when fighting with Ravana’s might.

Ravana sends Shardula to assess Rama’s strength

The demon king, Ravana sent another spy to obtain information on Rama and his army. But Shardula was discovered by monkeys and after thoroughly beaten, he was taken to the court of Rama. He was eventually saved when Rama intervened. Shardula then advises Ravana to return Sita to Rama.

Ravana dwells
Ravana dwells

To this, Ravana becomes very angry and says that he will not return Sita, come what may be. He further details the strength of various warriors in Rama’s side, including Hanuman, Angad, Neela, Sugreeva, Jambavant and others.

Sarama tells Sita of Ravana intentions

Sita asks Sarama to go secretly to Ravana and get to know what he is doing as well as report to her back about Ravana’s decision about the matter of releasing her or continuing to keep her captive. Sarama secretly hears the conversation of Ravana with his ministers and reports to Sita that Ravana is not inclined to set her free. Sarama consoles Sita, saying that Rama with his sharp arrows will kill Ravana and take her back to Ayodhya.

 

Malyavan, the maternal grandfather of Ravana, advises for peace

Hearing that Rama’s troops have reached lanka, the grandfather of Ravana, advises to return Sita to Ravana, but Ravana did not oblige. Malyavan indicates that Rama is not an ordinary human being, and he is surely going to defeat and kill Ravana, so this is the best course of action to return Sita. Ravana turns his deaf ear to the words of Malyavan and even abuses him that the latter exaggerating the strength of Rama. Ravana further says that he will not restore Seetha to Rama and that Rama and his army will not go back alive, having crossed the ocean and reached Lanka.

Malyavan advising Ravana
Malyavan advising Ravana

Ravana strategies for safety of Lanka

Ravana assigns Prahasta and others to guard the four main gates of Lanka against the inroads of the enemy. Vibheeshana provides this information to Rama and upon hearing Ravana’s plans, Rama makes his own plan to counter Raavana’s designs.

Rama plans to invade Lanka

Rama appoints commanders for performing various tasks once they decided to attack Lanka. Nila was asked to attack from the east. His task was to attack Prahasta. At the south, Vali’s strong son Angad was entrusted to oppose Mahaparshva and Mahodara. Hanuman to enter from the western gate. Rama decided than he alongwith Laxman will lead the aggression from northern gate. In the centre, he appointed Jambavant and Vibheeshana to take care of the army.

Rama startegises with his commanders
Rama startegises with his commanders

Rama’s another masterstroke

At this point of time, Rama advises his army to never take human form. Rama, Laxmana and Vibheeshana and his four companions will only fight in human form. Monkeys were instructed to remain in monkey’s form and it will serve as a sign of recognition. No demon will ever assume a form of monkey as it would be lowly for them to do so.

Rama and his commanders observe Lanka from Mount Suvela

Rama expresses his desire to Vibheeshana and Sugriva to halt on Suvela mountain for that night, and to envision the City of Lanka. Rama along with Laxman, Vibheeshana , Sugriva and his army ascend the mountain and witness the beauty of Lanka. They halt on that mountain-resort for the night.

Rama observes Lanka
Rama observes Lanka

Sugriva fights Ravana

Just then, Sugriva notices Ravana and he jumps from the summit of the mountain and then sprang to the top of the gate (where Ravana was). He then fights with Ravana for a long time. After that he comes back and joins his troops. Rama reprimandsSugriva not to repeat such reckless acts in future on the ground of he being a king.

 

Sugriva and Ravana
Sugriva and Ravana

The Ramayana (Rama and Ravana) story in pictures – Yuddha Kand (2)

Yuddha Kand from Ramayana – Part 2

This chapter details how Rama and his army reached Lanka, building of bridge on ocean and Ravana sends spies to check upon Rama’s army. Ravana played a trick when he showed severed head of Rama to her.

Hanuman Jee
Hanuman Jee

The ocean throws the biggest challenge

After Vibheeshana was inducted into Rama’s side, time was now for look into the upcoming challenges. Greatest of them was how to cross the vast ocean. Vibheeshana assured that he would be helping Rama in all aspects in order to get Sita back from clutches of Ravana. Rama was delighted in hearing this.

Vibheeshana and Rama
Vibheeshana and Rama

Vibheeshana suggests to get help from Sagara

Having though over the problem on how to get to Lanka, Vibheeshana says – “It is apt if prince Rama seeks ocean as his refuge. This immeasurable great ocean was excavated by Sagara. Hence, this great ocean will be inclined to do the act for Rama, his kinsman. Sagara was an ancestor of Rama. Rama decides to ask for passage from Sagara.

The Ocean fails to listen, yields when Rama got angry

Rama requested the ocean and waited for it to come for three days and nights. Rama becoming angry with the ocean, having the outer corners of his eyes turned red, and says to Laxmana, I will dry this ocean with my arrows and all the creatures will die. Rama decides to use Brahmastra and this makes Ocean god to appear before him with folded hands. He advised him that Nala, is the son of Vishvakarma; who was given a boon by his father and is equal to Visvakarma. Let this greatly energetic monkey build a bridge across me. I can hold that bridge. He is just the same as his father.”

The bridge is constructed on the Ocean

Monkeys constructed the bridge with trees having blossom at the end of their boughs. On the first day, fourteen Yojanas of bridge were constructed by the monkeys speedily. In the same manner, on the second day, twenty Yojanas of bridge were constructed speedily by the monkeys of terrific bodies and of mighty strength.

Buidling bridge to Lanka - Rama Laxman Hanuman and Vanaras
Buidling bridge to Lanka – Rama Laxman Hanuman and Vanaras

On the third day twenty-one Yojanas of the bridge were constructed in the ocean speedily by the monkeys with their colossal bodies. On the fourth day, a further of twenty-two Yojanas were constructed by the dashing monkeys with a great speed. In that manner, on the fifth day, the monkeys working quickly constructed twenty-three yojanas of the bridge up to the other seashore.

Bridge to Lanka
Bridge to Lanka

The colossal bridge, which was broad, well-constructed, glorious, well postured and held together firmly, looked beautiful like a separating straight line in the ocean. Vibhishana, wielding a mace in his hand, stood up on the seashore along with his ministers, for the purpose of invading the enemies.

Rama’s army reaches Lanka

Rama released Shuka who was captured by the vanaras earlier. Shuka explains the strength of his army to Ravana. Ravana sends his spies to assess the strength of Rama’s army but they were identified by Vibheeshana and captured. Rama sets them free and asked him to tell Ravana to be prepared for the combat and destruction of his forces. Ravana enquires about the great monkeys such as Nila, Angada, Nala, Sweta, Kumuda, Rambha, Sarabha, Panasa, Vinata and Krathana.

Lord Rama army reaches Lanka
Lord Rama army reaches Lanka

Ravana gets angry on Shuka and Sharana

When Ravana enquires about the strength of Rama’s army, they heaped praises. Ravana did not like this and he said in excited and harsh words, in a voice choked in anger to Shuka and Sarana who stood saluting with their faces bent down . “It is not befitting to utter unpleasant words by dependent ministers to their king who has the power to mete out any punishment or reward.

Ravana sends spies to check Rama’s army

Ravana then proceeds to send spies to Rama’s place. Vibheeshana recognizes them and they are imprisoned by monkeys. However, Rama allowed them to return back to Ravana. Those spies, who always wander outside and who were valiant rangers of the night, thereafter approached Ravana and informed him that Rama’s army was camping in the vicinity of the Suvela mountain.

Ravana plays a trick

Ravana informs Sia that her husband along with his army had been killed in battle, he produces before her Rama’s head along with bow and arrows created with Vidyujjuha’s conjuring trick. Thus, Ravana deceives Sita about the death of Rama. Sita was shocked, fell unconscious at the sight of Rama’s head and bow.

Ravana shows Rama's head to Sita - Ramayana
Ravana shows Rama’s head to Sita – Ramayana

Sita was comforted

When she regained consciousness and asked Ravana to kill her also, so that she would join her husband in heaven. Meanwhile, Ravana is called away by an emissary and after consultation with his ministers, prepares his army for action against the forces of Rama.Sita was comforted by Sarama that this was an illusion and Rama will soon defeat Ravana and win her back.

Ravana and Sita in Ashoka Vatika
Ravana and Sita in Ashoka Vatika