Legacy YM

Chapter 50 - Arjuna's Charioteer


HAVING sent Drupada's brahmana to Hastinapura on the peace mission, the Pandavas sent word, at the same time, to the princes likely to favor their cause to collect their forces and hold themselves in readiness for war. To Dwaraka, Arjuna went himself.

Having understood through his spies the turn events were taking, Duryodhana too did not remain idle. Learning that Vasudeva (Krishna) was back in his home city, he sped towards Dwaraka in his chariot, as fast as his swiftest horses could take him. The two of them, Arjuna and Duryodhana, thus reached Dwaraka on the same day.

Krishna was fast asleep. Because they were his close relatives, Arjuna and Duryodhana could go into his bedroom. There they both waited for Krishna to wake up. Duryodhana, who went in first, seated himself on a decorated throne-chair at the head of the bed, while Arjuna kept standing at its foot with arms folded in respectful posture.

When Mahadeva woke up, his eyes fell on Arjuna who stood in front of him and he gave him warm welcome. Turning then to Duryodhana, he welcomed him too and asked them what brought them both to Dwaraka. Duryodhana was the first to speak.

"It looks," said he, "as though war would break out between us soon. If it does, you must support me. Arjuna and I are equally beloved of you. We both claim equally close relationship with you. You cannot say that either of us is nearer to you than the other. I came here before Arjuna. Tradition has it that he who came first should be shown preference. Janardana, you are the greatest among the great; so it is incumbent on you to set an example to others. Confirm with your conduct the traditional dharma and remember that it was I who came first."

To which Purushottama (Krishna) answered: "Son of Dhritarashtra, it may be that you came here first, but it was Kunti's son that I saw immediately on waking up. If you were the first arrival, it was Arjuna who first caught my eye. So, even in this respect, your claims on me are equal and I am therefore bound to render assistance to both sides. In distributing favors, the traditional usage is to begin with the junior-most among the recipients. I would, therefore, offer the choice to Arjuna first. The Narayana, my tribesmen, are my equals in battle and constitute a host, large and almost invincible. In my distribution of assistance, they will be on one side, and I individually on the other. But I shall wield no weapon and take no part in actual fighting."


Turning to Arjuna he said, "Partha, think it over well. Would you want me, alone and weaponless, or would you prefer the prowess of the Narayana? Exercise the right to the first choice which custom gives you as the younger man."

Scarcely had Krishna finished when Arjuna said with reverence and without hesitation: "I would be content if you are with us, though you may wield no weapon."

Duryodhana could hardly contain himself for joy at what he thought was Arjuna's imbecile choice. He gladly chose the help of Vasudevas army and his request was granted. Pleased with the acquisition of a mighty force, Duryodhana went to Baladeva and told him the story.

As he finished speaking, the mighty Balarama said: "Duryodhana, they must have told you all I said at the time of the marriage of Virata's daughter. I pleaded your case and urged everything that could be said for you. Often have I told Krishna that we have equal ties with the Kauravas and the Pandavas. But my words failed to carry conviction to him. I am helpless. It is impossible for me to side with one whom Krishna opposes. I will not help Partha and I cannot support you against Krishna. Duryodhana, you come of an illustrious line, which is respected by all the princes of the land. Well, then, if it must be war, bear yourself in accordance with the Kshatriya code," said he.

Duryodhana returned to Hastinapura in high spirits saying to himself: "Arjuna has made a fool of himself. The great army of Dwaraka will fight on my side and Balarama's good wishes too are with me. Vasudeva has been left without an army."

"Dhananjaya, why did you choose thus unwisely, preferring me alone and unarmed to my fully equipped and heroic forces?" asked Krishna of Arjuna with a smile, when they were alone. Arjuna answered:

"My ambition is to achieve glory even like yours. You have the power and prowess to face all the princes of the land and their hordes in battle single-handed. I too feel I can do it. So, I desire that I should win the battle with you driving my chariot unarmed. I have desired this for long and you have today fulfilled my wish."


Vasudeva smiled again and pronounced this benediction: "Are you trying to compete with me? May you succeed," for he was pleased with Arjuna's decision. This is the sacred story of how Krishna became Partha's charioteer.

Chapter1 - Ganapati
Chapter2 - Devavrata
Chapter3 - Bhishma's Vow
Chapter4 - Amba And Bhishma
Chapter5 - Devayani And Kacha
Chapter6 - The Marriage Of Devayani
Chapter7 - Yayati
Chapter8 - Vidura
Chapter9 - Kunti Devi
Chapter10 - Death Of Pandu
Chapter11 - Bhima
Chapter12 - Karna
Chapter13 - Drona
Chapter14 - The Wax Palace
Chapter15 - The Escape Of The Pandavas
Chapter16 - The Slaying Of Bakasura
Chapter17 - Draupadi's Swayamvaram
Chapter18 - Indraprastha
Chapter19 - The Saranga Birds
Chapter20 - Jarasandha
Chapter21 - The Slaying Of Jarasandha
Chapter22 - The First Honor
Chapter23 - Sakuni Comes In
Chapter24 - The Invitation
Chapter25 - The Wager
Chapter26 - Draupadi's Grief
Chapter27 - Dhritarashtra's Anxiety
Chapter28 - Krishna's Vow
Chapter29 - Pasupata
Chapter30 - Affliction Is Nothing New
Chapter31 - Agastya
Chapter32 - Rishyasringa
Chapter33 - Fruitless Penance
Chapter34 - Yavakrida's End
Chapter35 - Mere Learning Is Not Enough
Chapter36 - Ashtavakra
Chapter37 - Bhima And Hanuman
Chapter38 - I am No Crane
Chapter39 - Wicked Are Never Satisfied
Chapter40 - Duryodhana Disgraced
Chapter41 - Sri Krishna's Hunger
Chapter42 - The Enchanted Pool
Chapter43 - Domestic Service
Chapter44 - Virtue Vindicated
Chapter45 - Matsya Defended
Chapter46 - Prince Uttara
Chapter47 - Promise Fulfilled
Chapter48 - Virata's Delusion
Chapter49 - Taking Counsel
Chapter50 - Arjuna's Charioteer
Chapter51 - Salya Against His Nephews
Chapter52 - Vritra
Chapter53 - Nahusha
Chapter54 - Sanjaya's Mission
Chapter55 - Not a Needle-Point Of Territory
Chapter56 - Krishna's Mission
Chapter57 - Attachment and Duty
Chapter58 - The Pandava Generalissimo
Chapter59 - Balarama
Chapter60 - Rukmini
Chapter61 - Non-Cooperation
Chapter62 - Krishna Teaches
Chapter63 - Yudhishthira Seeks Benediction
Chapter64 - The First Day's Battle
Chapter65 - The Second Day
Chapter66 - The Third Day's Battle
Chapter67 - The Fourth Day
Chapter68 - The Fifth Day
Chapter69 - The Sixth Day
Chapter70 - The Seventh Day
Chapter71 - The Eighth Day
Chapter72 - The Ninth Day
Chapter73 - The Passing Of Bhishma
Chapter74 - Karna and the Grandsire
Chapter75 - Drona in Command
Chapter76 - To Seize Yudhishthira Alive
Chapter77 - The Twelfth Day
Chapter78 - Brave Bhagadatta
Chapter79 - Abhimanyu
Chapter80 - The Death Of Abhimanyu
Chapter81 - A Father's Grief
Chapter82 - The Sindhu King
Chapter83 - Borrowed Armor
Chapter84 - Yudhishthira's Misgivings
Chapter85 - Yudhishthira's Fond Hope
Chapter86 - Karna And Bhima
Chapter87 - Pledge Respected
Chapter88 - Somadatta's End
Chapter89 - Jayadratha Slain
Chapter90 - Drona Passes Away
Chapter91 - The Death Of Karna
Chapter92 - Duryodhana
Chapter93 - The Pandavas Reproached
Chapter94 - Aswatthama
Chapter95 - Avenged
Chapter96 - Who Can Give Solace?
Chapter97 - Yudhishthira's Anguish
Chapter98 - Yudhishthira Comforted
Chapter99 - Envy
Chapter100 - Utanga
Chapter101 - A Pound Of Flour
Chapter102 - Yudhishthira Rules
Chapter103 - Dhritarashtra
Chapter104 - The Passing Away Of The Three
Chapter105 - Krishna Passes Away
Chapter106 - Yudhishthira's Final Trial

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