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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Story from the Mahabharata: Five golden arrows

    The Mahabharata is one of the two great epics in Sanskrit. It contains over one lakh couplets. The epic contains many plots and sub-plots. We know very few of these stories. But each story teaches us a new lesson. Let us learn a lesser-known story from the Mahabharata.

    As Kauravas were losing the war of Kurukshetra, Duryodhana approached Bhishma and accused him of not fighting the war to his full strength because of his affection for Pandavas. Bhishma was angry. He immediately picked up five golden arrows and chanted mantras declaring tomorrow he would kill five Pandavas with these golden arrows. Duryodhana did not have faith in his words. So, he asked Bhishma to give custody of those five golden arrows saying that he would keep them and would return these arrows next morning.


    Long back before the war, Pandavas had been living in exile in a forest. Duryodhana had placed his camp on the opposite side of the pond where Pandavas had been staying. On day while Duryodhana was taking bath in that pond, the Gandharvas also came therefrom heaven. Duryodhana picked up a fight with them, but he was deafeted and captured. Arjuna somehow saved Duryodhana and set him free. Duryodhana as a Kshatriya, asked Arjuna for a boon. Arjuna replied that he would ask for the gift later when he needed it.


    On that night, Lord Krishna reminded Arjuna about the boon and advised him to ask for these golden arrows from Duryodhana. Arjuna folowed this advice and Duryodhana, as a Kshatriya, was forced to hand over those golden arrows to him.

    Duryodhana again went to Bhishma and requested for another five golden arrows. Bhishma laughed and replied that was not possible.

    Pandavas survived to win the war of Kurukshetra later.

    [Moral No. 1: Have trust on your real friends and well-wishers.; Moral No. 2: Golden opportunity comes only once.]
  • #640607
    Here also the shrewdness of Krishna saved Pandavas. Pandavas without Krishna might not have won the battle. This is evident in many instances and this is one among them.
    Some powerful weapons can't be made easily ready. once they are ready if they have not used it remaking the same is very difficult. We say the Dharma is on the side of Pandavas and hence they won. But Actually, Krishna is on the side of Pandavas which made them win the battle. Individuals can change the outcomes. We see many times some Organisations are very successful under the super leadership of some individuals. But once the head changes the fate of the Organisations may also change.

    always confident

  • #640609
    We can interpret the story in many ways. Lord Krishna had the information about the boon and He utilized it at the proper moment. So, collecting information and using it properly are two important factors of winning the war.
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #640620
    Leave apart the story which was read and understood many a time differently what I liked is the moral of the story that to have trust on our real friends and well-wishers and Golden opportunity comes only once.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #640631
    The Key player in Mahabharatha is Lord Sri Krishna who has conducted this great war drama. He was aware of each and everything that was going to happen from the beginning to the end. Finally, he was successful to bring the curtain down.
    He knew who was Karna and his birth details.
    He knew the boon received by Karna from Lord Indira.
    He knew the weak theigh of Duryodana, and also about Dutchathana to be killed by Bhim.
    He knew the tactics to withdraw Vithura & Drona from the battlefield by telling a truthful lie.
    And many things to quote and understand.

    No life without Sun

  • #640681
    I don't think this one is from the original. Mahabhrata as a book had many editors though its oral composition is largely credited to one person, Ved Vyas. I have my reasons for believing so. The Vyasa Mahabharata focuses more on the psychological aspects of life, let's say the way Drona collapsed after hearing Aswathama had "died" or Yudistir casually getting addicted to gambling. Even Krishna seemed faulty at times in the original, that time when he asked Barbarik to sacrifice himself. Krishna had too many flaws despite being divine in the original composition but later additions only kept justifying Krishna's acts, downing the impact of a psychological aspect. You see, only humans face a dilemma and trauma. Fully justifying and canonizing Krishna, making Pandavas puppets of him, takes out the very thing that makes Mahabharata a brilliant epic on human ambitions. The very aim of this book was to showcase how cruel and clueless humans are. But Bhakti movement and Puranic era slowly killed the essence by adding pseudo spiritual narratives. The rawness in original is what made the book so relatable and connecting.

    And even just as a story, this piece fails. This piece has too many plotholes. Why didn't Arjuna use those obtained arrows and Kauravas then? Why was Duryodhana, who for the most part was very unjust, suddenly being so obedient to Arjuna? If Duryodhana was already saved by Arjuna in past, then there was no reason for him to raise Karna to be Arjuna's killer. Why didn't he change his mind right then and transform? And how can Bhisma even have thought about killing his nephews when the very reason of his being the commander was to stall the bloodshed? How did Krishna even know any of these? Why would Bhisma entrust these arrows to Duryodhana knowing how immoral he his? What is this five arrow count? Sounds too convenient.

    So all in all, I believe that this particular story belonged to a regional Mahabharata which made a feeble try to add something to accentuate Krishna. I speculate it is the work of the early Vaishnavaites.

    The stronger a light shines the darker are the shadows around it.

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