Abhimanyu’s Valiant Death & Arjuna’s Vow to Kill Jayadratha

Translated into English by P. Mohan Chandran

On the 13th day, the epic war witnesses the death of the brave young warrior, Abhimanyu. Arjuna, who has just killed Susharma and his army of warriors, feels a sharp pain in his heart when Abhimanyu is killed at a far-off place in the war land. Arjuna is unaware that Abhimanyu is killed but such is the telepathy between them that when an arrow pierces Abhimanyu’s heart, Arjuna feels the pain. Arjuna tells Krishna, “Krishna, I am feeling very uneasy. My heart says something bad has happened. I don’t know and can’t say what it is, but I feel some sharp pain in me. Please take our chariot to my camp as quickly as possible.” Says Krishna, “Sure Arjuna, I will drive the chariot as fast as I can and take you home quickly.” So, Krishna and Arjuna set forth towards the Pandava camp. On the way, they meet two people. One of them is a Brahmin who is wailing inconsolably because he has lost his very young son of about 11 or 12 years. The Brahmin is unable to bear the loss of his son and he too wants to commit suicide by jumping on to his son’s pyre. Another person tries to convince the Brahmin not to do so, but in vain. Just then, the person spots Arjuna’s chariot passing that way. The person stops Arjuna’s chariot and says, “Oh Prince Arjuna! I have been trying to convince this Brahmin to stop committing suicide but he is adamant and wants to sacrifice his life because he lost his young son. Please come and convince him not to commit suicide and save a Brahmin’s life. Arjuna says, “Krishna, please stop the chariot for a while.” Krishna says, “I don’t have any problem. It is you who told me to drive the chariot as fast as I can and now you are asking me to stop it. It is your wish.” Arjuna says, “A Brahmin is trying to end his life and as a Prince it is my duty to save the lives of my subjects. It is also Kshatriya Dharma.” Krishna says, “Yes, it is Kshatriya Dharma to save a Brahmin’s life. But Arjuna, beware! This may be a conspiracy too on the part of the Kauravas to delay you from meeting your brothers. This Brahmin could be related to Susharma, whom you have just killed. Anything is possible. So be careful.” Arjuna says, “Is that so Krishna? Do you feel so?” Arjuna asks the person, “Who are you? Tell me the truth!” The person gets scared and says, “Oh Arjuna! I am just a passerby trying to convince the Brahmin and save him from committing suicide. I have no other malafide or ulterior intentions.” Arjuna tells Krishna, “Krishna, this person seems to be genuine and he has genuine concern for the Brahmin. Let’s try to help the Brahmin.” Both Arjuna and Krishna get down from the chariot and approach towards the Brahmin. Arjuna accosts the Brahmin and asks, “Oh Brahmin! What happened? Why do you want to commit suicide?” The Brahmin says, “Oh Prince! This is my son. He is dead. He has died at a very young age and I don’t feel like living any longer.” Arjuna consoles him, “Hey Brahmin, a person’s death is decided when he takes birth. So, don’t cry over the death of your son. A person has to die whether at 6 years or at 60 years. You have to think that whatever happens, happens for the good.” The Brahmin says, “Hey Prince! It is very easy to advise others, but you will know the pain and trauma of losing a son only when you experience it yourself. Tomorrow, if your son also dies, and if someone tells you that whatever happened, happened for the good, will you accept it? How can my son’s death be a good thing to me? ” Arjuna says, “If all the living people kill themselves just because their dear ones have died, then what will happen to this world? I will certainly not cry like you and will not commit suicide like you if my son dies tomorrow. Every person in this world takes birth for a purpose. Once his purpose is fulfilled, he has to die. Today your son has died, maybe tomorrow my son will die. Maybe your son has fulfilled the purpose for which he was born at a very young age. So, he has died. Don’t regret and wail over his death. Maybe, the purpose for which you were born has not been fulfilled. So, you cannot commit suicide until the purpose of your life has been fulfilled.” The Brahmin says, “Hey Prince! You are a prince and almost equivalent to a king and the king never lies. So, I accept your argument and statement and will insensitize my heart and not commit suicide.” Arjuna says, “Hey Krishna, the Brahmin is now clear in his mind, and will not commit suicide. Our job is finished. Let us now head towards our camp.” Krishna smiles and says, “It is good if the Brahmin is clear in his mind.” The Brahmin is none other than Indra who has disguised himself and the other person is Narada.

On the other hand, Duryodhana is fulfilling the last rites of his son Lakshmana’s death. All the Kaurava warriors also gather for the funeral ceremony. Dronacharya consoles Duryodhana, but Duryodhana says, “I don’t regret the death of my son. He died a martyr’s death. He is a true Kshatriya. I am proud of my son.”

After the funeral ceremony, Duryodhana praises all the Kaurava warriors for killing Abhimanyu and taking vengeance of Duryodhana’s son’s death. Dushshasana says, “Brother, the credit should go to Dronacharya. It is he who designed Charkravyuh and ensured that Abhimanyu is successfully trapped in it. Even in Chakravyuh when Abhimanyu was fighting everyone valiantly, it is Dronacharya who ensured that Abhimanyu was tackled properly and killed. The full credit for Abhimanyu’s death should go to Dronacharya.” Duryodhana agrees, “You are right Dushshasana. Guru, I highly commend your efforts and plans in killing Abhimanyu. You really deserve full credit for it.” Says Dronacharya, “Duryodhana, I am not in a mental state of mind now to accept your praises. And, I don’t want or look for your praises too.” Duryodhana also praises Karna for his valor in contributing to kill Abhimanyu. Karna says, “My friend! For me, whatever you say is the God’s word. But I am sorry. My conscience says that the sin of having killed a young man with deceit and dishonesty is not going to leave us. You have to forgive me for saying so.” Duryodhana says, “I can understand your feelings, Karna. But I am very happy. Although, I have lost my son, and as a father, although I am sad about it, I am happy that I avenged my son’s death by killing Abhimanyu on the same day. My son died a brave martyr’s death and every Kshatriya is proud to die a martyr’s death.”

Meanwhile, Kunti and Sulabha (Vidura’s wife) come to know about Lakshmana and Abhimanyu’s death through a messenger and both are heartbroken. Says Kunti, “Oh my God! How will Subhadra accept this news of her son’s death!Uttara (Abhimanyu’s wife) too will be totally shattered upon hearing this news. How will Gandhari bear the news of Lakshmana’s death! The posterity and the scions of Hasthinapur kingdom are getting killed one by one. What will happen to the Hasthinapur kingdom after us?” Kunti is particularly more worried about Gandhari as to how she will take her grandson Lakshmana’s death. So, she goes to meet her to console her. Meanwhile, Gandhari also comes to know about Lakshmana and Abhimanyu’s death. Gandhari is also worried and concerned for Kunti on her grandson Abhimanyu’s death and thinks that Kunti will not be able to bear this great loss. She too sets about to meet Kunti to console her on her grandson Abhimanyu’s death. Both meet each other midway and console each other.

Arjuna and Krishna reach the Pandava camp. All the Pandavas are moaning at the death of Abhimanyu with his body placed in front of them. Arjuna just enters the camp. He sees everyone somber. He asks Bhima and Yudhisthra, “Brother, what happened to Abhimanyu, my son? Why is he lying in an unconscious state here?” Yudhistra says, “Arjuna, he is not lying in an unconscious state, he is dead.” Arjuna is shocked to hear Yudhishtra’s reply and says, “What! Abhimanyu is dead! It is impossible! It can’t be! How is this possible? He is a great warrior. How can he die? How can someone touch him, leave alone kill him? How did this happen? Please explain me.” Yudhishtra and Bhima become silent. Arjuna goes to Saatyaki, his disciple and says, “ Saatyaki, you are my honest and true disciple. Tell me without hiding anything every single event that happened with Abhimanyu and how he met his death. I swear you on myself. Tell me the truth.” Saatyaki reveals to Arjuna whatever happened. Saatyaki tells, “The principal person responsible for your son’s death is Jayadratha (Duryodhana’s brother-in-law) and his conspiracy.” Arjuna is enraged and says, “I will behead Jayadratha now” and goes with a dagger to kill Jayadratha. Yudhishtra stops Arjuna, “Arjuna, it is sunset now. You cannot go now and kill him as you will be violating the rules of the war.” Arjuna then says, “Then, I will kill myself and takes out his dagger to cut his throat.” Yudhishtra stops him and so does Krishna. Krishna says, “Arjuna, is advise only for others and not for yourself? Don’t you yourself implement the advise that you give to others? What were you about to do? Just sometime back, you advised the Brahmin not to commit suicide when his very young son died, and now you were going to do the same sin!” Arjuna apologizes, “I am sorry Krishna. I now understand everything.” Arjuna now gets angry on his brothers Yudhishtra and Bhima. He criticizes them sharply, “What were you all doing when the Kauravas tried to kill my son? Where were you all in the battleground? Were you playing the game of dice and watching the fun when they killed my son?” Yudhishtra tries to explain, but Arjuna gets very enraged. Says Arjuna to Yudhishtra, “You are a very selfish person, I know. For your own selfishness, you tried to place your brothers and wife as a pawn in the game of dice. Now you have placed my son as a pawn in this war.” Bhima says, “Arjuna, please measure your words. Do you know what you are saying?” Yudhishtra interrupts Bhima and says, “Bhima, let him say whatever he wants to. He is in trauma now. He has lost his son and we are responsible for it too. Let him vent his anger at us. Today, even if he slices us into two with his sword, we will have to grin and bear it.” Arjuna says, “What is the point in killing you all when I have lost my son. I am not going to get back my son.” Arjuna again gets enraged at Jayadratha and goes with his dagger to kill him. Krishna and Yudhishtra try to stop Arjuna, but in vain. Arjuna goes to Jayadratha’s camp and shouts his name. Jayadratha wakes up and a fight ensues between Jayadratha and Arjuna. Arjuna tries to stab Jayadratha, but Jayadratha defends himself. Hearing the voices and the scuffles of both, the other Kauravas including Duryodha, Ashwatthama, Dronacharya, Karna, Dushshasana, etc., come to Jayadratha’s room and prevent Arjuna from killing Jayadratha. Says Duryodhana, “Hey Arjuna! You coward. You are trying to kill my brother-in-law when he is asleep. How shameful of you!” Arjuna says, “It is you people who have violated the rules of the war with so many people killing my son together. You have followed the path of Adharma (injustice).” Duryodhana says, “It is you people who first violated the rules of the war! Remember, you killed the great Bhishma by hiding yourself behind Shikandi, a transgender. You are now talking about the rules of the war! Go away from here. Otherwise, you will also meet the same fate as your son.” Krishna also intervenes and tells Arjuna, “Arjuna, Adharma for Adharma is not the answer. You kill Jayadratha tomorrow in the war by fair means. If he follows adharma, you follow dharma and kill him. Otherwise, this allegation/blemish will always remain on you that you killed Jayadratha while he was asleep.” Arjuna accepts Krishna’s advice and says, “I vow with fire God as a testimony that in tomorrow’s war, I will kill Jayadratha and if I am unable to do so, then I will sacrifice myself to the fire God.” Everyone in the Kaurava camp is terrified at Arjuna’s vow, as are the Pandavas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *