Arjuna is the Immortal tale of one of India’s greatest heroes. These pages retell in riveting detail the story of the Pandava Warrior-Prince who has captured the imagination of millions across centuries. This is the intense and human story of loves, friendship, ambitions, weakness and follies, as well as his thoughts.
Told in a refreshingly modern and humourous style and set against the staggering backdrop of the Mahabharata. Arjuna’s story appeals equally to the average, discerning reader and the scholar. It spans the epic journey from his birth, when omens foretold his greatness, across the fabled, wondrous landscape that his life.
Anuja Chandramouli is a full-time mother of two lovely girls, as well as a part-time writer. Her academic credentials include a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s in English. Having started out as a freelance writer with articles works as an e-reporter and columnist.
Anuja is a self-confessed, big-dreamer, who is driven by an inner passion to contribute her mite to the great pool of human endeavour, thought, and wisdom. An ardent admirer of Veda Vyasa’s Mahabharata, Anuja holds the Great Epic to be one of a kind, the Homers and Virgils of the world notwithstanding. Drawing her creative inspiration from epic’s timeless track record of sustenance through centuries of retelling, Anuja chose to debut as a storyteller with the immortal and eternally captivating saga of Arjuna, the non pareil hero. Putting together episodes from Arjuna’s life (some well known, others relatively obscure), gleaned through years of painstaking research and then presented in a seamless narrative with the uninhibited panache and style of a 21st samless writer, has been an immensely satisfying and self-actualising endeavour for this New Age Indian classicist.
Janamejaya, King of the Kurus, was a disturbed man, nursing a visceral urge for revenge that demanded requital. He belonged to an exalted house. In his demanded the blood of none other than Arjuna, one of the mightiest warriors the world has even known. The illustrious Parikshit, Abhimanyu’s son Arjuna’s grandson, was Janamejaya’s father. But he knew nothing of any of his ancestors – not even his father, who had been killed by the naga (serpent) Takshaka, while Janamejaya was still an infant. Even the last rites for his father had been conducted by the Ministers of State. They had then taken the baby who would one day be their King, and schooled him in all the subjects a future King needed to master in orcoder to be exemplary ruler. Young Janamejeya showed great promise of becoming a worthy successor to the throne and surpassed even the high expectations of his Ministers. When he finally sat on the Kuru throne, there was none to dispute the fact that he was a just and capable Lord.
When Janamejaya discovered the truth about his father’s terrible death, caused by a potent curse and the deception of Tkshaka, the Serpent King, fury and hatred transformed his usually benign countenance. He thought long about how he could avenge his father and destrory the snakes that had been his nemesis. The wise men he consulted advised him to perform the Sarpasatra, a yajna that would last twelve years and serve to seriously deplete the ranks of the serpents, if not destroy them entirely. In fact, he was told that Kadru, primordial mother of the snakes, had cursed those who had disobeyed her orders in her bid to enslave her sister, Vinata, pronouncing that they would be consumed by the sacrificial flames when King Janamejaya performed the Sarpasatra.
The information convinced the King that providence was on his side and he decided to go ahead with the Sarpasatra. The entire kingdom was in a state of feverish activity as preparations for the yajna went into full swing. Soon all was in readiness and the sages fixed upon an auspicious day start the rituals. Janamejaya made an effort to concentrate as the sages began their incantation but he was feeling restless and allowed his thoughts to wander to all that he had been told about his own lineage.
Having grown up with glowing tales of the greatness of his ancestor, Janamejaya yearne to know more. His grandfather Abhimanyu, had died when he had been just sisteen and his great-grandfather Arjuna, had left with his brothers, so legend said, to begin their ascent to heaving placed Parikshit on the throne. About these great men, Janamejaya personally knew little, so it had become a habit of his press older men for information regarding his illustrious forefathers. In this way he heard of the tragic death of this father, Parikshit….
One day, while out hunting, Parikshit had hit a boar but the wounded creature escaped. Knowing that a hurt animal was danferous creature escaped. Knowing that a hurt animal was dangerous to the inhabitants of his Kingdom, he went in pursuit of it. The search was long and fruitless. The King, separted from his retinue, was weary beyond endueance and drooping with thirst. But still he kept on till reached the hermitage of the Sage Samika, who was then deep in meditation. Parikshit impatiently asked the ascetic if he had seen or heard a wounded boar. He also asked for water to slake his thirst. No reply was, however, forthcoming from the hoy soul, who remained engrossed in his meditation. When his urgent queries were met with unresponsive silence, it angered the King. He heiped himself to some water; then seeing a dead snake in the vicinity, he picked it up with his bow and perversely deed, he departed.
Shringin, the venerable sage’s hol-headed son, heard of the incident and possessing none of the temperance or magnanimity of his father, immediately pronounced a curse on the impetuous monarch; ‘arikshit, the sinner who knows nothing of respecting his betters. Shall be dispatched to the abode of Yama by the Serpent King Takshaka, who, by the power of my words, shall claim his worthless life days from now’. Even the stoical Samika could not make his son retract his sinister curse, although he did send a messenger to warn the King.
Parikshit did all in his power to protect himself from the Serpent King. The soldiers of the royal guard screened and checked everything but thin air that reached the King. But it was all in vain. Takshaka struck just before sundown on the seventh day. He concealed himself in the guise of a worm in a basked of fruit that he had his followers deliver the King. He then emerged from his pulpy confines to claim his victim. Janamejaya shuddered at the dreadful mental image of his father dying an agonising death. He heartsick over the tragic and untimely demise of his two immediate ancestors – his father dying an accursed death; and his grandfather Abhimanyu, who should have been there to raise him, being killed before he could lay eyes on his own son, let along his grandson. Craving some solace, Janamejaya’s mournful thoughts went further back – to Arjuna, the veritable jewel of their clan. Pride filled his being, spreading warmth from his toes to the crown of his head. How he would have loved to have known that mighty warrior…
It was while he mused thus that Veda Vyasa arrived at the yajna with his disciples. Janamejaya promptly came forward to welcome this ancient of this ancestors and prostrated himself at the venerable sage’s feet. Vyasa blessed him and when the formalities were completed, he took the seat the of honour assigned to him, next to the King.
Janamejaya spoke up with childlike earnestness, ‘Holy Sire! Pray tell me all about my ancestors. It has been reported to me that you have composed a poem, the very finest, about them. I yearn to learn every single thing about my great-grandfather Arjuna and his illustrious brothers. Tell me about Great War in which they slew their cousins. Surely they would not have done such a thing without affair? It is believed that he was Vishnu incarnate and Arjuna was his most beloved friend, that they achieve d marvelous things tofether. Tell me every small, insignificant detail about Arjuna. What did he like? What did he think? Who was the love of his life? What were the events that led to his becoming the mightiest of warriors whom even the Gods dared not fight? Is it true that he was of divine origin, fathered by none other than Indra, the Lord of the heavens? Did he have a weakness? Is it true that he once died before his time and a Princess who loved him more than life itself, saved him? I was to know him closely as if I was actually by his side when all the great events in his life unfolded. Tell me all there is to know of Arjuna!’
The young King’s entreaties did not go in vain. The venerable Vyasa smiled to convey his approbation before replying: ‘The time has indeed arrived for me to narrate the Mahabharata o you and through you, the world shall hear this wondrous tale now and forever. Lord Ganesha, while putting my words down as the divine amanuensis, blessed my endeavour and said that my poem would survive as long as the mountains stand and the rivers. Listen and become englishted, oh King! I authorize my able disciple Vishampayana to tell you story of your ancestors. Through him you will hear of all those epochal events that transpired so, many years ago. And your wish shall be ganted – you will come to know Arjuna as well as you know yourself.’
In this way, with Vyasa’s blessing Vaishampayana began his narrative – and from the moment his first words were uttered, his audience was spellbound. Janamejaya listened enthralled to all he saide and every time Arjuna’s name was mentioned, he saved and pondered over later. And this is what he heard about his famous ancestor…
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