Showing posts with label Arjuna. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arjuna. Show all posts

Hinduism And Hindu Theology - Who Is Arjuna?


In the Mahabharata, the latter of the two major Hindu epics, Arjuna is the third of five Pandava brothers. 

  • When Kunti, Arjuna's mother, uses a strong mantra to have a son by Indra, the gods' ruler, Arjuna is born. 
  • Arjuna is a kshatriya warrior-king par excellence. 
  • He is characterized as unrivaled in combat, a hero always ready to defend the truth, and a man who always keeps his word—but also as arrogant, egotistical, quick to rage, and prone to using force to resolve disagreements. 

  • Arjuna is most known for his skill as an archer, which he has in spades. 

Arjuna outshines his siblings in archery lessons with their instructor Drona, but his nasty side is shown in the tale of Ekalavya. 

  • Ekalavya is a tribal kid who wishes to study archery from Drona, the royal archery instructor, but is turned down due to his low birth. 
  • Undaunted, Ekalavya creates a clay figure of Drona, treats it as his instructor (guru), and becomes the world's best archer through assiduous practice and devotion to his guru. 
  • When Arjuna learns of this, he is enraged and complains to Drona, since the instructor promised Arjuna that no one would ever be able to beat him as an archer. 
  • Drona inquires about Ekalavya's ability, and when he discovers that Ekalavya reveres Drona's image as his guru, Drona observes that he is entitled to a preceptor's pay (dakshina). 
  • He demands Ekalavya's right thumb as payment, a gift that would severely limit Ekalavya's shooting skills due to his inability to draw a bow without it. 
  • Ekalavya grants Drona's request without hesitation, although he is no longer superior to Arjuna after that. 

Another example of Arjuna's narrow-mindedness is his assertion that another great competitor, Karna, is unable to participate in a royal shooting tournament because Karna is a foundling with no known ancestry. 

  • Karna is Arjuna's cousin Duryodhana's close friend, and as a result of this insult, ties between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, the two branches of this extended family, begin to worsen. 
  • The end consequence is a fratricidal civil war, which serves as the epic's finale. 

Arjuna is credited with many heroic deeds in the Mahabharata. 

  • Arjuna overcomes King Drupada, who had previously insulted Drona, in order to fulfill a vow made to his instructor Drona. 
  • He wins Draupadi's hand via a feat of archery in which he draws a bow that no one else can lift and then strikes a target hanging in the air. 
  • He assists Agni, the fire deity, in the destruction of the Khandava forest. 
  • He protects Agni from the rain by erecting an arrow tent that covers the jungle. 

After twelve years of exile in the jungle, Arjuna assumes the appearance of the eunuch Brhannala and wins a major fight against the Kauravas during the Pandavas' incognito year. 

  • During the epic's finale eighteen-day battle, he beats the Kaurava army, confronts all of their main characters, and ultimately kills his long-time foe Karna, who is really his own half brother. 
  • Arjuna serves his older brother, Yudhishthira, who becomes king after defeating the Kauravas in the Mahabharata war; however, after the battle, the necessity for such a warrior has gone. 
  • Arjuna is also renowned for his ability to listen. 
  • Arjuna has unexpected misgivings about the morality of murdering his friends and family, even during a righteous battle, as the big war approaches. 
  • Krishna, his charioteer, recites the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most important Hindu holy scriptures, to assuage his concerns and help him recover his determination. 

The Gita's teachings on the nature of self, struggle, and the quest for God have aided people waging physical and metaphorical wars, most notably Mohandas K. Gandhi during India's freedom movement. 

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

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