Horse of Arjuna

He asked the Charioteer Vasudeva to stop the chariot at one corner of the battlefield of Kurukshetra where he found a stream of water and a piece of land covered with long green grass. He freed the horses from the chariot and took them near the stream. While the animals remained engaged in drinking water from the stream he walked near the grass land, took out the sword from the scabbard and started collecting the softest possible grass for his horses. He carried those on his shoulder and kept near the horses. While the horses started eating the grass he started rubbing their necks. The sun was in the western sky. Vasudeva, the charioteer was watching the gesture of Arjuna with a completely neutral face.

The day before, the crier from the Pandava camp had announced that Jayadhrata would be killed by Arjuna the following day before sunset, failing which Arjuna would commit suicide by burning himself in fire in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Jayadhrata was responsible for killing his young son Abhimanyu, who was not even eighteen years old, when he accidentally tripped on the ground while he was fighting ten renowned warriors of Kaurava army at the same time. When he fell down his weapon also slipped out of his hand. It was not only against the rule of the battle but also a disgrace to a Kshatriya to strike an unarmed enemy or to strike his enemy when he had fallen on the ground.

The announcement from the Pandava camp brought fear as well as joy in the Kaurava camp. They were afraid because Jayadhrata was completely incapable of defeating Arjuna by fair or by unfair means. It was known to them that if Arjuna could ever come across his enemy, whosoever it might be, the enemy would stand no chance to survive. But they were also hopeful that if they could successfully hide Jayadhrata till sunset then Arjuna would not back off from his promise and if Arjuna died, the defeat of the Pandava army was inevitable.

Next day, from early morning Arjuna was hunting for Jayadhrata. Arjuna started searching every nook and cranny in the battlefield and in the surrounding villages; he looked into every possible house. He was leaving no stone unturned to find his son’s killer. Several Kaurava army generals tried to instigate him by trying to engage him into a combat with an intention to divert his attention. Arjuna did not yield to any of those diversions; he had time till sunset to find his enemy. Kauravas had found a hiding place for Jayadhrata and they kept it so secret that Pandavas could not find any clue about it even by using spies. In the afternoon Arjuna’s horses were so fatigued that he decided not to make them work anymore but to give them the necessary rest, food and water. By the time the horses started looking refreshed again the sun disappeared in the western sky. No impatience was reflected in Arjuna’s behavior. He patted on their backs for all their service, hugged his Charioteer and friend Vasudeva and made the funeral pyre ready.  When the pyre was in flame he started praying to God for the last time with folded hands. He was about to enter into the flame to fulfill his promise.

Everybody was sad in the Pandava camp and huge cheer was heard in the Kaurava camp. Kauravas knew that once Arjuna died their victory would be unstoppable. It was evening already. There was no sign of light in the sky. Only lights that were seen were the candle lights from the houses in the villages near Kurukshetra. All the generals of the Kaurava army gathered near the funeral pyre with happy faces. Since it was dark already, Jayadhrata also came out from his hiding place, he knew that Arjuna would never back off from his promise and attacked him since it was dark already. He stood in the front row to have the best view of the death of a person to whom he was once defeated and deeply humiliated when he tried to abduct Panchali, Arjuna’s wife. However he was forgiven and Arjuna let him go after Jayadhrata did two hundred sit-ups by holding his ears in front of Panchali.

Suddenly the sun reappeared in the western sky. It was Vasudeva who by the power of his “maya” (cosmic delusion) made the sun disappear from the sky for a brief period. As soon as Jayadhrata was seen again he removed the “maya” and the sun reappeared.

Since daylight was still there, Arjuna did not have to kill himself.

Arjuna jumped on his chariot and Jayadhrata also jumped on a chariot, not to fight but to run away, if possible.

But Arjuna’s horses were totally refreshed. He gave them food, water and also thanked them for their service.

In no time Jayadhrata and his father met their ultimate fates.

That was the only day when Kaurava and Pandava army fought after sunset using artificial light.



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