Arjuna played a very important role in the Indian epic Mahabharata. He was one of the central characters along with Krishna and Karna. Arjuna was third of the five Pandava brothers. His mother was Kunti and father was Pandu, king of Hastinapur.
The Mahabharata story, in fact, is a very long poetry told by Sage Vyasa and written by Lord Ganesh. The story revolves around two groups or clan. One is Pandava and the other Kaurava’s, and the rivalry between them related to who will rule Hastinapur.
Arjuna – The Humble Person
A skilled warrior, Arjuna was a master of the bow and arrow. But also very humble, a quality found in many brave warriors of his stature.
Even his Guru Drona admires his power of focus. Because of which he was able to do penance to acquire great weapons later used in the Kurukshetra war.
After winning Draupadi’s hand in marriage, Arjuna along with his brother brought her home. Yudhishthira told his mother that they brought something for her. Busy in work Kunti told Yudhishthira to distribute whatever they had brought among brothers. They cannot ignore her mother and thus Draupadi had to marry all the brothers.
Once he disturbed the privacy of Yudhishthira and Draupadi and had to go to Tirath Yatra (Holy Journey). During this travel, he went through many adventures, but he never lost his temper. He always supported what is right.
Arjuna Meets Hanuman
During Pilgrimage Arjuna visited Rameswaram, the spot where Shree Rama built the bridge to visit Lanka. Looking at the bridge Arjuna stated that the bridge could be built with the help of arrows.
A small monkey was present there. He explained that the bridge made of arrows couldn’t have withstood the weight of great warriors like Sugreeva, Nala, Neela, Angada, and Hanuman.
Arjuna took it as a challenge. He said that he would build a bridge and if the monkey could break it, he would burn himself. So he built a bridge of arrows which the monkey broke easily by walking over it. This happened two to three times.
Defeated Arjuna was about to burn himself when Lord Vishnu, who was watching all these, interfered and helped them to understand each other. Shree Hanuman said, he would protect the chariot which Arjuna would ride in the great war which is imminent. Thus Shree Hanuman was present on the flag or banner atop Arjuna’s chariot.
The Story in Short
Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakul, and Sahadev, their lineage was from Pandu so the name Pandavas. And Duryodhana and his 99 brothers were the children of Dhritarashtra and called Kauravas.
Pandu was the half-brother of Dhritarashtra. Though Dhritarashtra was elder since he was blind from birth so Pandu was made the king of Hastinapur. Thus, unknowingly, a seed of rivalry got planted.
Later on, by looking at the rivalry of Kauravas and Pandavas, the Kuru territory was divided into two parts. One was to be given to Kauravas and the other to the Pandavas. However, Kauravas didn’t want this to happen. They devised an evil plan with the help of Shakuni, their relative.
According to this plan both the sides would play the game of dice. The side which would lose would part their side of territory to the other and go into exile for thirteen years including one in incognito. If discovered in incognito, again exile for thirteen years. Upon return, the territory will be returned.
The game of dice happened two times, once stopped by Dhritarashtra himself during the Draupadi’s Cheerharan. Everything was restored back to Pandavas. But Yudhishthira was lured back into the game.
As happened, Pandavas lost the game – and their territory, and had to go through a lot of humiliation from their cousins, the Kauravas. During exile, Kauravas tried to kill them but the Pandavas always managed to escape.
Once the exile was over, they returned and asked for their share which was rightfully theirs. But the Kauravas rejected to part with it. This decision resulted in the Kurukshetra war, a war for right against the wrong, a fight for justice or dharma.
Arjuna’s Questions Were the Base of Bhagavad Gita
On the battlefield before the Kurukshetra war, Arjuna looked at his relatives as enemies and started doubting the war. Krishna was his charioteer and understood the issue and started answering the questions put by Arjuna. The way Krishna answered is known as Bhagavad Gita.
Arjuna – In the Battlefield
A great warrior, Arjuna played a major and decisive part in the battle of Kurukshetra thereby making Pandavas win. A skilled archer, he defeated many great warriors on the opposite side who were capable of defeating the Pandavas.
Some of the crucial battles which he fought and won are the defeat of Bhishma, Bhagadatta, Jayadratha, and Karna among many others.
When the battle was over Shree Hanuman descended from the flag. As soon as he bowed to Krishna and left, the chariot caught fire. Krishna explained to Arjuna that so long Hanuman was protecting the chariot from all the powerful weapons used against it.
Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple
Arjuna built the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple in South India. This temple is one of the hundred and eight temples of Lord Vishnu. This temple was dedicated to Parthasarathy, Lord Krishna’s role as his charioteer in the Kurukshetra war.
Arjuna Defeated by His Own Son
Arjuna once visited Manipur where his son Babruvahana was leaving. Arjuna was very upset with his son since he was a king, and still not interested in any war. So he challenged him to a war. During the war, Arjuna was killed by his son.
However, he was later brought to life by the snake-princes Ulupi using a boon received from Ganga Devi. It is said that Arjuna lost because he used unfair means to defeat Bhishma and Karna.
In The End
After Shree Krishna left his mortal body, Arjuna forgot most of his skills and divine powers. He also forgot about the powerful weapons he used to remember once. In the end, on the advice of Vyasa, the Pandava brother’s retired and Arjuna’s grandson Parikshit was made the king. Giving up everything the Pandava’s made their final journey of pilgrimage to the Himalayas.