Episode # 202 – Duryodhana, Karna & Shalya fail to prove their mettle – Arjuna comes forward!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the commencement of the grand “Svayamvara” event for the marriage of Draupati, the daughter of King Drupada. A countless number of kings from various territories across the Bhaarata Desha had assembled for the important and prestigious event. Normally these kinds of “Svayamvara” events are  more of a prestige issue for kings, because this is perhaps the easiest way to let the world know that a king can outsmart his counterparts, and the prize for achieving this feat is huge as well! With this intention, as all the kings including Duryodhana have assembled there, the “Svayamvara” commences. We’ve already witnessed the rules of the “Svayamvara” being read out by Drshytadhyumna in our previous episodes. Thus, each king comes forward to try his hand on the heavy bow and the arrows. However, some were not even able to lift the bow in their hands due to its heaviness. Even if some others lifted it, they weren’t able to lock the arrow inside the bow, and the rope was too long for that. While trying to do so, the rope hit the person’s face and he was pushed on to the ground! 

This was the same saga that was happening to king after king, and even Sishupaala wasn’t an exception. He too was very interested in accomplishing the challenge, however, he fell on the ground, thanks to the bow’s heavy rope. As Sishupaala falls down, the entire courtroom, inclusive of Bhagawan Krishna burst into a rapturous laughter and this embarrassed him to the core! Next in the list was Jaraasandha. He too failed in the attempt, although he being a great warrior. We’ve already witnessed who Jaraasandha was, during our previous “Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana” and Shri Vishnu Puraana” projects. We would again be talking about this Jaraasandha in a while from now. Moving on further, Karna was next in the list. Karna now being the king of the “Anga Desha” came forward to try his hands on the bow. As for the case of Sishupaala and Jaraasandha, Karna too failed when he tried to lock the arrow into the bow. Duryodhana was next. He too met with the same fate as Karna and the others did! Shalya came forward next, but again met with disaster. 

As king after king, prince after prince, warrior after warrior met with failures, the courtroom started having its own doubts! People started doubting King Drupada’s rules and regulations slowly, as nobody was able to win over the competition. Was it a fair competition? Was it a really achievable task? If nobody is able to achieve it, is it really worth going for it? These were the questions that were going round among all the kings who were assembled there. Initially the kings celebrated each other’s failures, but when individually they started realizing the toughness of the task, these doubts started creeping in. It is at this stage, a so-called “Brahmana-Rishi” got up and came near the bow. Till that time, he was sitting in one corner of the courtroom, without making any hue or cry. This so-called Brahmana-Rishi was none other than Arjuna himself! As he got up from his seat, he started walking towards the bow, which was kept in the center of the courtroom. As Arjuna walked towards it, the entire courtroom was surprised! How is a Brahmana-Rishi going to win over this challenge? Even when various Kshatriya kings and princes weren’t able to lift it, how come a Brahmana-Rishi is going to succeed in performing this task? As this was being spoken on one side, another side of people were asking a counter question here – Who said that Brahmana-Rishis cannot accomplish this? They are capable of accomplishing anything in this world. This bow is afterall a “nothing” element for great Brahmana-Rishis. By looking at this Brahmana-Rishi, the other Rishis assembled there seemed a bit more confident that he might somehow succeed in this pursuit. 

As murmurs were going around thus, Arjuna came forward and stood in front of the bow. Initially he did not try his hand on to it, but straightaway asks Drshtadhyumna thus, “Oh Drshtadhyumna! Assuming I would be successful in lifting this bow and hit the target, will you give your sister in marriage to me?” Upon hearing this, Drshtadhyumna replied thus, “Oh Brahmana-Rishi! Of course I would definitely do that! This is what I had announced earlier, isn’t it?” Arjuna again asks back thus, “Oh Drshtadhyumna! It is not about that! I’m not a Kshatrya prince like all the others who have assembled here. I’m a Brahmana Rishi! You are also part of a great Kshatrya family. So will you still be ready to give your sister in marriage to a Brahmana Rishi?” This was a more specific question from Arjuna, which made Drshtadhyumna think for a moment. However, he stood firm in his stance. He replies to Arjuna thus, “Oh Brahmana Rishi! Irrespective of which of the four “Varnaashrama Dharma” that the person might belong to, if the person is able to lift the bow and achieve the target, I shall give my sister in marriage to that person without any hesitation! This is my promise in front of everyone in this courtroom! “Varnaashrama Dharma” doesn’t matter to me. I believe in merit and whoever is capable of proving his mettle, would be able to win my sister’s hand immediately!” 

Hearing this assurance from Drshtadhyumna thus, Arjuna places his hands on the bow. So for today, let us understand up to this point and in the next episode we shall witness whether Arjuna was successful in proving his merit! An interesting episode awaits us tomorrow! Stay tuned! 🙂 


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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