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Sunday, 18 January 2015

98. Duryodhana Rescued By The Pandavas At Dwaitavana

Duryodhana's soldiers report to him that the gandharva Chitrasena not only refuses to vacate Dwaita vana but also threatens them dire consequences for having trespassed into his land. Dushshasana offers to teach the Gandharva a lesson but gets imprisoned by the Gandharva.

Chitrasena then comes in his aerial chariot to where Duryodhana is sitting along with Karna and Shakuni. He demands to know who Duryodhana is and informs them that he has held his brother captive. Despite Shakuni's advice not to engage in a fight with Gandharvas who were powerful enough to have killed their grandfather Chitrangada, Duryodhana enters into a fight, but finds that he is no match for the Gandharva who has mystical powers and can become invisible. In a few minutes of fight, the gandharva causes grave injury to Karna and holds Duryodhana and Shakuni captive. Duryodhan's wife Bhanumathi begs the Gandharva to show mercy, but the Gandharva huddles them into his chariot and flies away.

Monday, 12 January 2015

97. Duryodhana's Soldiers Pick Up A Fight With The Gandharva Chitrasena

Duryodhana convinces Dhritarashtra to let him and his brothers take their wives for an excursion to the forest. Gandhari is apprehensive and privately tells Duryodhana's wife Bhanumathi to make sure they did not get into any confrontation with the Pandavas.

The Kauravas reach Dwaitavana where Yudhishtra is engaged in performing a special Yagna. Karna and Duryodhana insult the Pandavas and Draupadi to their heart's content. Then they leave, saying they would continue the next day. Duryodhana commands his men to build camps at Dwaitavana. The men reach a lake where the Gandharva Chitrasena is enjoying the company of his two wives. Chitrasena forbids them from entering their private region, but they haughtily say that they would report the matter to their master.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

96. Bhima Meets Hanuman While Seaching For Saugandhika Flowers (04-01-15)

Sage Parasurama is resting under a tree with his head on Karna's lap. Karna is gloating over his learning the Brahmastra with which he can vanquish Arjuna. Indra hatches a scheme which would expose the lie that Karna has told his guru. He assumes the form of a bee and stings Karna's thighs. Karna experiences excruciating pain, but simply bears it, because he doesn't want to wake up his master. The blood oozing from the bite soon touches the guru and he wakes up. Karna tells the sage he had borne the pain caused by the bee digging into his flesh because he didn't want to disturb the sage's sleep. The sage concludes that since only kshatriyas can bear pain, Karna must be a kshatriya, and knowing that the sage was hostile towards Kshatriyas, he had lied that he was a Brahmana. Karna's blatant lie infuriates him and he curses that Karna would forget the Brahmastra mantra when he needed it most. Karna falls at his feet and begs for his pardon. The guru has a soft corner for Karna for being his best disciple. As a token of his love, he gifts Karna his chariot and Bhargava Astra (weapon).

Shikhandi comes to Yaksha's abode as promised and thanks him for solving his problem at least temporarily. The Yaksha tells Shikhandi that his problem has been solved permanently, because Kubera had cursed the Yaksha that she would remain a woman as long as Shikhandi lived. This meant that unless Shikhandi dies, the yaksha Sthulakarna had remain a woman. Shikhandi tries to kill herself but remembers Lord Shiva's words that one should experince the consequences of one's karma, and this should not be cut short by taking one's own life. Sthulakarna, being a devotee of Lord Shiva, concurs and consoles herself that probably Lord Shiva decided to help Shikhandi through her and this was perhaps because of her Karma. She then wishes Shikhandi that she achieves her goals soon. Shikhandi then goes back to Panchala and shares this news with Drupada.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

95. Urvashi Curses Arjuna That He Lose His Masculinity (28-12-14)

Karna approaches Sage Parasurama and requests that he teaches him the intricacies of archery. Knowing Parasurama's animosity towards Kshatriyas, he proclaims himself to be a Brahmin. Parasurama accepts him as his disciple. Finding Karna very dexterous, he teaches him the ultimate weapon, the Brahmastra. He cautions Karna that he should use it only on the battle field against a powerful foe and not against ordinary mortals, as it had the capacity to destroy the world.

Arjuna goes to Indra's abode, where he is entertained with a dance by the celestial dancer Urvashi. Arjuna is entranced by her, and Indra orders Urvashi to teach him all the fine arts. He also instructs Chitrasena to teach him all forms of art.(Story of Amba and Yaksha Sthulakarna: http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Content&sd=Articles&ArticleID=7242) Arjuna learns music as well as musical instruments and dance from Chitrasena.

Urvashi goes to Arjuna's room one night and expresses her love for Arjuna, but Arjuna spurns it, saying he considers her as his mother. Urvashi explains that celestial women have no old age and the rules that govern them are different from those that govern earthly beings, so even though she has been a consort to Kuru ancestors (Urvashi was the wife of king pururavas), she should not be considered his mother. Arjuna doesn't relent, and Urvashi curses that he should become a enunuch. Arjuna is flabbergast. Indra intervenes and Urvashi reduces the curse to one year.

Shikhandi leaves Panchala and departs for Sthulakarna's abode to return the manhood he has received temporarily from him. In the meanwhile Kubera reaches there first, and is shocked to see a woman in the place of Sthulakarna. The Yaksha has to explain that he had exchanged his masculinity to help Shikhandini. Kubera is angry and curses that he remains a woman. On Sthulakarna's pleading, he says he can regain his manhood once Shikhandi dies.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

94. Arjuna Obtains Pashupatastra From Lord Shiva And Karna Seeks To Obtain Brahmastra From sage Parasurama(21-12-14)

Shakuni and Dushshasana incite Mookasura and tells him that Arjuna is in meditation on Indrakeel mountains at Kailasa. Mookasura assumes the form of a wild boar and charges at Arjuna. Before Arjuna aims a deadly arrow, another arrow from a hunter pierces the boar and kills it. Arjuna feels it is his arrow which had killed the boar, but the hunter claims otherwise. A fight ensues between the hunter and Arjuna, and the hunter overpowers Arjuna in archery and in wrestling. Arjuna realizes that the hunter is not a mere mortal and asks hims who he is. The hunter, who is Lord Shiva, reveals his true form and blesses him. He gives Pashupatastra to Arjuna and tells him he has a mission to accomplish. He calls Indra to take Ajuna to heaven, give him his special weapon Vajrayudha and instruct other gods to provide similar weapons to Arjuna.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

93. Shikhandini Becomes Shikhandi With The Help of Yaksha Sthulakarna(14-12-2014)

Yudhishtra overhears Vidura speaking to Sanjaya sent by Dritarashtra. He comes to know that Dritarashtra had sent away Vidura in an angry moment, but regrets it later. Realizing the deep love between Vidura and Dritarashtra, Yudhishtra asks Vidura to go back to Hastinapura, as it is his duty to help and guide the king. Vidura goes back to Hastinapura and is welcomed by an emotionally charged Dritarashtra and Gandhari. Dritarashtra chides Vidura for deserting them and asks him to promise that he'd never leave them in the future even if he finds fault with him or asks him to get out.

Sthulakana, the Yaksha, asks Shikhandini who she is, and Shikhandini tells him about her vow to kill Bhishma, the boon she received from Lord Shiva, her marriage with a princess, the shame she experiences when the bride realizes that she is a woman and finally why she ran away from the palace. The Yaksha is moved by her story and he tells Shikhandini that he could exchange his masculinity with Shikhandini for a short time till Shikhandi(ni) establishes his manhood and makes his wife happy. The Yaksha also warns Shikhandini that she has to come back within one week as his master Kubera would come to the palace to attend the Satyanarayana Puja on the New Moon day and would be greatly annoyed if he came to know about the sex exchange. Shikhandi promises to come back within the stipulated time. Yaksha transforms Shikhandini into a male and accepts the feminine appearance for himself.

Monday, 8 December 2014

92. Krishna Advises Bhima and Arjuna to Undertake Penance (7-12-14)

Draupadi thanks Krishna for protecting her honor but asks why he delayed helping her and let her be humiliated by Dushshasana who tries to disrobe her in the Kuru assembly. Krishna asks Draupadi what she did when Dushshasana dragged her by the hair. Draupadi recalls struggling to free herself from Dushshasana's grip and protect herself and later asking the elders in the court to intervene. Krishna explains that as long as Draupadi believed that she could save herself with her own efforts, Krishna did not help her but when surrendered herself totally and called out to him he did appear in the next instant and protected her honor. Draupadi understands her folly and asks for Krishna's forgiveness. Krishna reminds Draupadi of the incident that took place at Indraprastha soon after Yudhishtra's Rajasuya Yagna when Krishna cuts his finger and blood starts to pour out of the wound. Draupadi instantly tears a piece of cloth from her upper garment and ties it around Krishna's finger to stop the bleeding.

Balarama comes to Hastinapur to blast his disciple Duryodhana and the Kauravas for their repulsive deception of the Pandavas and the abominable disrobing of Draupadi. He is welcomed by Dhritarashtra and Gandhari. As advised by Shakuni, Duryodhana holds Balarama's feet and refuses to get up until Balarama blesses him.