Originally posted by varaali
Actually I have long wondered about this.
Was Arjuna really the greatest warrior (in the MB War) as he is made out to be? He was good no doubt, probably better than anyone else, but does he deserve the adulation often given to him? Because-
Shikkandin had to be brought in b/w to incapacitate Bhishma. The boon given by Shantanu protected Bhishma from death, not from get mortally wounded. Which is what happened when Arjuna attacked Bhishma,placing Shikhandin in front. If Arjuna was really the greatest Archer as is made out to be, ,should have been able to achieve he same result even w/o Shikhandin. As such ,Arjuna could not overcome Bhishma face to face.
While Arjuna easily defeated Karna at the time of Draupadi Swayamvar, the same could not be said during the War. On day 16, Karna ,had Arjuna at his mercy. It was just b'cos Karna felt that were he to shoot an arrow, it would not reach Arjuna before sunset, that Arjuna's life was spared.
Even on day 17, Karna repeated cut Gandhiva's bowstring, which of course Arjuna was able to retie instantly. Point is- would Arjuna have been able to overcome Karna in a fair fight?
What happened to all the divya- astras that Arjuna collected on his trip to heaven? He used the Summohan Astra during the Matsya Yudh, but does not seem to have used any during the War itself (apart from the Brahmastra towards the very end).
I once was in an YouTube thread which had a similar discussion in the comments field of one of their videos. The debate there was whether Arjun was a greater warrior than Karna.
The argument that Arjun couldn't have defeated them all doesn't sound credible - in Matsya, he defeated 7 of those leaders - Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Ashwathama, Karna and Duryodhan. On day 14 of the war, he alone wiped out 8 of the Kaurava akshauni's (out of 11) in his journey to hunt down Jayadrath (granted, Bhima & Satyaki also played their roles).
Having said all that, his oft repeated boast about wiping out the Kaurava army ignored that he couldn't be in more than one place @ a time. That is why Drona had no problem massaceing all his allies on different days - Drupada, Virata, Vrihatkshatra (of Kekaya),
Satrajit, Vikra, Sankha, Kuntibhoja, Purujit, Dhrishtaketu, Sahadev (of Magadha), and just about every major Pandava ally who died b4 him. I often think that Krishna should have had all his sons fight on the Pandava side to improve the odds for the Pandavas, otherwise it was too much of a load on Bhima, Arjun & Satyaki.
On day 16, Arjun was not
defeated and spared by Karna - this was downright defamation of him by BRC, and what I hated most about that serial. They had a brief indecisive encounter, but much of that day, Arjun was fighting a vindictive Ashwatthama, while Karna was fighting (and defeated) Nakula. Neither did Karna defeat Bhima on day 14 - while he did
recall his promise to Kunti, Bhima too recalled that he can't kill Karna since Arjun had vowed to do that. Oh, and while we are @ it, Dushashan was killed on day 17, not 16. On day 17, Karna did cut his bowstings a few times, but Arjun reattached it and continued - it was one really a stalemate until Karna's wheel sunk.
As for the divyastras, Arjun used most of them. Jayadratha was killed using the Pasupatastra, while Karna was slain using the Anjalika. Arjuna also used the other astras he had, like the Brahmastra, to massacre Krishna's Shamshaptakas, who were fighting for Duryodhan.
Dhrishtadyumna, for all his reputation, never defeated Drona, Kripa or Ashwatthama even once.
As for the cheating, all of them were predetermined by other sinful acts of their recipients - Bheeshma for destroying Amba's life, Drona for using divine weapons against ordinary soldiers
, Karna for his 2 curses, and Duryodhan for both Markandeya's curse as well as Bhima's vow. Another totally worthless warrior was Yudhisthir - Shalya was killed in an Abhimanyu like manner by Bhima, Nakula, Sahadev & Dhristadyumna all surrounding him and destroying his weapons. It wasn't a simple spear duel b/w Yudhisthir & Shalya either.