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Mahabharata Related Discussions (Page 6)

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.Vrish.

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.Vrish.

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Posted: 08 February 2012 at 11:56am | IP Logged
Okay, to segway off a discussion we were having here, here are some odd events that took place @ the time of the Rajasuya Yagna, that are worth discussing here.  They are the roles of the Kauravas and their attitude towards Yudhisthir accomplishing this yagna.

In the above thread, we touched on some of the oddities of the assigned directions of the Pandavas, vs where they actually went.  Here however, I wanted to discuss the attitude of the Kauravas & Karna towards Yudhisthir being acknowledged as the ruler of the world.

In the case of Hastinapur, Bheeshma had done what he could to ensure that Hastinapur never played 2nd fiddle to any other kingdom.  While it's unclear on what the relationship was b/w Bheeshma & Jarasandha (I'm using Bheeshma here since he was the only one common throughout the period that saw Santanu, Vichitravirya, Pandu and Dhritarashtra as the rulers likely to decide what the policy was on Jarasandha), it's more likely than not that for Bheeshma, the idea of Hastinapur acknowledging a foreign ruler as samrat - even if it was his own beloved Yudhisthir - was unacceptable.

What's even more strange is Duryodhan not seizing this opportunity to urge a war on Indraprastha.  After all, unlike in Kurukshetra, this was a case where the sovereignty of Hastinapur was itself being challenged, and so there could be no greater justification in urging Bheeshma, Drona, Kripa, Ashwatthama, Vahlika, Somadatta and Bhurishrava to join him in a war against the Pandavas.  And at that time, except maybe their matrimonial allies, like Kuntibhoj, Shalya, Drupada and Krishna(!), nobody would have likely joined the Pandavas in a war - not Virata, not Sishupala, not anybody.  So even if Arjun had confronted them, at the time, chances are that Bheeshma & Drona would have trounced him, while Ashwatthama, Bhurishrava and the others would have had a field day in overrunning Indraprastha and seizing it by force from the Pandavas.

I am assuming that other Pandava enemies - Shakuni, Jayadratha and others were defeated by the Pandavas in course of their battles against them.

So the great mystery here is - how did the Kauravas and Karna miss such a great - and legitimate - opportunity to defeat the Pandavas, and undertake the Rajasuya yagna themselves?


Edited by .Vrish. - 08 February 2012 at 12:32pm

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.Vrish.

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.Vrish.

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Posted: 08 February 2012 at 1:20pm | IP Logged
The geography that is outlined above is really strange.  I mean, who took on Jayadrath - Nakul, or Sahadev?  If Bhima went south, how did Ayodhya fall under his coverage?  And how did Bhima get to take on Anga, while Arjun got Pragjyotisha?  It would be a very curious map if one had to draw it and split it b/w these 4.

Also, even if Nakul went to invite them, Duryodhan still had the prerogative of persuading Dhritarashtra to reject the invitation, and compete w/ Yudhisthir for the title, and he'd have had a legitimate reason to go to war.  And on Karna, even if he was pitted against Bhima, w/ his kavacha & kundala, he'd have defeated & killed Bhima then, since @ the time, none of the events in Udyog parva had affected him - he was not guilty of insulting Draupadi, he had not been requested for his kavacha/kundala, and also, Kunti hadn't approached him begging him to spare her sons.  So even that aspect is really strange, unless Karna was really a mediocre warrior only given to bragging.

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Posted: 08 February 2012 at 2:24pm | IP Logged
@Vrish..I don't have the answer on your question but I can speculate ofcourse.
Bheeshma would not allow it because he does not want a fight between Pandav and Kaurav. I cannot quote a part from the epic but as far as I know he never wanted a fight between Pandav and Kaurav. I think he hoped that if Indraprasth is build than both "sides"will be calmed down or try to figure out a way to deal with eachother.

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.Vrish.

.Vrish.

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Posted: 08 February 2012 at 4:57pm | IP Logged
It's not a bad argument, but it would seem that Duryodhan would have had a stronger case for going to war then - that he wanted Hastinapur, rather than Indraprastha, to be the supreme power on earth, and if Bheeshma & others were forced to support him in the war later, it would have been even more difficult for them to decline to support him here.

ShivangBuch

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Posted: 08 February 2012 at 11:23pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by .Vrish.

The geography that is outlined above is really strange.  I mean, who took on Jayadrath - Nakul, or Sahadev?  If Bhima went south, how did Ayodhya fall under his coverage?  And how did Bhima get to take on Anga, while Arjun got Pragjyotisha?  It would be a very curious map if one had to draw it and split it b/w these 4.

Also, even if Nakul went to invite them, Duryodhan still had the prerogative of persuading Dhritarashtra to reject the invitation, and compete w/ Yudhisthir for the title, and he'd have had a legitimate reason to go to war.  And on Karna, even if he was pitted against Bhima, w/ his kavacha & kundala, he'd have defeated & killed Bhima then, since @ the time, none of the events in Udyog parva had affected him - he was not guilty of insulting Draupadi, he had not been requested for his kavacha/kundala, and also, Kunti hadn't approached him begging him to spare her sons.  So even that aspect is really strange, unless Karna was really a mediocre warrior only given to bragging.

It is like what I have already drawn in my previous post Vrish. I once again try to show it. Forget Hastinapur for the time being. There is no reference of Sindhu/Jayadrath or Gandhar I am able to find specifically right now. One can say that Pandavas considered themselves and Hastinapur one only and avoided any kind of challenge. Inviting them was merely a formality and implied belief that Bhishma and Dhrit being their relatives will be pleased and proud with Yudhishthir's campaign and supremacy (just like Krishna, Shalya and Drupad did).

Consider yourself in Indraprastha. Now leaving Hastinapur and Panchal aside, draw a horizontal line crossing UP state and then turn your line towards South (diagonally) drawing it on Nepal South border, then Bhutan-Sikkim South border (North of Darjiling - India's national border) and then turn it further Southwards vertically on the right side of Bangladesh border but left of Tripura-Meghalay. All the territories above that line and on the right side of that line [Uttaranchal, Kashmir, Nepal, Himalayas, Tibet, China, North-east states of India (East of West Bengal), South-east Asia (Burma, Malaysia, Singapore - KMG actually mentions the word 'Singhpur' over there Big smile describing about geographical possible locations of Arjun's conquest)] were of Arjun. Bheem went to the East but below that Nepal line drawn and only upto Angdesh-Bangdesh (Central East India but not Asia). Battle with Karna is very short and mentioned just in one line so I don't know how serious and fierce it was. And Kavach-Kundal I guess were such that nobody could kill Karna until they were on (not that nobody could defeat him in any dual). And such battles of supremacy establishment for/with a sacrifice (If someone could actually manage or carry it out systematically) I suppose were considered very respectfully and religiously that I haven't found any killing in that conquest (That's why probably Jarasandh was swept out of the way before that battle for supremacy). I don't think any king could kill Pandavas or Pandavas could kill any king in the process (I think man on conquest had to be prepared for his death while fighting against Asura or Rakshas not believing any vedic rituals or norms or tradition but neither Karna nor Bheem would have done that with either of them like they were prepared to do at the time of Kurukshetra.). One could only defeat (and impose tax) or surrender (and give gifts) as per an implicit or explicit code of conduct.

Now draw another line below Indraprasth (Vertically originating from Indraprastha) on the South border of UP and cutting MP from the half covering Northern part of Chhattisgadh and becoming horizontal right on the border of WB and Orissa (Kalinga). Below that line was the area of Sahdev. On the left, draw a diognal line on the border of Rajasthan-MP and draw it upto Kachchha cutting Gujarat into half and draw it upto Dwarika such that only Dwarika is covered above that line. Rest of the Saurashtra will be in the area of Sahdev. But Dwarika, Kachchha and Pakistan and all middle east countries will come in territory of Nakul (All Mlechchhas and Yavans). Entire South India and Srilanka was of Sahdev. That's the geographical map. 



Edited by ShivangBuch - 09 February 2012 at 1:46am

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.Vrish.

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Posted: 09 February 2012 at 2:06am | IP Logged
Okay, that map seems to describe this better!

This explanation is convincing - if anyone adhering to Shastras had to accept any non-hostile invitations, that may have bound Duryodhan.  But if Karna was defeated by Bhima, he'd have been taunted by others not only for losing to Arjun, but also for losing to Bhima.  But even then, if Yudhisthir was doing it on behalf of Indraprastha AND Hastinapur, then Dhritarashtra would have been the acknowledged emperor, not him.

However, the preclusion of killing seems unlikely.  In the Ramayan, if you recall, when Rama thought of performing a Rajasuya yagna, Bharata appealed to him against it, on the grounds that it would turn friends into enemies, as they'd be duty bound to wage war against him, and would inevitably die, and the earth would be rid of kshatriyas, which would be undesirable.  Which was why Rama accepted Lakshman's alternative of doing the Ashwamedha yagna.

So, in the above case, almost all rulers would have been duty-bound to fight the Pandavas, including people who later became their allies, such as Virata.  So in such a case, Karna would have had an opportunity for a full blown war, and what's more, either he, if not Duryodhan, would have had the opportunity to gather every kingdom on earth and wage war on the Pandavas.

One could theoretically argue that Krishna was capable of fighting for the Pandavas and turning the tables for them, but given how Krishna had Bhima fight Jarasandha in a duel, rather than go to a military war w/ him, it's doubtful that that would have been a reason preventing those hostile to the Pandavas from going to war w/ them.

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Posted: 09 February 2012 at 5:26am | IP Logged
Originally posted by .Vrish.

Okay, that map seems to describe this better!

This explanation is convincing - if anyone adhering to Shastras had to accept any non-hostile invitations, that may have bound Duryodhan.  But if Karna was defeated by Bhima, he'd have been taunted by others not only for losing to Arjun, but also for losing to Bhima.  But even then, if Yudhisthir was doing it on behalf of Indraprastha AND Hastinapur, then Dhritarashtra would have been the acknowledged emperor, not him.
I think Karna only shined as an invincible warrior in Van parva (and he could confront Arjun only in Virat Parva then) in his own conquest and then in Karna Parva as hero until then he was primarily boasted by Duryodhan only looking at his childhood performance of Archery in competition with Arjun. Also even Duryodhan was only fearful of Bheem until Indraprastha nirmaan and not Arjun. That is clearly mentioned in KMG in his own words. And the dual need not be through bow and arrow only although Karna was good at everything. Even people have raised question over Arjun as a warrior in Kurukshetra but I would say Karna was relatively fresh in Karna Parva than Arjun. Arjun was both physically and mentally tired (Guilt of Bhishma & Drona and grief of Abhimanyu as well as the former two) and emotionally weak again and again as shown in Adhyay 1 of Geeta. And he didn't have to prove himself. Karna had strong determination to prove himself and show his worth for Duryodhan despite knowing about his relation with Arjun at that time. All the adversities would make your commitment and self motivation to give your best greater & bigger.

However, the preclusion of killing seems unlikely.  In the Ramayan, if you recall, when Rama thought of performing a Rajasuya yagna, Bharata appealed to him against it, on the grounds that it would turn friends into enemies, as they'd be duty bound to wage war against him, and would inevitably die, and the earth would be rid of kshatriyas, which would be undesirable.  Which was why Rama accepted Lakshman's alternative of doing the Ashwamedha yagna.

So, in the above case, almost all rulers would have been duty-bound to fight the Pandavas, including people who later became their allies, such as Virata.  So in such a case, Karna would have had an opportunity for a full blown war, and what's more, either he, if not Duryodhan, would have had the opportunity to gather every kingdom on earth and wage war on the Pandavas.

That's very strange because then the entire war had to be at the time of Rajsuya yagna and Pandavas would have been the initiator (which Krishna was very keen to avoid) and upon major role and permission of Krishna only. And Krishna himself didn't wage war against them. And even in Ashwamegh yagna, someone who catches the horse had to accept the challenge of fight. And that too the enemy will be decided at the free will of the horse wherever it goes. I would like to ask a question then. Shatrughna had independent kingdom. Would it mean that he also had to accept the challenge of war against his elder brother to follow Kshatriya's duty? I don't think that's the essence. The rule is only applicable to those who don't like or mentally accept the supremacy of the person performing sacrifice. Why would one carry out battle against own brother or nephew or grandson? Yes for Duryodhan I would see not as an opportunity but as a duty (as he didn't want Yudhishir's supremacy mentally so allowing that to happen would mean that he was a coward and didn't deserve to be Kshatriya) but Bhishma-Krishna-Shalya-Drupad were all happy with Yudhishir's campaign so they wouldn't mind and wouldn't considering it to be the insult of their own native when the other Indraprasth kingdom was connected with them through the bondage or love. But I guess Duryodhan didn't oppose or couldn't oppose because at that time, Bhishma and Dhritarashtra were at good terms with Pandavas (they had divided the nation on happy terms) and they had to show the happiness with this campaign of Yudhishir as it had also the name of Kuruvansh and Pandu associated with its glory and Bhishma wouldn't connect just purely to the kingdom. Krishna had Kunti and Subhadra connected, Drupad had Draupadi and Shalya had his nephews. Can you imagine Yudhishthir accepting a challenge against Dhritarashtra had Dhritarashtra performed the yagya? Can you imagine Sugreev or Vibhishan to do that against Ram (of course their examples may not be suitable as they were not Kshatriyas but you know what I mean - say Keikai desh king)? And norms would change over time. Dwapar kshatriya may not be that strict in following their duties of accepting challenge compared to Treta kshatriyas. Shaastras are still same for all eras but Kaliyug Brahmins don't follow all the norms of Shaastras as seriously as the Brahmins of previous eras. So they had the duty to accept the challenge as per ancient laws of morality is one thing and they had rationality or practicality to do so as per the socially set customs or norms of the time is another. Hunting, Gambling and Drinking were legal in Dwapar but Kali has learnt the lesson from Dwapar.


One could theoretically argue that Krishna was capable of fighting for the Pandavas and turning the tables for them, but given how Krishna had Bhima fight Jarasandha in a duel, rather than go to a military war w/ him, it's doubtful that that would have been a reason preventing those hostile to the Pandavas from going to war w/ them.
Yes. That theory also would have been my argument. Regarding Bheem killing Jarasandh, I think I have read this somewhere in this or MM forum only that among 5-6 men of equal power, anyone killing the other would have killed all the others. So had Krishna or Balram killed Jarasandh, as per that boon or prophecy or whatever, they also would have had to kill Bheem so Jarasandh was challenged and killed by Bheem only and that too before the start of the conquest. And at that time Krishna didn't become Samdhi of Duryodhan and was not in any manner relative of Duryodhan. So he would have finished everything with his Sudarshan in no time.


Edited by ShivangBuch - 09 February 2012 at 5:28am

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.Vrish.

.Vrish.

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Posted: 09 February 2012 at 9:32am | IP Logged
I think that your statement is credible as well that the norms of a Rajasuya and Ashwamedha yagna changed b/w the Treta & Dwapar Yugas.  In the former, a Rajasuya yagna necessarily implied an initiation of hostilities by the ruler undertaking such a campaign, which is why Bharat was against it.  In the latter, a Rajasuya yagna probably gave kingdoms the graceful alternative of allying w/ the ruler seeking the sacrifice, which meant that not only would Krishna, Shalya, Drupada et al have accepted it, but even unrelated kingdoms, like Chedi, Matsya, Srinjaya, Kekaya, et al would have taken that up.

In case of the Ashwamedha yagna too, I think that the ruler undertaking this sacrifice had the option of selecting his allies, and exempting family members from subservient roles.  In Rama's yagna, Shatrughan, in spite of being the ruler of independent Mathura, was a co-host.  (Incidentally, as I had argued in the past in the Ramayan forum, Shatrughan couldn't have accompanied that horse, since he was an independent ruler, and as per Valmiki, it was Lakshman, who accompanied the horse and was unchallenged throughout, and no, there was no battle w/ Luv or Kush)  as were Janaka and Kushadvaj, as well as Yudhajit of Kekaya.

But in Yudhisthir's Ashwamedha Yagna, it seems that that was not an option for rulers.  Otherwise, Babruvahana should have been invited as an honorary guest or co-host b4 the horse entered his territory.  In fact, he was only too happy to welcome Arjun and accept Yudhisthir's overlordship, but Arjun's expressions of disgust @ his behavior forced him to do battle.  Which is really strange, b'cos while Babruvahana was recognized as belonging to his mom's maayka instead of sasural, he could still have been recognized as a relative of the Pandavas and accordingly honored.  Yeah, that did happen after his victory, but aside from the pre-destined curse of the Vasus, this confrontation seemed needless.

Another thing - I recall reading that if an Ashwamedha Yagna was successfully stopped, then it was the duty of the ruler who succeeded in stopping it to undertake the yagna himself.  In which context, the stories of K-L successfully stopping the horse look ridiculous, and as far as Babruvahana goes, it would seem that he should have then taken up the yagna, and Yudhisthir and others should have recognized his overlordship.  Except that Babruvahana wasn't known to have had any heroic sons or brothers or generals who could have successfully accompanied the horse.

But back to the discussion on the Kaurava challenge, you are right that Yudhisthir wouldn't have challenged Dhritarashtra, but had Dhritarashtra challenged Yudhisthir, then what?  I doubt that the Pandavas would have had the option to back out w/o a loss of face, and even if they did, Karna could still have allied w/ some other enemy kingdoms and trounced them.  I do think your observations about his prowess as a warrior is interesting, and I do agree that he was very overrated as a warrior.  But that's another discussion, and probably the next thing we'll get to after this.

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