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Mahabharata Related Discussions (Page 7)

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varaali

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varaali

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Posted: 09 February 2012 at 9:53pm | IP Logged
From what I understand, the Aswamedha yagna  undertaken  (in Yudhishthira's case)  was more an exercise to wash away the 'sins' accrued because of killing brothers / uncles / gurus/ grandsires. The 'sins' could be  washed away by 
1) rich donations to brahmans 
2) Oblations to agni, accompanied by the resonance of vedic chants 
3) Vows required to be observed by the performer of yagna .

In other Ashwamedha Yagnas, the purpose of the military conquest that usually accompanied such kind of sacrifice, was to collect  massive amounts of weath which a yagna of this scale would require. This could be done only by defeating other kings and extracting a heavy tribute from them. Also, the victorious king would have less scruples about taxing the subjects of another kingdom.

In Yudhishthira's case, the military campaign was a mere formality since the Pandavs had established their supremacy and the surviving kings were exhausted after the War. Yudhishthira especially advised  Arjuna to avoid bloodshed wherever possible and  spare the minor rulers, if any. When Arjuna enters the Sindhu kingdom, his dialogue with Dussala is very poignant and emotional and anyway,  most rulers (excepting a few) only put up a token resistance.

In case of Rajasuya yagna, I think Bhishma would have only been happy to see the Pandava's progress. Whether i was Duryodhan or Yudhishthira, both of them were Kuru vanshis.  The key point here is ,Yudhishthira did not consider himself separated from Hastinapur.  Had he begun imposing terms on Hastinapur, maybe Bhishma's ire would have been aroused. But so long Yudhishthira gave Hastinapur the respect its throne demanded, Bhishma would have been happy to keep quiet. 

That's why Duryodhn and his uncle felt the only way to depreive them of their kingom was by deceit.






Edited by varaali - 09 February 2012 at 11:30pm

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ShivangBuch

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.Vrish.

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Posted: 10 February 2012 at 12:05am | IP Logged
In the case of Rama's Ashwamedha Yagna, one of the reasons, though probably not the main reason, was to atone for Brahmhatya, which was incurred by the killing of Ravan.  In that too, Lakshman got no resistance in all the kingdoms he visited, since a humiliation of the rulers wasn't involved.  Arjun got more resistance, not just from Babruvahana (which he himself provoked) but also from Meghasandhi of Magadha, as well as Shakuni's successors in Gandhara.  In Sindhu, Duhshala's son committed suicide rather than face Arjun, since he'd probably have wanted to avenge his father, but knew that he'd be defeated w/o getting killed had he tried.

Also, during Arjun's campaign, some Yadavas did capture his horse, and Ugrasena & Vasudev had to intervene to get them to release it, since Arjun obviously didn't want to start a war against Dwarka.

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Posted: 13 February 2012 at 1:48am | IP Logged
Agreed with Varaali's post in almost all points. What was the dialog between Dushala and Arjun? And the tributes paid to victorious king will eventually lead to taxing the other kingdom's subjects only! What's the difference? 

And yes Vrish. Exactly that is our point. Co-Hosts. Just like Ram and Shatrughna/Janak were co-hosts, Yudhishir gave Dhritarashtra, Krishna, Shalya and Drupad the honour of Co-hosts.

So what's the conclusion? Was Rajsuya yagna conquest challenge more hostile than Ashwamegh (As in case of discussion between Ram-Bharat-Lakshman) in Dwapar also like Treta? Was surrendering to Yudhishthir/Ram without fighting or without fighting till death against Kshaatradharma? Why was that challenge not applicable to co-hosts when co-hosts also were accepting supremacy of an independent kingdom (even if relative) despite being Kshatriya themselves? Shaastras/Vedas are to be interpreted literally here? What's its exact essence as our conclusion of topic wrt to the duty of Kshatriya of accepting challenge?



Edited by ShivangBuch - 13 February 2012 at 1:49am

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.Vrish.

.Vrish.

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Posted: 16 February 2012 at 3:25am | IP Logged
I think that Ashwamedha was the ultimate yagna that one did, and Rajasuya was lower in the hierarchy.  I don't think that in Rama's yagna, the various kings were taxed or anything - that would have happened had it been a Rajasuya yagna.  But in the Dwapar yuga, looks like it was required to tax the other rulers, and in that case, the Pandavas didn't hesitate to do either.  They did the Rajasuya earlier, when they were rulers of Indraprastha and wanted to assert their supremacy, and the Ashwamedha later, when they wanted to atone for the sins Varaali mentioned.

Okay, here's another question that came to mind while going through the list of Kaurava Akshauni commanders:

Duryodhana, selecting from among them brave and intelligent warriors, made them the leaders of his troops. And placing an Akshauhini of troops under each of those best of men, viz., Kripa, Drona, Salya, Jayadratha, the king of the Sindhus, Sudakshina the ruler of the Kamvojas, Kritavarman, Drona's son (Aswatthaman), Karna, Bhurisravas, Sakuni, the son of Suvala, and the mighty Vahlika

Given that during the first 10 days, Karna was not a participant in the war, how was he listed as one of the commanders?  Or did Bheeshma command Karna's akshauni, just like Dhrishtadyumna was both the pradhan senapati as well as the commander of an akshauni?  Also, while Karna wasn't fighting, how come Bheeshma had no problems w/ his sons - Vrishasena, Chitrasena and others, as well as Karna's brothers - fighting under him?

I also thought it strange that a mediocre warrior like Shakuni was one of the akshauni commanders, rather than Bhagadatta, who gave Arjun a tough time on day 12, or Srutayudha, who on day 14, hurled a destructive mace @ Krishna which recoiled on him.  

Exit question: When Shalya became Karna's charioteer, who commanded his akshauni?  Or was it one of the 8 akshaunis that was wiped out on day 14 by Arjun, Satyaki & Bhima?


Edited by .Vrish. - 16 February 2012 at 3:36am

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ShivangBuch

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Posted: 16 February 2012 at 3:57am | IP Logged
^^^^Very clear Vrish. Almost totally convinced. Ashwamedh was completely performer's responsibility to finance (and only those will challenge who understand that responsibility to continue and finish the sacrifice if at all victorious) so I think Kshaatradharma to accept the challenge is not that critical.

Regarding Karna, I think it is because he insulted his guru Parshuram (also Bhishma's guru) by being a party to Draupadi vastraharan. Bhishma had no problem with Karna's brothers and sons because they were neither party to it nor they were Parashuram's shishyas. And Duryodhan-Dushasan also were not the shishyas of Parashuram. But still the question 'whether Karna only was sitting idle for 10 days or his entire akshauhini under command was unused for 10 days?' remains.

Regarding Shakuni, one can only guess that he just used his relationship and it was Duryodhan who persuaded that employment/appointment by Bhishma. Bhagdatt was heading his independent elephant army so I guess he already had responsibility spot filled up.


Edited by ShivangBuch - 16 February 2012 at 3:57am

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Posted: 16 February 2012 at 4:18am | IP Logged
But that explanation begs several new questions of its own:
  • Drona too was a guru-bhaiya to Bheeshma, and he too did nothing about Draupadi's vastraharan.  And if it was so major, then he should not have agreed to be in an army that has Duryodhan, Dushashan or Shakuni fighting either.
  • I doubt that Karna's akshauni itself was idle.  The battles on the first 10 days have various references to Vrishasena fighting warriors like Draupadis sons, so obviously, Karna's family members were still fighing.  And if they were, so was his akshauni

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Posted: 16 February 2012 at 4:40am | IP Logged
Originally posted by .Vrish.

But that explanation begs several new questions of its own:
  • Drona too was a guru-bhaiya to Bheeshma, and he too did nothing about Draupadi's vastraharan.  And if it was so major, then he should not have agreed to be in an army that has Duryodhan, Dushashan or Shakuni fighting either. Drona didn't actively take part in Draupadi's insult (just like Bhishma himself) and as I said, Duryodhan-Dushasan-Shakuni weren't disciples of Parashuram. So apparently Bhishma didn't have problem with their action in absolute sense but the fact that the action was inappropriate by his Guru's shishya. He could forgive anybody else for any action but not the guy spoiling the name and fame of his guru. P.S. Or it was just an excuse brought in front to avoid the war between two brothers as far as possible. 

  • I doubt that Karna's akshauni itself was idle.  The battles on the first 10 days have various references to Vrishasena fighting warriors like Draupadis sons, so obviously, Karna's family members were still fighing.  And if they were, so was his akshauni. But then who was the chief of that Akshauhini for those 10 days? And was Bhagdatt's counted in 11 Akshauhini (that was predominantly made up of elephants only rather than the popularly accepted ratio of different categories of fighters in 1 Akshauhini.


Edited by ShivangBuch - 16 February 2012 at 4:53am

.Vrish.

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Posted: 18 February 2012 at 4:02am | IP Logged
Incidentally, the arguments about the guru-bhaiya objection was there in BRC, but I've not seen it in the actual MB.  Nor did I see anything there about Bheeshma advising Karna to join the Pandavas, as shown in the serial.  The only thing I can imagine is that Bheeshma was doing what Duryodhan was accusing him of by trying to tip the scales in favor of the Pandavas.

About the other question of who commanded Karna's akshauni, I'd imagine that it was either Bheeshma for those first 10 days, or Vrishasena.  Although if it was the latter, he'd have had to be demoted to make way for his father.

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