18 minutes | Sep 13, 2020

Ādiparva : Sandhi 07 : Part 3 of 4 : Arjuna and Karṇa compete to see who is the the best Archer.

When Arjuna entered the stadium, the whole stadium fell silent. Having bowed to the elders, and the Gods, he showed his skill in handling the bow, arrows, the chariot, the horse and the elephant. Again picking up the bow, he showed his prowess in the use of Divyāstra-s such as Āgneyāstra, Vāruṇāstra, Parvatāstra, Meghāstra, Nāgāstra, Vāyavyāstra among others. The whole stadium was wonder struck at this glorious display. The faces of Bhīṣma, Drōṇa, Kṛpācārya and Kunti beamed with delight while the faces of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Gāndhāri, and the Kaurava-s lost their colour. Amidst this was heard a sound “Shut the mouths of these fools needlessly showering so much praise on Arjuna. What is so great about this ?”, and out of the group of Kaurava-s emerged Karṇa. Having saluted the elders and prayed to Surya, Karṇa showed his skill with the weapons and the various vāhana-s. With the same flourish and excellence displayed by Arjuna, Karṇa too showed the use of Divyāstra-s. Then he challenged Arjuna to a duel. Arjuna took up the challenge, and the stadium witnessed arrows of one cutting down the arrows of the other with equal ferocity. When it became clear that this is no mere challenge, but a battle, Bhīma, Kṛpa, and Aśvatthāma put an end to it. An enraged Kṛpa asked Kaṛṇa, “Ok Karṇa, are you a King or are you a servant of a King? Who are you ? Introduce yourself to this audience.” Dhṛtarāṣṭra, who was rejoicing to the fact that there was challenger to Arjuna in their own camp, saw nothing wrong in Karṇa’s display of impropriety. Kunti, on the other hand was unable to deal with her emotions. She could not blurt out that “He is my son”, and unable to cope up with the stress, she swooned. Karṇa was sad that he would not be able to answer Kṛpācārya’s question. At this moment, Duryodhana stepped in and announced that he would make Karṇa a king of the Aṅga country. Thus, amidst that audience, Duryodhana organized the Paṭṭābhiṣeka of Karṇa. All the other assembled kings in the audience paid their homage to Karṇa. Thinking his son’s glory to be his own, Adiratha, Karṇa’s foster father came to the throne. Karṇa, out of respect, fell at his feet. It became known to everyone that Karṇa was not a nobleman, but the son of a charioteer. Bhīma smirked at this and pointed it out loudly. Duryodhana protested reminding Bhīma that people still aren’t sure if his father is Pāṇḍu or Vāyu. Or for that matter, the birth of Kṛpācarya was no ordinary one. Neither did anyone know who the mother of Droṇācarya was. Thus when Duryodhana insulted the elderly Guru-s, the two sides of Kaurava-s and Pāṇḍava-s came to blows. Disgusted by this Bhīṣma and the others left the stadium. The audience too dispersed debating among themselves as to who was right – Bhīma and Arjuna or Duryodhana and Karṇa. The next morning, Droṇacārya called all the princes to his Gurukula and spoke to them of an important matter. Audio Link: https://archive.org/download/kumaravyasa-bharata-recitation/Parva-01-Adiparva-007-Sandhi-Part-03-of-04.mp3
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