Son of the beautiful goddess Ganga, the fiver of life, the lad was born to greatness. Not only was he handsome and wise, he was also equally adept on the battlefield or in a regal court. As this tale reveals, Bheeeshma is best remembered for his exceptional honesty and kindness. Who else would have uncomplainingly suffered the trials of kingship without its comforts? Who else would have chosen long years of loneliness just to pander to a father’s whim?
When Drona went to his childhood friend, Drupada, to remind him of his promise of eternal friendship made long ago, Drupada rebuked him and spurned him. Burning with anger and humiliation, Drona was filled with a desire for revenge. That was the only tragic flaw in a brave and supremely talented archer who taught the use of arms to the Kaurava and the Pandava princes.
TALES OF ARJUNA
Superbly skilled, speedy and strong, Arjuna boasted that he was the world’s greatest warrior. But, despite his unquestionable courage, this honourable Pandava prince realised he could not confront Lord Indra’s power – or even the wiles of a cheeky monkey – without help. He needed divine weapons, such as the Gandiva bow, with its inexhaustible supply of arrows, and a special war chariot. Most importantly, he needed the blessings of the gods, especially Lord Vishnu.
Karna is one of the most poignant characters of the Mahabharata – generous to a fault but with shades of grey. Although born to princess Kunti and the sun god Surya, he grew up as the son fo a humble charioteer. His talent and ambition. However would not allow him to languish in anonymity. The Kaurava prince, Duryodhana, recognised his ability at archery and mode him king of Anga. For this, Karna remained loyal to him till the end. He met an untimely end at the hands of his brother Arjuna in the Mahabharata War.
The Kauravas had made a fateful error. Lusting after their cousins’s kingdom, they underestimated young Abhimanyu’s determination and ability to defend it. Brilliantly distilled in this handsome and much-loved Pandava prince were his father Arjuna’s courage, Lord Krishna’s wisdom, and the patience, strength and gentle humility of his uncles. Even as he thwarted his enemies’ ambitions, Abhimanyu earned their grudging admiration and a very special place in the saga of the Mahabharata.