आपणास माझे लेखन आवडते आहे असे ब्लॉगला भेट देणारांच्या वाढत्या संख्येवरून वाटते. विषेशकरून कर्णकथेला वाचक पुष्कळ मिळाले. आपल्या प्रतिक्रिया जरूर मिळावयास हव्यात! त्याशिवाय लिहीत राहण्याचा उत्साह कसा टिकून रहाणार?
I changed over from Marathi to English for my comments on Shri. Oak's book recently. I continue to get readers but there are no comments! Wonder whether I am boring!

Last Seven Days

माझी थोडी ओळख

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San Ramon and Mumbai, California and Maharashtra, United States
ज्येष्ठ नागरिक. साहित्य व संगीत प्रेमी. Senior Citizen

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Drona and Pandavas -- 8

Up to now, every day, at sunset or a little later the fighting used to stop. On this 14th day, it did not stop even after Jayadratha was killed a little before sunset. Duryodhana and Karna were anguished that in spite of all efforts they could not stop Arjuna from penetrating all defence and reaching Jayadratha. It is to be noted that they did not grumble that they were cheated and led to believe that Sun had set! So obviously Krishna had done nothing to make it so appear. Without any such skulduggery, Arjuna had achieved his objective.
After Jayadratha was killed the battle continued in full vigor throughout the night and continued next day. Drona became desperate that he could not capture Yudhishthira and progressively, the Panchalas were now more aggressive against him. His war-aim now changed to killing the Panchalas. He started using all his powerful astras and started a carnage of Panchal Army and Drupada and his family. Even till the end he never targeted any Pandava directly as he had no wish to kill any of them but Bheem, Krishna and Yudhishthira started worrying that if he was not checked, he would kill all the Panchals which was of course their main army. Arjun was reluctant to clash with his Guru wholeheartedly. Finally Krishna suggested a plan. Somehow Drona should be convinced that his son Ashvatthama was dead! Only that may make him give up the fight! But how to do it? Bheem went and killed an elephant named Ashvatthama! Then he went and told Drona repeatedly that Ashvatthama was dead. He knew that Drona will not believe him! He and Krishna knew that Drona may ask Yudhishthira directly whether it was true. They had persuaded him to be ambiguous but not to deny it! Bheema finally again went near Drona and scolded him ‘You are not our Guru. You are our enemy now. You are not even a Brahmin as you have no pity on Panchal soldiers and used Brahmastra on them! What keeps you fighting when your son is dead?’
Ultimately Drona approached Yudhishthira and asked him ‘Is Ashvatthama dead?’ Most reluctantly, Yudhishthira replied ‘Yes, an Elephant!’ He mumbled the last two words without looking at Drona and satisfied his conscience that he was not lying! (Bheem had told him earlier that he had killed Ashvatthama the Elephat). Drona, on hearing Yudhishthira’s ‘yes’ lost heart, threw down his bow and sat down in his ratha. Arjuna was not a party to this plan!
Dhrishtadyumna who had lost his father, brothers, family and army did not wait and waste any time. He climbed on Drona’s ratha and cut his head off with his sword, without paying any heed to Arjuna’s pleas not to kill Drona when he had no weapon!
The deed was done and many verbal duels started between, Satyaki and Arjun on one side and Bheem and Dhrishtadyumna on the other. But that was not going to bring Drona back. The fighting for the day ended with Drona’s death. Arjuna who was most reluctant to fight with his Guru and kill him was spared from that deed.
A little question remains in my mind. Ashvatthama was one of seven Chiranjeevis. The other was Krupacharya. Why these two figure in the list which also contains Bibheeshana? I have not come across any stories as to why these two were immortals! In any case if it was so, why Drona, who must have known that his son cannot die, believed Yudhishthira? My guess is that he had grown weary of fighting and killing. Somewhere in his mind he must have thought ‘enough!’ Over five days of war, he had failed to capture Yudhishthira and could see no end to the war. He just gave up out of frustration. A life devoted to Dhanurved finally ended.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Drona and Pandavas - 7

On the thirteenth day, Mahabharat says that the Trigratas succeeded in keeping Arjuna engaged for the whole day. Surprizingly, the description of the whole day’s engagement is covered in just 4 shlokas with no name of any prominent warrior killed by Arjuna. This is in sharp contrast with description of 12th day’s clashes between Arjuna and Trigartas which runs into many pages! I strongly suspect that Arjuna was very tired or injured and did not appear on the battlefield for whole day!
Drona had arranged the main Kourava army in a ChakraVyuha, which Mahabharat calles ‘extremely difficult to penetrate’. This makes it essentially a ‘defensive formation’. Drona had kept himself out of the Vyuha and his plan was to attack and capture Yudhishthira. Pandavas were quite aware of the plan. This day Pandavas took an offencive and Panchalas and Pandavas attacked Drona at the start of the day. Drona defended himself well. Question remained, who will break and enter the Chakravyuha.
I have written on this blog earlier on Abhimanyu’s death so will not repeat the whole story. When Abhimanyu entered the Chakravyuha and was proving quite too much to all Kaurava warriers, it was ultimately Drona who advised then to cut his bow somehow. With that they all managed to kill him. Was Drona happy with this? Mahabharat is silent. Even in the absence of Arjun, Drona did not succeed in capturing Yudhishthira as Pandavas and Panchalas defended him stoutly. The day’s skirmishes ended with Abhimanyu’s death. Late in the evening when Arjun came to know about Abhimanyu’s death he took an oath that on the next day he would kill Jayadratha and if he failed he would kill himself. When Kauravas heard this, they decided to protect Jayadratha by all means. Drona was of course the main planner of the next day’s strategy. He asked six main warriors to keep on challenging Arjuna turn by turn for the whole day to prevent him reaching Jayadratha placed deep in the back, further supported by his own forces. Drona kept himself free to use the opportunity of Arjuna being engaged for capturing Yudhishthira. He seems to have set his faith in Duryodhana’s plan to stop the war with minimum damage. He knew that Arjuna would prevail in the end but sacrificing Jayadratha was worth it if Yudhishthira can be captured.
I have written in full detail about the 14th day’s events earlier so will not repeat. Ultimately at the end of the day, jayadratha was killed but again, even without Satyaki and Bheema, who had gone to support Arjuna, Dhrishtadyumna foiled Drona’s plan.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Drona and Pandavas -- 6

During the first 10 days of the war, Bhishma was in charge of Kourava Army. Drona kept a secondary role and on many occasions, specially on the tenth day, asked all main warriors to protect Bhishma. He may have hoped, like Bhishma, that after the war goes on for some days, a compromise can take place. He was obviously not keen on killing any Pandava brothers. His enemy was Drupada and his sons.
On 10th day Bhishma finally fell down. He declared that he will hold on to life until Uttarayan begins. On 11th day Duryodhana had to select a replacement Senapati. Karna was now ready to fight. Duryodhana did not bypass Drona and select Karna. Pandavas’ main supporters, Panchalaas were still more or less intact and Drona was needed to face them. On being designated as senapati Drona asked Duryodhan what he wanted to do. Duryodhan also wanted now to end the war but on his terms! He asked Drona to capture Yudhishthira. Drona expressed surprise and pleasure that he did not want Yudhishthira killed. Duryodhan said if Yudhishthira was killed, Pandawas would be furious and will never give up. So his plan was to capture Yudhishthir and make him play Dyuta again and banish the Pandawas for ever! Drona agreed to do it but made it clear that so long as Arjun was around to protect Yudhishthir, even Drona himself also wont be able to capture Yudhishthir. ‘Keep him engaged elsewhere and I will do what you want.’
One can speculate what would have happened if the plan had worked. Drona was probably reconciled to Pandavas’ fate if he succeeded, as that was a lesser evil than killing them all (which, in any case, was not easy).
From 11th day onwards the war-aim was to capture Yudhishthira and the strategy for that was to draw away Arjuna from the main front! For first two days although Arjun was challenged by the Trigarta king and his brothers, Arjuna retained control and whenever a cricis arose he intervened to hold back Drona. When Duryodhana expressed unhappiness, Drona again said ‘ Keep Arjuna away’. On 13th day, the Trigartas again offered to make maximum effort to keep Arjuna engaged. 13th day was unexpectedly eventful.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Drona and Pandavas --- 5

Pandavas came back to play one more round of gamble with a heavy stake. As expected they lost and went to 12 years of Vanavas and one of Adnyatvas. War between the two parties was postponed for 13 years. During this long period Drona continued to stay at Hastinapur. He knew that at the end of the 13th year, Pandavas will come for the final war and Drupada will be their main support. He never made any effort to avoid that. It looks as though he was looking forward to a final showdown with Drupada and Dhrishtadyumna, even if that would involve fighting against Pandavas. He participated in Duryodhana’s plan to loot the Godhana of Virata. On that day, when Arjuna came with Uttara to fight with the Kurus and was recognized Drona was the one who raised the question as to how he did so before completion of the 13th year. Bhishma gave his interpretation of the required extra lunar months to match 13 ‘Solar’ years. Drona neither openly accepted it, nor rejected it, then or any time later. Duryodhana of course rejected Bhishma’s explanation then and there. After Arjuna defeated the entire Kuru army and warriors including Drona, they all ran away. Drona did not do anything remarkable in this battle. Maybe, he did not take it seriously.
After the marriage of Abhimanyu to the daughter of Virata, the Pandavas staked their claim to their in Indraprashtha. In the several rounds of talks between the two parties, Drona never accepted or rejected Yudhishthira’s claim. Even when Krishna came for a final round of talks to avoid the conflict, Drona did not threaten Duryodhana that he would go over to Pandavas or would remain neutral. He may be justified in that as he would have been branded with fright of Dhrishtadyumna. Drona wanted the showdown with the Panchals which he had to face some day or other.
When the war was to actually start, Bhishma accepted to lead the Kouravas, deftly managed to keep Karna out of it and kept control over the war for 10 days. During this period, Drona also kept a low profile

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Drona and Pandavas -- 4

Pandavas’ survival and now marriage to Drupada’s daughter was a wakeup call for Bhishma also. He took matters in his hand and decided to do some justice to Pandavas. He gave them a share of the kingdom but asked them to go out of Hastinapur and build their own new capital place. Dhritarashtra and Duryodhana would continue to rule at hastinapur. Pandavas burned down Khandava Vana and built Indraprastha. Slowly they settled down there and prospered. In due course Yudhishthira decided to perform Rajasuya Yadnya. All Kouravas attended the final phase. Drona must have been among them but there is no specific mention of him in the description of the dispute which arose when Shishupal raised a quarrel about Krishna being selected for first honour at Bhishma’s suggestion. Shishupal insulted Krishna, Pandavas and even BHishma. Drona remained silent. Finally Krishna killed Shishupal. Many kings were angry at the turn of events. Drona neither supported nor opposed the Pandavas.
Kouravas returned to Hastinapur. Duryodhan was jealous of the Pandavas and how all kings seem to accept their leadership. In consultation with Shakuni and Karna, he planned for a game of Dyuta (gambling) with Yudhishthira and persuaded Dhritarashtra to invite Yudhishthira for it. Neither Bhishma nor Drona foresaw any trouble or dispute although everyone knew that Yudhishthira was no match for Shakuni. Yudhishthira came to Hastinapur as invited. At the last minute he was told that he was to play against Shakuni.
The game began and as expected, Yudhishthira lost bet after bet. Neither Bhishma nor Drona made any effort to stop the game even when Yudhishthira gambled and lost his brothers’ and then his own freedom. Then he finally bet on Droupadi and lost.
When Duryodhan, Dusshasan and Karna pulled Droupadi in to the place of Dyuta and insulted her repeatedly, what was Drona’s reaction? Mahabharat is silent but he did not say anything in protest. Strangly enough, Bhishma also showed helplessness. Ultimately Dhritarashtra realized the serious consequences and managed to cancel the effect of the Dyuta and freed Pandavas totally. He advised Yudhishthira to forget all that had happened and advised him to go back. Pandavas left Hastinapur but their demeanor clearly suggested that they would take hard revenge for the insults. Duryodhan and his partners now panicked. What to do if they come back in full force? They did not feel sure what Bhishma will do. They appealed to Drona! And Drona who had witnessed all what had happened, assured them that if Pandavas attacked, he would support Duryodhan whole-heartedly! He never even admonished Duryodhan for all his actions. Strange but true.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Drona and Pandavas -- 3

Pandavas had survived the burning house in Varanavat but no one knew where they had gone. Mahabharat mentions that Krishna-Balaram had believed that they had survived. It also mentions that Drupad/ Dhrishtadyumna also believed so. Drupad had accepted Dhrishtadyumna and Droupadi as his children after Varanavat and Pandavas had no knowledge of it. After Pandavas spent some period in wilderness they settled in Ekachakra nagar.
Drupada in due course announced swayamvar of Droupadi. The PANA was exceptionally challenging. It looks as though he wanted that if Arjuna is alive anywhere he will come forward to face the challenge. If not, anyone else winning it would a worthy choice. Pandavas came to know of the swayamvar plan and as expected, wanted to attend it. They had to come out of living incognito some day and if they win Droupadi, they would get the support of Drupada. Kunti supported the idea, they travelled to Panchal Capital and attended the swayamvar but in disguise as brahmins.
All major and minor kings and their sons attended the swayamvar. No one dared to attempt the PANA. Karna wanted to try but Droupadi announced beforehand that she wont marry him as he was a Soota. Krishna-Balaram were present and Krishna recognized Pandavas though they were sitting among the Brahmanas. Ultimately, as expected, Arjun won the PANA. As desired by Pandavas and Kunti. All five brothers married Droupadi. Drupada had support of all five Pandavas now.
There is no mention of Bhishma or Drona among those who attended the swayamvar or the marriage. Mahabharat does not say anything about Drona’s reaction to survival of Pandavas, their marriage to Droupadi and now becoming aligned with Drupada. He must have realized that in any future conflict with Drupada, Pandavas will be his opponents and not supporters. In all future events the shadow of the changed relationship can be seen in Drona’s actions.