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The story of Arjuna

Arjuna is one of the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Arjuna is a central figure in Hindu religion whose name means 'bright', 'shining', 'white' or 'silver'. Arjuna is thus "The Peerless Archer". The third of the five Pandava brothers, Arjun was one of the children borne by Kunti, first wife of Pandu.
Arjun or Partha was a master archer and played a central role in the conflict between the Pandavas and their adversaries, the sons of Dhritarashtra known as the Kauravas. To begin with, Arjun was reluctant to take part in battle because of the slaughter he knew he would cause in the enemy ranks, which included many of his own relatives. He was persuaded by his charioteer and close friend Lord Krishna, to change his mind. Their dialogue about issues involved in war—courage, a warrior’s duty, the nature of human life and the soul, and the role of Gods—forms the subject of the Bhagavad Gita, one of the key episodes in the epic Mahābhārata. He also played the key role in killing Karna, his arch-rival, in reality an unknown brother, on the side of the Kauravas.
It is asserted by some sources that the legend of "Ārash, the Parthian Archer" in Persian mythology bears some resemblance to that of Arjuna; this is cited by some as being reminiscent of a shared Indo-Iranian heritage. However, Arjun is an integral part of the Mahābhārata and one of its lead characters. The other central characters in the story are not mentioned in the story of Arash. Lastly, Indian scientists have discovered what they claim to be Dwaraka, or Krishna's city, indicating that the Mahābhārata may indeed have a link to actual events in Indian history, as opposed to being a mythological tale.
He bears a total of ten names: Arjun, Phalgun, Jishnu, Keeriti, Shwetvaahan, Vibhatsu, Vijaya, Pārth, Savyasachinn (also referred as Sabyasachi), and Dhananjaya. When he is asked to say his ten names as a proof of his identity:
"My ten names are - Arjun, Phalgun, Jishnu, Keeriti, Shwetvaahan, Vibhatsu, Vijaya, Parth, Savyashachee and Dhananjaya. I was called Dhanajaya when I conquered all the kings at the time of Rājsooya Yajna and collected wealth from all of them. I always fight till the end and I always win, that is why I am called Vijaya. My horses which were given to me by Agni Dev are white, that is why I am called Shwetavāhana. My father Indra gave me a beautiful crown when I was with Him, that is why I am called Kiriti. I have never fought by unfair means in any battle that is why I am called Jishnu. I never frighten my enemies by meanness, I can use my both hands when I shoot my arrows, that is why I am called Savyashachee. My complexion is unique like the Arjun tree, and my name is stainless, that is why I am named Arjun. I was born on the slopes of Himvaan in a place called Satsring on a day when the Nakshatra Uttara Phalgunī was in ascent, that is why my name is Phaalgun. I am called Vibhatsu because I am terrible when I am angry. My mother's name is Prithaa, so I am also called Paarth. I have taken an oath that I will destroy that person (and his kinsmen) who hurts my brother Yudhishthira and spills his blood on Earth. I cannot be defeated by anyone." (Mahabharat)
Pandu was unable to sire a child. His first wife Kunti had, in her maiden days, received a boon from sage Kindamb, which enabled her to invoke any deity of her choice and beget a child by such deity. Pandu and Kunti decided to make use of this boon; Kunti invoked in turn Yama Dharmaraja, Vayu and Indra and gave birth to three sons. Arjuna was the third son, born of Indra, king of the demi gods (devas).
Arjuna is depicted as a wholesome and well-rounded personality, a healthy mind in a healthy body, a person whom any mother, wife and friend would cherish and be proud of. The son of Indra, Arjuna is said to have been well-built and extremely handsome; he married four times, as detailed here. Arjuna was also true and loyal to his friends (his best friend was the great warrior Satyaki); he enjoyed a life-long rapport with his cousin and brother-in-law, Sri Krishna. He was also sensitive and thoughtful, as demonstrated by his misgivings about the Kurukshetra war, which caused Sri Krishna to impart the Gita to him. His sense of duty was acute; he once chose to go into exile rather than refuse to help a brahmin subject, a story detailed elsewhere.
It is as a warrior that Arjuna is best known. The foundation for his career as a warrior was laid young; Arjuna was an outstanding and diligent student, learning everything that his guru Dronacharya could teach him, and early attaining the status of "Maharathi" or outstanding warrior. Guru Dronacharya once decided to test his students. He hung a wooden bird from the branch of a tree and then summoned his students. One by one, he asked his students to aim for the eye of the wooden bird and be ready to shoot; then, when they were ready, he would ask the student to describe all that he was able to see. The students generally described the garden, the tree, flowers, the branch from which the bird was suspended and the bird itself. Guru Dronacharya then asked them to step aside. When asked what he could see, Arjuna told his Guru that he could only see the bird's eye. Another story says that Arjuna once noticed brother Bheema, who was a voracious eater, eating in the dark as though it was daylight, and realized that if he could practice archery in the dark he would become vastly more proficient.
His skill in archery was to have an unlikely utility; it won him the hand of Draupadi, his first wife, the daughter of Drupada, king of Panchala. A contest was held by Drupada to choose a suitable match for his daughter. A wooden fish was suspended high above a pool of water; furthermore, the fish rotated in a circle. Contestants were required to string a heavy bow and then use it to hit the eye of the rotating fish. They were allowed to take aim at the eye of the fish only by looking at its reflection in the pool of water. Many princes and noblemen vied for the hand of the princess of Panchala. Some (including Karna, another hero of the Mahābhārata) were disqualified on grounds of supposedly low birth. However, although the Pandavas and their mother were in hiding at that time, Arjuna had prudently dressed as a high-caste Brahmin and was allowed to compete. This was just as well, since it was eventually Arjuna, the peerless archer, who alone was able to accomplish the set task; he won the hand of Draupadi.
All the five Pandava brothers had attended the tournament without informing Kunti, their mother, about it. They returned home in triumph, bringing the princess Draupadi with them. From outside the house, they shouted out to their mother: "Mother, you will never believe what we have got here! Make a guess!" Busy with her work, Kunti refused to be baited. "Whatever it is, share it between yourselves equally, and do not quarrel over the matter," she said. So seriously did the brothers take even this casual statement of their mother, that they resolved upon making Draupadi their common wife. It says something about the magnanimity of Arjuna that, having won his bride single-handedly, he 'shared' her with all his brothers willingly. One possible reason he took this action was to prevent any breach or jealousy arising between the brothers. However, despite marrying all five brothers, Draupadi loved Arjun the most and always favoured him. And Arjun loved Draupadi the most out of his four wives. There is another story about Draupadi, which mentions the boon she received in her previous birth of having five of the most desired men, as her husbands. Initially Draupadi's parents didn't agree to her marriage to all the Pandavas. But when he was told about this boon she had, King Drupad agreed.
The brothers agreed upon a protocol governing their relations with Draupadi, their common wife. An important point of this agreement was that no brother would disturb the couple when another brother was alone with Draupadi; the penalty for doing so was exile for a year. Once, when the Pandavas were still ruling over a prosperous Indraprastha, a brahmin came in great agitation to Arjuna and sought his help: a pack of cattle-thieves had seized his herd, he had recourse to none but Arjuna for a remedy. Arjuna was in a dilemma: his weaponry was in the room where Draupadi and Yudhishthira were alone together, and disturbing them would incur the penalty agreed upon. Arjuna hesitated for but a moment; in his mind, coming to the aid of his subject in distress, especially a brahmin, was the raison d'etre of a prince. The prospect of exile did not deter him from fulfilling the duty of aiding the brahmin; he disturbed the conjugal couple, took up his weaponry and rode forth to subdue the cattle-thieves. Upon finishing that task, he insisted, in the teeth of opposition from his entire family, including the two people whom he had disturbed, upon going away on exile.
Apart from Draupadi, Arjuna was the husband of three other ladies, namely Chitrangada, Uluchi and Subhadra. All of these events occurred during the period when he went into exile alone after having disturbed Draupadi and Yudhishthira in their private apartments.
Chitrangada: Arjuna travelled the length and breadth of India during his term of exile. His wanderings took him to ancient Manipur in the eastern Himalayas, an almost mystic kingdom renowned for its natural beauty. Here he met the gentle Chitrangada, daughter of the king of Manipur, and was moved to seek her hand in marriage. Her father the king demurred on the plea that, according to the matrilineal customs of his people, the children born of Chitrangada were heir to Manipur; he could not allow his heirs to be taken away from Manipur by their father. Arjuna agreed to the stipulation that he would take away neither his wife Chitrangada nor any children borne by her from Manipur, and wed the princess on this premise. A son, whom they named Babruvahana, was soon born to the happy couple--he would succeed his grandfather as King of Manipur.
Uluchi: While Arjuna was in Manipur, Uluchi, a Naga princess of otherwise noble character, became infatuated of him. She caused him to be abducted after he had been intoxicated with potent concoctions; she had him conveyed to her realm in the netherworld. Here, uluchi induced an unwilling Arjuna to take her for wife. Later, the large-hearted Uluchi restored Arjuna to the lamenting Chitrangada. Uluchi later did much to further the comfort and happiness not only of Arjuna, but also of Chitrangada and the young Babruvahana. She played a very major part in the upbringing of Babruvahana; she enjoyed much influence over him, and was eventually also to restore Arjuna to life after he was slain in battle by ...


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