Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!
This is in continuation of the previous offering titled, "Mystery of Morality". In the last offering we were referring to the interesting incident that took place on the 17th day of the war, just prior to the slaying of Karna by Arjuna. We shall see the same here.
Karna and Yudhishtira enter into a duel. Karna defeats Yudhishtira very badly and in fact the Pandava suffers serious injuries. He is carried back to the camp and is made to rest and recover there. Arjuna after fighting valiantly with the Samsaptakas approaches Bhimasena and enquires about Yudhishtira. Bhimasena tells him about how the King was badly injured fighting Karna. Arjuna then requests Bhimasena to head back to the camp and check on the older brother’s health. Bhimasena refuses to do this. He says that he will never return from the battlefield leaving a fight in-between. He instructs Arjuna to check on Yudhishtira and calmly assures him that the Samsaptakas will be taken care of!
Heeding to Bhimasena's advise, Arjuna returns to the camp with Lord Krishna and approaches Yudhishtira. Being very weak on account of the injuries and seeing Arjuna near him, Yudhishtira mistakenly assumes that Karna has been killed and Arjuna has returned to give him that news. Insult and injury by Karna makes Yudhishtira's anger towards him very acute. Arjuna replies that he had arrived there only to check on him and that he will return back and kill Karna. This news disappoints Yudhishtira a lot and he resorts to berating Arjuna. Yudhishtira vents out all his frustration at Arjuna and accuses him of deserting Bhimasena and returning from the battlefield.
In the heat of the moment, Yudhishtira asks Arjuna to "give up the Gandiva" and says that he will ask Bhimasena or Lord Krishna to kill Karna. This statement makes Arjuna extremely furious. He draws his sword and rushes towards his brother. Krishna stops him and asks him the reason for drawing the sword. Arjuna replies that he has a secret vow that anyone who asks him to give up his bow shall be slain by him. In those days, Kshatriyas had the habit of making a secret vow at the time of completion of their training and they were expected to keep the vow at any cost. Arjuna tells Krishna that he had to stick to his vow at any cost and hence he would kill Yudhishtira. Krishna tells him that he is making a mistake with such senseless insistence and reminds him of his bigger Dharma – that of winning the war. Herein the Lord tells Arjuna that it is sinful on his part to kill his brother and he chastises Arjuna saying that he has not understood the subtle course of morality.
The Lord proceeds to say, "O son of Pandu, I shall now tell you the mystery connected with morality, Listen to it, O Dhananjaya! One who speaks truth is righteous. There is nothing higher than truth. Behold, however, truth as practiced is exceedingly difficult to be understood as regards its essential attributes. There are certain occasions when we cannot tell the truth and we may even speak falsehood and in those occasions, falsehood would become truth and truth would become falsehood. He is a fool that practices truth without knowing the difference between truth and falsehood. One is said to be conversant with morality when one is able to distinguish between truth and falsehood. What wonder then in this that a man of wisdom, by committing even a cruel act, may obtain great merit like Valaka by the slaughter of the blind beast? What wonder, again, is that a person, who even after speaking the truth, earns great sin like Kausika?" Then the Lord proceeds to narrate the stories of Valaka and Kausika.
Krishna willing, we shall see the stories of Valaka and Kausika in the ensuing offering.
Thank you very much,
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Vaijayanti mala devi dasi,
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