The All Munificent Purushottama - Part 11

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

This is in continuation of the previous offering titled, "The All Munificient Purushottama" wherein we were meditating on the various incarnations of the Lord and how specifically the Lord manifested His quality of being a Purushottama. Herein we continue the glorious quality of Lord Krishna as Purushottama

In Udyoga parva of Mahabharata, we find that due to the envious nature of Duryodhana, he refused to return the kingdom to Pandavas. So war was an inevitable fact and both Pandavas and Kauravas started assembling their armies and forming allies for the war. Duryodhana went to Dwaraka to meet Lord Krishna to get His support and Arjuna also went there. Duryodhana was the first to reach Lord Krishna’s palace and at that time Lord Krishna was sleeping. Duryodhana went and sat on a seat near the head of the Lord’s bed. Arjuna came after sometime and sat in the side of the Lord’s lotus feet and was waiting with folded hands. When Krishna woke up, He first saw Arjuna who was sitting at the side of His feet and then He saw Duryodhana. He asked about the well being of both of them and asked about the purpose of their visit. Duryodhana said, “I need your support in the impending war. Both me and Arjuna are Your friends and we bear the same relationship with You. Also I have come first. So You need to consider my request first”. The Lord replied “Though you came first, I first saw Arjuna. Also he is younger to you and younger people always get the first preference. So I will listen to Arjuna’s request first. I have two options. There is My Narayana army of huge number equal to Me in strength and who can fight any battle and are irresistible. I will send the army to one of you (Pandavas or Kauravas who asks for it). On the other hand, I alone am available for one of you. But  I will not lift any weapons or fight in the war.“ Saying this to both of them, He turned to Arjuna and said “Arjuna, Since you came first, you can chose one of this.” Arjuna selected Lord Krishna to be on his side. Duryodhana was exceedingly delighted at the decision of Arjuna and he happily selected the army and left the palace.

After Duryodhana left, Krishna asked Arjuna, For what reason you selected Me, who will not fight at all?”. Arjuna replied as follows. (Mahabharata 05,007.032 to 35)

bhavān samarthas tān sarvān nihantu nātra saśaya
nihantum aham apy eka samartha puruottama
bhavās tu kīrtimāl loke tad yaśas tvā gamiyati
 yaśasā cāham apy arthī tasmād asi mayā v
sārathya tu tvayā kāryam iti me mānasa sadā
cirarātrepsita kāma tad bhavān kartum arhati

Arjuna replied ,”O Purushottama, there is no doubt that You alone will be able to slay everyone in the war field. I can also kill everyone in the battle alone by myself. But You are a very famous and illustrious person in this world. I am a person looking for fame. So I have selected You. It has always been my desire to have You for driving my chariot. I therefore request You to fulfil my desire cherished for a long time”.

The Lord replied “I will act as your charioteer and let your wish be fulfilled.“ In the above sloka we see that Arjuna addresses the Lord as Purushottama which means He is the Supreme Person and also one who lowers His position for the benefit of others. Becoming a charioteer is not a very great position to be. In the same war, Karna wanted King Shalya to be charioteer. But Shalya refused first and later Duryodhana convinced him to accept the post and Shalya accepted reluctantly. But Lord Krishna happily accepted the post of charioteer and completely obeyed Arjuna’s command during the war so that Arjuna will become glorious and famous... Some people may accept such menial posts but will always try to hide it from others. No driver will happily print in a visiting card if he is a driver for somebody inferior to him. But in spite of being the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Lord is very happy when the devotees glorify Him as Parthasarathy (Charioteer of Arjuna) There is a temple in Chennai where the Lord holds a whip in His hand and worshipped as Parthasarathy.

Bhishmacharya was fortunate to see the Purushottama as Parthasarathi and He remembered this act of the Lord in his final moments while lying on the death bed. Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.39

vijaya-ratha-kuumbha ātta-totre
dhta-haya-raśmini tac-chriyekaīye
bhagavati ratir astu me mumūror
yam iha nirīkya hatā gatā sva-rūpam

At the moment of death, let my ultimate attraction be to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead. I concentrate my mind upon the chariot driver of Arjuna who stood with a whip in His right hand and a bridle rope in His left, who was very careful to give protection to Arjuna’s chariot by all means. Those who saw Him on the Battlefield of Kuruketra attained their original forms after death.

Krishna willing We will continue to meditate on the glory of Purushottama in the next offering.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna das