Arjuna is as old as the mountain and as fresh as morning dew. Like grass on earth, like hair on skin, Arjuna arose from Indra’s own self. Arjuna is timeless and yet he belongs to all times. Even our times!
Arjuna is the star student and the master archer; he is the lover and the warrior; he is Dhananjaya—the conqueror of fortune; he is the Vijaya—the last word in success. The secret behind Arjuna’s success is coded by the divine that resides within the human form.
In the Mahabharata, Arjuna is a Shreshtha (Great), a supreme human talent. Yet, he must go on many adventures to test his mettle. A human being belongs to the only species on earth that can re-invent itself over and over again. The hero, who recognizes those powers as his own, he is able to craft a new identity for himself. Whichever powers the hero identifies with, becomes his identity. The many names of Arjuna—Vijaya, Dhananjaya, and Savyasachi—are those powers that are waiting to be discovered. Thus, Arjuna discovers the law of identity.
The hero’s path has never been smooth. Arjuna faces challenges from rivals like Karna and Duryodhana. In a world where jealousy wears the mask of competition and camaraderie, the hero needs the power of clarity. He needs crystal-clear vision to go deep into the mystery of human nature. Both the divine and the devil can sit together within a human being.
Arjuna is very unlike his headstrong brother Bhima, who is wild as the wind. Arjuna achieves with his mind that which Bhima tries to achieve with his muscles. Arjuna masters the law of clarity as he learns from his mistakes and missteps.
Arjuna’s most powerful weapon is not Gandiva, his indestructible bow, but his power of concentration. With this weapon, he learns to shoot arrows in the dark and became Gudakesha and pierces a bird’s eye with unerring precision. Arjuna wins Draupadi’s hand and heart through a concentrated effort. To win in the battles of life, a hero needs to constantly focus on the goal rather than on the obstacles in his path.
The human faculty that keeps the hero’s focus persistently on the goal is the intellect. Arjuna’s sharp intellect keeps his muscles and his mind together in pursuit of the ultimate. His intellect enables Arjuna to ask questions of Krishna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. His intellect helps him cut through the world of surface appearances to get to the deeper secrets of life that Krishna teaches him. The ability to concentrate is also the secret to self-discovery. The hero reaches inside himself to discover that his internal resources are much greater than the challenges he faces.
Arjuna was the man of commitments and Actions, he commits to avenging his son’s death before the sun sets. Arjuna shows how heroes are unafraid of unwavering commitment. Commitment is nothing but a call to action.
Arjuna unlike Yudhisthira does not waste time standing on the horns of dilemma. He is a man of action, he’s like quicksilver. His swadharma is that of a Kshatriya. He has to uphold the dharma of the land and if need be give his life for it. Many times, his need for action brings Arjuna to the brink of death. He fights fierce life-and-death battles with none other than Shiva, the Lord of the Universe.
Arjuna demonstrates that a hero’s wisdom is forged in the fire of action. Every hero meets a mentor who guides him through the trials of life. Arjuna forms an endearing and enduring bond with Krishna. Without the mentor-ship of Krishna, Arjuna would have remained an ordinary fighter. Krishna’s friendship gives Arjuna hope in despair and wisdom in the middle of a war. Friends complement us.
Krishna is not an ordinary friend. Krishna not just complements but completes Arjuna. Arjuna also learns the law of desire and detachment. He desires Draupadi, falls in love with Subhadra and resists the advances of Urvashi. He learns that love is a play of two polar opposite emotions, desire and detachment, raga and vairagya.
Desire acts like an accelerator. Detachment works as a break. With desire and detachment Arjuna drives this streetcar called life. In a hero’s journey, desire deepens into devotion. This secret of devotion is revealed to Arjuna by Krishna. ‘Remember me and fight,’ Krishna urges Arjuna.
The ability to offer every thought and every action to the higher principle within us is the law of devotion. Devotion taps into the deepest potential of the human heart in whatever the human being wants to achieve.
True greatness, as Arjuna discovers, cannot be achieved without complete devotion.
Video Link: Invincible Arjuna
An excerpt from book – Invincible Arjuna
Author – Debashis Chatterjee – Buy on Amazon and Kindle
Deepak Kumar Jha (A Learner)