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Let’s play hardball PDF Print E-mail
Gita - Gita Articles

tatah svetair hayair yukte
mahati syandane sthitau
madhavah pandavas caiva
divyau sankhau pradadhmatuh
pancajanyam hrsikeso
devadattam dhananjayah
paundram dadhmau maha-sankham
bhima-karma vrkodarah

On the other side, both Lord Krsna and Arjuna, stationed on a great chariot drawn by white horses, sounded their transcendental conchshells.||1:14||

Then, Lord Krsna blew His conchshell, called Pancajanya; Arjuna blew his, the Devadatta; and Bhima, the voracious eater and performer of Herculean tasks, blew his terrific conchshell called Paundram. ||1:15||

anantavijayam raja
kunti-putro yudhisthirah
nakulah sahadevas ca
kasyas ca paramesv-asah
sikhandi ca maha-rathah
dhrstadyumno viratas ca
satyakis caparajitah
drupado draupadeyas ca
sarvasah prthivi-pate
saubhadras ca maha-bahuh
sankhan dadhmuh prthak prthak

King Yudhisthira, the son of Kunti, blew his conchshell, the Ananta-vijaya, and Nakula and Sahadeva blew the Sughosa and Manipuspaka. That great archer the King of Kasi, the great fighter Sikhandi, Dhrstadyumna, Virata and the unconquerable Satyaki, Drupada, the sons of Draupadi, and the others, O King, such as the son of Subhadra, greatly armed, all blew their respective conchshells. ||1:16-1:18||

sa ghoso dhartarastranam
hrdayani vyadarayat
nabhas ca prthivim caiva
tumulo 'bhyanunadayan

The blowing of these different conchshells became uproarious, and thus, vibrating both in the sky and on the earth, it shattered the hearts of the sons of Dhrtarastra. ||1:19||

Let’s play hardball

Arjun’s readiness
Kapi dhwaj
The unseen forces of Mahabharata

Now it is time for the Pandavas to respond. The war has been declared by the Kauravas. It should be clearly understood that the war has been thrust upon the Pandavas. They are not responsible for starting the fight or even declaring the war. But, to the surprise of others they are ready to respond. This time they are ready to respond.

The question is who will be the first to respond from the Pandava’s side. Bhishma is the General from the Kaurava’s and he blew the concshell first. You will think that the General from Pandava’s should respond first. If not, then one of the Pandava brothers should respond. Yudhisthir (the eldest brother) takes a different stand. And, I think that this was his winning strategy.

This in my opinion is the turning point in the whole of Mahabharata. Pandava brothers were successful in getting Krishna to come to their side. Krishna had vowed that he would only be with them as a saarathi (chauffer). The Pandavs were happy that Krishna would be with them. They did not care in what form he would be with them. Now Yudhisthir gets Krishna to respond to Bhishma’s call.

This is so important. It is worth meditating over. The response is given by Krishna. He was just a driver. He is not going to fight. But, it is significant in two ways. Firstly, the Pandavas are saying to Krishna, the Parmatma, that you got us into it, now it is up to you to see us through. We did not want the fight; we tried to avoid it by all means. Now that it is here, it is in your hands. They just surrendered the whole war to the Parmatma. Now, whatever the result, whatever the end may be, Pandavas are ready to accept.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Krishna is not blowing the concshell as a person. His concshell has been termed transcendental. For whatever that means, Krishna the Parmatma, here represents the whole existence. It should also be clear that Krishna is not reacting to Bhishma’s call. He is simply responding to his call and accepting for whatever has to happen. In American terms, he is saying, “You want to play hardball, Let us play hardball.”

I said earlier that Krishna represents the existence. Let me explore this a little further. When President of a country (say USA) goes to another country (say India), he goes there as a person. But, with him goes an entourage of others. He may be accompanied by his wife or daughter, but in actual fact represents the whole country (say USA). He is greeted as head of the state and not so much as a person. Similarly, when a celebrity (Hema Malini) stands on a stage, she is not there so much as a person; she may be there more as her image (eg. Basanti of Sholay). Krishna has a different representation. He is manifest as a person, a human face and body. But he represents the cosmos. He is ocean inside of a drop. The drop may look as a structure with boundaries and limits, but in Krishna’s case it is vaster than the ocean. This is what I would like to call the Krishnafield. When Krishna responds, it is really the Krishnafield responding.

And he says, “Let us play hardball.” The others in Pandava side follow and blow their concshells and other instruments. This response was to some extent unexpected. The Pandavas in the past have not responded in such a manner. They backed off. This time, not only they responded, but also they responded with a resolve. This unexpected response with all their resolve drove an element of fear in the hearts of the Kauravas. The inevitable is here. Now they have to fight. The talk time is over.

This is the turning point in the whole of Mahabharata. So far, Krishna was just present with the Pandavas. His presence was important. But, by blowing the concshell first on behalf of the Pandavas in response to the Kauravas challenge Krishna just got involved. Now, it is his responsibility to see the war through. And as a strategy, what could be a better strategy for the Pandavas. Now, even if Arjun does not fight or even if the Pandavas loose, it is o.k. But, Krishna can never let that happen. We also have to remember that there were two kinds of people in those times. Those that thought Krishna was just a human being and those that knew him as Krishnafield, the Parmatma.

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