Sunday, 1 April 2012

Abhimanyu


Some deaths are rituals, thought Karna. They are not to be understood, not to be violated. They happen, and all that take part in them are merely pieces upon a board being moved by the threads of Kala.

This was one of those deaths. Karna could feel it; this would be one of those turning moments in the war.

There they were, in a circle around proud Abhimanyu. His eyes were not his father’s eyes, that shone with the brightness of the thunder. They were Subhadra’s, twisted beyond recognition by anger and fear. Abhimanyu had driven deep into the chakravyuha, finding chinks in its armour only a maharathi could have hoped to find, but now he was in its centre, and he was surrounded.

In front of him was Suyodhana, whom the Pandavas and their allies had called Duryodhana. Encircling him were the heroes of the Kaurava army: Drona, Kripa, Kritavarma, Susshasana, Aswatthama, Shalya, they were all assayed around him. Like a young elephant he was, surrounded by a pack of lions, defiant to the last.

Karna knew what was to come. He had known it since he had seen the arrow fly from Abhimanyu's bow mere moments ago. In the shortest gap between one skirmish and the next, while no one else could have stopped it, he had armed and fired an agneyastra. Fiery, as if from the depths of Patala it flew, straight into Lakshmana's eye. Suyodhana's son had been like a son to Karna too, and the horror of his death was not lost upon any in the vicinity.

Like an angry bull Suyodhana had bellowed, and all around him did not even need to hear his commands. With the speed of thought the chaos of battle that had proved Lakshmana's undoing calmed down into an eerie order, a circle of champions surrounding a single hero.

All was quiet save for the whickering of their horses. Karna could feel his heart thumping against his chest, each beat telling him: no, that this was should not, could not be the end. A warrior such as this, who was barely even a man, could not fall in this manner.

It did not matter. With a shout the arrows loosed. Karna lost track of who had let fly first, merely that all the others followed it without the slightest hesitation.

Valiantly that boy fought. On another day, Karna would have wept seeing the skill of his brother’s son (do not call him that, a voice whispered. It will only make the inevitable harder). But today he gritted his teeth, and let fly every weapon he knew. But Abhimanyu was peerless, and his grandfather Indra lent him power like no other. Though from all the directions he was attacked by the elements themselves, he countered them with terrifying ease. Against Drona’s Agni he fired Varuna, against Karna’s Surya he fired Vayu, and against Suyodhana’s Yama he sent Indra. One after another, he fought like no other fought, and with a rallying cry he almost broke through that circle when one of Karna’s own arrows finally met its target.

For instead of attacking his body, Karna had attacked his bow. As Vishnu had done to Shiva, Karna broke the string of the boy’s weapon, and that he had not anticipated. His father would have seen it, would have dodged it, but this one was too young, too unlearned in the ways of war to account for the possibility that even his weapon could be under threat. The moment of his realisation that even his most faithful weapon had deserted him induced an anguish in his eyes like no other. Karna thought once more, this was just a boy. And he was not yet dead.

Bereft of all of his weapons, his sword long since thrown at an errant foot soldier now on his way to Mrtyu’s realm, Abhimanyu was still not powerless. His eyes, wild and bloodshot (whether from grief or fear or fatigue Karna could not tell) now landed upon a fallen chariot, its owner having fled or died or become otherwise incapacitated. With power Karna could not believe he still had had he ripped away its left wheel, and wielded it with rage and impunity.

‘Cowards! Honourless dogs! Is this the way you fight? Ten men to one, none of you having the spine to challenge me like a kshatriya should? Even rakshasas know the rules of war, but it seems my own uncles need to be taught a lesson about adharma! Face me, and even now I will be your doom!’ Abhimanyu bellowed. Karna’s fellow warriors fell for his goading, Kritavarma and Suyodhana and Aswatthama leaping from their chariots, bent on killing him with their blades. Karna very nearly lost his own temper, but he was not a fighter like the rest. They had been raised to privilege, had had power handed to them from birth. Karna knew different.

From his position he saw Shalya had already fallen unconscious from his wounds. Karna scoffed at his weakness. It only embarrassed the Kaurava army to name him as one of its maharathis. Drona was merely watching, waiting for his moment to strike, but Abhimanyu had not yet given him that moment. With a wild swing of his unconventional weapon he felled Kritavarma, whose head now sported an ugly gash. With another he nearly killed Aswatthama, who diverted it by using his arm as a shield and letting it take the brunt of the blow.

In the single moment after that, when he looked for Suyodhana and found him, Karna and Drona struck. In that instant of inattention he left his back open to warriors who would use any advantage to win. And they struck without cavil or mercy.

Drona loosed a potent Nagastra that Karna had rarely seen used. The snake at its heart rendered its victims paralysed before it killed. Perhaps it was kindness, or perhaps it was cruelty. Karna paid no heed as he launched his own missile, a Mahiswarastra that trailed ash as it flew into the boy. 

There was a horrible keening as both arrows met their target, their destructions melding to create a foul sight to all that watched as the boy's body writhed with the energies of the two astras. But an instant later it was over, no doubt the intervention of his grandfather, and the boy that had confounded them for so long finally dead.

Having avenged Lakshmana's death, it was as if nothing else existed. Suyodhana’s control broke, giving in to his grief at losing his son. The bloody mace in his arms fell to the ground as his knees buckled underneath him. Drona and Karna rushed to his side, and as they hoisted him by the shoulders and lifted him into his chariot, they instructed his sarathi to return to his tent as hastily as was possible. He was certainly not capable of fighting after his loss.

As he wept (whether for Abhimanyu or Lakshmana or both, Karna did not know) he felt another potent force. His skin tingled as Indra’s anger pulsed, and a single bolt of white-hot lightning shot forth from the clear blue sky. As Karna and Drona watched, it struck the ground directly in front of the boy, forever marking the spot of his death. From across the din of the battlefield he thought he could hear Arjuna cry for his son, as he realised what had happened.

‘This act will be the undoing of us’ Drona said gruffly.

Karna looked at him with dark eyes, and found that he could only nod in reply. He was right. Even after the horrors of everything he had done, and the horrors he would do in continuing the war, it would be this act that the Devas would find unforgivable. Though he still held Indra’s power, he was for the first time doubting whether he should use it at all. They were perhaps the two most powerful warriors in the Kaurava army, and they had shot a boy in the back. 

He rode out into the spirals of the vyuha, hoping to lend Jayadratha the support he likely did not need. The ritual was finished, and Karna shuddered to see the outcome.

*

sometimes inspiration is like a switch. it just turns on, and three seconds later you're writing something, and it is the most wonderful feeling ever. 

3 comments:

JeremyLin said...

Didn't Jayadratha kill Abhimanyu?

s said...

As I recall, Jayadratha prevented the Pandavas from entering the chakravyuha and saving Abhimanyu, because he used a boon from Shiva to be undefeatable for that one day.

Arjuna then swears to kill Jayadratha because he was the one who prevented the rescue of his son.

Akshadh Katyal said...

For all karna's Fans:

(SOURCE-TRANSLATION OF ORIGINAL MAHABHARAT OF VYAS BY KESARI MOHAN GANGULY
& WHICH IS THE ONLY PRECISE TRANSLATION AVAILABLE ON PUBLIC DOMAIN):



Incident 1:Karna fled from battlefield from Arjuna(Virata Yudh):

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m04/m04060.htm




Incident 2:Karna defeated by Gandharwa chitrasena:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03239.htm

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03240.htm




Incident 3:Arjuna defeat Ghandarwas & rescued Duryodhan & kurus:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03243.htm

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m03/m03244.htm



Incident 4:Karna defeated & freightened by Abhimanyu in chakruvyuhu:

Hearing these words, Karna, afflicted with the shafts of Arjuna's son, once more said unto Drona, 'Exceedingly afflicted with the shafts of Abhimanyu, I am staying in battle, only because (as a warrior) I should stay here. Indeed, the arrows of this south of great energy are exceedingly fierce. Terrible as they are and possessed of the energy of fire, these arrows are weakening my heart.'

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m07/m07045.htm




What Karna's own friend Ashwathama & kripacharya think of karna:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m04/m04049.htm

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m04/m04050.htm




what Lord Krishna think of karna's bravery:

Krishna said(To Arjuna):.I swear by Truth to thee, O friend, that my limbs are burning at the thought that while the son of Subhadra was thus advancing, consuming the hostile army with his shafts, even on that occasion the wicked-souled Karna was engaged in acts of hostility to that hero,Unable, O Partha, to stay in that battle before Abhimanyu's face, mangled with the shafts of Subhadra's son, deprived of consciousness, and bathed in blood, Karna drew deep breaths, inflamed with rage. At last, afflicted with arrows, he was obliged to turn his back upon the field.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m08/m08073.htm



& Finally karna himself accepting Arjuna's supeority:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m08/m08079.htm


FINAL KARNA ARJUNA BATTLE(DAY 17 OF MAHABHARATA):


http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m08/m08089.htm

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m08/m08090.htm

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m08/m08091.htm

ACCORDING TO MY ANALYSIS OF THIS TRANSLATION IN THE FINAL BATTLE OF MAHABHARATA,ARJUNA & KARNA ASSAULTED EACH OTHER 35 TIMES WITH NUMEROUS, THOUSANDS & LAKHS OF ARROWS ………8 TIMES THEY NULLIFIED EACH OTHER ARROWS ,12 TIMES BOTH KARNA & ARJUNA PIERCED EACH OTHER BUT THE REMAINING 15 TIMES ARJUNA PIERCED KARNA IN EVERY PART OF HIS BODY & KARNA’S LIMBS,YOKE,STANDARD,STEEDS,CHARIOT WERE RIPPED APART & KARNA WAS LEFT MANGLED BATHED IN BLOOD & KARNA HAD NO ANSWER FOR ARJUNA’S ARROWS!!!



Authenciaty of vyas original mahabharat by km ganguly:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/maha/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kisari_Mohan_Ganguli