Mahabharatam Index page.
It is all Duryodhana’s fault. I had to clean the car after a headbath..
Why you ask?
The Pandavas were in their 13th year of exile, when they had to be incognito. Duryodhana wanted to expose them so that they would go back into exile for another 13 years.
Having learned that any kingdom which had Dharmaraja Yudhisthira would be abundantly dharmic and blessed in everyway, he zeroed in on Virata Rajyam (Matsya Desa) as a likely abode of the Pandavas. having learned that the king’s fierce and aggressive brother-in-law Kichaka (kIcaka) had been killed, Duryodhana and his ally Susarman the king of the trigartas decided to launch an attack on matsya desa. The intention was to loot Matsya of its gold and diamonds etc as well as it is cattle and subjugate it to Hastinapur. If the Pandavas were in Virata’s kingdom, they would be forced to come to battle and reveal themselves.
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Then, O Lord of earth, those warriors, the Trigartas, accompanied by their infantry of terrible prowess, marched towards the south-eastern direction, intending to wage hostilities with Virata from the desire of seizing his kine. And Susarman set out on the seventh day of the dark fortnight for seizing the kine. And then, O king, on the eighth day following of the dark fortnight, the Kauravas also accompanied by all their troops, began to seize the kine by thousands.” (Source)
“And it was on the expiry of the thirteenth year of their exile, O Bharata, that Susarman seized Virata’s cattle by thousands.”
Virata, the king of Matsya Desa, accompanied by his brothers and the brothers of Arjuna, went off to defend his land, his cattle and his sovereignity. After a fierce battle, Susarman and Viarata got into a fierce single combat. Unfortunately, Susarman captured Virata and started carrying him off in his chariot. Dharmaraja asked Bhima to liberate Virata without any display of his super-human powers and strength. Then the Panadava brothers put up such a fight, dispatching the enemy to the abode of Yama in thousands. Bhima rescued Virata and insisted that Susarman declare himself a slave. However Yudhisthira forgave him and set him free.
“Vaisampayana said, ‘When the king of the Matsyas, anxious of recovering the kine, had set out in pursuit of the Trigartas, Duryodhana with his counsellors invaded the dominions of Virata. And Bhishma and Drona, and Karna, and Kripa acquainted with the best of weapons, Aswatthaman, and Suvala’s son, and Dussasana, O lord of men, and Vivingsati and Vikarna and Chitrasena endued with great energy, and Durmukha and Dussaha,–these and many other great warriors, coming upon the Matsya dominion speedily drove off the cowherds of king Virata and forcibly took away the kine.”
The cowherds raised an alarm and complained to Bhuminjaya Uttara, the son of Virata who had been left behind to guard the women folk. He claimed that If Only he had a charioteer he would take on the entire Kaurava force.
“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Although that oppressor of foes, the son of Pandu, was acquainted with everything, yet in the presence of Uttara, he began to make many mistakes for the sake of fun.“
When the Uttara saw the Kurus arrayed in battle he was terrified and wanted to run away.
“Uttara said, ‘Let the Kurus rob the Matsyas off all their wealth. Let men and women, O Vrihannala, laugh at me. Let my kine perish, let the city be a desert. Let me stand exposed before my father. Still there is no need of battle.’”
When Uttara ran, behind him ran Brihannala, trying to persuade him to come ack.
“And beholding him thus running, the Kurus began to argue, ‘Who is this person, thus disguised like fire concealed in ashes? He is partly a man and partly a woman. Although bearing a neuter form, he yet resembleth Arjuna. His are the same head and neck, and his the same arms like unto a couple of maces. And this one’s gait also is like unto his. He can be none else than Dhananjaya. As Indra is among the celestials, so Dhananjaya is among men.”
Arjuna persuaded Uttara to drive his chariot towards a Sami tree on which the Panadavas had disguised all their divine weapons in the form of a corpse.
“Virata’s son, decked in ear-rings, alighted from the car, and climbed up that Sami tree reluctantly. And staying on the car, Dhananjaya, that slayer of enemies, said, unto him, ‘Speedily bring thou down those bows from the top of the tree. And cutting off their wrappings first and then the ropes with which they were tied, the prince beheld the Gandiva there along with four other bows. And as they were united, the splendour of those bows radiant as the sun, began to shine with great effulgence like unto that of the planets about the time of their rising. And beholding the forms of those bows, so like unto sighing snakes, he become afflicted with fear and in a moment the bristles of his body stood on their ends.”
…..And this is where the story of the Ayudha Puja comes. On this day in those times, did Arjuna retrieve and worship his weapons.. And in that context do we worship our own tools and implements and cars on this day…
.. yes, of course Arjuna singly defeated the Kurus and saved the Matsya kingdom.. but you already knew that, no?
..and thus did Uttara become the sarathi of the Arjuna whose sarathi was Sri Krishna himself in the Mahabharata war!
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