The Pandavas never lent their ear to slander about Krishna. They had an understanding of His Glory and they surrendered completely to him. Krishna too reciprocated their love. He declared that Dharmaraja was His head, Arjuna His shoulders, Bhima His trunk, and Nakula - Sahadeva His feet. He himself was the heart. That was the relationship between the Pandavas and the Lord. That is the relationship between all beings and God, only the Pandavas recognised it, believed it and were benefited by it, where as others did not. The Lord is Hrudayavasi (Dweller in the heart). The Pandava brothers (Dharmaraja, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva) and Draupadi (representing Prakrithi or nature) followed truth and righteousness and sanctified their lives. Arjuna exemplifies how devotion can be developed by cultivating the friendship with the Lord through complete faith and loyalty. Friendship implies also love. Arjuna’s love was totally concentrated on Krishna. He acquired all powers by the Grace of Krishna.
Once Krishna and Arjuna were going together along a road. Seeing a bird in the sky, Krishna asked Arjuna, "Is that a dove?" He replied, "yes, it is a dove." He asked Arjuna "Is it an eagle?". Arjuna replied promptly, "Yes it is an eagle". "No Arjuna it looks like a crow to me. Is it not a crow?," asked Krishna. Arjuna replied, "I am sorry, it is a crow beyond doubt." Krishna laughed and chided him for his agreeing to whatever suggestion was given but Arjuna said, "For me Your words are far more weighty than the evidence of my eyes. You can make it a crow, a dove or an eagle and when you say it is a crow it must be one"
The forbearance and the great breadth of vision which the Pandavas exhibited as well as the strength of character and determination of their conduct cannot be seen in any other citizen of this country. Because they had always obeyed Krishna they directly imbibed from Krishna the sacred qualities of truth and forbearance.
Arjuna was the brother-in-law of Krishna. They were great friends too. There was obviously no time to lose, in elaborate explanation and questionings while on the battlefield. Besides Krishna had undoubtedly the power to transform in trice the wayward mind of his kinsmen into an illumined instrument for resolute action. But Krishna did not use power! He only prescribed the medicine and the regimen. Arjuna had to swallow the drug and follow the regimen himself, in order to be saved. He said, "You are My friend, you are now so near to Me that I am now your charioteer. You are also in great distress. I agree that the delusion which has overpowered you must be removed quickly. But your ajnana (ignorance) must fall of through your own efforts, not through some miracle of My design."
The love among the Pandava brothers and that among Rama and his brothers are supreme examples of fraternal love. The Pandava overcame all their trials and tribulations by their faith in God. The eldest of the Pandavas Dharmaraja had his mind always centered on Krishna. He was known for his one-pointed devotion for Krishna. He always thought of Krishna even while experiencing all kinds of difficulties is exile. Even when his children the Upa-Pandavas were killed by Aswatthama, he did not give away to grief because of his faith in Krishna. When he reigned as a mighty emperor, he did not feel elated and he was not overwhelmed by grievous ordeals. For the Pandavas, the Lord came first, the world next and their own interest last. First God, then the world, last "I". The Kauravas had a different order of priorities. First I then the world and God last, with the result that they lost everything. Because the Pandavas kept God in the fore front they were ultimately successful in their endeavour.
Whatever anyone may do, there can be no blemish in the Divine. Whether you praise or blame God, neither affects Him. Bhagawan then related the episode from the Mahabharatha in which Dharmaraja waited with anguish listening to the abuses levelled against Krishna by Sisupala and which Krishna tolerated for quite sometime. Then He hurled His Discus at Sisupala which severed his head. Dharmaraja saw the blood from Sisupala’s body flowing towards Krishna and a Divine flame from his body merging in Krishna. Dharmaraja asked Narada how the soul of a wicked person like Sisupala could merge in Krishna. Narada explained that good and bad, fame and blame relate only to the body and not to the Atma. The merger in the Divine of devotees who have worshipped the lord in many ways takes places after a long period of trial and tribulation but it lasts eternally. In the case of the wicked, who remember the lord constantly out of hatred, the merger takes place quickly but remain only for a short spell. The merger of souls in the Divine takes place for different reasons. In the case of Kamsa, it was fear of Krishna, which made him always remember Krishna, hatred in the case of Sisupala and maternal affection in the case of Yashoda, who merged in Krishna through love. The gopikas merged in the Lord through single pointed devotion and Radha merged in the Lord owing to Ekaathma Bhava (Complete sense of spiritual oneness).
In Mahabharatha, Sakuni represents doubt, Karna symbolises lack of faith (Aviswaasam). When these two come together, Asuya in the form of Duryodhana emerges. Every thing is accompanied by wickedness in the form of Dussasana. When these four come together the lot of the Kauravas represent bad thoughts bad intentions, bad actions and bad attachment. Krishna clearly foresaw the fate of the Kauravas long before the Kurukshetra war. He told Arjuna, "Get up. Be prepared for war. Justice will prevail. Selfishness will suffer disaster This is the Dharma of every age. The parents of these wicked ones will have none of their children left to offer them the last rites. That is the decree of fate.". Krishna concluded his call to Arjuna with the declaration that there has to be a downpour of arrows to ensure world peace.
Sakuni and others had been destroyed in the fire of hatred stored up by them. This was the lesson that Dharmaraja taught when he declared that as against the rest of the world, they were 105 (the Pandava brothers and the 100 Kaurava brothers) but when they had internal difference they were five against hundred. When the country is faced with an external threat all parties should come together. They should not divide the country. You may fight among yourselves tooth and nail but when the nation is in peril you should follow this statement of Dharmaraja, that when the national interests are at stake in the country, all should be united as brothers, all should work in unison, but in matters affecting individuals, differences may remain.
Once Krishna told Duryodhana that he was on the look out for a good man with good attributes. He asked Duryodhana to look for such a man. Duryodhana searched the world over a few days and said that there was no person with really good attributes and if there was any with good qualities it was himself. Then, Krishna sent Duryodhana away and asked Dharmaja to come. He told Dharmaja to look for a man who is very bad and whose qualities are such that there can be no one else worse than him. Dharmaja searched the world over and came back and told Krishna that he couldn’t find anyone with bad qualities and if there was anyone with such bad qualities it was himself (Dharmaja). No one can really determine what is good and what is bad. The only alternative is for one to have faith in God and improve one’s own goodness.
When Pandavas were preparing to go to the forest, Dharmaraja sent for Draupadi and asked her to sit by his side. Dharmaraja told her, "Owing to certain personal differences between the Pandavas and Kauravas, a situation has come about by which we will have to go to the forest." He told Draupadi that these troubles and tribulations were something which they could not avoid and that it was a very hard thing to live in a forest for twelve years and follow it up with one more year in which they had to remain incognito. Dharmaraja told her that the men will somehow bear the difficulties and that it was not an occasion for a woman to go into the forest and he advised her to remain back and take care of the old Dritharashtra and Gandhari, the two main people who were responsible for their exile into the forest.
This is very great quality of the Pandavas and we must learn a lesson from their conduct. If Pandavas really hated Kauravas is there any meaning in this act and can we justify the fact that the Pandavas asked Draupadi to stay back and serve the Kauravas? The moral of this is that whatever has to happen in one’s life will happen but to take such inevitable events and use them to promote hatred is not the correct thing to do, and it is not a good human character. The pain which we have to experience, the misfortunes which come to us and the troubles which we have, are not things which arise externally, nor are they God given. They are simply things which are the result of our own actions.
The nature of Divine Love is not rightly understood by most people. For instance, even a great woman like Draupadi did not understand the ways of the Lord. Once, during their exile while she and Yudhishtira were strolling in the Himalayas. Draupadi asked Yudhishtira with tears streaming from her eyes, "Dear Lord, you have taken such good care of your subjects, you fed the starving and relieved the needy, you always adhered to Dharma, why should you be subject to this present suffering? You are the very embodiment of Righteousness. We are leading the life of a destitute here. Why should this happen to you? Have we forfeited God’s Grace? Is there anything wanting in our devotion?" Smilingly, Dharmaraja replied, "Draupadi, look at the Himalayas. How beautiful are the peaks! I am filled with joy looking at those mountains. They do not serve me in any way, but still they fill me with joy. The beauty of nature gives me joy. Beauty is bliss. That bliss is nectarine, there is no joy equal to the enjoyment of the beautiful. When you look at a flower, you derive ineffable joy, though the flower renders you no service. Nature is the vesture of God. When you behold Nature you experience bliss. I love Nature for the joy it gives. I derive joy from seeing it and for no other benefit. Likewise, God should be loved in a selfless spirit. I love Krishna regardless of what difficulties I have to suffer, because that is the way I love Him. Draupadi, do not seek these pleasures relating to the body. Seek the Divine feet of the Lord, which will confer enduring bliss. Do not grieve over petty difficulties. Concern yourself with the means to experience God. All other things are valueless."
Before the war all Pandavas went to Bhishma and said, "You are our grandfather and have been our father ever since our father died. You brought us up with great affection. We have to fight against you. Please grant us permission." Bhishma was so moved by the dharmic conduct of Dharmaraja and granted the permission. Thereafter, they walked upto their guru Dronacharya and addressed him thus "You have been our guru. While Ashwatthama is a son born to you, we have also been your sons, as we have been brought up by you. However, due to circumstances we have to fight against you. Please grant us the permission." The Guru’s heart melted away immediately. He embraced Dharmaja and said "Whoever protects Dharma will in turn be protected by Dharma. So, I bless you. Victory shall be yours, because of you are observing dharmic rules so meticulously."
Arjuna was sentenced to engage himself in warfare against his elders and kinsman, by the Lord. His heroic lineage and kshatriya blood urged him forward to fight, but his fear of sin and retribution urged him to desist. "Am I to rule over the kingdom after winning it by destroying those who I revere and hold dear?" he asked himself. Then the Lord instructed him, right in the middle of the opposing armies. In the second chapter of The Gita, He told him of Sharanagati (the doctrine of surrender). Arjuna heard it and said, "Lord, I have no will of my own; I surrender to You." Thereafter, the battle was transmitted into a yagna where adharma was offered in the sacrificed fire. When an act is done in a spirit of surrender to the Lord, it becomes a yagna; when it is done in a spirit of egoism, it ends in a battle.
A similar situation also occurs in the Mahabharatha. Arjuna argued with Krishna and put many ideas before him. During that time, Krishna did not teach him the sacred Gita. Only after he surrendered completely, did he teach Arjuna, the Gita. If you want to make some jewellery and do not give the goldsmith any gold, then he will not be able to make anything. If you give him gold and tell him not to melt, beat and hammer it, he will still not be able to make anything out of the gold. If we offer the gold of our mind to God and tell him not to interfere with it, how can God prepare the jewel of peace? If you allow Him to do whatever He wants, then He will prepare the ornament of peace for You.
If you, in any seriousness, ask what is yours, you will get the answer that nothing really belongs to you. You are under the mistaken idea that one thing or another is yours, but this is incorrect. If this body is yours and some limb is ill, why can’t you rectify the sickness? When you are not able to rectify a small defect in your body, is it yours? If the mind is yours and if you can put it under control, why does it act like a monkey? Why do you think that this world is yours? If it is yours how does it move without your permission? Life is not yours.
We think that the world is binding us but the world is lifeless. It is desire that binds us. Those who catch monkeys prepare a pot with a narrow opening in it and fill it with some sweets. The monkey who desires the food, will put his hand inside the pot and take a big handful of the sweets. Then the monkey becomes unable to draw his hand out through the opening. Only on releasing the grip on the food will the monkey be able to take his hand out. It is his desire for the food that has bound his hands. This wide world is like that pot and our ‘samsaras’ or the families are like the narrow top. Our desires are the sweets that get us bound. When he sheds his desires, he will be able to live in the world freely. To get freedom, the first thing to do is to sacrifice. In philosophical terms, this is called renunciation. A man of great prowess like Arjuna became a subject to the feeling of attachment - "my relatives," "my teaches" etc. He was the prisoner of the feeling of "mine". `Swa’, `Swajana’ "my people", "My Kinsmen" - this sense of attachment made him throw away his Gandiva (bow) on the battle field, overcome by grief.
Even a highly evolved person like Arjuna confessed to Krishna that his mind is ever wavering and fickle. Are the intellectuals of today with all their degrees, greater than Arjuna? Not at all. Above all the degrees of intellectual attainments, one needs the Grace of God. Krishna recognised Arjuna as his devotee. That is the supreme accomplishment. When you earn from the Lord the epithet of ‘Bhaktha’ (God’s devotee), you will be equal with Arjuna.
Arjuna was the brother-in-law of Krishna; he was a close companion and even a chum of the Lord, for many decades! Krishna, was 86 years old, at the time of the Kurukshetra battle, when he served Arjuna as a non combatant charioteer! But yet it was only on that battle field that the message of the Bhagawad Gita was imparted to him! Why? Arjuna developed the requisite attitude for the reception and retention of the message. First Arjuna was puzzled about his duty and was tremendously anxious to get light thrown upon it. He was torn between two paths and in spite of all his discrimination and detachment he was at a loss to discover what his Dharma was, second he surrendered his judgements, to God, and declared out of the deepest recesses of his heart, in indescribable agony. "I am your disciple. I dedicate my entire being to You. Tell me what to do and I shall obey."
Arjuna had reached the highest stage of surrender when the teaching started and during the process, he had unexcelled Ekagratha or concentration. No wonder he was blessed. Unless one has the same degree of surrender, the same yearning and the same concentration, how can one expect the result that Arjuna attained? It is no easy path, this path of Sharanagathi that the Gita lays down. The seed that is planted in the soil has janana(birth) and marana (death). The cycle of birth and death cannot be got rid of by study and scholarship. Most sadhakas are like the dried up seed only. But, Arjuna was not a dried seed, he was a field seed. He was Guda Kesha, who had thwarted the advances of Urvashi, whom he defeated by adopting the attitude of a son to a mother.
Krishna regarded Arjuna as a devotee. When one is a devotee he is reverential and submissive. If one is treated solely as a friend and not a devotee, he is likely to behave as he pleases.Balance has to be maintained between a friend and a devotee. Arjuna and Krishna had genuine Sneha (Friendship) between them. Arjuna saw Krishna as his sakha and therefore had the temerity to use words of jesting irreverence during play or while in repose or when seated next to him, at meals. The two often ate meals from the same plate, and were ready to help each other under all circumstances. Do not be under the impression that Arjuna was insidiously overpowered by Krishna. He was mature in character well versed in the Vedic lore and a redoubtable warrior and bowman full of courage and heroism.
Krishna was the purushotthama (Supreme Being), Arjuna, the narotthama (best Human). It was a friendship between the embodiment of the highest and the embodiment of the best. Krishna was the Avataric (incarnated) Person, Arjuna was the Anandhic(Blissful) person, it was a coming together of the Avatara Murthi and Ananda Murthi. Arjuna was often addressed by Krishna as Kurunandana. This name has a deep significance. Kuru means activity, Karma. Nandana means happy delighted. Kurunandana therefore means he who is delighted while engaged in activity. Throughout the eighteen chapters of the Gita. Arjuna is alert and active participating vigilantly in every turn of arguments.
It is only by having this all Knowing, all powerful and omnipresent personality of the Lord in his mind, that Arjuna prayed to the Lord in the form of Viswavirat, "Can we understand you? Oh! Lord! Krishna you are smaller than the smallest particle and bigger than the biggest body. You are present everywhere and always in 84 lakhs of the living beings or living species and one knows you as the biggest thief among all the thieves." Arjuna had prayed to the Lord by understanding these aspects of the Lord. Because of this Arjuna could understand the real aspect of the Lord.
Arjuna is called by the Lord in the Gita, "Dhananjaya". People explain the word ‘Dhanam’ to mean booty gathered by him from the kings whom he defeated. ‘Dhanam’ means any valued possession, an object of affections. The most valued possession is the Self knowledge. Arjuna had earned this, so he was called Dhananjaya.
Dharmaraja the eldest of the Pandavas was a sincere adherent of Sathya. But, during the Kurukshethra battle, he was persuaded to utter a white lie, a subterfuge which he thought was excusable though it was not cent percent honest. In order to kill Drona, the master archer and general on the opposite side, they had to some how trick him into discarding his bow. So they planned a subterfuge. They named a war elephant after Drona’s son, Aswattama. Then they killed it. Immediately, within the hearing of Drona, the Pandava army was asked to shout in glee, "Aswattama, Hataha Kunjaraha" (Aswattama, the elephant was killed) which was strictly true. But while the soldiers were repeating the words, the elephant drums were beaten trumpets pealed so that Drona heard only the first two words. Naturally he took them to mean that his son had met his death. Drona was heavily laden with grief. His hands could not wield the bow and the arrow as deftly as usual. At that moment, he was overwhelmed and slain. For this one sin that he had encouraged, the only one in his life, Dharmaraja had to spend a few minutes in Hell, says the epics. Such is the consequence of departing from Sathya even by a hair’s breath.
The forbearance and the great breath of vision which the Pandavas exhibited as well as the strength of character and determination which they exhibited in their conduct cannot be seen in any other citizen of this country. Because they had always obeyed Krishna, they directly imbibed from Krishna the sacred qualities of Truth and Forbearance. For the Pandavas the life giving breath was Krishna and to Krishna His body was the Pandavas. So for as the Pandavas were concerned, there was not a single moment when Krishna was not present. Whatever they saw and did was by the prompting and by the strength which Krishna gave them.
There is a small incident which may be narrated in this context. Krishna gave up his mortal body after completing the task for which he came to the earth. This context relates to Arjuna accompanying the gopikas and bringing them to Gokulam. On the way they were attacked by the tribals and there was a lot of confusion and Arjuna lost all his strength and in that weakened state he somehow managed to come to Hastinapura. Because of the sacred, pure and selfless name of Krishna which was present in the heart of the Pandavas whatever they looked at, appeared to them as sacred. Because of the fact that Krishna was no longer in this world, everything that the Pandavas saw was appearing unsacred to them.
Unlike in these days, if one had to send a message in those days either to Mathura or Dwaraka it took months to reach the destination. Even before this news of the death of Krishna reached Hastinapura, Dharmaja was encountering many bad and inauspicious omens. One evening when he was going around the kingdom, he found one agriculturist with a plough on his shoulders and returning home. Dharmaraja looked at this unusual sight and asked the man why he was carrying the plough on his shoulder. The man replied that the previous day, the plough that he left in the field was stolen. Dharmaraja was greatly surprised and agitated and began to doubt if Krishna was still alive for he could not expect thefts in his kingdom. On another day, when he was walking in the city, he found a big steel bolt on the door of a house. He met some people at the door and asked what this steel bolt was and they replied that the steel bolt was put there in order to secure the door against any possible theft by other people. After listening he was even more agitated and surprised and surmised that there must be a very bad news.
Although Dharmaraja asked several questions to Arjuna he could not get any reply because Arjuna was in a great sorrow and he was just silent. That Arjuna had come and that he was full of sorrow was quickly known to all the inhabitants in the royal mansion. The old mother Kunti sent word that Arjuna should immediately come and see her. Kunti was over one hundred and eighty years of age and she was infirm. She was just sitting on a bed. As the Pandavas were such that they would implicitly obey the orders of their mother they went to Kunti immediately. The Pandavas knew very well the ancient customs according to which the father, mother, teacher and guest were to be respected as God. In their life and conduct, they fully demonstrated this respect to their mother their teachers and their guests. Immediately, Kunti began asking several questions about the welfare of Krishna, Vasudeva and other relations in Dwaraka. Unable to answer her questions Arjuna at once cried out that their Gopala was no more. Kunti was a very wise person and she immediately guessed what had happened and she gave up her life.
The very next moment Dharmaraja ordered all the preparations for the ritual after Kunti’s death. He summoned Nakula, Sahadeva and Bhima. Nakula and Sahadeva were sent to do the last rites for their mother. Bhima was ordered to make all arrangements for their going away to the jungle. Arjuna was called and told that arrangements must be made to crown Parikshit as the king of the land. While the dead body was on his lap, he was making arrangements for the coronation of Parikshit as the king and he was also making arrangements for their journey to the forest. No human being will be able to do such things at the time of such a loss. The Pandavas are the only persons who could be cited as examples for such behaviour and conduct. No one else had this courage and sacrifice.
The last rates were performed and the pandits were sent for and told that the coronation must be gone through immediately. They all felt that the moment was not very auspicious and advised that the coronation be postponed but Dharmaraja insisted that they would not be able to live in a world in which Krishna was not present and they wanted to leave for the forest immediately. The brother Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva were also of the same view and they expressed that Krishna’s death was in reality the death of the Pandavas. They said the Krishna could not die as He is an Immortal Person and the Pandavas were the ones who had actually died. Arjuna was also arguing with the pandits that it was impossible for the Pandavas to remain in a world in which Krishna was not physically present. In many ways, Dharmaraja asked the pandits to traditionally perform the coronation and insisted the if they did not do this he would simply give his crown to Parikshit and move away to the forest.
The last rites were completed and Parikshit was sent for but it is written in the sacred texts that Parikshit was not mature. This in fact was not the case. When the battle of Mahabharatha took place it was 3138 B.C, it was then Dharmaraja rule also commenced and at that time Parikshit was present in the womb of his mother Uttara. Dharmaraja ruled over the kingdom for thirty six years. After the battle was over Krishna went to Dwaraka and stayed there for thirty six years. While the battle started in 3138 B.C and there was a gap of thirty six years and so at that time Parikshit was of the age of 36 years and he was really fit to rule over the kingdom. But so long as his father and his father’s brothers were present he did not agree to take over the kingdom. Those were the sacred codes of conduct that were present in those days.
Parikshit begged his father and uncles to take him also with them to the forest as he could not be aide to rule the kingdom well because of his inexperience. In those days, the code of conduct was such that one could not disobey the orders of one’s parents, elders or grandfather. He touched the feet of Dharmaraja and said that when so many elders were present, it was not correct for him to be crowned as king. Parikshit was born in the ruling family and had every right to become the king but he did not hesitate to say that the elders should be considered first. Dharmaraja did not agree to this but kept his Chariot ready and wanted to leave immediately, crowning Parikshit. While this situation was developing, Draupadi came out of the house and said that Krishna had saved her on many occasions and she would not consider living even for a moment without Krishna, especially if her husbands were not there. When my Lord and my husbands are both not there, I do not want to stay here. The Pandavas exhibited to the rest of the world what an ideal family should be.
When we give attention to all these incidents, we see the kind of compassionate friendship that existed between Krishna and Pandavas. If we look at the condition of Arjuna after passing away of Krishna, we find that he was following his brother as if a lifeless body was being dragged. He was not even thinking of his dead mother and was always in constant thought of Krishna and was behaving like a mad man. For a hundred years, wherever there was Krishna, the Yogiswara, there was Arjuna the best of men. Whenever both of them were present, there was prosperity, victory, wealth and morality. They lived like inseparable persons. For all that time. They were different only in body but the ideas, thoughts and ideals were one. Whether it was in Hastinapura or in Dwaraka, whenever Krishna and Arjuna came together, Kunti the mother always served them food in one big plate but never in two different plates. Rukmini also never hesitated to put their meal in one plate with Krishna. If Arjuna came to Dwaraka, Krishna and Arjuna kept constant company with one another. Krishna never spent anytime with Rukmini or Sathyabhama. The reasons for this is that Arjuna was the best of men and Krishna was an Avatar. These two were typical representatives of ‘Nara’, the man and ‘Narayana’ the God.
Suffering from the separation from Krishna the Pandavas were moving, not noticing the presence of each other. All the time uttering the name of Krishna, each one dropped dead. Draupadi lost all her energy and realised that her end was also approaching and she shouted out to the Lord. Dharmaraja said that each of them was worried because their Lord has left this earth and so they could not share Draupadi’s grief. In that moment of great distress, the Pandavas were only thinking of Krishna and this teaches us a lesson about the intimate connection between the Pandavas and Krishna.
The Pandavas were being protected by Krishna as eyelids protect the eyes because of the sacred prema which the Pandavas had towards Krishna. The Pandavas always had Krishna as their companion. He stood by them in times of difficulty, as well as when good fortune was theirs. He stood by them at all time. The meaning of the aspect of true companionship was demonstrated by the relationship between Krishna and the Pandavas. When the emissaries of the other world were escorting Dharmaraja after death to hell, for his nominal sojourn, the citizens of hell suddenly felt a coolness and a fragrance in the air, they breathed a strange peace and joy, a thrill and exhilaration which they had never hoped to enjoy. That was the consequence of the holy soul approaching the region of terror and torture. The unfortunate survivors gathered around Dharmaraja to be soothed and comforted by his very sight. When Dharmaraja was directed to turn back towards heaven the populace of hell cried out to him to prolong his stay. They were reluctant to go back to the heat and the pain. Hearing their piteous wail, Dharmaraja declared that he was surrendering to them all the merit that he earned. Hell is Heaven for him he was willing to stay with them! But, that great act of renunciation not only benefited the suffering, creatures, it gave Dharmaja a greater lease of life in heaven and a more honoured place there. Life is best spent in alleviating pain, assuaging distress and promoting peace and joy to others.
Dharmaraja the eldest of the Pandava brothers ceaselessly adored Krishna while living in the forest or when he was in Duryodhana’s court witnessing the dishonoring of Draupadi or when Abhimanyu was killed in the battle, or when the infant Upa-Pandavas were killed (by Ashwatthama) In all these situations Dharmaja loved Krishna with perfect calmness. He felt, "Krishna ! These joys and sorrows are lures that always go together. Hence there is no need for me to get elated or depressed. I cannot swerve from any allegiance to Your Divinity. My love for You is for Your own sake and not for the sake of the world. My love is the bond that links You and me. It is like a bridge that connects the Divine-Self and the Individual Self.
After Krishna left
his mortal coil Arjuna thought that it was not good to leave the women alone
at that place and so he took his Gandiva and proceeded with them to Hastinapura.
On the way, the forest tribes attacked them and wanted to take away the women
from the group. Since Arjuna was leading them, Sathyabhama, Rukmini and the
other gopikas were shouting for his help and requested him to save them from
this situation. Arjuna was victorious earlier in several battles. He had showed
great strength in the Mahabharatha war. On this particular occasion, he could
not even lift his Gandiva. Then Arjuna thought, "All that strength shown
was because of Krishna and when Krishna is not there, I am not even able to
lift the Gandiva." He felt that although his hand was holding the Gandiva
all these years it was the strength of Krishna that was using it and he felt
very helpless at that time. As Krishna was his Antaryami (Indweller) all those
years he felt strong, but now that Krishna was no longer with him, he felt like
a bag of leather. The inner meaning of this is that, so long as Arjuna felt
that Krishna was there in a human form he had all the strength but as soon as
He left, he had lost all the strength and the will to fight. Just because Krishna’s
gross body had left, Arjuna thought that Krishna had left him and because he
was under the illusion of identifying Krishna’s gross body with Krishna
himself, he lost all his strength. To think, one is full of weakness is not
correct. The correct attitude is to regard God as formless, without attributes.