Mahabharat Episode 50: Who Decided The Course Of The Kurukshetra War?
Sadhguru answers a question about why Duryodhana wouldn’t acknowledge Krishna’s divinity. He also points out the significance of positioning oneself to move in the right direction and how that decided the course of the war.
Questioner: Sadhguru, how could Duryodhana tell Bhishma, “Krishna is only a cowherd. What can he do?” Especially after both he and Karna were single-handedly defeated by Krishna when they tried to capture him, and Krishna demonstrated that he is much greater than they thought?Sadhguru: It is like after participating in a Bhava Spandana or a Samyama program, people say things like, “Sadhguruuu!!! You are everything. You are bigger than Shiva!” But after fifteen days, one month, six months, or a year, some of them will say that I am the most horrible creature on the planet. I am not shocked, because I have seen too much of it. It is only when people whom you took into an inner circle do it, it hurts a bit.
Had Arjuna said this, probably Krishna would have retired. When Duryodhana says it, it is okay with Krishna. He does not expect anything else from Duryodhana. People say all kinds of things. Sometimes, the same people who crawled at your feet and said you are God, turn negative at some point, or even become deadly enemies. But when Duryodhana, Dushasana, and Karna say that, Krishna is not bothered – he continues to go about his life and action. But in case Arjuna had said it, then he would have left. He would not have furthered action.
That is the nature of existence: It is always moving you. You just have to position yourself right so that you will move in the right direction. The worst curse would be if it left you stagnant. If it was a stagnant pool of water and you had to keep swimming all the time, it would be too strenuous. But it is moving you; you just have to position yourself right. That is all the Pandavas did. They positioned themselves right, so their lives moved in one direction. The Kauravas positioned themselves in a different way – their lives moved in a different direction. What you are aligned with determines everything.
After Dronacharya was killed, Arjuna was raging, because now Karna was going to be the commander, and Arjuna wants to kill him. All these days, Krishna was in a way pampering and baby-sitting Arjuna, but now Krishna said, ”Arjuna, you know you are not the greatest archer. Any day, with eyes closed, Karna will be better than you.” Arjuna was shocked, “Krishna, you are saying this to me!” Krishna said, “I am telling you the truth. Tomorrow, you are going to battle with that man, so you better know the truth.”
“I want you to know he is a better archer than you any day. He has Indra’s Shakti and a few other astras with him. If Indra had not taken Karna’s kavacham (armor) and his kundalas (earrings), he could have defeated and killed you. Karna could defeat Indra himself and kill him. Not just Indra, he could also defeat and kill me if he had his kavacha and kundalas. These two things were taken from him for your sake. But still, do not believe you are superior to him – you are not. As long as the Shakti is in his hands, he will kill you effortlessly.”
Arjuna was completely disillusioned. He had always been walking around with this aura of being the greatest warrior on the planet. Krishna said, “You are absolutely not the greatest archer.” And after the war was over, the few Pandava soldiers who were left wanted to know who had been the greatest warrior in this war. They asked Krishna, “Who was the best warrior in this battle, these eighteen days of absolute brutality and slaughter?” Krishna laughed and he said, “Why don’t you ask Barbarik? He had a gallery view. I have been into so many situations; I would have definitely missed something. Ask Barbarik; he will know.”
As you probably know, Barbarik’s head sat on top of the hill and watched the whole battle. They went to him and asked, “Who was the greatest warrior? Who was the determining factor?” Barbarik said, “It was neither Arjuna, Karna, Bhishma, Drona, Ashwatthama, Dhrishtadyumna, the Pandavas nor the Kauravas who decided the course of this war. It was Vishnu in a deceptive form. It is the Sudarshana Chakra which caused the slaughter and which won the war. From this vantage point, I could not see anyone kill anyone. I only saw the Sudarshana Chakra going around and doing all the killing.” That was the gallery view.
The symbolism is that if you are a little above the situation, you will see it clearly. One who is above the situation always notices things better than people who are in the thick of life. That is why they say, “Be a witness to your own life.” If you are above, you would see it clearly. If you are in it, you could easily get lost in the turmoil of the situation.
To be continued..
Editor’s Note: A version of this article was originally published in the Forest Flower magazine, July 2019. To subscribe online, click here. The Mahabharat series is based on Sadhguru’s talks during the one-time Mahabharat program that took place in February 2012 at the Isha Yoga Center. Through the lives and stories of the varied characters, Sadhguru takes us on a mystical exploration into the wisdom of this immortal saga.