Everyone has a dark side and everyone has a bright one- a wonderful story from Mahabharata about Duryodhana’s Promise to Arjuna

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The Pandavas were living in the forest after losing in the fateful Dice game. They had built a very sattvic eco system around staying connected to nature, serving saints, learning new skills, and learning weapons. Duryodhana once came to the forest to flaunt his material wealth. He placed his camp on the opposite side of a pond where the Pandavas used to stay.

One sunny day early morning, while Duryodhana was taking bath in that pond, Gandharvas- the heavenly princes came to take a bath too.

Duryodhana being dominated by his ego could not tolerate this and got into a fight with them. The Gandharvas being strong, many in number and possessing special powers, defeated Duryodhana and captured him.

On knowing this Yudhisthir- the eldest of all Pandavas told Arjuna to save Duryodhana and set him free. He insisted Arjuna saying that irrespective of what had transpired in between the Kauravas and Pandavas, it is a family matter and in front of outsiders Duryodhana is their cousin and they need to help him.

Arjuna left immediately with his bow Gandiva and defeated they mighty Gandharvas and saved Duryodhana. At this Duryodhana was ashamed, but being a kshatriya, he asked Arjuna what promise or boon he would like. Arjuna the intelligent one replied that he would ask for the boon later when he needed it.

Later in the Mahabharata war. As the Kauravas were losing the battle, Duryodhana approached Bhishma one night and accused him of not fighting the battle to his full strength because of his affection for the Pandavas. Bhishma, greatly angered, immediately picked up five golden arrows and chanted mantras declaring, “Tomorrow I will kill the Pandavas with these five golden arrows.” Duryodhana, not having faith in Bhishma’s words, asked Bhishma to give him custody of the five permeated golden arrows saying that he would keep them with him and return them the next morning.

It was during that night that Krishna reminded Arjuna of his unsatisfied boon and told him to go to Duryodhana and ask for the five golden arrows.

When Arjuna came and asked for the five golden permeated arrows, Duryodhana was shocked, but knowing full well his honour and duty as a kshatriya declared, “I will give you the five golden arrows. But can you please tell me who told you the five golden permeated arrows existed in the first place?” Arjuna replied with a smile, “Who else other than Shri Krishna could have advised me?” Afterwards, Duryodhana honourably kept his word and gave the five golden arrows permeated with all his power by Bhishma.


What I see in the story is, despite of all bad traits and qualities of Duryodhana, he was a true warrior and kept his word given to Arjuna though they were fighting the biggest war or Kurukshetra amongst themselves.

Similarly, for Arjuna, though he was the righteous one and the hero of the epic, he cheated by demanding the arrows!

So, folks everyone has a bright side and dark one too, what you choose to use more is what determines your nature, actions and hence the results too.

For more such interesting stories, get in touch with me at sahna@pravaahwellness.com

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