[Advaita-l] Why Arjuna?

Raghavendra Hebbalalu hs_raghavendra at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 26 06:47:13 CDT 2005


This is indeed an interesting question. Some possible
answers, IMO, are as follows. 

1. kR^iShNa and arjuna were nArAyaNa and nara
respectively. In addition to bhUbhAraharaNaM,
spreading the knowledge of the gItA could also be a
reason for their avatAra. 

2. Probably because of their being nara and nArAyaNa,
K. and A. were very close to each other throughout the
mahAbhArata. We see that none of the other pANDavas
were as close to K as A was. A was devoted enough to K
to choose Him over His army.  It should be noted that
K. even gave his sister away in marriage to A - which
shows that the affection was mutual. And when K. saw
A. mouthing "praj~nAvAdAH", He advised A. as a friend
would a friend. Their relative positions in the MB
seem so unique that only A. was in a position to *ask*
for and *get* K.'s advice. So the answer to "Why
Arjuna ?" seems to be that it was meant to be so.

3. No other pANDava had probably done so much tapas.
Arjuna, for example, had prayed to Shiva for the
pAshupata and was accustomed to the rigours of such
arduous endeavours. Arjuna was probably the right
person as he had other spiritual accomplishments to
his credit (guDAkesha - conqueror of sleep/laziness ).
The teaching could sink in the fastest there. 

4. To receive knowledge one should not have complete
knowledge and neither should one be in total
ignorance. It seems that Arjuna had the right mix of
ignorance and wisdom to be the right recipient of the

5. As shrI-shankara himself says, "arjunam
nimittIkR^itya". It should be noted that
bhagavAn-sUrya had received the same knowledge aeons
ago. To re-establish the gItA-knowledge, K. made a
nimitta of A.

But the interesting thing, which has puzzled me for a
while, is that even after gItopadesha, A. felt similar
"viShAda" multiple times throughout the kurukShetra
war. Each time, K. would exhort A. to fight with a
good amount of chiding and threatening. I guess A. was
like us (at least me) in that respect that the
complete teaching did not sink in at once. Also,
during svargArohaNa, arjuna falls even before bhIma.
How could that happen to a soul who received the gItA
directly from the Lips of the Lord? Reason 5 seems
more apt then.

But it must be emphasised that Arjuna was the foremost
warrior on either side. Though bhIma killed all the
kauravas, arjuna's presence (with kR^iShNa, of course)
and his deeds were mainly responsible for the pANDava
victory in the war. Arjuna's exploits during
uttaragograhaNa surely re-inforce that. (Arjuna
single-handedly defeated the entire kaurava army
comprising bhIShma,droNa,karNa,duryodhana and the
others at that time). For such a warrior to perform
with equipoise at that crucial juncture, K. had to
give A. the teaching of the gItA as He saw that as the
best way to rid arjuna of his condition.

My 5 paise.


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