By Kamlesh Tripathi
In the battlefield of Kurukshetra, both forces of Kaurava and Pandava were standing opposite each other and the battle of Mahabharat was about to commence. The forces had set their formation and bowstrings in the battlefield in a state of readiness.
And it was only a matter of moments before the shunk (conch-shell) would have been blown to announce the battle. When suddenly Dharmaraj Yudhistir disrobed his armour, and kept it in his chariot and along with that he also placed his weapons respectfully. And, thereafter he started walking towards the Kaurava’s army and more specifically towards Bhishma Pitamah.
Seeing, their eldest brother trying to cross over, and that too without his weapon and armour, Arjun, Bhimsen, Nakul and Sahdev too got off their chariot. They came close to Yudhistir and started walking behind him. And not able to resist, Lord Sri Kirishna too started walking along with the Pandavas. Bhimsen and Arjun were rather worried and decided to ask—‘Maharaj Yudhistir! What is this that you’re doing just before the battle?’
Yudhistir didn’t reply anything to anyone. Meanwhile Lord Krishna signalled all, to remain quiet and said—‘Dharmaraj Yudhistir always behaves righteously and even now he is doing the same.
And seeing them crossing over, there was chaos in the Kaurava’s camp. People there started saying, ‘Yudhistir has chicken out seeing our forces and wants to come under the aegis of Bhishma Pitamah.’ Some people even doubted that this could be a ploy to win over Yudhistir by Bhishma Pitamah. The soldiers were thus praising the Kuaravas as with this strategy the battle would have been over even before starting.
Yudhistir straightaway approached Bhishma Pitamah and offered his Pranam (Hindu way of offering respects with folded hands) and pleaded—‘Pitamah we are forced to wage a battle against you. And therefore please give us permission to do so along with your blessings.’
Bhishma replied—‘Bharat Shrestra! Had you not come here in this manner, to take my permission for the battle I would have definitely cursed you to a defeat. But now I’m happy with you; and may you attain victory. You can now ask for a vardan (blessing). Parth! Remember man is a slave to his vows, but vow is not anyone’s slave. Kaurava’s have put me under their thumb only because I have taken a vow to save and secure the throne of Hastinapur.
On this Yudhisir asked—‘Pitamah you are invincible, so how can we win the battle and how can we defeat you?’
Pitamah requested them to come some other time and ask this question. From there Yudhistir went to their Guru Dronacharya and did pranam and asked for his permission to fight the battle. Acharya Dronacharya said similar things and gave his blessings; but when Yudhistir asked Dronacharya the way to defeat him, then Acharya made it absolutely clear—‘as long as I have my shastra (weapons) in my hands no one can defeat me. But I have a weakness that during the battle if someone reliable as you all gives me the news of a mishap I will keep my bow and arrow aside, and get into meditation. You all can kill me then.’
Yudhistir then said pranam to Acharya Dronacharya and then moved towards Kripacharya, and after pranam he asked for Kripacharya’s permission to start the battle. Kripacharya also like Bhishma Pitamah, said similar things and blessed the Pandavas; but Yudhistir could not ask his Kulguru (Chief priest of the dynasty) Kripacharya how he could be killed in the battle. And before he could even ask this tough question he fainted. Kripacharya understood what Yudhistir wanted to ask. He said—‘Rajan (King)! I cannot be killed by you all, nor can I be killed by anyone else. But I can give you my word that every morning I will pray to God for your victory and in the battle I will not come in the way of your victory.
After this Yudhistir went to his maternal uncle Shalya and did pranam. Shalya also repeated what Bhishma Pitamah had said and gave the Pandavas his blessings. But along with that he also gave a word that all along the battle he will keep attacking Karan with his sarcasm.
And after pranam to all his Gurujans, and after obtaining their permission Yudhistir along with his brothers crossed over to his side. And this humbleness of Yudhistir created a soft corner in the hearts of Bhisham, Dronacharya and others without which winning the battle of Mahabharat would have been extremely difficult for the Pandavas.