Pandavas were leading a tough life in forced exile somewhere deep in the forests. And as advised by sage Vyas. Arjun had left in search of isolation for a prolonged tapasya. Where, he was able to please lord Shiva. This was when Shiva presented him with his pashupatastra. Amid all of this Devraj Indra took Arjun in his chariot to Swarg Loka, where, he and other Lokpals of heaven, also presented their divyastra to Arjun for his final victory. With these divyastras, Arjun waged a war on asuras known as ‘Nivaatkavach.’ Whom, even, the Devatas were unable to defeat, and repeat attack by them had frustrated the Devatas. In the war that followed. Arjun finally defeated them. They could not withstand the powerful attack from the renowned Gandeev dhanush of Arjun and they ran towards paatal (hell) to save themselves.
After defeating these asuras when Arjun returned to Amravati all the Devatas welcomed him in a grand fashion. The assembly of Devraj Indra was decorated and he along with Arjun sat on the throne. The Gandharvas picked up their veenas to sing. The beautiful Apsaras of swarg one by one started dancing to the melodious tunes of the Gandharvas. Devraj at any cost wanted to please Arjun. He was therefore, very intently noticing Arjun just to find out what was attracting him.
Arjun was now residing in heaven. The one and only one heaven, that was majestically decorated. The apsaras were busy dancing and while dancing they wanted to attract and cajole the favourite guests of Devraj Indra. After each dance representative of Devraj used to introduce another apsara and in this manner the assembly swung into a band of melodies. But Arjun, in whose honour all this was being done was quietly sitting with his head down and eyes staring at the ground. And while the grand show in heaven was in progress. He was only remembering his exiled brothers who were living in extreme austerity by eating fruits and roots and by sleeping on the ground. He was therefore not at all attracted towards Amravati.
Suddenly, Devraj Indra uttered the name of Urvashi. Arjun looked at Urvashi several times, who was dancing in the assembly. Devraj Indra noticed Arjun, while he was looking at Urvashi. After the celebrations got over. Devraj called Gandharva Raj Chitrasen and said—‘go across to Urvashi and tell her. Tonight she needs to spend with Arjun. He is one of our most loved ones and she should make him happy.
Urvashi herself was attracted towards Arjun, and therefore when she received the message of Devraj she willingly accepted the same. She then decorated herself as much as she could to look ravishing. In the night after decking up. She reached the residence of Arjun.
When Arjun saw Urvashi he got up from his bed. With both hands he offered his pranam and said—‘Mata! what brings you here at this time? And what can I do for you?
Urvashi was astounded in the manner Arjun had addressed her—as mother. She minced no words. When, she clearly said, she was attracted towards him, as if in love and that she had also received a message from Devraj to make him happy. She prayed to Arjun to accept her. But Arjun with a stable mind said—‘please don’t say these unbecoming words again. You are the mother of kurukul (Kauravas). I have heard this from many rishis. Today in the sabha when the pratihari called your name, I felt like seeing you. Considering, you as the mother of my kul. I several times, glimpsed your feet. I feel this is what led to some misunderstanding in Devraj’s mind.
Urvashi says—‘Parth! This is not earth. This is heaven. We apsaras are neither any ones mother, nor sister nor wife. Anyone coming to heaven as per his punya can benefit from us. So you please accede to my request.’
In the middle of a romantic night the most beautiful apsara of the heaven was incessantly requesting Arjun to accept her. But Dharmyug Arjun was adamant, where Kamdev could not even touch him. Arjun, with folded hands continued praying to Urvashi—‘just as Kunti is my mother, just as Madri is my mother, in the same manner I consider you like my mother. Kindly consider me as your son and shower your affection.’
Urvashi never expected this kind of a treatment even from the rishis who led a life of extreme austerity. So this was least expected of Arjun. In all of this she felt as if her beauty had been insulted. She then in the lust of love cursed Arjun—‘like an impotent man you did not accept my request. Therefore, for a year you’ll live as a hijra, where, you’ll only sing and dance amidst women.’
After cursing Arjun, Urvashi left. Arjun too had the power to curse her, especially, when she had cursed him wrongly. But even then Arjun was looking down with his hands folded as a mark of respect, conveying his pranam.
In the morning Devraj came to know what had transpired during the night. He was happy and said—‘Dhananjay! People who follow the righteous path are never surrounded by calamites. And even if calamity strikes it turns into a lucky mascot. The curse of Urvashi will be for only a man year, after which it will turn into a blessing when after exile you enter a year of anonymity where no will recognise you.’
Tapasya–intense meditation and austerity
Pashupatastra–Shiva’s destructible weapon
Divyastra–Weapons of God
Gandeev Dhanush–Arjun’s famous bow
Amravati–Abode of the deathless
Gandharvas–Melodious singers of heaven
Apsaras–Beauties of heaven
Parth–Nam given to Arjun (An archer who never misses his targets)
Kamdev–God of love
Posted by Kamlesh Tripathi
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