|Affiliation||Character of Mahabharata|
|Weapon||Bow and arrow|
|Spouse||Draupadi, Subhadra, Ulupi & Chitrāngadā.|
|Children||Shrutakarma (from Draupadi), Abhimanyu (from Subhadra), Iravan (from Ulupi) and Babruvahana (from Chitrāngadā),Pragati (from Draupadi).|
|Parents||Pandu(father), Kunti(mother) and Indra(spiritual father)|
|Siblings||Karna, Yudhisthira, Bhima, Nakula, Sahadeva and Kauravas.|
Arjuna (Sanskrit: अर्जुन, IAST: arjuna) is a central character of the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata. Arjuna was the son of Pandu in the Kuru Kingdom. In a previous birth he was a saint named Nara who was the lifelong companion of another saint, Narayana, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who took rebirth as Lord Krishna, he was the third of the Pandava brothers and was married to Draupadi, Ulupi, Chitrāngadā and Subhadra (Krishna's and Balarama's sister) at different times. His children included Srutakarma, Iravan, Babruvahana, and Abhimanyu. Only daughter of Arjuna from Draupadi was Pragati.
- 1 Etymology and epithets
- 2 Birth and youth
- 3 Tutelage under Drona
- 4 Marriage to Draupadi
- 5 Love of Lord Krishna for Arjuna
- 6 Burning of Khandava Vana
- 7 Arjuna's Tirtha-yatra and Indraprastha
- 8 Krishna–Arjuna war
- 9 Conquest for Rajasuya
- 10 Exile
- 11 Abhimanyu's marriage
- 12 Kurukshetra War
- 13 Conquest for Ashvamedha
- 14 Death
- 15 Prominent Astras possessed by Arjuna
- 16 Chaubis Avtar
- 17 In popular culture
- 18 Notes
Etymology and epithets
- Vijaya (विजय): always victorious, invincible or undefeated.
- Dhanañjaya (धनञ्जय): one who brings prosperity and wealth in the region wherever he goes to.
- Savyasāchin (सव्यसाचिन्): ambidextrous, only Arjuna is expert in using both hands equally in archery.
- Shvethavāhana (श्वेतवाहन): one with milky white horses mounted to his pure white chariot. Only Arjuna had this.
- Parantapa (परन्तप): one who concentrates the most.
- Gāndīvadhanvan (गाण्डीवधन्वन्): one who possessed the mighty bow named Gandiva which was created by Lord Brahma.
- Gudākesha (गुडाकेश): one who had control oversleeps; also one who has curly hair.
- Bībhatsu (बीभत्सु): one who always fights wars in a fair manner.
- Kapidhvaja (कपिध्वज): having the flag of Kapi (monkey) in his chariot. Lord Hanuman stayed on Arjuna's flag during Kurukshetra war.
- Kirītin (किरीटिन्): one who wears the celestial diadem, Kiriti, presented by Lord Indra.
- Gāndīvadhara (गाण्डीवधर): Gandiva-holder.
- Jishnu (जिष्णु): triumphant.
- Pārtha (पार्थ): son of Pritha, also known as Kunti.
- Kaunteya (कौन्तेय): son of Kunti.
- Phalguna (फाल्गुन): born under the star Uttara Phalguni (Denebola in Leo).
Birth and youth
Arjuna's birth is a most celebrated one and he was born seven months after the birth of Krishna.
After the death of Pandu (and Madri's subsequent sati), the Pandavas and their mother lived in Hastinapura, where they were brought up together with their cousins, the Kaurava brothers. Along with his brothers, Arjuna was trained in religion, science, administration and military arts by Bhishma, their granduncle.
One day, when the princes were playing a game, they lost their ball in a well; when the rest of the children gave up the ball as being lost, Arjuna stayed behind trying to get it. A stranger came by and extracted the ball for him by making a chain of "sarkanda" (a wild grass); when an astonished Arjuna related the story to Bhishma, Bhishma realised that the stranger was none other than Drona. Bhishma asked Drona to become the Kuru princes' teacher. Seeking refuge from Panchala, Drona agreed. Many asuras were killed by him.
Tutelage under Drona
Under Drona's tutelage, the Kauravas and the Pandavas, along with the princes of Hastinapura's allies and vassals, learned weaponry. Arjuna became Drona's favorite and most accomplished pupil; specifically, he became a master in using the bow and the arrow. In a famous incident, Drona deemed that out of all his students, even his own son Ashwatthama, none but Arjuna had the steadfast focus to shoot the eye of a bird on a tree; he was proven right. One day, on being questioned by Ashwatthama; why was Drona being partial to Arjuna, Drona replied Arjuna that he was not being partial to anyone but his favourite was Arjuna, his intention was very clear that he loved Arjuna but didn't ill-treat anyone. He ordered Ashwatthama to assemble with all of his students at a nearby lake that evening, they gathered as directed and found Drona taking a bath. Suddenly a crocodile appeared in the lake and began to attack Drona. Nobody dared to enter the lake except Arjuna, who jumped into the water and began to attack the mighty crocodile with his bare hands. Suddenly the crocodile disappeared. Drona explained that the crocodile was just an illusion he had created to test all the princes and Ashwatthama. Drona scolded that no one was ready to save their teacher except Arjuna, thus Drona proudly declared that Arjuna was his favourite and pet student.
Marriage to Draupadi
The Pandavas secretly went from Varnavrat after saving themselves from the evil plan of Duryodhana, Shakuni. Still in hiding, the Pandavas disguise themselves as brahmins and attend the Swayamvara of Panchala princess Draupadi. Of all of the great kings and other Kaurava princes, only Arjuna is able to perform the challenge: to lift, string, and fire the bow Pinakin and to pierce the eye of a golden fish whilst only looking at its reflection. Drupada had designed this test with Arjuna in mind. All kings including Karna and Shalya had failed to string the bow and were defeated in the task; when Arjuna came forward, lifted the bow with a single hand and hit the target, he won Draupadi. After Karna attacked Arjuna out of jealousy, Arjuna easily defeated him and then Karna asked about his real identity. Arjuna smiled and said that he is Brahmin; then Karna praised him by comparing him with Lord Vishnu; when Arjuna threatened to kill Karna, Karna fled from the battlefield.
When the brothers returned with Draupadi, Pandavas joked to his mother that they had brought alms. Dismissively, and without looking because she was preoccupied, Kunti asked him to share the prize with his brothers. Holding his mother's orders as a divine command, he requested his elder brother to accept Draupadi. Draupadi had to marry all five of the Pandavas, her five sons, one from each of the Pandava brothers, are known as the Upapandavas. Srutakarma is the son of Arjuna.
At this point in the Mahabharata, the Pandavas revealed that they were alive. With both Duryodhana and Yudhishthira being crown princes, tensions were high. Under Bhishma's advice, the kingdom was split, with the Kauravas getting Hastinapur and the Pandavas getting Khandavaprastha. Khandavaprastha, however, was an extremely underdeveloped land and had infertile soil, requiring extensive tilling, so the Pandavas set to work rebuilding the land by burning thousands of acres of forest with the help of their cousins Krishna and Balarama.
Love of Lord Krishna for Arjuna
The friendship of Lord Krishna and Arjuna is the most celebrated bond in Hindu mythology, followed by the bond of Lord Rama and Lord Hanuman. According to Mahabharata, Arjuna was the incarnation of Lord Nara who was the best friend of Lord Vishnu. Along with Nara, Lord Vishnu defeated all the demons after the churning of Ocean Samudra Manthan. According to Lord Shiva, Nara and Lord Vishnu hold the whole universe and incarnate in every Yuga to end all evil and establish righteousness; the love of Lord Krishna for Arjuna is evident from Adi Parva. After the fight in Khandava forest, instead of asking for any weapon or power, Lord Krishna tells Indra that his friendship with Arjuna will remain forever. Lord Krishna also described his love for Arjuna in Vana Parva by saying that whoever will hate Arjuna will hate Lord Krishna and whoever will follow Arjuna will follow Lord Krishna, he even said that nobody in the whole world is dearer to him than Arjuna and he can sacrifice anything including his sons, wives, and citizens just for the sake of Arjuna. During his final conversation with his father, Vasudeva, he told him that he wants Arjuna to perform his last rites; he also said that Lord Krishna is Arjuna and Arjuna is Lord Krishna; such was the greatness of Arjuna that the supreme god Lord Krishna was ready to sacrifice anything for him.
Burning of Khandava Vana
In the story, this was the first time Arjuna meets Krishna. In any case, Khandavaprastha was where Arjuna and Krishna's friendship is truly forged. Once when roaming in the Khandava Vana, Arjuna and Krishna met the god of fire, Agni. Agni was in great hunger and needed to burn down the entire Khandava Vana to quench his appetite, but Takshaka, the serpent-king who lived in the same forest and was a friend of Indra's, brought down heavy rains to thwart Agni's plans to burn the woods. Agni asked Krishna and Arjuna to help him realise his goal.
Arjuna asked Agni for Gandiva, because normal bows were not able to withstand the strength of his arms; the three of them then invoked Varuna, the God of the oceans, who blessed Arjuna with the Gandiva – the Agni-moon bow created by Brahma. This is how Arjuna came to possess his famous bow. Agni also gave Arjuna an incandescent chariot with four horses yoked, and bearing a flag that would one day be occupied by celestial apes of Vishwkarma. Arjuna also obtained his famous conch.
With Krishna using the Sudarshana Chakra Arjuna and Krishna waged a successful battle against Indra and helped Agni burn down the entire Khandava Vana. Indra's pride in Arjuna's success outweighed his anger, and he bestowed greater powers on the prince. At last Arjuna defeated all gods, demons, and snakes during this Khandava war.
In their demolition of Khandava, Krishna and Arjuna had saved one demon, Mayasura, to build their palace, thus owing Arjuna a favor, and after being so directed by Krishna, Mayasura said that he would build a palace for Yudhishtra. As Mayasura was a great architect of the Asuras, he soon constructed the Maya assembly hall – a gigantic palace for the Pandavas, filled with ancient books, artifacts, and jewels; this hall was famous for visual illusions. Thus, Khandavaprastha was renamed Indraprastha.
Arjuna's Tirtha-yatra and Indraprastha
Arjuna violated Yudhishthira and Draupadi's privacy while they were playing the game of dice, as he had left the Gandiva in their room. Despite the understanding of all and being forgiven by both Yudhishthira and Draupadi, Arjuna accepted the punishment agreed with Narada and set off on a twelve year tirtha-yatra. According to Narada, Arjuna must retire to the forest and pass his days as Brahmacharin so Arjuna retired to the forest for 12 years.
Ulupi at Nagaloka
One day Arjuna was taking bath in the nearby Ganga river. Suddenly a current pulled him down; he fell some distance and finally reached a resting place; as soon as he opened his eyes, he saw a beautiful woman standing in front of him. The woman introduced herself as Ulupi—the princess of Nagaloka, she told Arjuna that she had fallen in love with him because he was such a great archer and extremely handsome. She had created the current in order to drag him to her land. Arjuna explained his situation, but Ulupi told him that she knew everything. Soon Ulupi married Arjuna and he set out to finish his pilgrimage. A son, namely Iravan, was produced as the union of Arjuna and Ulupi.
Chitrāngadā at Manipura
Arjuna visited other Tirthas in India, including Kalinga and the ashrams of the Saptarishis, Agastya, Vasishta and Bhrigu, he reached the palace of Manipur. Here he met King Chitravahana's daughter, Chitrāngadā. After seeing the beauty of Chitrāngadā, Arjuna fell in love with her hence he asked that the king let them marry; the king accepted Arjuna's proposal because Arjuna was extremely handsome, intelligent and attractive. According to customs of Manipura the son of the princess would become the King of Manipura, it was a mutual benefit for Arjuna since Draupadi didn't want another woman equal to the queen in Indra Prastha. Soon a son was born to them namely Babruvahana.
Arjuna, after covering various shrines, arrived at Rameshwaram in the south. An age ago, Rama had established a Shivalinga here, seeking the blessings of Shiva before commencing his journey to Lanka to rescue his wife Sita, his army of monkeys and bears had constructed a bridge of stones and trees across the vast ocean. Arjuna gazed at the remains of this bridge that had survived. A thought struck him and he wondered aloud, "Why on Earth did a great archer like Rama have to rely on creatures like monkeys and bears to build a bridge? Why couldn't he have instead bridged the distance with arrows?" His fellow pilgrims shook their heads, clearly at a loss for an answer. Then, a small monkey who had been following the company for quite some distance replied Arjuna that Stalwarts like Sugreeva, Nala, Neela, Angada and Hanuman adorned their ranks. No bridge of arrows could have withstood their weight; the monkey added "Why, no bridge of arrows could even withstand my weight, puny as I am!" Arjuna was quick to take up what he perceived as an implied challenge. "Let us have a wager. I shall lay down a bridge of arrows. I am willing to burn myself if it fails to bear your weight." The monkey agreed. Arjuna, taking the aid of his famed quiver of inexhaustible arrows, laid down a bridge across the ocean; the monkey jumped onto it and no sooner had he walked ten paces than the bridge collapsed. Arjuna helped the monkey out of the water and asked for another attempt; the monkey agreed. Arjuna constructed another bridge, this time laying his arrows closer to each other, and asked the monkey to try again; the monkey set out on the bridge in the direction of the island of Lanka yet again but the bridge collapsed. Arjuna was ashamed of himself. Not wasting any more time, he prepared a pyre and was about to step into it and give up his life, in accordance with the terms of the wager when a youth held him back and stopped him. "What were you about to do, o mighty prince?", asked the boy, surprised. "I was given a challenge and I failed. I do not wish to continue with this life now that I have faced such great shame", replied Arjuna; the boy was aghast. "But was there an adjudicator? Who was there to see if the challenger was playing fair? A contest without a judge is meaningless. Pray construct another bridge and this time, I shall be the judge." Neither Arjuna, nor the monkey could refute the boy's argument and so they got ready for a third round. Infused with some confidence, Arjuna built a third bridge, using every bit of his ingenuity. "There! Try crossing it now", he said to the monkey; the monkey happily obliged. He walked on, but the bridge was still solid. "He must have locked the arrows together better this time", thought the monkey to himself. He began to jump on the bridge but it did not collapse, it stayed strong. The monkey was surprised. "Let me take on the form I took while leaping across the ocean", he thought and lo! He was large as a mountain now. Arjuna was awestruck when he saw that his challenger was none other than the great Hanuman himself, he bowed his head in reverence, realizing that sooner or later his bridge would succumb to the strength of the great monkey. He was humbled; the bridge did not collapse. Not even under the weight of the now gigantic Hanuman. Arjuna was nonplussed, he could not comprehend what was happening. There seemed to be no logical explanation as to why the bridge hadn't broken yet. Apparently, Hanuman couldn't fathom things either, he began jumping on the bridge but it still wouldn't yield. All the while the boy was smiling. In a moment of enlightenment, it struck both participants of the contest that their adjudicator was no ordinary boy. Arjuna and Hanuman fell at his feet and then Vishnu was standing before them. "I am Rama, and I am Krishna. I protected your bridge from collapsing, Arjuna. Vanity and pride undo the best of men. Dear Hanuman, you should have known better than to humiliate Arjuna thus, he is a fine warrior, one of the best of his times. How could you drive him into giving up his life?" Arjuna and Hanuman sought the Lord's forgiveness and He blessed them. "As an act of remorse, I shall stabilize and protect your chariot in the great battle that is imminent.", said Hanuman. "So be it. You shall be present on the banner of Arjuna's chariot when he rides out to do battle in the great war of his age that is to come."
Reaching Dwarka and Subhadra
Arjuna moved to other Tirthas, including the southern regions in Kerala. Finally, he reached Dwarka, the place where his cousin Krishna resided. Arjuna had, in his childhood, heard about Krishna's sister, Subhadra. Krishna, wishing to further tie their families, knew of Arjuna's visit and devised a plan to arrange their meeting. Accordingly, Arjuna disguised himself as a Yati and stayed at Krishna's palace. Arjuna was attracted to Subhadra and desired to marry her, Krishna understood Arjuna's intention and advised him to kidnap Subhadra then Arjuna kidnapped Subhadra and married with her. After this Balarama became furious upon learning of the abduction but was pacified by Vasudeva, his father, because Lord Krishna knew those whole Dwarka warriors cannot defeat Arjuna alone as Arjun was invincible and undefeatable in battle; the couple stayed in Dwaraka for a year, and then another year in Pushkar. However, Draupadi had made it clear that no other Pandava wife would be allowed to stay in her city, so Arjuna, as Krishna had advised, tricked Draupadi into meeting Subhadra as a milkmaid. Draupadi realized she had been tricked, but she forgave Subhadra and let her stay in Indraprastha, allowing her to keep company with Arjuna in the four years when he was not with Draupadi. In due course, the union of Arjuna and Subhadra produced a son, Abhimanyu.
Gaya, a Gandharva king, while moving across the skies, spits the pan down his divine plane, it falls into the open palms of Sri Krishna, offering prayers to Sun god Surya. Sri Krishna gets very angry and vows to kill him. Gaya is a great devotee of Krishna. Krishna could not take back his vow. Narada advices Gaya to approach Arjuna and first seek his assurance of protecting him, before revealing about the person set to take his life; as per Narada's advice, the king takes Arjuna's promise for his protection before revealing Krishna's vow to kill him. Arjuna, though surprised, sticks to his word to Gaya. Both Arjuna & Krishna feel very sad about the situation that each of them is going to fight against the most beloved ones. Any number of dialogues between both sides makes no dent in the situation. Intervention of Subhadra, Narada, Rukmini, Satyabhama and others fail resulting in direct combat.
War breaks out and Krishna v/s Arjuna archery-duel starts. Both of them go into the fierce fight; the weapons & astras used by both causes heavy destruction. Because Krishna had Kodanda & Arjuna had Gandiva. Both are undefeatable and none of them gets injured. Finally Krishna uses Sudarshana chakra & Arjuna uses Vaishnavastra. Lord Shiva appears before them and asks them to withdraw their respective destructive weapons to prevent disaster to the world. Krishna explained the intention behind fighting against Arjuna. Many people including Balarama complained that Krishna was partial to Pandavas. Through this, he proved that he was not partial to any-one but to justice. Also, he meant that Krishna & Arjuna were equal & the same, he meant that Pandavas were right followers of justice, Arjuna being the most sincere person and that's the reason why he loved them and especially Arjuna very much.
Conquest for Rajasuya
Arjuna was sent north by Yudhishthira to subjugate kingdoms for the Rajasuya Yagya, so that he could be crowned Emperor of Indraprastha; the Mahabharata mentions several kingdoms to the north of Indraprastha which were conquered (or otherwise peacefully bent-the-knee) by Arjuna. In this conquest Arjuna had conquered Northern kurus which was the territory of Lord Indra, It was really the difficult feats for any warrior but Arjuna easily achieved many feats in Rajasuya conquest.
Fight with Chitrasena
After Pandavas lost in dice game and went on for exile, Duryodhana planned to humiliate Pandavas by showing them the luxuries enjoyed by all Kauravas and Karna. So all of them had set to the forest where Pandavas were living. In the course of Journey Duryodhana abducted a lady without knowing that she was a Gandharva. Then Gandharvas attacked entire Kauravas and Karna & Karna who tried run away from battle after getting defeated by Chitrasena but couldn't since Gandharvas captured all Kauravas & Karna On knowing this Yudhishtira asks Arjuna to free them since its Hastinapur which would be insulted. Arjuna followed his eldest brother's order and defeated Chitrasena. During the fight with Chitrasena, Arjuna had performed extremely impossible feats as he killed 1 million Gandharvas(4.5 akshouni) in single shot by using Agneyastra. Apart from Arjuna, no warrior ever achieved this impossible feat even in dream.
Penance for Pashupatastra
After the battle at Khandava Indra had promised Arjuna to give him all his weapons as a boon for matching him in battle with the requirement that Shiva is pleased with him. Following the advice of Yudhistira to go on a meditation or "tapasya" to attain this divine weapon, Arjuna left his brothers for a penance.
Arjuna traveled for a while before reaching the mountain Indra keeladri, Vijayawada. Here he sat in meditation in the name of Lord Shiva. Arjuna managed to please Lord Shiva by his severe penance in just months because his penance generated so much intense heat that was unbearable to all living creatures of the earth which ultimately forced Lord Shiva to come to earth. Shiva appeared soon enough in the guise of a hunter, who challenged Arjuna to a fight. In that fierce battle even 8 forms of Lord Shiva failed to defeat Arjuna, At last Arjuna gratified Mahadeva in battle by showing his prowess then Hunter(Shiva) transformed himself to show his real avatar and blessed Arjuna with the Pashupatastra. Shiva lectures Arjuna on the abilities of the weapon, as well as the judgment he must use while wielding it, it is said that, apart from Lord Shiva and Arjuna no one possessed Pasupata weapon which was capable to destroy the whole world.
Visit to heaven
Arjuna was amazed at the splendor of his father's palace at Amaravati. Dancers like Urvashi, Tilottama, Rambha and Menaka entertained him. There was a huge banquet serving different varieties of heavenly dishes. Arjuna learnt song and dance from the Gandharva, Chitrasena and Indra himself taught him all the divine weapons and also gave him his Vajra.
Nivata-kavachas and Hiranyapura
Arjuna got the opportunity to test his skill when Indra asked him to defeat his enemy as the price of his training. Arjuna was taken to the palace of the Nivata-kavachas, a tribe of Asuras who had a magnificent palace under the oceans. Arjuna used the Mohini-astra and the Madhava-astra to demolish these asuras.
At Virata's Kingdom
Along with his brothers, Arjuna spent his last year of exile in the kingdom of Matsya; this is the place where Urvashi's curse is implemented and Arjuna becomes a eunuch called Brihannala (within themselves Pandavas called him Vijaya). At the palace, he teaches song and dance, qualities he had learnt from Chitrasena [King of the Gandharvas in Devalok], to the King Virata's daughter, Uttarā. Later, Arjuna arranges for Uttara to become his daughter-in-law by marrying his son Abhimanyu to her. At the same time, he prevents Subhadra from marrying Abhimanyu to Balarama's daughter Vatsala, as the Kurus find marriages between cousins taboo, but Arjuna and Subhadra are cousins too since Kunti (Arjun's Mother) and Vasudeva (Subhadra's father) are brother and sister.
Hearing about the death of Kichaka, Duryodhana surmises that the Pandavas were hiding in Matsya. A host of Kaurava warriors attack Virata, presumably to steal their cattle, but in reality, desiring to pierce the Pandavas' veil of anonymity. Full of bravado, Virata's son Uttar attempts to take on the army by himself while the rest of the Matsya army has been lured away to fight Susharma and the Trigartas; as suggested by Draupadi, Uttar takes Brihannala with him, as his charioteer. When he sees the Kaurava army, Uttar loses his nerve and attempts to flee. There, Arjuna reveals his identity and those of his brothers'. Switching places with Uttar, Arjuna takes up the Gandiva and Devadatta. Eager to defend the land that had given him refuge, Arjuna engaged the legion of Kaurava warriors. All the warriors including Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Kripa and Ashwatthama together attacked Arjuna to kill him but Arjuna defeated all of them multiple times. During the battle Arjuna also killed Sangramjit the foster brother of Karna and instead of taking the revenge of his brother, Karna took heroic flight in order to save his life from Arjuna.
Arjuna saved Matsya kingdom from Kurus and brought back all the cattle, sheep etc; as a gratitude, Virata king offered his daughter to Arjuna. Arjuna replied Virata king gently that he had taught dance to Uttara. So he was a teacher to Uttara, a teacher treat a student as a child but not as a spouse. Arjuna suggested Virata King marry Uttara to his son Abhimanyu. Virata king was very much pleased with this offer. In some versions, it is also said that Abhimanyu and Uttara were already in love as Abhimanyu already met Uttara while he was in search of his parents who were in exile; this was noticed by Draupadi and Yudhishtira. Everybody in Dwaraka agreed Arjuna's proposal and soon Balarama with his wife; Krishna with Rukmini; Arjuna, Subhadra and Abhimanyu reached Matsya kingdom. Abhimanyu married Uttara very soon; 4 months before the commencement of the war. Before the war on one day; Krishna took a promise from Arjuna that Arjuna won't use any of Pashupatastra, Vaishnavastra, Brahma shira astra & Vajra astra. If Arjuna would have used any one of the war would end within a minute but Krishna wanted most of the warriors to be dead from Pandavas side as well, thus Arjuna fought war without using any of Pashupatastra, Vaishnavastra, Brahma shira astra & Vajra astra.
As the battle draws close, Arjuna is overcome with self-doubt about the righteousness of the war against his own kith and kin, he is distraught at the thought of having to fight with his friends and family such as his dear teacher, Drona and grandsire Bhishma. It was then that Krishna took charge and explained the necessity and inevitability of the war to Arjuna; this conversation is a key part of the Mahabharata known as Bhagavad Gita, and is considered as a holy scripture of Hinduism.
Arjuna plays the role of the reader in the Bhagavad Gita; as Krishna dispenses the advice, Arjuna asks the questions.The Bhagavad Gita primarily takes the form of philosophical dialogue between Prince Arjuna and Krishna.
Battles fought at Kurukshetra
Arjuna was a key Pandava warrior and played a huge role in the Pandava victory in the Kurukshetra war. Lord Hanuman stayed on Arjuna's chariot flag.
Some of the crucial battles fought by Arjuna are as follows:
- Fall of Bhishma: According to original Mahabharat Arjuna fairly killed Bhishma on 10th day of kuru war, Shikhandi does not have any role in the matter, though as per one narrative it is Shikhandi who killed Bhishma.
- Death of Bhagadatta: On the 12th day of the war, Arjuna killed Bhagadatta.
- Killing of the Trigartas: On 17th day of war, Arjuna killed all the Trigartas.
- Death of Jayadratha: Arjuna held Jayadratha responsible for Abhimanyu's death on the 13th day of the war. He vowed to kill him the very next day before sunset, failing which he would kill himself by jumping in a pyre.The Kauravas hid Jayadratha from Arjuna in a formation, knowing that Arjuna's death would result in a Kaurava victory. Finally Arjuna defeated all protector of Jaydratha including Karna and Ashwthama and beheaded Jayadratha and made his arrows to carry away Jayadratha's head; this was because Jayadratha had a boon from his father that whoever would be responsible for his head falling to the ground would have his own head blown up. That is why Arjuna carried the severed head of Jayadratha to his father, who was awoken from his meditation by the sudden landing of a severed head on his body and since he ended up dropping it to the ground, he had his head blown up.
- Death of Karna: The battle between the two continued fiercely. Finally, Arjuna killed Karna on the 17th day using Anjalikastra.
Conquest for Ashvamedha
After the conclusion of the war, the Pandavas take charge of Hastinapura, the undivided realm of their ancestors. Yudhishira appointed Arjuna as the Yuvaraj of Hastinapura. Yudhishthira decided to hold the Ashvamedha Yagna, or "horse sacrifice", to grant them the title of Chakravarti ("Emperor"). Arjuna led the armed forces which followed the horse around its random wanderings, he received the submission of many kings, either without or following an armed confrontation. He was thus instrumental in the expansion of the Pandava domains. Arjuna was the only warrior who alone conquered whole word in Mahabharat, Apart from Arjuna no one warrior ever achieved this feats. In the Ashvamedha Yagna, the horse was stopped by Babruvahana, he defeated Bhima and killed Vrishaketu without knowing that they are his relatives and he was the son of Arjuna. Arjuna fought with Babruvahana and went on upper hand since Arjuna was invincible. Arjuna defeated Babruvahana & went to collect the horse. Babruvahana then used the divine weapon to kill Arjuna; this divine weapon would kill any person even monstrous demons. Soon Arjuna got killed and the news reached Chitrāngadā, she scolded him and revealed the truth that he was the son of Arjuna. With the help of Ulupi, Arjuna's life was restored by a gem called Nagamani. Arjuna was very impressed with his son's bravery.
Arjuna built the Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple during his conquest in South India. Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple is one of the "Divya Desams", the 108 temples of Vishnu revered by the 12 poet saints, or Alwars located near Aranmula, a village in Pathanamthitta District, Kerala, South India.
After Sri Krishna left his mortal body, Arjuna took the citizens of Dwaraka, including 16,100 wives of Krishna, to Indraprastha. On the way, they were attacked by a group of bandits. Arjuna desisted fighting seeing the law of the time.
Upon the onset of the Kali yuga and acting on the advice of Vyasa, Arjuna and other Pandavas retired, leaving the throne to their only descendant to survive the war of Kurukshetra, Arjuna's grandson Parikshit. Giving up all their belongings and ties, the Pandavas, accompanied by a dog, made their final journey of pilgrimage to the Himalayas, it is also to be noted that the listener of the Mahabharata is Janamejaya, Parikshit's son.
Except for Yudhishthira, all of the Pandavas grew weak and died before reaching heaven (only Yudhishthira is allowed to keep his mortal body). Arjuna was the fourth one to fall after Draupadi, Sahadeva and Nakula; when Bhima asks Yudhishthira why Arjuna isn't permitted the same, the reason given is Arjuna's overconfidence in his skills. Draupadi also falls because while she claimed to love all the Pandavas equally, she had a soft spot for Arjuna. Bhima was the fifth to fall after Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva; the reason why Bhima fell is that he enjoyed the sufferings of other people. People may cause suffering sometimes, but not allowed to enjoy them. Nakula fell because he liked his appearance a lot instead of being royal. Arjuna fell because of the overconfidence in his skills.
Prominent Astras possessed by Arjuna
|Anjalika Astra||Indra||Arjuna killed Karna using this astra.||Arjuna, Lakshmana|
|Suryastra||Surya, God of the Sun||Creates a dazzling light that would dispel any darkness about and dry up water bodies.||Arjuna & Hanuman|
|Jyotiksha Astra||Surya, god of the Sun||The Jyotiksha Astra could brighten a dark area.||Arjuna & Hanuman|
|Chandrastra||Chandra, god of the Moon||This Astra could intensify the brightness such that opponents fail to see the things happening around.||Arjuna & Abhimanyu|
|Indraastra||Indra, King of Gods||Would bring about a 'shower' of arrows from the sky.||Arjuna and Indrajit|
|Bhaumastra||Bhūmi, Goddess of Earth||The weapon could create tunnels deep into the earth and summon jewels.||Arjuna and Rama|
|Nagapasha||The Nagas||Upon impact, this weapon would bind the target in coils of living venomous snakes.||Indrajit & Arjuna|
|Garudastra||Garuda||A weapon that can defend against Nagaastra when attacked by the opponents.||Rama & Arjuna|
|Sauparna||Garuda||The Sauparna weapon would release crazy birds. Hence, it was a good counter to the Nagapasha.||Only Arjuna|
|Agneyastra||Agni, God of Fire||The weapon discharged would emit flames inextinguishable through normal means.||Rama and Arjuna|
|Varunastra||Varuna, God of Water||The weapon discharged would release torrential volumes of water. This weapon is commonly mentioned as used to counter the Agneyastra.||Arjuna, Rama, Hanuman & Krishna.|
|Vayvayastra||Vayu, God of Wind||Brings about a gale capable of lifting armies off the ground.||Arjuna & Hanuman|
|Visoshana||Indra, King of gods||The Visoshana was the drying weapon. It could dry anything, it was an amazing counter to the Varunastra.||Only Arjuna|
|Sailastra||The Sailastra was used to make heavy winds disappear, meaning it was the counter to Vayvayastra, the wind weapon.||Only Arjuna|
|Sammohana astra||Gandharvas||Would cause entire hosts/armies to collapse in a trance, causes unconsciousness.||Arjuna & Indrajit|
|Prajnastra||This weapon was used to restore the senses and thoughts of someone. It was a good counter to the Antardhana Astra and the Sammohana.||Indrajit, Drona & Arjuna|
|Antardhana Astra||Kubera, god of wealth||The Antardhana Astra would make things, people or entire places disappear.||Only Arjuna|
|Sabda-veda astra||This weapon prevents an opponent from turning invisible. Used by Arjuna against the Ghandarva king Chitrasena.||Arjuna & Krishna|
|Vajra||Indra, God of Weather||Target would be struck with bolts of lightning (vajra referring to Indra's thunderbolt).||Rama & Arjuna|
|Twashtar Astra||Twashtri, the Heavenly Builder||When used against a group of opponents (such as an army), would cause them to mistake each other for enemies and fight each other.||Only Arjuna|
|Brahmaastra||Brahma||Would destroy entire hosts at once and could also counter most other astras.||Parashurama, Bhishma, Drona, Arjuna, Krishna, Karna, Kripa, Ashwatthama, Rama, Lakshmana, Hanuman, Ravana , Indrajit|
|Mohini Astra||Mohini, an Avatar of Vishnu||Dispel any form of maya or sorcery in the vicinity.||Only Arjuna|
|Rudra Astra||Shiva, the Destroyer||Very destructive in nature and Arjuna obtained this weapon from Lord Shiva,||Rama, Ravana & Arjuna|
|Brahmashirsha astra||Brahma||Capable of killing devas.||Drona, Ashwatthama, Arjuna & Ravana|
|Vaishnavastra||Vishnu, the Preserver||Would destroy target completely, irrespective of target's nature. Infallible. Krishna shared it with Arjuna.||Rama, Krishna & Arjuna|
|Pashupatastra||Shiva||The most powerful weapons among all the astras. It summons a larger number of monsters and a huge spirit which personifies the weapon. Would destroy target completely, irrespective of target's nature; this astra was capable to destroy whole world. Vishwamitra and Rama too had this weapon.||Rama & Arjuna|
In popular culture
Arjuna is a popular choice of name for a Hindu male child in the Indian subcontinent; as told in the verses in Harivamsha or Harivamsha Purana, the name Arjuna is cursed by the sage Parashurama. After the defeat of the mighty and evil king Kartavirya Arjuna or otherwise called Sahasra Arjuna, Sage Parashurama pronounced the curse that whoever holds the name Arjuna will never become a king and always be a servant of others.
Arjuna's extraordinary talents and skills have made him a common name in popular culture.
- The American astronomer Tom Gehrels named a class of asteroids with low inclination, low eccentricity and earth-like orbital period as Arjuna asteroids.
- The Arjuna Award is presented every year in India to one talented sportsman in every national sport.
- Arjun is a third generation main battle tank developed for the Indian Army.
- Mayilpeeli Thookkam is a ritual art of dance performed in the temples of Kerala. It is also known as Arjuna Nrithyam (lit. Arjuna's dance) as a tribute to his dancing abilities.
There have been a serial and a film based on Arjuna's life and exploits.
- Earth Maiden Arjuna is a Japanese animated television series created by Shoji Kawamori. This series is based on Arjuna and the Mahabharata. Arjuna: Into the Another World is the soundtrack produced for the series.
- Arjun: The Warrior Prince is a 2012 mythological action film narrating the events in Arjuna's life.
- "Arjuna" is a character in Orson Scott Card's "Earth Afire" and "Earth Awakens" made in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
In modern South Asian television
This section does not cite any sources. (February 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- "Mahadeva praising Arjuna".
- Johnson, W. J (2009). "A Dictionary of Hinduism". Oxford Reference. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780198610250.001.0001. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- Leeming, W. J (2009). "The Oxford Companion to World Mythology". Oxford Reference. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780195156690.001.0001. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- Parmeshwaranand, Swami (2001). Encyclopaedic dictionary of Purāṇas (1st ed.). New Delhi: Sarup & Sons. pp. 512–513. ISBN 9788176252263.
- "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Jatugriha Parva: Section CLII". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
- "Failure of Karna in Draupadi syamwara".
- "The Mahabharata in Sanskrit: Book 1: Chapter 179". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
- "Love of Lord Krishna for Arjuna".
- Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa. Teddington, Middlesex: The Echo Library. 2008. pp. 518–520. ISBN 9781406870459.
- Menon, [translated by] Ramesh (2006). The Mahabharata : a modern rendering. New York: iUniverse, Inc. pp. 302–304. ISBN 9780595401871.
- Verma, retold by Virendra; Verma, Shanti (1989). The Mahābhārata : (the great epic of ancient India). New Delhi: Pitambar Pub. Co. p. 28. ISBN 9788120907324.
- "The Mahabharata, Book 1: Adi Parva: Subhadra-harana Parva: Section CCXXII". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
- "Mahabharata Text".
- "Mahabharata Text".
- "Gayopakhyanam" written by Chilakamarti Lakshmi Narasimham
- "Mahabharata Text".
- "The Mahabharata, Book 2: Sabha Parva: Jarasandhta-badha Parva: Section XXVII". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
- "Karna fled from Chitrasena".
- "Arjuna killed 1 million Gandharvas in single shot".
- "The Mahabharata, Book 3: Vana Parva: Kairata Parva: Section XXXVIII". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
- "The Mahabharata, Book 3: Vana Parva: Indralokagamana Parva: Section XLIX". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
- "The Mahabharata, Book 3: Vana Parva: Kairata Parva: Section XL". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
- "The Mahabharata, Book 3: Vana Parva: Indralokagamana Parva: Section XLIV". Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- "The Mahabharata, Book 3: Vana Parva: Tirtha-yatra Parva: Section CLXXII". Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- Kapoor, edited by Subodh (2002). The Indian encyclopaedia : biographical, historical, religious, administrative, ethnological, commercial and scientific (1st ed.). New Delhi: Cosmo Publications. p. 4462. ISBN 9788177552577.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
- "The Mahabharata, Book 4: Virata Parva: Go-harana Parva: Section LXI". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
- "The Mahabharata, Book 4: Virata Parva: Go-harana Parva: Section LIV". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
- "King Virata offered his daughter Uttara to Arjuna".
- "The Mahabharata, Book 7: Drona Parva: Jayadratha-Vadha Parva: Section CXLIV". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
- Kisori Mohan Ganguly translation of Mahabharat P-321 Drona Parv, Chapter 146
- "Mahabharata Text".
- 108 Vaishnavite Divya Desams: Divya desams in Malai Nadu and Vada Nadu. M. S. Ramesh, Tirumalai-Tirupati Devasthanam.
- Bowker, John (2000). "The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions". Oxford Reference. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780192800947.001.0001. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- "The Mahabharata, Book 17: Mahaprasthanika Parva: Section 2". sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
- "The Mahabharata in Sanskrit: Book 8: Chapter 67". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- "The Mahabharata, Book 3: Vana Parva: Tirtha-yatra Parva: Section CLXXI". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- "The Mahabharata, Book 4: Virata Parva: Go-harana Parva: Section LXI". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- "The Mahabharata, Book 3: Vana Parva: Kairata Parva: Section XL". www.sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- Ramachandrashastri, K.S (1936). Harivamsha. Pune: Chitrashala Press.
- S. Lewis, John (1996). Rain of iron and ice: the very real threat of comet and asteroid bombardment. Addison-Wesley Pub. Co. pp. 82–83.
- Lee, Ricky J. Law and regulation of commercial mining of minerals in outer space. Dordrecht: Springer. ISBN 9789400720398.
- de la Fuente Marcos, C.; de la Fuente Marcos, R. (12 February 2015). "Geometric characterization of the Arjuna orbital domain". Astronomische Nachrichten. 336 (1): 5–22. arXiv:1410.4104. Bibcode:2015AN....336....5D. doi:10.1002/asna.201412133.
- Steven Rosen (2002). Gita on the Green: The Mystical Tradition Behind Bagger Vance. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 978-0-8264-1365-9.