Ashwamedhika Parva 3 – The Son Fights the Father
Arjuna then reached the Saindhava kingdom, where the descendants of Jayadratha surrounded him. Arjuna was on foot and attacked by thousands of Saindhavas. Struck by arrows from all sides, Arjuna fell. The earth shook, and the entire world was in disarray. The saptarshis and devarishis then prayed for Arjuna’s recovery, and his energy was restored.
An angry Arjuna shot thousands of arrows, slaughtering the Saindhavas. Dusshala, the widow of Jayadratha, came there carrying a child. Seeing her, Arjuna stopped fighting. She told him that the child was the son of the king who killed himself in fear of Arjuna. A sad Arjuna criticised the dharma of Kshatriyas that forced him to fight and kill. He comforted his sister and left from there.
He then reached Manipura, where his son Babruvahana welcomed him and offered his kingdom. Arjuna criticized his son for not fighting. Babruvahana then agreed to fight Arjuna. Uloopi came there and encouraged Babruvahana to fight. A fierce battle raged between father and son. The result of the severe fight was that Arjuna fell after being hit by Babruvahana’s serpent-like arrows.
Babruvahana and his mother Chitrangada cried seeing their fallen husband. Chitrangada rebuked Uloopi for encouraging her son to kill his father. Uloopi then brought forth the Sanjeevani gem and used it to revive Arjuna. Uloopi told everyone that Arjuna had to be killed by his son to free him from the curse of the Vasus.
The Vasus, who were Bheeshma’s brothers, had cursed Arjuna after he killed Bheeshma. Uloopi’s father had requested the Vasus to forgive his son-in-law after which the Vasus decreed the curse would end when Arjuna was killed by his son in battle.
Arjuna then asked Babruvahana, Uloopi, and Chitrangada to attend the horse sacrifice. He continued on his journey with the horse. The horse reached Magadha, where king Meghasandhi opposed him. A battle commenced and Arjuna did not kill the king, keeping in mind Yudhishthira’s advice. After defeating Meghasandhi, Arjuna consoled him and asked him to accept Yudhishthira’s rule and attend the horse sacrifice.
Arjuna continued his journey and went around the country, bringing kingdom after kingdom under his rule. He defeated Ekalavya’s son and Shakuni’s son. On completion of Arjuna’s conquest, the horse sacrifice commenced.
…. To be continued