When Arjuna turned down Indraloka
Bharathi is a Chennai based writer and editor whose childhood passion for writing transformed into a career in this field. She is the author of the story "The fall of the first son" from the Unsung Valour and "Subhadra - The auspicious one" from Aryaa anthologies.
When the Pandavas had spent a few years in exile, Maharishi Vyasa came by to visit them. Yudishtira expressed his worry about the great warriors who were all indebted to Duryodhana and who would do what he wished. How can we go against them? he wondered. Vyasa rishi, told him to send Arjuna to get the divine weapons from Indra.
Following his order, Arjuna left the Panadvas brothers and Draupadi and arrived at the Indrakila mountains. He wished to see Devendra and get access to the celestial weapons to fight Duryodhana’s army and ensure that they, the Pandavas, got justice. When he reached Indrakila, he saw there an old rishi with matted hair, sitting under a tree.
The rishi saw Arjuna and asked him who he was and what he was doing there. Arjuna told him who he is. Now the rishi saw his bow, arrows and the sword and told Arjuna that there was no need for them here where only sages and rishis lived in peace. He repeatedly persuaded Arjuna to forget about his weapons. But Arjuna turned down the advice.
The old sage turned into Indra. Arjuna bowed before him and Indra granted him a boon. He said, “Arjuna, ask for the higher world, ask for Indraloka and I will grant it to you. You have come so far, why do you want to think about worldly matters?”
But Arjuna was not distracted from his goal, nor was he attracted by the offer of Indraloka. He humbly told Indra that he needed neither the riches of celestial worlds or divine regions, nor did he have any desires or wish to become a god himself because he had left his brothers and wife in the forest and come here to fulfil the task they had.
When he turned down the offer, Indra was very happy and he told Arjuna to please Mahadeva first, after which he would get access to heaven’s weapons.