Pritivindhya sits with clouded eye-brows. Srutasena is exercising with a mace. Shrutakirti is sculpting an Apsara. He is busy with the breasts now. The face resembles very much like ...
Pritivindhya nods his head sadly, ‘What are we up to? Who are we?’
Shrutakirti raises his head, ‘Why this sudden reflection?’
- Why not? We are completely overshadowed by our fathers. Who will listen to us? Bharatavarsha seems to have the incurable habit of old-generation worship. The younger generation is always exploited to serve their interest. The younger generation has no other worth other than this. The younger generation is destined to die to make the older ones survive so that they can kill more... younger ones!
Srutasena stops revolving the mace, wipes sweat from his face with his left hand and throws down the mace with a thud.
Prativindhya shouts at him, ‘What nonsense!’
Srutasena laughs, ‘Bhaiya, you are jealous of our fathers. When a son is jealous of his father...Kali is fast approaching.’
- Jealous? You think so?
Shrutakirti is giving final touch to his Apsara, ‘Strange Age, strange reality, strange dreams! Srutasena, why don’t you tell Bhaiya of your dream last night?
Prativindhya frowns, ‘Dreams! Yes you fellows go on dreaming, while Bharata wakes up to a nightmare. Well, what did you dream? Apsaras smooching you?’
Srutasena laughs, ‘Nothing of that sort. I dreamt we five are dressed like the Visvadevas. We are enraged on seeing Vishwamitra beating Harishchandra’s queen. We condemn him for this abominable act, and in revenge he curses us - 'O sinners! Go and take birth as human beings.' This curse of Vishwamitra frightens us. We beg his pardon. Pleased by our prayers, Vishwamitra says- 'My words cannot be undone. But despite having incarnation of human beings, you will remain bachelors throughout your life. You will never feel attachment and allurement for anybody.' Thus due to Vishwamitra's curse, we, the five guardian deities take birth as the five sons of Draupadi.’
Shrutakirti quips, ‘How heartening to learn we are Gods after all! Sounds like our identity crisis is solved at last. Sutasoma will be particularly happy to learn that we are the Visvadevas. What do you think about your dream? Does it come from premonition or does it from indigestion?’
‘Shut up Shruta,’ Prativindhya becomes serious, ‘Life and death are not so easy matters. An artist like you should know better. Remember what we five have already resolved on marriage. That is, we will not marry.’
Shrutakirti – Yes, unless we get a single woman like mother to marry us...Ha Ha
Prativindhya – Would you mind swallowing your rubbish jokes?
Shrutakirti - Why become so serious? Human dreams are perhaps reflection of what we think and feel... and our thoughts and feelings are reflections of our dreams ...endless cycle...
Srutasena – Life is not to be wasted in marriage and children...yes that’s our resolution. Marriage institution is the most soul-corrupting institution of all. And now my dream seems to be prophetic. She is remarkable, our mother. She broke a convention. No other lady is as courageous as her.
Shrutakirti – Fuh! It is absolutely disgusting what our fathers did and do in the name of sex and marriage.
Srutasena – When did you become such an orthodox, Kirti? And you boast to be an artist?
Shrutakirti – No I am not orthodox. Let man and woman have free choice. What I cannot understand is why did mother have to take such a bold decision at all? How could Arjuna share her with all others? It was their free decision, fine! But didn’t they think what their offspring have to go through for that. When they were so zealous about creating history, they forgot all about their future biological creations. Don’t forget what gossip, what rumor and what stories we have been subjected to since our childhood about mother’s relation with fathers.
Srutasena – Revolutionary people will always be subjected to nonsensical gossip games. Where’s the wonder in it? Prati-Bhaiya, why are you silent?
Prativindhya – It’s really very strange. Some days back Rishi Kaushik, one of Vyasa’s disciples told me exactly the same thing. He told me about the different God-forces taking incarnations on earth to serve God’s purpose. And he did say that we five are incarnations of Visvadevas.
Shrutakirti is angry with Srutasena, ‘Look here, you idiot, pretend next time and I will hang you upside down by your third leg.’
Srutasena – Believe me, bade bhaiya did not tell me, nor Kaushik
Shrutakirti – Shut up
Prativindhya – No, Kirti, he is right. Kaushik met me at Panchala when you all were here at Dwarka. And I have not told anyone of you about it until now.
An uncanny silence descends.
Sound of quick footsteps is heard. The two turn their face towards the door in anticipation. Shrutakirti quips, ‘Motku padhar raye hai,’ and starts works humming a tune.
As expected Sutasoma comes running, ‘Bhaiya, bhaiya, it is confirmed.’
Pritivindhya makes a movement of his right hand as if driving a fly, ‘Bygone conclusion.’
Shrutakirti stops work and comes to join the group cleaning his hands with a piece of white cloth, ‘The war I suppose?’
- What else. Uncle Krishna has failed in his mission. They even tried to imprison him.
Shrutakirti laughs, ‘And what did he do? Showed his Visvarupa or what? ‘
Sutasoma is surprised, ‘How do you know? People say Krishna-uncle really did that. The entire Kuru-sabha was dazzled by the splendour of his Vishvarupa. Bards are singing that Krishna is incarnation of Vishnu on earth.’
Shrutakirti bursts out into laughter, ‘What’s new in it? The Rishis – the Kanvas, Vashishthas and Bhrugus – have already been celebrating him as the chosen since Bhisma declared him the greatest living man...and he beheaded Shishupala in a chariot duel. They should have heaped some other incarnations on him this time.’
Sutasoma is angry as evident from his eyebrows meeting together.
Prativindhya joins Srutakirti in laughter, and the bitter sarcasm is evident in his words, ‘Fails? When Krishna fails, there is a method in his failure.’
Shrutakirti – Besides, the earth is overcrowded with Avatars it seems. Paundraka Vasudeva earlier claimed so under the benign indulgence of the Dirghatama-Angiras, and then there is also a claim from the Eastern quarters of Anga-Vaishali that Karna is an incarnation of Vishnu.
Srutasena nods piously, ‘I knew I knew. Did Krishna-uncle allot death to Duryodhana et al like he did to Shishupala?’
Sutasoma angrily retorts, ‘No, he did not do anything. His Visvarupa created such panic among the Kauravas.......’
Shrutakirti cuts his enthusiasm, ‘hmmmmm.... So uncle escaped unhurt with Krita-uncle and Satyaki-uncle’s help. I heard they two accompanied Krishna-uncle.’
Prativindhya – Kritavarman went with him? And even defended him? What strange politics! Here in Dwarka-Anarta the internecine rift of the Vrishnis and Andhakas is all very glaring.
Shrutakirti – Catching each others throat here and rubbing each others shoulder there.
Satanika – Perhaps Krishna-uncle needed to show Yadava solidarity to the Kurus.
Srutasena – Let the war effort begin, and see, how the facade of Yadava unity collapses. The Andhakas will never join our fathers’ side. They hate the Panchalas, God knows why. Even Vrishnis are divided on the issue. Balarama-Dau favours Duryodhana beyond all reasons. Shamba too and the Young Yadava Group are likely to stay out of the war.
Prativindhya – There is no love lost between the father-in-law and son-in-law. Shamba never met Duryodhana after his Lakshamanakumari-harana disaster. If the Yadavas split into two camps over the war, will it be a Kuru-Pandava war at all? Here in Dwarka they will maintain the façade of unity, but on the vast expands of Kurukshetra the Vrishnis and Andhakas will slaughter each other releasing thus the simmering tension.
Shrutakirti – Same thing. Drinking Somarasa-sura together here and drinking each others blood there.
Sutasoma – Don’t take name of that Rakshasha Shamba
Srutasena – Peculiar allergy about Shamba! Looks like the Pradumnya camp has managed to brainwash you successfully! Tell me who is a Rakshasha, eh? It’s a convenient label of the Vedic establishment to apply anyone adverse to them
Shrutakirti – Shamba is the most logical man I have seen
Sutasoma’s eyes fall on Shrutakirti’s apsara, ‘No wonder you should say so. What are you doing Kirti? Do you know what you have perpetrated? I mean Your Apsara ... Abhi bhaiya will kill you!’
Shrutakirti shrugs, ‘She is the ideal woman.’
- And does it need to be without dress to be an ideal Lady?
- What do you understand of art, you block-head? The idealness is in the essence...
- Is that all?
- Certainly not, block-head! Who else will bring up other woman’s sons like her own when the mother- woman thinks her husbands her whole world? Who else will be a mother like her when the real mother forgets she is a mother?
Sutasoma says, ‘Don’t say like that. Mother is a great lady. She has done what she thinks to be her Dharma. Everyone has the right to follow everyone’s own Dharma. That is Swadharma as said by Krishna uncle’
Shrutakirti – Huh! Sons are not a part of Dharma! Great Dharma, indeed, I must say!
Prativindhya – And pray, when are you finding time to have religious discourses with Krishna?
Srutasena’s tone sounds melancholic, ‘Mother is a strange lady. She loves our fathers more than us. Otherwise why would she go to exile with fathers, while all our other mothers stay at home? Don’t they know what their Dharma is? Who has suffered like mother? I tell you, one day mother will be worshipped as a goddess.’
All the brothers are silent. Sutasoma is very pleased with Srutasena.
Prativindhya is rapt in serious thoughts. Srutasena caresses his biceps. Sutasoma inspects the apsara with a grim face, ‘Yes, mother is a Goddess. But what makes you sculpt her this way... I mean without any cloth... isn’t she too our mother?’
Shrutakirti goes and stands before his creation, ‘That’s her real self. You need not bother about it. Mother Subhadra has herself seen it in the making.’
- Did she see the face?
- Look here Pradumnya’s pet! Who told you to nag? Better take care of your artistic appetite
The two starts quite a debate on morality and art.
Prativindhya is furious, ‘Would you stop your squabbles, you idiots? A Great War is looming large on the horizon and the two are busy with art and morality. Fie. When would you learn to be serious?’
Shrutakirti won’t stop. He is even more agitated, ‘You think war is serious? What is greater than art? When you need to justify war you take shelter of art, you utter piously – War is an Art. All scoundrels take shelter of art.’
Now it is Sutasoma’s turn to laugh, ‘There there! Now we know who the scoundrel is.’
The two are about to start another verbal bout, when Satanika enters with a bow on his shoulder, ‘At last. Our chance to prove ourselves.’
Prativindhya grimaces, ‘Forget it. Our fathers will steal all the limelight, with some occasional streaks on Abhi and Ghatu-bhaiya. Where is Abhi bhaiya Satanika?’
- He is coming with Yaudheya, Sarvaga, Niramitra and Suhotra. He told me to tell all of you to stay. He has something very important to say.
Shrutakirti – Looks like a prospective summit-level conference!
Sutasoma shouts at Shrutakirti, ‘And now, won’t you curtain up your apsara, idiot? At least feign some gentlemanliness in case it has entirely dried up in you.’
Shrutakirti angrily retorts, ‘Again! Who told you to bother dumb-head Motku? You mind your own business. God has given each of us machines... and good ones... to oil up. I hope yours is intact.’
Srutasena giggles. Prativindhya too cannot escape the contagious thing.
Shrutakirti goes up and sits beside Prativindhya.
Prativindhya – When did the four reach?
Sutasoma – They reached yesterday.
Shrutakirti – Can’t we stop this war anyhow?
Satanika - A warless world is not a very palatable prospect for the Kshatriya community. Won’t they become bored without war? And think of the arm-dealer Vaishyas too. How will they become rich without war? So many people will become unemployed without the war industry.
Shrutakirti – Yes, without their treasure how can be our treasury full? But tell me what will our generation gain from the war? If we survive we will stand knee-deep if not waist-deep in corpses, we will drink water tainted with blood, and we will eat crops fertilized with human flesh. We will live to survive a cannibalistic existence.
Satanika twangs his bow and caresses it like a father adoring his baby, ‘This artist should have been born as a Brahmana.’
Sutasoma – No, as a Shudra...doesn’t know decency!
Shrutakirti – Why ‘should have been’? We are Brahmanas aren’t we? Brahmana blood is running through our veins, forget that?
Srutasena – Don’t say ‘WE’. How do you know it is Brahmana blood? Who knows who fathered our fathers? It is widely known that King Pandu along with Kunti and Madri went to live in some unknown part of the Himalayas among a Diaspora of the Uttar-Kurus who practiced free-sex as religion, and regarded all children of untraceable fathers as God-sons. We might as well be children of Sudras with the sole exception of Arjuna and therefore you...and we might even carry real blood of Gods with the sole exception of Arjuna and therefore you! A glorious uncertainty indeed! Like the Dice...
Satanika – Rubbish! Look at this. Dhristadumnya-mama sent this for me. Lighter and stronger than the gold-decked ones.
Shrutakirti takes it from him, ‘O! Iron? From Panchala. Indeed a queer metal. I heard Krishna-uncle and father say that this is the metal of the Future. Most important this is the metal of the mass.’
Satanika snatches the bow from him, ‘Not iron, you blockhead. Refined steel. Won’t rust. Even of better quality than the Gandiva. Dhristadumnya-mama will be sending some more for you all after I report how this goes.’
Prativindhya remarks sarcastically, ‘But whom will you fight for? And for what cause?’
Sutosoma throws a curtain on the sculpture despite Shrutakirti’s frowns and then sits on the other side of Prativindhya.
Satanika says, ‘What do you mean Bade bhaiya? We will fight for our fathers, to avenge the insult of our mother......’
‘And to make Abhimanyu the future king of Hastinapur,’
Satanika is surprised, ‘Are you jealous of him? Abhi-bhaiya deserves it, no? After all he is Vyasa’s and Pandu’s only true lineage.’
Srutasena remarks, ‘So what? Prati-bhaiya is also Vyasa’s true lineage.’
Shrutakirti raises his brows, ‘So you believe that elder father was fathered by Vidura?’
- Off course. Who will take the myth that he was fathered by God Dharma or God Yama, the God of death? Prati-bhaiya is then the grandson of death, Huh?
- So we are dreadful deadly brothers of Death’s grandson. What Glory!
Sutasoma is getting angrier, ‘Would you mind stopping discussing such things about our fathers? Who cares whose son is a father so long a father is a father?’
Shrutakirti pricks, ‘A poet in the making...’
Prativindhya relaxes on the chair, ‘Well well.......now that you are into the debate... I have no Yadava blood in me. They have already settled on Abhi’s getting the throne. I told you before, this Kuru-Pandava war is just an eye-wash. Krishna is doing all this for establishing Yadava supremacy. Pity our fathers and mothers are too spellbound in him to see through his ploys. I don’t understand why Dhristadumnya uncle cannot see through Krishna’s ploys.’
Shrutakirti does not agree, ‘Who says so? You too have Kunti’s Yadu blood.’
Satanika is excited at the mention of his favourite hero – Dhristadumnya, ‘Don’t think uncle is a fool. He knows Krishna ins and outs. He has his own agenda. Remember how the Kurus under Drona’s instigation and Bhisma’s approval broke the united Panchala nation. And how our fathers were exploited by Drona to break Panchala! The wounds have not yet healed.’
Prativindhya is sarcastic, ‘Fuh! What was Shrutakirti telling about my Yadava blood? That appears faded blood aristocracy to Krishna. He is certainly not fighting to get Indraprashtha throne for me. After Abhi married Krishna’s daughter Sitisundari and Dauji’s daughter Shashirekha, the matter is settled for him. I have no hope.’
Shrutakirti calmly says, ‘Don’t misunderstand my father.’
- No I am not misunderstanding him. Bharatavarsha has never given birth to a son like the great Arjuna.
- Are you jealous of Abhi bhaiya?
Prativindhya nods, ‘Certainly not. Show me another person like Abhi. I would be fain to see him rule Bharatavarsha. I hate the duplicity involved in the process. The abominable double standard practiced by our senior generation all in the name of religion! The logic by which father claims the throne should also apply in my case. Isn’t it? I am the eldest son of the King. If convention and tradition is followed that eldest son of the King inherits, then I should inherit. Don’t think I am greedy for the throne. I am speaking of logic. If my fathers think they are Hasinapura’s rightful rulers, because elder father is the eldest of the next generation princes, then by the same logic Ghatothkacha should inherit the throne, he being the eldest of our generation.’
- You use too harsh words Bhaiya
Srutasena sighs, ‘But, can Abhi-Bhaiya rule Bharatavarsha? He is too revolutionary for the job.’
Shrutakirti raises his brows, ‘Revolutionary? Is that a demerit?’
- Hah! Not a demerit if you are a commoner, but certainly so, if you are a ruler.
- I don’t agree with you. Abhi-bhaiya is loved by everybody. He is even favoured by Maharishi Vyasa.
Prativindhya sits straight at the mention of Vyasa, ‘Vyasa. The actual scriptwriter of this war! He will completely marginalize us. His focus is on our fathers. I agree with Shamba in this matter that the old man has some ulterior motive.’
‘Shamba? The rascal!’ Shamba’s mention irritates Sutasoma.
‘Why call him names?’ Shrutakirti asks politely.
- Why not? Show me another like him who can throw all morality to the winds and have sex with some of his step mothers!
- That is a rumour. He is so full of revolutionary ideas. If his Young Yadava Group succeed that will change the societal structure of Bharata. The class structure and casteism – all will come to an end.
- Rumour? And spread by whom? Pradumnya?
Prativindhya sighs, ‘Our fathers’ foolishness has made us homeless. We have to live in others’ pity like cuckoo-bird’s offspring. Why will Vyasa give us importance? We are so ordinary. Have we done anything unconventional worthy to be written about? Do we have any significant achievements worthy of being sung?
‘‘Our fathers’ foolishness! Say elder father’s,’ Satanika smiles, ’Hey you are partial Bade-bhaiya.’
Shrutakirti yawns, ‘Why blame elder father only? Why didn’t the others stop him? Why didn’t they protest when elder father staked mother? Hey Motku, do you think your father will really drink Duhshashana’s blood and break Duryodhana’s thighs? Or was it a rabble-rousing rhetoric.’
Sutasoma’s anger knows no bound, ‘Will you fellows stop speaking about our fathers and mother in that way? They have no fault in the matter. The Kuru elders tacitly supported Shakuni’s deceitful game. Besides, elder father never staked mother. It was after father’s defeat that everybody took it for granted that mother should also be counted as father’s property. The scoundrel Duryodhana then ordered the Pratikamin to bring mother to the open court. And the greater scoundrels – the Kuru elders maintained a mysterious silence. And the greatest scoundrel Karna insulted her.’
Satanika pricks, ‘And your father got so angry with elder father that he wanted to burn his arms.’
Shrutakirti snatches Satanika’s bow again, twangs it and says. ‘Whatever they did or did not, one thing is for certain – they never thought of us. Did fathers and mother go to exile or did they exile us? They left us when we were just 12 years old. They have only pursued self-glory, never thought of us.’
Satanika shrugs, ‘Well, they are all very strange fellows. Their previous generation was even stranger bordering on the Mad! These people had such strange idea about marriage and progenies. How were such people born in this wretched country? I heard our grandfather Pandu believed that both men and women should give birth by free mixing so that humanity advances. What a strange man he was to abstain from sex with his own wives for the sake of human progress. Mad mad.’
Srutasena – Not strange, not mad. They might only seem so to the strange and mad world that by virtue of the conspiracy of the ordinariness, would label them so to evade the responsibility of waking up from their own madness. Kunti was a revolutionary lady, and our mother is no less. She had the courage to marry five men, which is un-thought of and unheard of in real history.
Satanika – This fellow is Abhi-bhaiya’s living shadow. Their revolution is theirs only. We have to bear the brunt. They shook the society and we are still shaken by it. We have wavering fathers and uncles. We are our own cousins. We are sons and orphans at the same time, depending on the year you are in. The great Vyasa raised quite a storm in society’s cup by devising the unconventional marriage...and himself abstains from drinking!
Prativindhya – Yes, we are so wretched. We have no myth about our birth. No one calls us grandsons of Gods. We are human sons of God-sons. The Pandavas and particularly the three Krishnas are central to everything. We are just outer fringes.
Shrutakirti – Instead of these useless debates, let us come to the point and decide whether we shall participate in this war or not. Let us decide whether we can do anything to stop this war.
Sutasoma – Stop this war? Who do you think you are?
Srutasena – What is your opinion regarding joining or not joining?
Shrutakirti - Shamba bhaiya hates these rishis for their ever scheming ways. I completely agree with him. He has taken the right decision to stay out of the war.
Satanika - We have nowhere to go. Can we really think any other option? Only for mother and maternal uncle that we will join this war.
Srutasena – Yes we must join the war to avenge our mother’s insult. Jayadratha tried to rape our mother, Kichaka perhaps raped her, Duhshashana tore her single apparel as the idiot and goatish Kuru elders lusted and salivated for a glimpse of her body...
Sutasoma - Stop stop! How can you utter such things about mother? She wants us to join the war, and that is enough reason for us to join the war.
The brothers look askance at Prativindhya.
Prativindhya - We have nothing to gain and nothing to lose in this battle. Pity that our fathers don’t understand the war is all Krishna’s scheme to establish Yadava supremacy. Our fathers are just playthings in his hand.
Satanika – Then you won’t join the war?
Prativindhya – No, we will join it. The script is all written. We are a bundle of chaos. We love each other yet we are not in harmony. We are not worthy inheritors of the Pandava legacy. The only worthy progenies of the Pandavas are the Pandava themselves. We are not fit to succeed them. They must succeed themselves at the end of the Great War. We will fight for them to make it happen.
The brothers remain silent for sometimes. Then Prativindhya says to Srutasena, ‘You said you had some talks with Abhimanyu? Everyone knows you are his pet. May be he speaks to you more frankly than he does to us.’
Srutasena tells all about the conversation he had with Abhimanyu two days back.
Srutasena – You are too revolutionary Abhi. Your ideas might bring you in conflict with your own protectors.
Abhi – Revolutionary? Gosh! I am thinking straight. Every religion is dead. It only develops a system of hierarchy based on power politics. We must put an end to all old establishments and move forward.
- Even our Vedas?
- Certainly. These were valuable once. We don’t need them now. We must shake them off. Mantras addressed to fictitious gods cannot deliver a nation. Let us have a respectful attitude to the Vedas and send them to Libraries. Let Vyasa’s project of compiling and editing the Vedas be confined to academia only.
- What daring you are! Are you anti-Vedic then?
- Don’t label me like that. They label so even Krishna-uncle. Is he so? He wants a reform of the Vedic religion. I agree with him on that point.
- But you differ on all other points. You want to put the Vedas in the museum and move ahead with a new religion of religionlessness!
- Is there anything called Vedic? Different institutions of different Rishi families claim themselves to be so. All Rishi families claim they carry pure blood of their ancestors.
What rubbish! What I want is secularism, if I may use that term. Let all thoughts and schools of thoughts exist side by side. But, let them not be allowed to interfere in state policy. Religion cannot be the concern of a state. The only concern of a state must be welfare of people. Religion must not be made the unifying agent of a nation. That might prove to be too weak a glue and might create disharmony...eventually breaking the great Bharata Culture and Civilization into pieces.
- I am not a prophet but I feel a dark cloud looming even if we win this Great War
- Yes. That must be so. If I survive this war, I will fight again if necessary against my own fathers and mamashri if they defend this rotten system. Krishna-mama’s reform is bound to be too slow, and perhaps, self-defeating. How can he bring drastic change to a rotten society unless he tries to abolish the caste system?
- He does not believe in the caste system. I have spoken much with him on this subject. He, however, says that he cannot fight against caste system at this juncture. The Great War that he contemplates subsists much on the caste system. Perhaps he wants to leave the future work for you.
- Fuh. He will depend on the caste system to bring about the Great War; he will use the squabbles among the Rishi families to destroy the Kshatriyas, but what will happen after that? May be as long as he lives there will be balance. Then? If the root of the conflicts are allowed to remain, they would again sprout, won’t they?
As Abhimanyu enters the room, all except Prativindhya rise up instinctively to greet them. The brothers embrace each other rapturously.
Then Prativindhya rises up and embraces Abhimanyu.
Abhimanyu sits casually on an Asana with a thump; the others share Asanas with the other brothers.
Abhimanyu quickly glances the face of his brothers and is straight on to business, ‘You must have heard by now of the developments.’
- What happened? You all look morose? May I know what thought is passing your mind?
Shrutakirti breaks the silence, ‘Bhaiya, we are confused. One on hand we understand we must fight this war for the sake of our fathers and mother, and perhaps, for ourselves too, on the other we cannot understand what purpose such a Great War will serve. News keeps pouring in that the whole of Bharatavarsha is going to join the war...and even outside forces like Kamboja. Has everybody gone mad? Our glorious culture and civilisation will be ruined. What do you think?’
Abhimanyu pats his shoulder, ‘You are right Kirti. It would have been better if a war of this massive scale could have been averted. It is no more likely now. Since the War is inevitable it is useless to think otherwise.’
Prativindhya hisses through his teeth, ‘Why inevitable? Who is making it so? Why are we to be pawns?’
Abhimanyu laughs, ‘Your way of thinking is like thousands of Bharatabashis who blame Krishna-mama for this War. You could have well completed your last question without hesitation – why are we to be pawns in the hand of Krishna?’
- Since you have disrobed all pretensions of decency, let us ask naked – why? Yes why should we be playthings in Krishna’s hands?
- When a shaft rushes through the air straight to the throat of an enemy, whom will that enemy blame? The shaft? The bow? The air? The man behind that bow? The Will of that man? The Samskara instigating the Will? The War? The enmity? The Nature of Man? The maker of the shaft? The discoverer of bow and arrow?
Everybody remains silent. Then Abhimanyu sighs, ’Krishna mama is just darting the shaft. The seed of the War was planted long before we were born or even Krishna was born.’
Shrutakirti - If it was not our creation, why should we be compelled to eat its poison fruits?
Abhimanyu - Who can answer your question? Perhaps not even God. They say God himself takes birth to fight War. If God himself is a supporter of War, who are we to question it? Call it our existential situation or whatever, we must always have to eat the poison fruit of the tree we did not plant or nourish. There is no other way but to proceed through trial and error, there is no other way but to move forward through experimentation, there is no other way but to take Halahala along with Amrita. And to get Amrita, both sides – good and bad – good this side and bad that side... and good that side and bad this side – good me bad you standing on my relative shoe – must churn the ocean of life with a Manthana-Danda – a fixed ideology of progress – by a huge Naga – the reptile qualities inherent in us – like power, struggle, conflict etc etc
Srutasena - We cannot question? Then why do these questions haunt us? If questions arise in our mind, and that is true, then God himself has designed our consciousness thus...that we should raise questions.
Abhimanyu - And God himself has designed that the questions would remain unanswered. So let us raise questions if we want, wait for the answer, and if there is no answer let us swallow our question and keep mum.
Prativindhya - We are all trapped in Chakravuya. We can enter, but there is no way out. This peculiar imagery often rises in my mind, that we are piercing through layers and layers of a Chakravyuha but we cannot come out of it. Abhi, I heard you were learning some latest military strategy from your father. Is your lesson complete?
Abhimanyu – No, going on. He is very busy in preparation of war nowadays. What coincidence! While coming here I was just thinking that fourteen years back when he used to teach me on different Vyuha systems, like Kraunchaka, Chakravyuha etc I wondered when I would find the opportunity to apply the knowledge. Some of my lessons were incomplete then because of the dice-game disaster. And now before I find time to complete my lessons I have to apply whatever I know in a full-scale war.
Shrutakirti – Let us do to stop the war, Bhaiya
Abhimanyu - We cannot turn away from reality. If we think that War is bad and we should not involve in War, we may live in the world of our own making, but will life spare us? We can only deceive ourselves that we are peaceful men, so let us sleep peacefully. But will life spare us? In the thick of night when we are sleeping and dreaming of peace, the dark forces will gather and take the shape of the predator with a Khadga in hand. The dark forces will gain life and butcher us mercilessly. Is that life? Will our pious uttering save us then? I sometimes have a vision that an ugly owl, taking advantage of the darkness, is killing complacently sleeping crows in a gigantic banyan tree.
Srutasena - The Kshatriyas are only instruments of War. They need to channelize their combative spirit. Do you think this War would have happened if the Vaishyas did not pour money?
Abhimanyu - Every War is guided by economic motive. Ideological clash is just the external mask of the game. If you can delve deep, an altogether different reality awaits you there. Think, our fathers roamed penniless in the forest for 13 years. Where are they getting the money to launch such a massive war? Why are so many Kingdoms supporting them? Why is Magadha supporting us though our fathers and Krishna killed Jarasandha? Is Jarasandha’s son Shadeva supporting us only out of gratitude for having killed his father? And why is Shishupala’s son Dhristaketu supporting his father’s slayer Krishna? Obviously they have their calculations and interests. The question of settling Hastinapura’s legitimate ruler is not a cause enough to draw the whole of Bharatavarsha in the vortex of River Blood!
Srutasena - The world cares a damn who rules. Be it Yudhisthira or Duryodhana, Prativindhya or Abhimanyu or Lakshmana, nothing will change, the system will run with all complacency. And ideology? A machinery that slaughters man and sanctions blood-bath is anything but ideological. If we insist in calling it so, then it is definitely ideological, but then ideology is the operative principle of repression, exploitation and destruction. It is anything but Life.
Abhimanyu - I am not denying there is no ideology. In fact ideology is the instigating force. But a very weak force to sustain its lead. Soon other forces take over, and ideology becomes the slave and instrument in the hand of those forces of its own making. Naked motives are shrouded by ideology, it is the outer bright paint of the inner darkness and void, and when the outcome is favourable, it is ideology again that is used to lace the taste of victory, and when the consequence is dire and gory, it is yet again ideology that is used to raft the turbulence, to be used as justification for future efforts......
Srutasena - When Maharishi Dwaipayana dared to put his hand on the Vedas, collect them and edit them, the ground was prepared. He has openly refuted the supremacy of the Vedas and called them static.
Abhimanyu – Yes that is the seed. But there are other motives to nourish the seed. It’s a war to capture the network of trade and commerce. Despite all his efforts Krishnamama could not complete his dream-project of a quadrilateral trade-route touching Indraprashtha, Dwarka, Magadha-Pundra and Pandya. His vision is to integrate the different Kingdoms of Bharatavarsha under one common banner. For that, connection between different parts of this great and vast land is essential.
Shrutakirti – And then there is the ideology of religion.
Abhimanyu - Ideologies are born in the brain, but the brain is fuelled by appetite. And in a society where the natural resources are unnaturally owned in the name of civilization and meanness is sanctioned as civil law of ownership, the fuel for the brain is to be procured at a price. It is a war for the control of trade routes and sea ports; it’s a war for the control of iron mines. Every community is involved in the war out of vested interest. Watch the greatness of our Krishnamama. He has brought the culmination single-handedly. He has lit the flare of what was Simmering for a