Monday, October 31, 2011

Episode 79 - Kurukshetra, Day 17: Down with Dushasan/Killing Karna

Episode 79 - This is a big day in the war.  Bhisma fulfills one of his oaths by killing Dushasan and drinking his blood.  Now he will be gunning for Duryodhana.

Arjun & Karna finally get busy with their final showdown.  The whole universe apparently took sides in this conflict, with everyone choosing a champion to cheer for.  The pair begin fighting with conventional weapons, but soon escalate to magical weapons.

At one point, Arjun gets the upper hand, and strikes Karna until he's lost his wits and drops his weapons. Arjun then allows his opponent to recover somewhat before they resume fighting.  Krishna scolds Arjun (not for the first time!), for failing to strike the enemy when he's down.  Arjun has quit arguing with Krishna over these things, so he resolves to kill Karna at the next possible opportunity.

At this point, Fate and Mother Earth have had enough and they intervene directly.  Mother Earth seizes Karna's chariot wheel, bringing her enemy to a halt.  Karna jumps down to pull free the wheel, but it won't budge.  He asks Arjun to think of the Warrior Code, or his Dharma, and not to fire until he could fix his chariot and get moving again.

This annoys Krishna, who scolds Karna for even bringing up the subject of Dharma.  Where was his Dharma when Draupadi was molested?  This speech both shames Karna and enrages Arjun, who finally obeys Krishna's orders and kills his enemy.

There's that wheel again!  What does it mean that in the course of this war, we've had a Wheel Formation (that killed Abhimanyu), and Arjun's son dies using a Chariot wheel as his only weapon, and then Karna dies, clinging to a wheel which was stuck in the earth.  Is there some deeper meaning to the image of a wheel in this war?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Episode 78 - Kurukshetra, Day 17: A Counterfeit Curfuffle

Episode 78 - Karna begins the 17th day of the war by fighting each Pandava except Arjun.  He is actually defeated by both Yuddistira and Bhima, but then he defeats Nakul and Sahadev.   Both of the elder brothers spare his life, out of consideration for Arjun's oaths.  Yuddistira then goes for a second round with Karna, but this time it doesn't work out so well.

Karna defeats Yuddistira and nearly captures him, but he reconsiders and lets the Pandava go.  Yuddistira then flees to his camp to have his wounds tended to, and there he slips into a strange funk.  What follows seems completely bogus to me.  Arjun retreats to the camp to check on his brother's health, and Yuddistira perversely assumes that he must have already killed Karna.

Yuddistira admits that he's been terrified of Karna and hasn't slept for 13 years out of fear for him. When he finds out that Karna isn't killed, he gets really mad at Arjun and suggests that Arjun hand his bow to Krishna and that they change places.  Arjun takes great exception to this, and pulls an oath out of his ass that he says he swore when he was younger.  This oath was to kill anyone who suggested that he give up his Gandiva bow.  So now he must kill Yuddistira.

Pretty lame, eh?  Krishna is there, and he does his usual thing, by coming up with a "workaround", in which Arjun need only insult his brother, then brag about himself.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Episode 77 - Kurukshetra, Day 16: Karna's in charge

Episode 77 - Drona is dead and a new commander is needed.  Ashwatthaman proposes that Karna be given the position and everyone else agrees.  Karna leads the army through a rather desultory day of fighting and then complains that what he is missing is a good driver.  Shalya is drafted to be his charioteer.
Shalya had promised to cause trouble should things come to this pass, and he lives up to it by constantly bickering with Karna.  For some reason, Karna chooses this moment to confess how he deceived Rama Jamadagnya in order to obtain the Brahma weapon.  When Rama finds out Karna is just a Suta disguised as a Brahmin, he curses Karna.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Episode 76 - Some thoughts on the story so far...

Episode 76 - I present my wild theories and hypotheses about the Mahabharata.  Among other things, we discuss its relationship to the Precession of the Equinoxes and the Yuga cycle as defined by Markandeya and Sri Yukteshvar.  We look into the role of magic in the story and our prospects for regaining this lost knowledge in the future. We delve into the mystery of the metaphysical origins of the Pandavas and consider whether the five brothers might have originally been based on just a single hero-- the proto-Arjun.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Episode 75 - Kurukshetra, Day 15: Ashwatthaman goes Ballistic!

Episode 75 - Earlier in day 15, Drona is killed by Dhrstadyumna.  The Kaurava army literally comes unraveled until Ashwatthaman hears the news.  The boy is outraged at the way his father was treated and swears revenge on both Dhrstadyumna (for killing him), and Yuddistira (for betraying his trust).

Drona's son then pulls the army together and rushes to battle waving his WMD.  First he tries to use the Narayana weapon, but Krishna is too tricky for that-- he knows its weakness, which is that it is ineffective against unarmed men.  The Pandavas all drop their weapons and the bomb is a dud.  One other problem with the Narayana weapon: it's only good for one shot.  So much for that.

Next, he pulls out his Agneya weapon, which is pretty much like a thermonuclear device.  Without a second thought, he gets into range with Arjun and sets the thing off.  It wipes out perhaps half of the Pandavas' remaining army, but Arjun & Krishna simply brush off the ashes and resume fighting.  Not even nukes can take out the incarnated Rishis Nar & Narayan!

Ashwatthaman asks heaven why his nuke failed to have the desired effect, and Vyasa shows up to explain that while his power derives from Shiva, Krishna's power derives from Narayana, so there's no comparison.

Finally, we find a funny reference to Sanjay rushing back to Hastinapur to report on the war.  What happened to his divine vision?  My guess is that originally the author had him running back & forth from the battle to the palace to report to the king what had happened.  This proved to be too limiting for the author's desires, so he switched the premise to include divine sight.  But then he forgot to expunge the earlier device from the books he'd already written!