Friday, October 31, 2014

Professor X in Mahabharata

“Yada Yada hi dhrmasya glanirva bhavati bharata, abhyuthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srijami aham”

“You have failed in your mission. You have no right to stay in the battlefield with the same notion of upholding Dharma”, Parshurama shouted at Krishna with blood dripping from his Parshu (Axe) as Bheem’s head rolled towards Krishna’s feet. Krishna was dumbfounded by the sudden appearance of the great Parshurama. But then Parshurama was known for his uninvited presence at the most unsuspecting places. Collecting his words, Krishna said, “O great Parshurama! As always you are right. However, even though I have failed in my mission of Dharma, I still cannot leave this place. I am bound by my duty towards Draupadi as I have vowed to protect her even in the worst of times.” Parshuram was still breathing violently. He shouted, “Hey Krishna! You consider yourself a master strategist, an upholder of Dharma, and a protective brother. I ask you a question today. Where do you think Draupadi is when 3 of her husbands were fighting for each other’s life? Which other place can be of more relevance on such a day, in the life of a husband-devoted woman like Druapadi? Why is she not present here to witness this appalling play of fate?”

Krishna recollected what Druapadi said to him before leaving from Kuruskhetra. He said, “Precisely my lord. She could not bear the emotional damage from the fight between her husbands. Although Karna was not considered a husband till late, as a faithful & dutiful wife, Druapadi has accepted him and does not discriminates between him and the rest. She has left this place with my permission.” Parshurama laughs condescendingly and replies, “You don’t know what the truth is, but you proclaim your perceived truth as one. Contact Gandhari and I assure you that Draupadi shall no longer be a reason holding you glued to the battlefield.” Parshurama disappears.


A royal messenger comes and informs Krishna about the death of Draupadi. Krishna devastated decides to leave Kurukshetra and goes to Prof. Charles Xavier to entrust him with the responsibility of leading the strategy from Pandava’s camp. Krishna wasn’t ready for any more surprises of the day but more, much more was in store. Xavier laughed an evil with menace ringing through each and every sound emanating from his throat.

“O Krishna, do you really think I wish for the welfare of Pandavas? O the greatest strategist, how could you not see what I was up to?

I will have to admit, it wasn’t easy.

Since you assumed the responsibility as the caretaker of those 5 brothers, it made my revenge all the more difficult to realize. You were the only person in this world whose mind I couldn’t read and I couldn’t influence. It was very important for me to understand what you were planning. But what could I do. You are just too good for my abilities. I considered joining the Kauravas to settle scores with those filthy 5 but then I would have exposed myself. With your skills, you would have figured out my plan before it could reach its legitimate conclusion.”

Krishna could not believe his ears. His trusted aide Prof. Xavier had turned against him. Xavier continued by walking him through the events as they unfolded.

“I am sure you remember Lakshagraha, the place where you hinted Pandavas that Duryodhana might be scheming to get all 5 of them once and for all. It was on your suggestion that they replaced themselves with an equal number of bodies so as not to arouse suspicion. But Krishna, did you ever care to inquire where did those bodies come from? You are the guardian of dharma. Why did it not occur to you that dharma should prevail even in dire situations? Why was dharma compromised for the so-called greater good?

I come from a poor background and I was one of the faithful manservants of the royal family. One fateful night I saw Lakshagraha burning in flames. My wife and only son were serving there to prepare for the next day’s activities. I screamed and cried for help. I ran to save them. But I lost them along with my ability to ever walk again.”

Krishna was quietly listening the proceedings as Xavier continued with his seemingly distant stare on the crimson red wall, “O how dreadful it was! I still remember it. How helpless I felt that night! On the cremation pyre of my son I took a vow to avenge the death of my family. I vowed the destruction of Pandavas. I would make sure they pay for their heinous actions, their sins. I travelled far and wide to ultimately reach Nalanda to pursue advanced courses in psychiatry, psychology, botany, genetics, anthropology and telepathy. I knew it was going to be a long and arduous journey. The path I had chosen was not easy. But I could not go back. There was no one to go back to.

It took me 15 years of rigorous study to equip myself with the knowledge. On acquiring what I set out for, I immediately returned to Indraprastha and enrolled as a professor. I was just in time to begin with my plan…”

Xavier stopped in the middle to take a look at Krishna’s face. He wanted to enjoy the shocked reactions of Krishna. He wanted him to appreciate his plan. The more surprised Krishna would look, the more satisfying it would be for him.

Remembering his family had brought back all the ugly memories he had purposefully distanced himself from. He used the pause to calm himself down. And then he started again, “…The cauldron was seething and the war clouds were looming on the horizon. I considered joining Kauravas and use my knowledge for the annihilation of the killers of my family.

Pandavas were no match to the mighty Kaurava army. But then I heard about the tradeoff between you and your militia. And then the news came that you have decided not to use any weapon once the battle begins. I understood that you were planning to position yourself as the supreme strategist for the Pandavas. It made no sense to expose my real intentions by joining Kauravas. And that is when I personally asked to join the Pandava camp. O great warrior, if there is one thing for which I’m grateful to you; it is for the opportunity you provided to associate myself with you...”

Krishna remembered the day when he considered Xavier’s request to be part of the Pandava army. His life-long faithfulness towards the royal family coupled with his new knowledge could be of considerable advantage to the Pandavas. His chain of thoughts was broken by Xavier’s continued narration, “…I saw Arjuna on the battlefield ready to lay down his weapons and even his life to save his brethren and I thought my work is done as without him the Pandavas didn’t stand a chance. But I did not wanted this to be so easy for them. Without Arjun, Pandavas would fall like house of cards despite your being in their side. I wanted them to painfully die. I wanted them to be able to feel the loss of their loved ones. Dying after taking a moral high ground wouldn't have served my purpose. I saw Bhishma on the other hand and was overjoyed but my problems were compounded when I realized that he was in fact protecting them by preventing other warriors from reaching them. . Krishna you knew about the dying wish of Amba but you didn’t know how she was reborn. The only person who knew that was Bhishm himself, I myself didn’t know a way out, accepting that I don’t know has never been an issue with me but it hurts your pride, still I am amazed once you relented to the fact that the solution can lie with Bhishm himself and it indeed had. Once Bhishm was out the responsibility came to Dronacharya and who was the one who placed Paanchjanya in your ratha, at the midst of the battlefield in an unusual time at the precise moment when the query of the acharya was to be resolved by Dharmaraaj Yudhisthira? Krishna did you ever wonder why was Asshwathhama missing from the battlefield on the fateful day his father died. Once Karna became the principal warrior I could see the wrinkles caused by worry written deep on their faces. I had expected that Ghatotkach would be the means which you would be willing to deploy in the battle and the only way to take him out of the equation was to put her mother Hidimba in danger. The only fellow unscrupulous enough with utter disregard to the rules of battle was Asshwatthama who readily agreed to the mission after a bit of cajoling thanks to my influencing techniques. I had not figured out how to rein in Ghatotkach once he comes back again to war but to my utter relief god had himself taken care of this trouble of mine as on seeing a terrified and helpless Hidimba with Asshwathama ready to strike on her, Ghatotkach fired his most potent weapon, but due to his rage and the lack of precision it hit Hidimba and pronounced her dead on the spot. Ghatotkach couldn’t bear the thought of committing matricide and withdrew himself and died of grief. This provided me an immortal piece in the form of Asshwatthama but Krishna you denigrated him as being effeminate, and painted him as the sole cause of his father’s demise forcing him to leave the war.

I am sure you will remember when Arjuna declared that he will himself commit suicide if he is unable to finish off Karna by the end of the day. I myself never wanted Karna to lead the forces. He was after all a Pandava himself and he was vow-bound to only harm Arjuna. I instead preferred Duryodhana at the helm of affairs. Duryodhana, just like me, was engulfed in the flames of hate against all the 5 brothers and wasn’t hesitant in dishing out the required treatment. It was here that I asked Bheem the whereabouts of the great Hanumaan and was able to find him.

Hanumaan told me about the Sanjeevani Booti. Krishna as you are well aware of, Vish and Amrit are anti-dotes of each other. Depending upon the usage, venom may become anti-venom and vice-versa. Sanjeevani Booti was the anti-venum of the poison used by Meghnad and I was able to synthesize the original venom from the Booti. I was armed with two bottles of venom and its antidote. I had reduced the potency and provided a vial to Arjun to use it against Karna. And Arjuna did exactly what I told him. Karna was motionless and fainted on the ground. Pandavas started celebrating the death of Karna. But they didn’t knew that Karna was just comatose and I was the only one who had the antidote to revive him. With the fall of Karna, Duryodhana finally took the charge.

I thought my work was done and I could foresee the annihilation of the Pandavas but alas it wasn’t so. They don’t call you the greatest strategist for no reason. I was completely unaware of Duryodhana’s weakness below the belt and before I could realize what was happening, you made sure Duryodhana was out of the picture. I never trusted Dusshasan with his inflated sense of ego and low level of skills; he rightfully met his fate at the hands of Bheem. The battle seemed to be as good as over. With all great warriors gone, Pandavas seemed to be winning. I could see the happiness in the Pandava camp. I decided that this would be the right moment to re-awaken Karna. I administered him the antidote in the dead of the night.

Karna was the only one who knew how to use the Brahmaastra, given to him by none other than Lord Indra. With him assumed to be dead, Pandavas let down their guards. With the demise of Arjuna on the following day, Pandavas would have surrendered in no time, if only you had not stood up once again as their guardian. You reminded Karna of his pledge to Kunti that after the battle of Mahabharata she will still have five of her sons left. Karna instead of becoming the vanquisher of the brothers became their protector. To shell away any shred of doubt that may have remained in his mind regarding the choice of his side, you reminded him that his duty in the battlefield was bound to Duryodhan and with the death of Duryodhana, he was free to follow any side. In one stroke, you took away my greatest piece and turned it to your advantage.

I started my exploration of the most gullible as well as powerful Pandava and I zoomed in on Bheem. It was easy enough for me to manipulate him owing to his vulnerability at the loss of his brother; to fuel his rage to make him a raving lunatic, to make him enter a trance like state and to challenge Karna for a duel. O Krishna the love for Arjuna had taken a toll on your persuasion acumen, the plea of Kunti were more of a fear towards Bheem rather than for concern towards Karna. The one thing which I hadn’t expected was to witness Karna coming empty handed to the battle ready to embrace death by receiving blows after blows at the hands of his brother. At this moment I felt pity at the fate of one of the greatest warriors this soil of Aryaavarta had seen. You didn’t stop Bheem, the great Dharmaaaj Yudhisthira didn’t stop him, Kunti didn’t and Karna without the protection from Suryadev fell to the ground counting his last breaths.

This is what transpired here today, but do you know why Lord Parshuram was asking you those precise questions. I was doubtful that I would never be able to achieve my objective with you leading the Pandavas behind the scenes, I had to put my knowledge of Psychiatry to fully understand what was keeping you glued to the field of Kurukshetra and realized it was none other than Draupadi which you so affectionately called as Krishnaa and regarded her as your sister.

There was only one woman powerful enough to counter Draupadi, undoubtedly the reigning queen Gandhari , but she being one of the Tapsvinis who had willingly forgone the power of vision proved to be extremely difficult target for manipulation hence I found a softer target namely Sanjay. The couple relied on his statements considering them as absolute truth, so all I needed to do was to project images of utter discussion of the Kaurava clan to his mind and to subtly hint Dhritaraashtra that mockery of Duryodhan by Draupadi was the trigger for Mahabharata hence placing Draupadi directly in the vengeance path of Gandhari and she promptly sent a messenger to fetch her.

I “cajoled” her to seek an audience with the queen as there might be a way out by means of
dialogue to stop the blood-fight between the two brothers. I also “convinced” her to hide this fact from you by hinting that Gandhari holds you responsible as the root cause of this calamity hence shall be more accommodating and understanding in your absence. This is why O Dwarkadheesh she excused herself from Kurukshetra.

Gandhari unbeknownst to Draupadi in her fit of temper removed the black gauge from her and charred Draupadi to her bones. May be Krishna, this fate might’ve befallen you in case the Kauravas were destroyed but I think you would’ve avoided the fate somehow. Hey Madhav with my revenge near completion and the guiding light of Pandavas gone, I trust the remaining Kaurav militia to finish off what they started. May be I will pay Barabareek a visit now.

~ Vivaswan Pathak and Ashish Khandelwal PGDM2014

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