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  • Girish Karnad

Why Arjuna Chose Krishna And Why You Should Too!

Updated: Nov 4


In the epic Mahabharata, the War of Kurukshetra holds great significance. There are many incidents related to the war from which we can derive wisdom and learning. One such incident literally sealed the fate of the war, before it actually started. Once it was evident that a war was inevitable, the two sides started wooing the best of kings and warriors to join them. Both the Pandavas and the Kauravas knew that the scales would tilt towards the side that would manage to get Krishna and his army's support.


Arjuna and Duryodhana were therefore in a hurry to meet Krishna to garner his support. Krishna was resting in his chamber when Duryodhana arrived. Finding a seat near the head of the bed, Duryodhana made himself comfortable. Arjuna reached later and not finding another chair, sat down respectfully at the foot of the bed. When Krishna woke up, his eyes fell first on Arjuna, and later on Duryodhana. He immediately realised why they had come there. Not wanting to disappoint either of them, he said, "You can choose between me and my army. But remember, I will not fight in the war nor will I pick up any weapon. As my eyes fell first on Arjuna, he gets to make the first choice." Arjuna humbly chose an unarmed Krishna over his invincible army. It was a decision which changed the outcome of the war.


The war inflicted untold suffering and casualties on both sides. The initial few days saw the tide swing in favour of the Kauravas, with their warriors - the grand old Bheeshma and the grand master and teacher Dronacharya wreaking havoc on the Pandavas and their army. Even Krishna was left with no choice but to use subterfuge to guide the Pandavas to fell these mighty warriors. His guidance at every stage set the Pandavas on the course of ultimate victory.


The War of Kurukshetra symbolises the conflict within each one of us. It is the victory of good over evil, virtues over vices and positivity over negativity. It epitomises self-awareness, control and relationships prevailing over greed, lust, anger and fear. It is an internal war that can wage for years and consume the person, unless it is tackled head-on. Today's fiercely competitive environment has created a situation where there is more focus on results than people. This can result in self-doubt, loss of confidence and unwarranted fears which can cripple us. There is a need for people to develop a high level of emotional intelligence in order to win at work and in life. Alas, all the tools, systems and processes (aka Krishna's army) will not get you anywhere, if you do not have a master coach and mentor like Krishna to guide you. An experienced master coach will not fight your war. Instead a coach will use strategies to guide you, even if it means tricking your mind and emotions to overcome the biggest and the most difficult of problems.


Arjuna was wise to choose Krishna instead of his army. Who would you choose?

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© 2019 by Girish Karnad