Excerpt from Supercop of Aryavrat
05 February 2020
Late on the morning of February the eighteenth, 3102 BC, Krishna was lying under a peepul tree in the forest along the bank of the Hiran river near Somnath, completely heart-broken and dejected. The same Dwarkadheesh who was always surrounded by favour-seekers and the general public, on whose beck and call there came dozens of soldiers and attendants, was alone and depressed, his eyes closed. The Yadavs had assembled at Somnath for a celebration. They caroused the whole night, with food and alcohol a-plenty. But soon after, in the morning, small skirmishes started breaking out, with one excuse or another for the scuffles. The intensity of brawls progressively increased and soon fights became so intense that a full-fledged war broke out.
Krishna and Balram had to rush to contain it. But no one bothered to listen to them. In frustration, they even hit a few men here and there, but it was of no use and people continued fighting, falling on the ground, dying. The brothers realised that even though the curses of Durvasa and Gandhari had started showing their effects long before then, they were at their peak that day. They could do nothing. Then Balram said, ‘Kanhaiya, I think I should go.’ Stunned at the words of his elder brother, Krishna could only say, ‘Bhaiya?...’ ‘Yes,’ said Balram in a determined manner and patted his sibling’s shoulder. In reflex, Krishna touched his feet. Balram embraced him and Krishna realised the affectionate caress and the warm hug would be the last blessing from his elder brother. Balram turned towards the sea and began walking. Krishna’s feet remained glued to the ground as he watched in horror, his elder brother wading deeper into the sea and finally disappearing. The realisation of Balram’s jal samaadhi took a few moments and then suddenly, Krishna became desperate that his friend, philosopher and guide, his support system for one hundred and twenty five years and a few months wouldn’t be at his back. Ever again.
He began walking away. All around there was war and the death of a large number of Yadavs, with the end fast approaching many more. The vision of bodies of dead warriors strewn on the ground and the permanent departure of Balram propelled him into the forest. The past flashed through his mind. ‘Grow up, Kanhaiya, grow up,’ Bhaiya had told me, but I never grew up and the result was that I was reduced to a pawn in the hands of the over-ambitious Yuddhishthir bhaiya. He always took advantage of my simplicity and used me for the fulfilment of his ambitions, pretending he needed my advice or help for something or the other. Emotional blackmail. Before conducting the Raajsooya, he knew that in the whole of Aryavrat only I was capable of containing or even killing the mighty Magadh Samrat. He was in no position to fight the ruler, even with the might of all Indraprastha. The yajna would have remained only a dream. So, he roped me in. From the very beginning he pretended that he could do nothing without my help.
Slowly and surely he fixed this feeling permanently in my mind. Hence on one pretext or another I had to keep visiting him and spending months together with him. He got me so involved in his affairs and in his ambitions that I could not find time for Dwarka or even for my own family. That’s why I could not refuse staying over at Indraprastha even after all the guests had left after the Raajsooya yajna was over, the result being Shaalv attacking and burning the whole of Dwarka. Had I gone back in time, I’d have killed Shaalv for sure and saved the life of a large number of Dwarka’s warriors, as well as the city. My wives always complained to me that I did not spend enough time at Dwarka because of which I could not pay attention even to my children and Saamb got so spoiled that he raped one of my Assamese wives and I had to curse him! I feel sorry for Jambavati and our son for my curse. Due to the curse, he developed small white patches all over his body. Slowly the patches began increasing in size. When he was in the prime of his youth, an invitation for a swayamvara came from Hastinapur, for the marriage of Duryodhan’s daughter Lakshmana. Duryodhan was very keen on establishing matrimonial ties with Dwarka.
Balram loved Saamb very much. He sent him to participate in the swayamvara without even discussing it with Krishna, thinking that the latter was annoyed with him. At the news of Saamb coming to participate in the swayamvara, Duryodhan was ecstatic. He took his daughter into confidence, to make sure that she garlanded Saamb. But when he looked at Saamb, he was upset and forbade the young man outright from taking part in the ceremony. The girl was also disillusioned. But by then Saamb was so captivated by her beauty that he had made up his mind to marry her, by hook or by crook. So even before the swayamvara, he grabbed her, pushed her into his chariot and began rushing away. But the soldiers of Hastinapur gave him no chance; they captured him and brought him before Duryodhan, who was so enraged that he immediately put Saamb behind bars. The news of the imprisonment reached Dwarka in no time. Balram was furious. With his army, he rushed to Hastinapur. He was in full war mode; he challenged Duryodhan and the other warriors to fight. But after seeing Balram’s ferocity, Duryodhan released Saamb, fell to his knees and begged for pardon. Balram was not ready to pardon him for the insult. He would have waged war against Duryodhan and his kingdom, forgetting altogether that the king of Hastinapur had been his favourite. At that stage, Shakuni saved the situation; he made his nephew announce that Lakshmana would be married to Saamb. The marriage thus was solemnised.