mAs you sit still, a calm sweeps over your body. You realize that you are now halfway done listening to the stories. You can't fathom any story that could be better than the other two but you have learned not to have any doubt in Brahma. In fact you feel now like you have known him your whole life.
"And, my friend, you have known me your own life. But we will get to that after this story. Today I will be telling you of the fight between the mighty Pandava prince Arjuna and his arch-enemy and brother Karna. This was a battle for the ages between two of the greatest warriors the world had ever seen."
"The rest of the gods and I had gathered over the battlefield in order to watch this fight, which was sure to be a great one. None of us could stop ourselves from staring at Arjuna, wielding his jeweled bow, decked out in golden armor covered in precious jewels. He was in a chariot driven by another great warrior, an avatar of the god Vishnu, whose name was Krishna. Karna sat at the other end of the field, looking almost as radiant as Arjuna. He wore solid gold armor and had his massive sword on his hip. He was also in a chariot along with sixty million arrows. They stood staring each other down. Tension built up amongst all spectators, including myself. It looked as if they were trying to kill each other with a stare. And then suddenly Karna's chariot charged. A million arrows flew from his bow but Arjuna danced around avoiding all of them. Arjuna then fired a special astra of his own from his bow. The next thing we knew boulders were falling from the sky at Karna. But with his arrows Karna shattered the boulders as they came at him. As the boulders shattered, they turned to flame and surrounded Arjuna, catching his robes on fire. But Arjuna said a mantra, bringing water, that soaked even us gods, to put the fires out. Astra after astra they threw at each other, neither seeming to gain ground on the other. They fought so hard and long that during the battle they both had to stop and take a break."
Your mind is overwhelmed as you visualize this fight. You think back to the last battle you witnessed between Rama and Ravana and remember the lesson you learned about no astra being greater than another. You realize that these two fighters are just as good if not better than either Rama or Ravana. You listen intently waiting for Brahma to continue his story.
"When they got back to fighting, Karna's chariot wheel had gotten stuck in the earth. Arjuna saw his opportunity to attack but Karna ran into his chariot and grabbed a special dart that he had earned from Indra - a dart that destroys whatever it hit. Karna threw it with all his might at Arjuna. Krishna, seeing the dart coming, stomped down on the chariot sinking it into the earth. The arrow struck Arjuna's crown, shattering it. Blood flowed from Arjuna's brow. His anger boiled up so much that flames shot out of his wounds. He grabbed a massive crescent-shaped arrow and drew it back as far as possible in Vishnu's bow. Karna, thinking that the battle would be over with the dart, hadn't prepared himself for a counter-attack. Arjuna let the arrow fly. We watched as it soared through the air. Time seemed to stand still as we watched the arrow head straight at Karna's head. It struck the mighty Karna at the bottom of his neck taking his head clean off. With that, Yama,the god of the dead, came up to claim the mighty warrior's soul."
You stay seated and continue to meditate on all you have learned here. You silently rejoice at the victory of Arjuna and at the bravery and skill of both warriors. You are about to get up to leave because your mind is now exhausted when Brahma begins to talk again.
"And now, my old friend, it is time for you to wake up. I have told you these stories not just for your entertainment but for your benefit. You are very important to this world and when you wake you will know why."
And at that second you wake and remember everything. You remember your name, Krishna. You are ten years old yet you are now one of the wisest men on earth. You remember the past life you lived as Rama and you remember all the deeds you performed. You remember all the astras from the stories you just spent what seemed to be an eternity listening to, and you know how to use them. You know now that you are a part of a greater being, the god Narayana. Above all else, you now know the battles you have to fight in the future and you know how these battles will turn out. You close your eyes and go back to sleep. Now having the gift of foresight, you know future will be alright for yourself and the world.
Karna vs. Arjuna
I wrote this story from the point of view of you, the reader. I told Buck's version of the battle between Arjuna and Karna. I tried to keep true to the story but I added more detail to the story. I kept to the same writing style I used earlier and the god Brahma is my narrator but I also have a second character who is supposed to be the reader listening to the story. I use this second character in order to try to control the feelings you have as you are reading the story. I also hoped that making the reader part of the story would be useful in getting the reader more involved in the story. I also added a twist at the end of this story making a young Krishna the person who hears these stories so that he will have the gift of foresight into the future and will also know the astras he needs to know for the future. In Buck's story Krishna already knew he was an avatar of Vishnu so I thought I would use this story to explain how he found it out. It also shows how he gained his knowledge of the astras and weapons.
Buck, William. Ramayana. University of California Press, 1981. Print.