The colossal battle of Kurukshetra was soon to begin. The Pandavas would fight their cousins the Kauravas in the most bloody and gruesome war ever seen. The conflict had begun as a dispute over the throne but now it had escalated into a mighty clash between good and bad.
The noble and virtuous Pandavas had tried every possible way to avert the catastrophe but Duryodhana, leader of the opposition, had rejected any kind of fair or reasonable compromise. He was blinded by his pride and hunger for absolute power. He felt no guilt for sacrificing the lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers for his selfishness ambitions.
Both sides sent out messages to every corner of the world, competing for the support of kings and their military power. Many rulers joined the Pandavas without hesitation because they valued fairness, integrity and justice. Others chose to be with Duryodhana – some because they were immoral themselves and others because they were obliged to Duryodhana for previous favours.
Krishna, the lord of truth, goodness and love, was always with the Pandavas. He had already saved them countless times from the treacherous plots hatched by Duryodhana. He loved the Pandavas and they loved him.
On the eve of the battle it occurred to Duryodhana that he should approach Krishna for help. Though he knew Krishna favoured the Pandavas, he was confident that the Lord would not refuse him if he made a request.
“Krishna’s army, the Narayani Sena, is magnificent, filled with the bravest soldiers. If I have them on my side, the Pandavas will have no chance of winning and I will be victor,” he thought as he mounted his chariot. Duryodhana rode swiftly towards the beautiful city of Dwarka, where Krishna lived.
When he got there, he was told Krishna was sleeping. Urgent about his own needs, Duryodhana went straight to the chamber and hovered near Krishna’s head. He decided he would wait until Krishna woke up.
Coincidentally, Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers, strode into the chamber and stood at Krishna’s feet. He seemed to have decided to wait as well. He looked on Krishna’s face with affection with his hands folded in respectful prayer.
A little while later, Krishna awoke and sat up. The first person he saw was Arjuna, which made him smile. When he realised Duryodhana was standing near his head, Krishna welcomed them both and asked why they had come.
“I know you will deal fairly with both of us, I came to ask for your help in the war,” said Duryodhana. “I got here before Arjuna so it is only right that you help me first.”
Krishna laughed and said, “Well, yes, you might have come earlier but I saw Arjuna first. And anyway, it is proper that I listen to Arjuna because he is younger than you. So, Arjuna, what did you want to say?”
“Krishna, I also came to ask you for help in the war,” said Arjuna.
“Oh, is that so. Well, as you both know there is my Narayani army – one million soldiers – that you could have or you could choose me. But, be warned, I have also vowed to leave all my weapons behind and not fight. So, you can choose my army or just me,” said Krishna.
Without faltering, Arjuna replied, “I choose you, Krishna.”
Duryodhana was inwardly overjoyed. He thought Arjuna a fool for not choosing the invincible army. Pretending to look disappointed, he said, “It seems I have no choice – with your permission I will accept the Narayani Sena, thank you.”
Krishna smiled and agreed.
Arjuna was delighted. He knew that Krishna was the best of the best and wherever he stood there would be victory and virtue. The army was nothing compared to Krishna. Indeed, Krishna became Arjuna’s charioteer and took supreme care of him, saving him for every danger and steering him to victory.