The road to become emperor.

“There is none better than you to feed the fire, O King Yudhishthira.” The Rajasuya sacrifice would make him the foremost kshatriya.

The king who performed the sacrifice attained emperorship. It was the goal of all kshatriyas who embarked on kingship.

The aspirant must secure all the other kings’ respect. Jarasandha of Magadha will not bend or accept.

“He had even defeated Krishna in Mathura. Jarasandha forced the lord to move to Dwaraka.”

Yudhishthira, unmoved by vanity, refused to relent. Bheema pushed, not for him an idle life or to be content.

“Not for your vanity slay him but rescue the kings he plans to immolate,” said Krishna. He promised to confront and kill Jarasandha with the aid of Bheema and Arjuna.

The Pandavas prepared to free the kings from death by Jarasandha’s hand. Unaware they were both playing their parts in Lord Krishna’s grand cosmic plan.

The Pandavas deluded themselves even as they turned the wheels of fate. The Lord Krishna guided them, for with destiny the brothers had a date.

Krishna, Bheema and Arjuna travelled to meet Jarasandha the kshatriya. The threesome went not as warriors but disguised in the garbs of the brahmana.

King Jarasandha received his brahmana guests and fed and housed them well. As he was leaving in the morning, at night he went to bid them farewell.

The guests dropped their disguise and to single-combat challenged their mighty host. The villain dismissed the cowherd and the youth but confronted Bheema’s boast.

“Your physical prowess is well-known,” said Jarasandha the valorous. “We are equals. Let history decide whether your ruse was chivalrous.”

Not by chivalry did Bheema defeat Jarasandha but by trickery. Coached by Krishna, he tore the warrior and cast his name to eternity. By such acts of dharma and against dharma, the cosmic ends rushed towards the Pandava.

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Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2020

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Next Friday: First Honour

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