“Why trouble yourself with such rhetoric questions, Yuyutsu?” said Krishna. He had already visited Kunti Devi and caused her distress by revealing the truth behind Karna’s parentage. The Blue One had also tried and failed to turn Karna against the Kauravas. This was his third and final attempt to stanch the looming bloodletting.

“Some say you’re the All-Knowing One, cousin,” said Yuyutsu. “Pray tell, who is the first born? Duryodhana or Yudhishthira?”

“The answer you seek is already in your question.”

“Perhaps I should refashion my question,” said Yuyutsu. “Who was conceived first? Duryodhana or Yudhishthira?”

“Again, the answer is wrapped in your question, O First Conceived and First Born of the Kauravas,” said Krishna, and he smiled. “Step forward and claim the throne; bring peace to these lands which are pregnant with blood ready to spill.”

“You ask the impossible, O Blue One.”

“With me by your side, anything is possible.”

“You say little but in that little much resides,” said Yuyutsu. “If anything is possible, then you do it. Make my impossible your possible.”

“I have my tasks in this life, as others have their tasks. If I deviate, I condemn others and myself to rebirth. If not this birth, in the next birth we’ll have a similar conversation. Why not end it here and now? Yuyutsu, you’re the first conceived, the first born. Claim the throne and put an end to the pending bloodshed.”

“The Pandavas will not agree to my ascendence.”

“The five will take my counsel,” said Krishna.

“Even if they support my claim, the elders will not.”

“The elders have no claim; no personal stake to the throne. They’ll step aside.”

“What about my father, the king? Will he approve my claim?”

“He will gain sight and see that you are his first born. He’ll achieve his goal in life; put a son of his flesh and blood on the throne.”

“And Duryodhana. He’ll resist. We’ll still face a fight,” said Yuyutsu.

“Sometimes, a pebble lodges in our sandals,” said Krishna. “We simply have to dislodge it.”

“What difference does it make? We’ll still have a war.”

“It will be a clean fight; one without old scores to settle. A minor war; perhaps one in which only Duryodhana and you will duel. He has the skills of a rathi, some say eight rathis but still a rathi; whereas you are an adirathi. The outcome is a foregone conclusion.”

“That’s a clever ploy, O Krishna, but as you said, it will be a single combat,” said Yuyutsu. “He will choose the mace and I will lose. If Duryodhana kills me, the old rivalries between the Kauravas and Pandavas reignite. If I kill him, there will be another ninety-nine Kauravas who will be in line for the throne. Do you truthfully expect a minor war?”

“No, but the earth is burdened. I’m here to weed the soil; matters not which hoe tills the land.”

“Finally, the truth is out. It is true, you are the avatar of Maha Vishnu.”

“After I’ve churned the soil, I need someone to sow and husband the lands, and who better than you?” said Krishna. “You have all the attributes of kingship; you are a temperate warrior; and you bridge the divide between the rulers and the ruled. Most importantly, you do not hanker after the throne. Help me; claim the throne. Avert war. Save yourself the agony of rebirth on this earth.”

“Who will prevail in this war?”

“Where I am, anything is possible,” said Krishna, repeating his earlier words. He placed an avuncular hand on Yuyutsu’s shoulder. “Accomplish your task. You are too good a man to return here.” Krishna offered a clenched fist. “Take it and let it flourish. You hold fate in your hands.”

Yuyutsu took the offering. It was a seed.

*** Copyright @ 2022, Eric Alagan ***

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