A brief recap from Part 1: Duryodhana felt enraged as eight of his brothers were killed so far after the end of eighth day battle in Kurukshetra, while Kauravas were not even close to capturing Pandavas. His provoking accusation leads Bhishma to take a vow to kill all the Pandavas before next dusk with five golden arrows on which he had imbued his life’s penance.
Krishna was pacing back and forth when Arjuna entered.
“You have ordered me to come immediately Krishna. What is the matter? Why so urgency? Has something happened to you or someone I know?” Arjuna straightaway shot questions at Krishna impatiently.
“Have I ever called you if there is no pressing matter for discussion Arjuna?” Krishna asked with a meaningful smile. “But first come inside and have a seat my dear friend”, he welcomed him in.
Arjuna strode across the room, seated himself on a makeshift chair and said, “I am all ears. Please tell me what is so important that you sent out for me at this hour?”
“Don’t you know the reason yourself by now Arjuna? I am surprised! How can you not know about the immediate threat to the life of five Pandavas?”
Arjuna knew that Duryodhana was enraged when he left the battlefield at the end of Day 8. He in fact sounded his eldest brother Yudhistra and commander Dhristadyumna when both were busy making strategic plans for the next day battle. But he was so confused when Krishna talked about immediate threat.
What could be the reason behind Krishna words of caution? Did Duryodhana prayed to Lord Brahma or Shiva and got immortality as boon? Even so, of what use is such boon when Lord Krishna, the supreme personality is fighting by his side? “My beloved Krishna, please explain me the situation. I could not comprehend any immediate threat”, he begged.
“Hear me out Arjuna. Your great grandfather Bhishma has taken a vow to kill each of the five Pandavas in tomorrow’s battlefield. He had imbued his life’s penance on five golden arrows and informed Duryodhana that he will use it tomorrow to kill each one of you”.
Arjuna’s heart skipped a beat! The whole world knows about the strength of Bhishma’s vow. At the same time, he wondered aloud what made Bhishma to take such a disheartening vow after fully aware of the consequences! Sure of Krishna’s potency to stop this from happening, Arjuna immediately raised from his seat and said,
“My dear Krishna, I do not know what made my great grandfather to take such a vow. But if he had taken it, I believe it is the duty of Pandavas to fulfill it. The world knows that Bhishma never failed in his endeavor. To avoid embarrassment to my beloved Pitamah, Pandavas are ready to lay down our life in front of Bhishma at the stroke of first ray tomorrow.”
“Do you think that will solve the problem Arjuna? In fact, this is exactly what Duryodhana wants!”
After deep contemplation, Arjuna gave up and said, "Please show us a way out Krishna”, his voice choked out of surrender.
“Do not worry my dear friend. I know exactly what needs to be done. At present, Duryodhana is having those five golden arrows under his custody since he did not trust Bhishma completely. All you have to do is to go to his tent and ask for those five arrows”.
“What? Why would Duryodhana give me those arrows if he knows for sure that those arrows will certainly bring victory to his side?” Arjuna sounded more confused now.
“Do as I say Arjuna. Do not even hesitate for a minute”, Krishna warned Arjuna briefly recapping his sermon from Bhagavad Gita he just spoke at the beginning of the war.
“Please accept my sincere apologies for doubting you my lord. I will obey your command”.
Saying thus, Arjuna left Krishna’s tent and headed towards Duryodhana’s. Having lost eight of his kinsmen already, will revengeful Duryodhana receive Arjuna with warm greetings? Even so, will Duryodhana give those five arrows to Arjuna knowing well that it will only lead to preparing his own grave? The third part of this five part series will uncover more mystery.