“Savyasachin refers to one who can shoot arrows very expertly in the field; thus Arjuna is addressed as an expert warrior capable of delivering arrows to kill his enemies.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 11.33 Purport)
“I am fairly familiar with the Mahabharata story. This is one of the great epics found in the place today known as India. In the past, it was just one place, Bharata-varsha. The story is quite lengthy. The total volume, if only counting the Sanskrit verses, puts other notable works like War and Peace to shame.
“A person might find it interesting to learn that although the Supreme Lord is prominently featured in the narrative of the Mahabharata, in His avatara of Shri Krishna, it is the Pandava brothers who play the role of lead protagonist. Among those brothers, Arjuna stands out.
“I guess I have always wondered why it was Arjuna and not someone else. Yudhishthira was pious since birth. Bhima was exceptionally strong. He is the brother of Hanuman, after all. What made Arjuna qualified to hear the sacred Bhagavad-gita and forever be known as the hero of the Bharata War?”
1. Came from a respectable family
According to Shrimad Bhagavatam, Bhishmadeva is one of the twelve mahajanas. These are authorities on devotional service, bhakti-yoga. The authorized list comes courtesy of Yamaraja, the god of justice. These twelve great souls can rescue others via their association.
Arjuna was linked to Bhishma through ancestry. Though the respected elder in the family actually fought against Arjuna on the battlefield, it could be understood that there was high culture inherited by both sides of the family. In other words, each side had people aligned with dharma, though there was military conflict.
2. Had an exceptional teacher
In the beginning of Bhagavad-gita, we learn of Arjuna’s hesitance to continue in the fight. He would rather drop his weapons and retreat for the forest. One in the series of justifications is the presence of Dronacharya on the opposing side.
This was the great teacher to both the Pandavas and the Kauravas. How could Arjuna go against someone so respected? It is like biting the hand that feeds you. A guru should be respected for the duration of life, as the value of the instruction they provide cannot be measured.
3. Was expert in shooting arrows on the field
One of Arjuna’s many other names is Savyasachin. As His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains, this refers to a person who is expert at shooting arrows. The Mahabharata is full of stories highlighting Arjuna’s superb marksmanship. He was the only participant who could satisfy the rules of the contest at Draupadi’s svayamvara, for instance.
4. Devoted to Shri Krishna
This is the highest qualification a person can have. It is not necessary that a devotee accepts a traditional role. For instance, just because I am aligned with the interests of the Supreme Lord, it is not required that I remain within the confines of a temple. I do not necessarily have to be known for publishing books or travelling the world and lecturing to audiences in rapt attention.
I could be leading the charge in the war to end all wars. I could be on a chariot ready to release arrows to defeat the enemy. I could be the one counted on by my brothers and mother, who always choose the side of righteousness.
5. Was Krishna’s companion for many lifetimes
Not only was Arjuna devoted to Krishna during their time together in Dvapara-yuga, but they had always been aligned, since before anyone could remember. Only Krishna could recall those previous experiences. Arjuna could not.
बहूनि मे व्यतीतानि
जन्मानि तव चार्जुन
तान्य् अहं वेद सर्वाणि
न त्वं वेत्थ परन्तप
bahūni me vyatītāni
janmāni tava cārjuna
tāny ahaṁ veda sarvāṇi
na tvaṁ vettha parantapa
“The Blessed Lord said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!” (Bhagavad-gita, 4.5)
It would only be natural for the relationship to continue. Wherever you find Krishna, you will find Arjuna. This also means that Arjuna is an eternally liberated soul. The brief bout with illusion is according to the Divine will, and so is the subsequent release from the darkness. In every way, that great hero of the Mahabharata is dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Respected person to teach,
From high ancestry reach.
As excellent marksman known,
In Draupadi’s svayamvara shown.
But highest qualification of all,
That Krishna a friend to call.
Such that in every birth the same,
Divine connection to retain.
Categories: the five