Friday, August 31, 2012

Iravan Katha -II

Read Part one here

Ninth Night Of The Great Battle Of Kuru-kshetra (contd..)

Ignoring Arjuna’s trembling, Iravan continued, “I am Iravan, Son of the Naga princess Ulupi of southern frontiers of Himalayas and Son of the madhyama Pandava Arjuna!” An interesting choice of phrasing as though the boy knew who came first for him any day.

Arjuna stood bewildered, his eyes piercing into Iravan’s. The great warrior was for a moment perplexed, not knowing whether to contest the paternity claim or to simply accept the boy. He knew, Iravan was the sacrifice and Arjuna will not do anything to jeopardize the sacrifice. His brothers depended on him, his army counted on him. In a split second, Arjuna knew what he had to do. He hugged Iravan, burying the boy’s head into his chest and hesitantly murmured,”Son”

Iravan hugged him back with fervor, with a yearning repressed for long. Washing away the sorrow of having deprived of a parent from birth, Iravan cried,” Father O Father!”

The camp stood silent with respect as the father-son duo hugged and erased years of bereavement.

“Father, who will mourn for me when I die? Who will weep and wail in the sorrow of my death? I will be buried and will have no right to funeral offerings as I have no wife.” Iravan stated.

Iravan wanted a wife. By Lord Ram, how can one arrange for a bride in the middle of night? This is a war camp and not a village fair! More than that who will want to marry a man who has chosen to die? The girl would be choosing to be Iravan’s widow than being Iravan’s bride!

“I would not give my daughter!”

“One should be crazy to push a girl to widowhood!”

“The war has gone to their heads. That is what it is. How else can one justify this madness?”

The fathers bristled, brothers raged. Iravan will not marry one of their daughters or one of their sisters. No, there is no bride for Iravan in our homes.

As Arjuna sat hunched in despair, Krishna shimmered in to his tent. Krishna put his arms around Arjuna and said,” Sakhave, why this long face? Is it Iravan’s wish to marry that bothers his father?”

Arjuna remained silent, forcefully ignoring the jibe. Pulling Arjuna closer Krishna smiled,” Well, Sakhave, do not worry. As long as Partha has this Sarathi with him, how can his chariot of life go to dogs? Iravan will have a bride tonight.”

Arjuna looked at his bosom friend slightly irritated,” Krishna! It is not the time for the game of words you so enjoy. Which girl would want to marry Iravan?”

Smiling congenially, Krishna answered, “Mohini”

Arjuna straightened,” Mohini? Vishnu avatar Mohini? Mohini who caused the death of the demon Bhasmasura? “

“Take a breath, Sakhave. Yes, the very same Mohini.” Krishna replied as he walked out of the tent to transform into Mohini,the temptress.One of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu.

So there it was. An unusual wedding. Iravan and Mohini. Mohini and Iravan. A man destined to die and woman who is only a manifestation, a Maya.

Iravan was bathed in sandal and turmeric, adorned with jewels and new clothes. He looked very resplendent as a groom. His looming death seemed to accentuate his youth. The marriage was a simple ceremony. The young couple were carted off to a make shift bridal chamber decked with wild flowers at the far corner of the Pandava camp.
Iravan was shocked to see his wife. He had never laid his eyes on a woman so beautiful that he was sure that she would give the celestial nymphs a tough competition. Her large kohl lined black eyes, her red full lips curved into a coy smile, her luscious black hair, her dusky skin that smelt of champaka tree in bloom, her wide hips, and taut body like an archer’s bow. No, he had not seen any woman like this.

Iravan was wrought in despair. No, not for the destiny he chose for himself. Filled with sorrow for his young wife, Iravan asked, “Why O beautiful maiden? Why did you marry me? I will die at sunrise tomorrow and you will be a widow!”

Mohini replied in calm soothing words,” Veera, why worry about tomorrow when this night is ours? One cannot live in the fear of death. Death happens to everyone. Let us cherish what we have today and forget about what we might not have tomorrow!” 

With these words, Mohini and Iravan spent their nuptial night as man and wife.

Tenth Day Of The Great Battle Of Kuru-kshetra

At the dawn of the tenth day, Iravan was beheaded. The young warrior had walked to his death smiling. When the news reached Iran’s tent, a wail rose from its interior. A wail so loud, so desperate, so heart wrenching, it moistened the eyes of the entire camp. Mohini wiped away her sindoor, slashed her wrists whilst breaking her gold speckled red bangles. She threw away her jewels. Flowers that adorned her hair licked mud. Her red bridal silk gave way to white of widowhood. Mohini cried, shrieked, wept, and wailed for Iravan. Her eyes were bloodshot and voice hoarse from hours of grief. Her wails could still be heard as the conch shells heralded another day of war. No widow had ever cried for her dead husband as Mohini had for Iravan.

The sacrifice paid off. Bhishma fell at the hands of Shikhandi. Ha! The Kauravas did not have the great Pitamah to lead. Victory seems nearby.

In the evening, a relaxed Arjuna said,” He was a good warrior, that boy Iravan. Such a shame we had to sacrifice him.” Clapping Krishna on his back Arjuna added,”Claimed to be my son! Bah! Did us a lot of good! Ha! My son it seems…!” Remorse or guilt were not Arjuna's adornment that night.

Krishna did not utter a word.

Was it because Krishna was upset about Arjuna not mourning for his dead son Iravan? Was it because Krishna knew in two days Arjuna would mourn for his son Abhimanyu? Krishna alone knows.

Krishna walked alone that evening. The embers of Iravan’s funeral pyre were still glowing. Iravan died for his father, for the glory of his family, for the victory of dharma.

Krishna stood head bowed in reverence,” I mourn for thee, O Great Veera, I mourn for thee!”

Author’s Note: I have always been intrigued by Iravan and his selfless act even when his father does not recognize him. There are various versions of Iravan’s story and they are available on wiki. However, this version, Iravan Katha, belongs to me.


  1. great story, had not read it before....

  2. Awesome story. Reminded me of Rajagopalachari's Mahabharata.

    1. Wow!That's a big compliment... :-) Thank you..

  3. Your version? you mean tweaked by you? I have not heard of this story, so don't know. Do enlighten me, O fair maiden!

    1. This story in mentioned in four lines in the book..Thought I'd add more masala...

  4. nice story. Mahabharata is full of stories just need to discover it.
    it is said it has every story of world in it.

  5. That was really a nice story. The way you expressed it, that was really awesome. Good job, keep it up !!

    1. Thank you Sonu...I am glad you liked it..

  6. oh my ..really? aap toh genius ho! never for a moment thought it could be all that added masala! now im wondering if u added ur chammanti pudi to it as well? :)))))

    1. Hehehe..I am Indian who loves her masalas and would not mind adding some to her stories ;-)