Arjuna Chooses Grace

Before the Mahabharata battle began, Lord Krishna gave Arjuna and Duryodhana a choice. Krishna told them, ‘I can give My entire army to one of you but I will not come. Or, I can come without any weapons as your charioteer and My army will help your foe. Which do you choose, Me or My army?’ Without hesitation Arjuna said, ‘I want you, Lord. You alone are enough. I do not need the army.’

Now within the battle itself, Arjuna had a fight with Karna who was a far superior archer. Intending to severe Arjuna’s head, Karna shot a divine missile. Lord Krishna, Arjuna’s charioteer, foresaw this great karmic danger coming towards Arjuna. Immediately, the compassionate Lord made the five horses kneel down and pushed the chariot wheels a few inches down into the earth by pressing hard with his big toe. This made the arrow take away Arjuna’s crown without injuring any part of his body.

There are a few points to remember regarding this story. First, the Lord was Arjuna’s charioteer. This means that Arjuna chose the Lord to be the one to hold the reins of his life’s chariot. Arjuna knew how to discriminate. He chose the Divine Lord alone to help him. That makes a big difference. The Grace of the Lord lets the karmic arrow pass over your head, maybe destroying an insignificant crown or something similar, but saving you from a fatal mishap.

Second, Duryodhana and the Kauravas were a much bigger and better army than Arjuna and the Pandavas. They had many great warriors and were stronger in every way. Duryodhana and his army represent human power and strength without the aspect of Grace. Thus, as a result of their arrogance, wickedness, and egotism, the Kauravas were ruined. However, Arjuna and the Pandavas were able to win the battle through effort coupled with the Grace of the Lord.