Pauloma Parva is a significant episode in the epic Mahabharata that takes place on the fifth day of the Kurukshetra war. It is named after the sage Pauloma, who was the father of Amba, a princess who had been spurned by Bhishma. The events that unfold on this day have far-reaching consequences for the Pandavas and the Kauravas and have been immortalized in Indian mythology.
Bhishma was one of the most respected warriors of his time and had taken a vow of celibacy. When Amba approached him seeking marriage, Bhishma refused, stating that he had taken an oath never to marry or have children. Amba was furious at being rejected and vowed to take revenge on Bhishma. She approached various kings seeking their help, but none were willing to go against Bhishma, as he was known for his valor and his honor.
After several failed attempts, Amba finally found a king who was willing to take up her cause. This king, Salwa, was a powerful warrior and agreed to fight Bhishma on her behalf. However, Bhishma defeated Salwa and spared his life, as he did not want to kill a fellow warrior who had fought valiantly.
Amba was left without any options and decided to perform penance to please Lord Shiva, seeking his help in taking revenge against Bhishma. Lord Shiva was pleased with Amba’s devotion and granted her a boon that she would be the cause of Bhishma’s death. Amba was overjoyed at this boon, and she returned to the battlefield, hoping to kill Bhishma.
The fifth day of the war began with Bhishma and Arjuna facing each other in a fierce battle. Arjuna was one of the greatest warriors of his time and was the favorite disciple of Lord Krishna. Bhishma, on the other hand, was a formidable warrior, and his skills were matched only by his honor and integrity.
As the battle between Bhishma and Arjuna intensified, it became clear that Arjuna was no match for Bhishma. The latter had taken an oath that he would either kill Arjuna or make Lord Krishna break his vow of not fighting in the war. Krishna, who was watching the battle, realized that Bhishma could not be defeated by normal means, and that he had to be neutralized in some other way.
Krishna then reminded Arjuna of the promise he had made to the mother of the Kauravas, Gandhari. Gandhari had asked for a boon that her hundred sons should be immortal, and Krishna had promised that he would make one of them vulnerable. Arjuna then used a divine weapon to pierce Bhishma’s armor, which made him fall from his chariot. However, Bhishma did not die immediately, as he had the boon of choosing the time of his death.
Bhishma lay on a bed of arrows for several days, imparting wisdom to the Pandavas and the Kauravas. He spoke about dharma, duty, and the importance of upholding one’s honor, even in the face of adversity. His words had a profound impact on those who heard them, and his teachings continue to inspire people to this day.
The events of the Pauloma Parva are significant for several reasons. Firstly, they showcase the complex and multi-layered nature of the characters in the Mahabharata. Bhishma, for example, is a character who is simultaneously revered and reviled for his actions. He is respected for his valor and his loyalty to his family, but is also criticized for his role in the events that led up to the Kurukshetra war. Similarly, Amba is a character who undergoes a significant transformation from a lovelorn princess to a fierce warrior seeking revenge against a powerful enemy.
The events of the Pauloma Parva also highlight the importance of duty and honor in Indian mythology. Bhishma’s adherence to his vow of celibacy and his commitment to upholding his family’s honor are seen as important virtues in Indian culture. Similarly, Arjuna’s promise to Gandhari and his willingness to use divine weapons to defeat Bhishma are seen as acts of duty and sacrifice.
The teachings of Bhishma during his final moments on the battlefield are also significant. He speaks about the importance of following dharma and fulfilling one’s duty, even if it means going against one’s own desires. His words serve as a reminder to the Pandavas and the Kauravas that they are not just fighting a physical war, but also a war of values and principles.
The Pauloma Parva also has several connections to other episodes in the Mahabharata. For example, Amba’s story is closely linked to the story of Shikhandi, a warrior who was born as a woman but was later transformed into a man. Shikhandi plays a crucial role in the downfall of Bhishma, as he is used as a shield by Arjuna to attack Bhishma from behind.
The events of the Pauloma Parva also have significant implications for the rest of the war. Bhishma’s fall from grace weakens the Kaurava army, as he was one of their most important warriors. It also leads to the entry of other important characters, such as Drona and Karna, into the war. The events of the Pauloma Parva serve as a turning point in the war, and set the stage for the events that follow.
In conclusion, the Pauloma Parva is a significant episode in the epic Mahabharata, and has important implications for the rest of the war. Pauloma Parva showcases the complex and multi-layered nature of the characters in the epic, and highlights the importance of duty, honor, and dharma in Indian mythology. The teachings of Bhishma during his final moments on the battlefield continue to inspire people to this day, and serve as a reminder of the importance of upholding one’s values and principles in the face of adversity.
Thus endeth the 4th chapter in the series – The Pauloma parva.