dhanvinam agranir esa
tulyas carjunayor dvayoh
hutasa iva durdharsah
samudra iva dustarah
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Amongst great bowmen, this child will be as good as Arjuna. He will be as irresistible as fire and as unsurpassable as the ocean.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
In history there are two Arjunas. One is Kartavirya Arjuna, the King of Haihaya, and the other is the grandfather of the child. Both the Arjunas are famous for their bowmanship, and the child Pariksit is foretold to be equal to both of them, particularly in fighting. A short description of the Pandava Arjuna is given below:
Pandava Arjuna: The great hero of the Bhagavad-gita. He is the ksatriya son of Maharaja Pandu. Queen Kuntidevi could call for any one of the demigods, and thus she called Indra, and Arjuna was born by him. Arjuna is therefore a plenary part of the heavenly king Indra. He was born in the month of Phalguna (February-March), and therefore he is also called Phalguni. When he appeared as the son of Kunti, his future greatness was proclaimed by air messages, and all the important personalities from different parts of the universe, such as the demigods, the Gandharvas, the Adityas (from the sun globe), the Rudras, the Vasus, the Nagas, the different rsis (sages) of importance, and the Apsaras (the society girls of heaven), all attended the ceremony. The Apsaras pleased everyone by their heavenly dances and songs. Vasudeva, the father of Lord Krsna and the maternal uncle of Arjuna, sent his priest representative Kasyapa to purify Arjuna by all the prescribed samskaras, or reformatory processes. His samskara of being given a name was performed in the presence of the rsis, residents of Satasrnga. He married four wives, Draupadi, Subhadra, Citrangada and Ulupi, from whom he got four sons of the names Srutakirti, Abhimanyu, Babhruvahana and Iravan respectively.
During his student life he was entrusted to study under the great professor Dronacarya, along with other Pandavas and the Kurus. But he excelled everyone by his studious intensity, and Dronacarya was especially attracted by his disciplinary affection. Dronacarya accepted him as a first-grade scholar and loved heartily to bestow upon him all the blessings of military science. He was so ardent a student that he used to practice bowmanship even at night, and for all these reasons Professor Dronacarya was determined to make him the topmost bowman of the world. He passed very brilliantly the examination in piercing the target, and Dronacarya was very pleased. Royal families at Manipura and Tripura are descendants of Arjuna’s son Babhruvahana. Arjuna saved Dronacarya from the attack of a crocodile, and the Acarya, being pleased with him, rewarded him with a weapon of the name brahmasiras. Maharaja Drupada was inimical toward Dronacarya, and thus when he attacked the Acarya, Arjuna got him arrested and brought him before Dronacarya. He besieged a city of the name Ahicchatra, belonging to Maharaja Drupada, and after taking it over he gave it to Dronacarya. The confidential treatment of the weapon brahmasiras was explained to Arjuna, and Dronacarya was promised by Arjuna that he would use the weapon if necessary when he (Dronacarya) personally became an enemy of Arjuna. By this, the Acarya forecasted the future Battle of Kuruksetra, in which Dronacarya was on the opposite side. Maharaja Drupada, although defeated by Arjuna on behalf of his professor Dronacarya, decided to hand over his daughter Draupadi to his young combatant, but he was disappointed when he heard the false news of Arjuna’s death in the fire of a shellac house intrigued by Duryodhana. He therefore arranged for Draupadi’s personal selection of a groom who could pierce the eye of a fish hanging on the ceiling. This trick was especially made because only Arjuna could do it, and he was successful in his desire to hand over his equally worthy daughter to Arjuna. Arjuna’s brothers were at that time living incognito under agreement with Duryodhana, and Arjuna and his brothers attended the meeting of Draupadi’s selection in the dress of brahmanas. When all the ksatriya kings assembled saw that a poor brahmana had been garlanded by Draupadi for her lord, Sri Krsna disclosed his identity to Balarama.
He met Ulupi at Haridvara (Hardwar), and he was attracted by that girl belonging to Nagaloka, and thus Iravan was born. Similarly, he met Citrangada, a daughter of the King of Manipura, and thus Babhruvahana was born. Lord Sri Krsna made a plan to help Arjuna to kidnap Subhadra, sister of Sri Krsna, because Baladeva was inclined to hand her over to Duryodhana. Yudhisthira also agreed with Sri Krsna, and thus Subhadra was taken by force by Arjuna and then married to him. Subhadra’s son is Abhimanyu, the father of Pariksit Maharaja, the posthumous child. Arjuna satisfied the fire-god by setting fire to the Khandava Forest, and thus the fire-god gave him one weapon. Indra was angry when the fire was set in the Khandava Forest, and thus Indra, assisted by all other demigods, began fighting with Arjuna for his great challenge. They were defeated by Arjuna, and Indradeva returned to his heavenly kingdom. Arjuna also promised all protection to one Mayasura, and the latter presented him one valuable conchshell celebrated as the Devadatta. Similarly, he received many other valuable weapons from Indradeva when he was satisfied to see his chivalry.
When Maharaja Yudhisthira was disappointed in defeating the King of Magadha, Jarasandha, it was Arjuna only who gave King Yudhisthira all kinds of assurances, and thus Arjuna, Bhima and Lord Krsna started for Magadha to kill Jarasandha. When he went out to bring all other kings of the world under the subjection of the Pandavas, as was usual after the coronation of every emperor, he conquered the country named Kelinda and brought in subjugation King Bhagadatta. Then he traveled through countries like Antagiri, Ulukapura and Modapura and brought under subjugation all the rulers.
Sometimes he underwent severe types of penances, and later on he was rewarded by Indradeva. Lord Siva also wanted to try the strength of Arjuna, and in the form of an aborigine, Lord Siva met him. There was a great fight between the two, and at last Lord Siva was satisfied with him and disclosed his identity. Arjuna prayed to the lord in all humbleness, and the lord, being pleased with him, presented him the pasupata weapon. He acquired many other important weapons from different demigods. He received dandastra from Yamaraja, pasastra from Varuna, and antardhanastra from Kuvera, the treasurer of the heavenly kingdom. Indra wanted him to come to the heavenly kingdom, the Indraloka planet beyond the moon planet. In that planet he was cordially received by the local residents, and he was awarded reception in the heavenly parliament of Indradeva. Then he met Indradeva, who not only presented him with his vajra weapon, but also taught him the military and musical science as used in the heavenly planet. In one sense, Indra is the real father of Arjuna, and therefore indirectly he wanted to entertain Arjuna with the famous society girl of heaven, Urvasi, the celebrated beauty. The society girls of heaven are lusty, and Urvasi was very eager to contact Arjuna, the strongest human being. She met him in his room and expressed her desires, but Arjuna sustained his unimpeachable character by closing his eyes before Urvasi, addressing her as mother of the Kuru dynasty and placing her in the category of his mothers Kunti, Madri and Sacidevi, wife of Indradeva. Disappointed, Urvasi cursed Arjuna and left. In the heavenly planet he also met the great celebrated ascetic Lomasa and prayed to him for the protection of Maharaja Yudhisthira.
When his inimical cousin Duryodhana was under the clutches of the Gandharvas, he wanted to save him and requested the Gandharvas to release Duryodhana, but the Gandharvas refused, and thus he fought with them and got Duryodhana released. When all the Pandavas lived incognito, he presented himself in the court of King Virata as a eunuch and was employed as the musical teacher of Uttara, his future daughter-in-law, and was known in the Virata court as the Brhannala. As Brhannala, he fought on behalf of Uttara, the son of King Virata, and thus defeated the Kurus in the fight incognito. His secret weapons were safely kept in the custody of a somi tree, and he ordered Uttara to get them back. His identity and his brothers’ identity were later on disclosed to Uttara. Dronacarya was informed of Arjuna’s presence in the fight of the Kurus and the Viratas. Later, on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, Arjuna killed many great generals like Karna and others. After the Battle of Kuruksetra, he punished Asvatthama, who had killed all the five sons of Draupadi. Then all the brothers went to Bhismadeva.
It is due to Arjuna only that the great philosophical discourses of the Bhagavad-gita were again spoken by the Lord on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra. His wonderful acts on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra are vividly described in the Mahabharata. Arjuna was defeated, however, by his son Babhruvahana at Manipura and fell unconscious when Ulupi saved him. After the disappearance of Lord Krsna, the message was brought by Arjuna to Maharaja Yudhisthira. Again, Arjuna visited Dvaraka, and all the widow wives of Lord Krsna lamented before him. He took them all in the presence of Vasudeva and pacified all of them. Later on, when Vasudeva passed away, he performed his funeral ceremony in the absence of Krsna. While Arjuna was taking all the wives of Krsna to Indraprastha, he was attacked on the way, and he could not protect the ladies in his custody. At last, advised by Vyasadeva, all the brothers headed for Mahaprasthana. On the way, at the request of his brother, he gave up all important weapons as useless, and he dropped them all in the water.