- Religion and Philosophy»
UTTARA: MOTHER OF A NATION
Daughter-in-law of Arjuna
So what happened after the Kurukshetra War? It was the women who were instrumental in rebuilding civilization. Princess Uttara, daughter-in-law of Arjuna, was a major part of this reconstruction of society. She became a mother of a nation. Her son, Parikshit, became king when the Pandava brothers retired to the forest. She was Parikshit's guru in assuming this role as king.
War is always a costly enterprise. Populations of young men are decimated in wars. Krishna had done what he could to be a Divine Messenger of Peace by trying to negotiate a reasonable compromise with Prince Duryodhan who had tyranical tendencies.
As you recall from the Mahabharata, the five brothers were exiled for 14 years. The last year of their exile was in Viratnagar. Ajuna disguised himself as Eunuch Brihannala who taught Uttara music and dance which he learned from the asparas in the heavens.
At the end of that 14th year, the brothers revealed their idenities to King Virata, the king of Matsya. As a token of friendship, King Virata offered his daughter in marriage to Arjuna. Because Arjuna was her guru, he considered Uttara to be his daughter. She considered him to be more like a father figure. Arjuna suggested that she marry his son, Abhimanyu, who was considered to be a great warrior like his father. Krishna's sister, Subhadra, was his mother, so Krishna was Abhimanyu's uncle.
The couple were young at the time of their marriage. Abhimanyu, being a great warrior like his father, ended up fighting in the Kurukshetra War. Many kingdoms participated in this war, so it was the world war of its time. He was involved with the Chakravyuha formation which he knew how to break, but he did not know how to exit from. It was during this episode he died as a hero in the war. It is believed that he was about 16 at the time of his death.
Uttara became a widow, like many young women of this generation whose husbands fought in this war. War creates many widows, widowers, orphans and single parents. Uttara was so overcome by grief that she wanted to jump on the funeral pyre of her husband. It was Krishna who convinced her otherwise when He told her she was pregnant. Parikshit, the child in her womb, was the heir to the throne.
Ashwathama, son of Drona, killed all five sons of Drapaudie after the end of the war. He launched a Brahmastra arrow at the womb of Uttara. Krishna took a micro form and entered Uttara's womb, saving the child from the deadly arrow. Unfortunately, months later the child was still born because of the effects of the arrow. Krishna resurrected the child by repeating these phrases, "If I have had true love in religion and Brahmins, may this baby come to life. If I have continously followed the Truth and religion, may this son of Abhimanyu come to life. If I had preserved the religion by destroying Kansa and not perpetuated jealousy in heart, may this baby which has died due to the Brahmastra come to life." The baby opened his eyes and the whole room was filled with joy. Kunti, Drapaudie and Subhadra were the women who all were present to witness this great event.
Parikshit's middle name was Vishnu who saved his life. Krishna is the 8th incarnation of Vishnu and is called the Savior of Humanity. Vishnu is the preserving/saving aspect of God. You have creation, preservation and destruction going on all the time. All are necessary aspects in nature and most civilizations throughout history have followed this same pattern.
Ashwathana was filled with remorse for using the Brahmastra weapon. As part of his repentance, he lost the jewel on his forehead, the source of his power. He ended up losing his mental alertness and retired as a derelict to the forest.
I am reminded of the movie Gandhi where Gandhi saved the woman from jumping on the funeral pyre of her husband. Suicide is a very serious matter and subject among the youth of many countries. Recently a young Indian actress committed suicide because of her troubled relationship with her boyfriend. Very sad story of how some people end their lives out of desparation. This is where it is so important to discuss your problems with your family and friends. Be like Krishna and intervene when you see someone who wants to end their life. Discussion of suicide is a cry for help. If someone is talking about it, he or she may carry it out. It is good to talk to that person about their situation. Hot lines are available for those contemplating suicide. Talk to someone.
Uttara became so important to the child's future life and also the world kingdom of Hastinapur, which was part of India. India, at one time, was a very vast, large empire. It encompassed modern-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Kashmir and very likely many of the surrounding nations with the "stan" suffix, such as Kazakhstan and Afghanistan. The Indus Valley Civilization was the first major civilization, still in existence, who influenced and shaped humanity. The number zero, surgery, Ayurvedic Medicine and Quantam Physics were discovered and developed by this civilization way before the European and Middle Eastern civilizations.
Uttara became the mother of civilization and made sure her son had all great wisdom and knowledge to be a great ruler. Kunti, Drapaudie, Subhadra, Rukmini and many other women worked to bring civilization back to India after the war. Some of their stories are recorded in the Mahabharata and the Srimad Bhagvatam. These foremothers and many others made a great difference after the war. We often do not appreciate all their efforts and sacrifices. Drapaudie lost all her sons. Kunti saw all the loss of life and lost all her grandsons. Rukmini's son, Padyumna, who had trained Abhimanyu in combat skills along with Arjuna, was also a major warrior in the war. Subhadra lost her son.
Uttara lived a much longer life than her husband, Abhimanyu. His role was as a warrior, but he did not survive to rule the kingdom. Uttara stayed with her son, Parikshit, throughout the times after the war before the five brothers retired to the forest. Ajuna trained him as a warrior, but it was Uttara who taught him how to be ruler. She not only birthed this child but helped midwife the transition period and his rule of this great nation. She became the great peacemaker after the war.
War is never great and many suffer its effects. Many of us have lost a loved one in war. So great that the women were the ones who rebuilt civilization and the peace.
JAI SHRI UTTARA! JAI SHRI KRISHNA!