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Sep 2012
~~~                                              The thirteenth day at Kurukshetra
                                                     ­   verily an unfortunate day
                                                      for this is the day a hero falls
                                               the likes of which were never seen again

there he stands on his chariot                                                          ­          but his face is clouded with worry
his armour shooting arrows of  light                                                        ­         mind disturbed by confusion
truly he looks like the son                                                              ­             a David among Goliaths he stands
of the king of the night                                                            ­    a mammoth task on his youthful shoulders
                                                his uncle, the king must be protected
                                                       ­      his father is away
                                             the enemy has planned a tricky strategy
                                   a war formation-which only he knows how to break

                                          The Chakravyuha or Padmavyuha as it is called
                                            in the shape of a circular lotus it is arranged
                                                 a deadly trap like a venus fly-catcher
                                                  dea­th is certain for those who enter
“I know how to enter, he laments                                                          ­      but my lovely mother fell asleep
but of how to escape it  I am unaware                                                      unin­terested in the skills of warfare
my father taught it to my mother                                                           ­             so I learnt only how to enter
when I was in her womb                                                    and of knowledge of the exit I was deprived”

                                                  “Go­ forth bravely”, his uncle says,
                                                          w­e’ll follow you closely
                                                       no one can harm even a hair
                                                    on your head while we are there

                                                          ­  and so Abhimanyu enters
                                                          ­    a hero-true to his name
                                                            ­ with courage in his heart
                                                         and the Lord’s name on his lips
he prays, ‘let me make my father proud today”                                              so rapidly do his arrows fly
like a lion he is fierce, like an eagle swift                                              that they remain unseen to the eye
ten thousand soldiers fall                                                             ­                          only their stabbing tip is felt
under his wrathful gaze                                                             ­             before the receivers keel over and die
                                                             ­   the brave warrior forges on
                                                              ­    unaware of the goings on
                                                        his uncles have been trapped behind
                                                          ­  he’s alone behind the enemy line

                                                           ­      when he realizes the danger        
                                                                ­            its far too late      
                                                            a true warrior does not his fate berate
                                                          ­        bravely onwards he wanders
finding chinks in the enemy’s armour                                                         but treachery raises its ugly head
he is Yama himself incarnate                                                        ­                               alone he battles a crowd
into every heart he strikes a mindless fear                           Karna, Drona, Vrshasena, Salya, Durmashana
claiming lives as he plans an escape                        Duryodhana, Dussasana, Lakshmana, Aswathhaman
                                                           and Kritavarman all surround
                                                        ­scavengers against this lonely lion
                                                         Karna does his bowstrings break
                                                     and Kritavarman leaves him chariotless

                                                    ­           multiple arrows upon him rain
                                                            ­    he is now grievously wounded
                                                         ­          yet unnerved and undaunted
                                                       ­      he rises with sword and shield in hand
he challenges his attackers thus,                                                          come one by one and I shall be glad
“O mighty warriors, this cowardly act                                                              ­       to give you a good fight
does not your stature befit, the laws of war                                        and in this fair combat befitting kings
do not prescribe for many to stand against one                                                        may the best man win”

                                                           ­  but his plea for fairness went unheard
                                                   Karna breaks his shield and Drona cuts his sword
                                                           ­      unarmed and bleeding he employs
                                                         ­       his chariot wheel as a final defense

                                                        ­             but corruption is a cruel master
                                                          ­        that ruled the minds of his attackers
                                                       ­                       together in all injustice
                                                       ­     they smash  the chariot wheel to smithereens
they laugh their wicked laughs                                                           ­        with deceitful swords he is felled
and rejoice at Abhimanyu’s helplessness                                                     ­  but even in death he is dignified
to his honour and their ignominy                                              his only regret is that he shall not live to see
with ruthlessness they strike                                                           ­               his queen, Uttara and his child  
                                                         ­    but as he thinks of his father
                                                          ­    his heart is filled with pride
                                                     “look father”, he screams to the skies
                                                        “y­our son has died a hero’s death”

                                       “against many Maharathis  he has stood his ground
                                               and fulfilled his dharma - he hopes you are proud
                                                          h­is last wish is that you should avenge
                                                   the treason that has driven him to this end”

with these last words                                                            ­                  poor Abhimanyu - his words echoed
he leaves this world                                                            ­                              filling the battlefield with dread
the villains around him dance                                                            ­        his uncles hear his bellowing roars
in a shameful victory celebration                                                      ­      and know that their beloved is dead
                                                       with their mind-numbing sorrow
                                                         comes their unquenchable fear
                                                       how will they let their brother know
                                                          th­at he must light his son’s pyre

                                                           with bloodshot eyes they swear
                                                       that his noble death will be avenged
                                                         and then they fall deeper in sorrow
                                                          ­as the sun sets upon their beloved
his blood mixes with the earth                                                            ­              his death shall be a reminder
as the Gods rain praises above him                                                             that honour comes not with age
“here lies a true champion                                                     but by one’s actions is one’s worth determined
unbeaten and courageous                                                       ­           ascend Abhimanyu to the heavens!”

                                                    Th­e thirteenth day at Kurukshetra
                                                     ­        verily an unfortunate day
                                                            f­or this is the day a hero fell
                                                   the likes of which were never seen again
- Vijayalakshmi Harish
   16.09.2012

Copyright © Vijayalakshmi Harish
In the Indian epic Mahabharata, Abhimanyu is the son of the Pandava Arjuna and Subhadra the sister of Lord Krishna. He is thus the nephew of the other four Pandava brothers. Since Karna is also a son of Kunti, he also was a nephew to Karna, one of his murderers. Though Abhimanyu and the other Pandavas were unaware of this fact, Karna was cognizant of the relationship, which is what makes the killing of Abhimanyu a particularly heinous crime.  
He is husband to the Matsya kingdom's princess, Uttarā, who was pregnant with his child Parikshikt at the time of his death.
Abhimanyu is also said to be an incarnation of Varchas, the son of the Moon God.
The Mahabharata records that Karna was instrumental in the killing of Abhimanyu. Karna asks Drona how Abhimanyu can be killed to which Drona replies : "Abhimanyu is young, his prowess is great. His coat of mail is impenetrable. This one's father had been taught by me the method of wearing defensive armour. This subjugator of hostile towns assuredly knoweth the entire science (of wearing armour). With shafts well shot, you can, however, cut off his bow, bow-string, the reins of his steeds, the steeds themselves, and two Parshni charioteers. O mighty bowman, O son of Radha, if competent, do this. Making him turn back from the fight (by this means), strike him then. With his bow in hand he is incapable of being vanquished by the very gods and the Asuras together. If you wish, deprive him of his car, and divest him of his bow".
Abhimanyu was 16 years old at the time of his death. The name Abhimanyu is a Sanskrit word meaning "heroic".
Vijayalakshmi Harish
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