Arjuna reached Dwaraka and was slowly walking up the path to Krishna's Palace. No matter what the situation, coming to Dwaraka always gave him a feeling of bliss. He felt like he was coming back home. The guards outside the palace bowed to Arjuna as he walked inside. Arjuna smiled at them. But then he slowly noticed something wrong. The guards, they were not in their usual jovial mood ...they were looking very formally....almost staring at him...
Arjuna backtracked. He went back to the guard. 'The Dark Lord is in Dwaraka?' Arjuna knew that Krishna was at Dwaraka. He had come here to meet him. But the expression on the guard's face...
'Yes, my Lord! He is here!' The guard bowed a little formally. Arjuna frowned and then suddenly his mind cleared. 'Is there someone else come to see him?'
The guard looked at Arjuna haltingly and slowly nodded his head. 'Yes, my Lord!'
Arjuna looked inquiringly at the guard. The guard breathed in deeply and said . 'Prince Duryodhana!'.. Arjuna missed the utter disdain in the face of the guard while addressing the name of the Kaurava Prince. He was just too shocked to notice any of that...Shock gave way to anger...Duryodhana,the vile, evil man was here...Here! In the very place of the Lord...Why?
Though Arjuna grew up with Duryodhana...now the only feelings he could muster up for Duryodhana were deep hatred....Duryodhana who in his insane jealousy had first tried to kill his elder brother Bheema when they were very young. Later he had stooped so low to the level of playing dice to win the Indraprasta from the Pandavas. And finally he had refused to to give the cousin brothers any portion of the kingdom which was rightfully theirs. Arjuna closed his eyes...He could still remember the shouts of Draupadi as she was dragged to the court of Hastinapur by Dushasana.....Arjuna could not forget how he and his brothers spent 13 years in exile....All during his exile, he had wanted only one thing...to take revenge on Duryodhana for what he had done.
Duryodhana was angrily looking at the sleeping form of Krishna. When is he going to get up?.....
Duryodhana always knew that he would fight with the Pandavas and destroy them....After he had taken away the Indraprasta from the Pandavas, he had managed to get the Pandavas exiled for 13 years. The last year of the exile had to be spent in disguise. Duryodhana felt that he could find out where the Pandavas had hidden themselves. Unfortunately the search was taking a long time....Duryodhana started planning for the eventuality that the Pandavas would come back and ask for their Indraprasta back....That was something Duryodhana could not allow...He could not allow the Pandavas to take anything...Everything was his...His...
Duryodhana started building his army. But then he realized that the first person whom Yudhishtara would approach would be Krishna. Duryodhana had to stop that...The Yadavas were a large group of exceptionally powerful warriors. With the Yadavas on his side, Duryodhana could as well seal the fate of the Pandavas.....
Through his spies, Duryodhana learnt that Arjuna was on his way to Dwaraka to talk to Krishna. Duryodhana immediately left for Dwaraka and hoped that he would arrive before the meddlesome Arjuna.
Duryodhana smiled as he saw the borders of Dwaraka. He was sure he had reached Dwaraka before Arjuna. When he reached Dwaraka however his spies reported that Arjuna was almost in the outskirts of Dwaraka and would reach the city in a short time. Duryodhana frowned....He nagged the guards and made his way to Krishna's bed chamber and hoped to see Krishna before he even got a chance to see Arjuna.
As Duryodhana was pacing the floor angrily looking at the sleeping form of Krishna, he saw the door open. Duryodhana seethed with fury when he saw Arjuna enter the bedroom.
Duryodhana was almost beside himself with rage... Arjuna had not even spared him a second glance...His eyes were looking only at the sleeping form of the Dark Lord with something close to reverence in his eyes.
Now that Arjuna was inside the bed chamber , Duryodhana realized that his original plan of meeting Krishna first would not work out.....Quickly Duryodhana ran forward and sat near the head of the bed....When Krishna opens his eyes, Krishna would first see him....Duryodhana thought as he looked at Arjuna with almost glee in his eyes.
Arjuna sighed as he sat down near the foot of the bed looking at the Dark Lord. Arjuna was terribly angry even to look at Duryodhana. However, Dark Lord's face somehow gave him peace. He ignored Duryodhana and studied Krishna's sleeping face.
Slowly both the warriors saw the Dark Lord awakening. Krishna got up and opened his eyes. He gave a beautiful smile as he saw Arjuna sitting directly in front of him. 'Partha!' Krishna cried. 'What....' There was a forceful clearing of the throat when Krishna turned his attention and saw Duryodhana looking red faced and angry at the two of them.
'Duryodhana?' Krishna asked looking a little taken aback.
'I came here before him!' Duryodhana said looking a little sullen as he looked angrily at Krishna. 'When I came here....'
'I saw Arjuna first, Duryodhana!' Krishna said looking as if he was trying not to laugh.
Duryodhana stared at Krishna and then at Arjuna, but he was silent.
Krishna looked at the two warriors with amusement. 'Come! Come! Tell me! Why would my palace be graced with the presence of two of greatest warriors in the world and that too at the same time?'
Arjuna looked at Krishna with amusement. 'I think you already know the answer to that question, Krishna!'
'I was going to ask you for the assistance of the Yadavas in the ensuing war!' Duryodhana blurted out .
Krishna looked at Duryodhana and then turned to look at Arjuna. 'I take it...you have also come for the same reason!'
Arjuna looked at Krishna. 'Yes, my Lord! I want your guidance during the war....should it break out!'
'Duryodhana looked at Arjuna smugly...Of course war was the only option...The Pandava was a fool if he thought that war could be avoided...
Krishna looked at the two of them deep in thought. 'Both of you have come to me to ask the same thing....What should I do?'
Duryodhana said angrily. 'I was here before him....You have to grant my wish first!'
Arjuna did not say anything. He just looked at the Dark Lord.
Krishna nodded his head. 'I have a solution....We shall do it this way....I will be on one side....Just me...And....' Krishna said hastily raising his hands. 'I am not going to fight...I will provide guidance and help....but no fighting....' Krishna said shaking his head. Krishna almost smiled when he saw Duryodhana's lips curling angrily and Arjuna's look of utter devotion. 'And on the other side would be the entire Yadava army....All of them....' Duryodhana's eyes widened at the words of the Dark Lord...This was much better than what he had ever hoped for....Which fool would choose one man over the mighty Yadavas...Having Krishna was not a good thing...He would just talk and confuse everyone....He would opt for the army....Duryodhana prayed that Krishna gave him the opportunity to choose first. He was sure Arjuna would choose the army too...
Arjuna was about to talk when Krishna held up his hands. 'Partha! As Duryodhana pointed out, he was the first one to come...he gets to choose first!' Arjuna bit his lip looking worried as he looked at Duryodhana and Krishna.
Duryodhana snorted. 'What sort of a choice is that? I choose the Yadava army!' Duryodhana was feeling exceptionally proud of himself. He had done it....He felt like he had outsmarted the wily Krishna and Arjuna....
Krishna nodded his head. Arjuna let out a deep breath of relief, he had been holding in fear. He still could not imagine the stupidity of Duryodhana....He actually thought he could win the war with Krishna in the opposite camp...Arjuna shook his head...Duryodhana had sealed his own fate....
Krishna looked at the relieved expression in Arjuna's face and looked amused. 'My Lord! I have wanted only you....'
'I am not going to fight, my friend!' Krishna said with a smile.
'I don't want you to!' Arjuna said with a smile. 'Just guide me, my Lord....!'