Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Five Brothers ( Krishnavatara III ) - K M Munshi

The third book on the Krishnavatara Series focus on the Hastinapura. Krishna is now grown up in age and in stature. Married to Rukmini and Shaibya, he is now the undisputed hero of the entire Aryavarta. Kings and emperors now queue up to his goodwill, as the Yadava clan are now rich and powerful.  Sri K M Munshi continued from where he left in Book 2, taking us through the development of Krishna as a master task master and a powerful state man. We see a master manipulator and a cunning , crafty and intelligent deal maker in the making.

The book largely focus on the Pandavas with their struggle for power with Duryodhana. Taking us through the events at 'Varanavata' and their living in disguise in th e'Rakshasa' land, before magically appearing at the 'swayamvara' of Draupadi.  It starts with Drona's defeat of the King of Panchala, with the help of his disciples , the young princes of Hastinapura, to take avenge of the humiliation he received at the hand of Drupada.  Having defeated him and secured half of his kingdom,  Drona is now a changed man. From the sage who taught the princes the ways of arms, he now an owner of a small empire. It is his interest to grow his hold on the events and for which it was important that the Kauravas and Pandavas are not in unity. We see the darker side of a sage here, who tries to meddle with the affairs of the kingdom of Hastinapura. 

On the other side, Drupada is taken an oath to take revenge on Drona. At the current situation, it is not easy to attack the mightier Hastinapura. An alliance with Jarasandha of Magadh could prove disastrous. It is thus important to have an equally powerful ally. The only name that is worthy of this stature is Krishna, the hero of millions. His attempts to lure Krishna into a wedding alliance with his daughter, did not succeed, however he managed to get Krishna's support in seeking a suitable bride groom for Draupadi, who will be the best bow-man in the entire Aryavarta. A date for 'swayamvara' was thus fixed, leaving the rest to Krishna to manage.

Krishna on his part is worried about the safety of Pandavas. The rumour has it that they were burnt to death at 'Varanavata'. A visit to Hastinapura and meeting with the grand old lady , and the venerable Bhishma allayed the fears. It was now his resolve to find out the whereabout of the brothers and get them out at the appropriate time.

The real task master is now emerge. Casting his die around various empires, Krishna was busy securing many things at a time. He has to ensure that the Pandavas are safe and hidden. He has to live upto the promise he has given to the King of Panchala and his daughter, he has to ensure the relevance of Yadavas and their might is preserved,  secure the alliance of Panchala to the best of Pandavas and hinder the influence of Magadh in the aryavarta.

With awe, one see the writer crafting these events with such great skill,  His writing and the construct were apt for the right occasion. The incident with Bhanumati, the King Bhima and his life with Hidimbi, the devotion of Uddhava, the intelligence of Draupadi and many such observations were testimony to the brilliance of the writer.  The series continue to impress me with its freshness and the clarity with which K M Munshi progressing epic of Krishna.  Not as profound as the Book 2, but still a phenomenal job.

The Five Brothers ( Krishnavatara III ) 1965

Kulapathi K M Munshi

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan

370 Pages

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