About ARJUNA PANDU
Great grand father of tomar clane : Arjun one of the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahābhārata. Arjuna is a central figure in Hindu religion whose name means 'bright', 'shining', 'white' or 'silver' (cf. Latin argentum). Arjuna is thus "The Peerless Archer". The third of the five Pandava brothers, Arjuna was one of the children borne by Kunti, the first wife of Pandu. He is sometimes referred to as the 'fourth Krishna' of the Mahabharata.
Life Of Great Arjun one of the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahābhārata. Arjuna is a central figure in Hindu religion whose name means 'bright', 'shining', 'white' or 'silver' (cf. Latin argentum). Arjuna is thus "The Peerless Archer". The third of the five Pandava brothers, Arjuna was one of the children borne by Kunti, the first wife of Pandu. He is sometimes referred to as the 'fourth Krishna' of the Mahabharata.
Life Of Great Arjun
ARJUNA or Partha was a master archer and played a central role in the conflict between the Pandavas and their adversaries, the sons of Dhritarashtra known as the Kauravas. To begin with, Arjuna was reluctant to take part in battle because of the slaughter he knew he would cause in the enemy ranks, which included many of his own relatives. He was persuaded by his charioteer and close friend Lord Krishna, to change his mind. Their dialogue about issues involved in war—courage, a warrior’s duty, the nature of human life and the soul, and the role of Gods—forms the subject of the Bhagavad Gita, one of the key episodes in the epic Mahābhārata. He also played the key role in killing Karna, his arch-rival, in reality an unknown brother, on the side of the Kauravas.
It is asserted by some sources that the legend of "Ārash, the Parthian Archer" in Persian mythology bears some resemblance to that of Arjuna; this is cited by some as being reminiscent of a shared Indo-Iranian heritage. However, Arjun is an integral part of the Mahābhārata and one of its lead characters. The other central characters in the story are not mentioned in the story of Arash. Lastly, Indian scientists have discovered what they claim to be Dwaraka, or Krishna's city, indicating that the Mahābhārata may indeed have a link to actual events in Indian history, as opposed to being a mythological tale. 
He bears a total of ten names: Arjun, Phalgun, Jishnu, Kiriti, Shwetvaahan, Vibhatsu, Vijaya, Pārth, Savyasachinn (also referred as Sabyasachi), and Dhananjay. When he is asked to say his ten names as a proof of his identity:
"My ten names are - Arjun, Phalgunan, Jishnu, Keeriti, Shwetvaahan, Vibhatsu, Vijaya, Parth, Savyashachee and Dhananjaya. I was called Dhanajaya when I conquered all the kings at the time of Rājsooya Yajna and collected wealth from all of them. I always fight till the end and I always win, that is why I am called Vijaya. My horses which were given to me by Agni Dev are white, that is why I am called Shwetavāhana. My father Indra gave me a beautiful crown when I was with Him, that is why I am called Kiriti. I have never fought by unfair means in any battle that is why I am called Jishnu. I never frighten my enemies by meanness, I can use my both hands when I shoot my arrows, that is why I am called Savyashachee. My complexion is unique like the Arjun tree, and my name is stainless, that is why I am named Arjun. I was born on the slopes of Himvaan in a place called Satsring on a day when the Nakshatra Uttara Phalgunī was in ascent, that is why my name is Phaalgun. I am called Vibhatsu because I am terrible when I am angry. My mother's name is Prithaa, so I am also called Paarth. I have taken an oath that I will destroy that person (and his kinsmen) who hurts my brother Yudhishthira and spills his blood on Earth. I cannot be defeated by anyone." (Mahabharat)
Pandu was unable to sire a child. His first wife Kunti had, in her maiden days, received a boon from sage Durvasa, which enabled her to invoke any deity of her choice and beget a child by such deity. Pandu and Kunti decided to make use of this boon; Kunti invoked in turn Yama Dharmaraja, Vayu and Indra and gave birth to three sons. Arjuna was the third son, born of Indra, king of the demi gods (devas).
Arjun is depicted as a wholesome and well-rounded personality, a healthy mind in a healthy body, a person whom any mother, wife and friend would cherish and be proud of. The son of Indra, Arjun is said to have been well-built and extremely handsome; he married four times, as detailed here. Arjuna was also true and loyal to his friends (his best friend was the great warrior Satyaki); he enjoyed a life-long rapport with his cousin and brother-in-law, Sri Krishna. He was also sensitive and thoughtful, as demonstrated by his misgivings about the Kurukshetra war, which caused Sri Krishna to impart the Gita to him. His sense of duty was acute; he once chose to go into exile rather than refuse to help abrahmin subject, a story detailed elsewhere.
It is as a warrior that Arjun is best known. The foundation for his career as a warrior was laid young; Arjun was an outstanding and diligent student, learning everything that his guru Dronacharyacould teach him, and early attaining the status of "Maharathi" or outstanding warrior. Guru Dronacharya once decided to test his students. He hung a wooden bird from the branch of a tree and then summoned his students. One by one, he asked his students to aim for the eye of the wooden bird and be ready to shoot; then, when they were ready, he would ask the student to describe all that he was able to see. The students generally described the garden, the tree, flowers, the branch from which the bird was suspended and the bird itself. Guru Dronacharya then asked them to step aside. When asked what he could see, Arjuna told his Guru that he could only see the bird's eye. Another story says that Arjuna once noticed brother Bheema, who was a voracious eater, eating in the dark as though it was daylight, and realized that if he could practice archery in the dark he would become vastly more proficient.
The character of Arjuna is described as one whose mind is spotless and clean of all impurities. Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita refers to Arjuna as Anagha, which means pure of heart or sinless. On the 17th day of the Great War when Karna is trying to extricate his chariot from the mud, Arjuna (in spite of all the cruelty and unchivalrous acts previously meted out by Karna to the Pandavas) hesitates to kill Karna. He does so only at the behest of Krishna. This reveals his restrain and self-control. Arjuna's nobility is manifested in his magnanimity in victory and compassion towards adversaries. He bears all the injustice of the Kauravas with stoicism and yet hesitates to kill them just before the war. As Nara of Nara Narayana (an avatar of Vishnu), Arjuna embodies Kshatriya manhood. Krishna being Narayana of the Nara Narayana avatar, symbolizes the atman, and hence the two are inseparable. Arjuna was chosen by Krishna to be his dearest friend and disciple. In the great epic, on several occasions, Krishna reveals his great and eternal love for Arjuna. Krishna states that no one in the world is dearer to him that Arjuna and that there is nothing in the world that he wouldn’t give his friend. In the epic, when Arjuna takes a vow to either kill Jayadratha before sunset or else immolate himself, Krishna remarks to his charioteer, Daruka, that neither his wives nor friends nor kinsmen nor relatives nor any other is dearer to him than Arjuna. He further states that he is unable to live in a world deprived of Arjuna for even a moment. Krishna refers to Arjuna as Purusharshva, which translates to best of men.
1 Etymology and other names 2 Birth and early years 3 Arjuna’s Tirtha-yatra 3.1 Meeting Ulupi 3.2 Chitrangadaa at Manipura 3.3 Reaching Dwarka and Subhadra 4 Burning of Khandava Vana 4.1 Saving Mayasura 5 Conquest for Rajasuya 6 Exile 6.1 Penance for Pashupatastra 6.2 Urvashi’s curse 6.3 Trial with Devastras : Slaying Rakshasas at heaven 6.4 Eunuch at Virata’s Kingdom 7 Kurukshetra War 7.1 Bhagavad Gita 7.2 Battles fought at Kurukshetra 8 Conquest for Ashvamedha 9 Death 10 Character of Arjuna 11 Modern references 12 Notes Etymology and other names
The Mahabharata refers to Arjuna by ten different names. The names and their meanings are as follows. Arjuna - one of taintless fame and glow like silver (Argentum) Phalguna - one born on the star of Phalguna Jishnu - conqueror of enemies Kiriti - one who wears the celestial diadem, Kiriti, presented by Indra Swetavahana - one with white horses mounted to his chariot Bibhatsu - one who always fights wars in a fair manner Vijaya - victorious warrior Partha - Son of Pritha or Kunti Savyasachi - Skillful in using both arms, ambidextrous Dhananjaya - one who conquers riches Gudakesa - Conqueror of sleep Birth and early years
Pandu Shoots the Ascetic Kindama Once, a Brahmin rishi named Kindama and his wife were making love in the forest when Arjuna's father Pandu accidentally shot at them, mistaking them for deer. Before dying, Kindama cursed the king to die when he engages in intercourse. Due to this curse, Pandu was unable to father children. As an additional penance for the murder, Pandu abdicated the throne of Hastinapura and his blind brother Dhritarashtra took over the reins of the kingdom. After Pandu's disability, the Pandavas were conceived in an unusual way. His mother, Queen Kunti, had in her youth been granted the power to invoke the Devas by Rishi Durvasa. Each Deva, when invoked, would bless her with a child. Urged by Pandu to use her boons, Kunti gave birth to Arjuna by invoking the Lord of Heaven, Indra. King Pandu and Kunti purified themselves by severe austerities to Indra for one year before he was born. No other birth in the Mahabharata except Krishna's was celebrated by the devas, sages and apsaras. Along with other Pandava brothers, Arjuna was trained in religion, science, administration and military arts by the Kuru preceptors, Kripa and Drona. Specifically, he became a master in using the bow and the arrow. Arjuna’s strength lay in his extraordinary levels of concentration. In a famous incident under Drona’s tutelage, Drona deemed none of his students other than Arjuna had the steadfast focus to shoot a bird on a tree and was proved right by Arjuna. Arjuna’s Tirtha-yatra
the Swayamvara of Panchala's princess, Draupadi The Pandavas attended the Swayamvara of Panchala's princess, Draupadi, disguised as Brahamans. Among all great kings and other Kaurava princes, Arjuna was the only one to shoot the arrows to break a fish doll, as demanded by the Panchala King Draupada. As per Kunti's wish, along with his brothers, Arjuna was married to Draupadi, who gave birth to a son, Srutakriti. The brothers followed Narada’s advice on a sharing arrangement with regard to Draupadi: each brother will have exclusive rights over her for a year, after which the mantle will shift to the next brother. Moreover any brother intruding on the privacy of the couple will have to go on a 12 year Tirtha-yatra (pilgrimage). However during a freak incident involving chasing out some bandits, Arjuna was forced to enter into the private space of Yudhistira and Draupadi. He accepted the punishment agreed with Narada and set off on a 12-year pilgrimage. Meeting Ulupi
Uluchi meets Arujana Arjuna started his pilgrimage by visiting the source of river Ganga. It was here that he accidentally met the Naga princess, Ulupi. She was deeply infatuated by him and the couple were drawn into days of passionate love-making. Before departing, Ulupi granted him the boon of invincibility in water bodies. Iravan was Arjuna’s son with Ulupi. Chitrangadaa at Manipura Arjuna roamed around other Tirthas in India, including Kalinga and the ashrams of the Saptarishis, Agastya, Vasishta and Bhrigu. Finally he reached the palace of Manipura. Here he was seduced by the king Chitravahana’s daughter, Chitrangadaa. He fell in love with her and requested the king for his daughter’s hand in marriage. The king readily agreed when he knew about Arjuna’s real identity, but sought a promise from Arjuna that their son would remain in Manipura and take over the reins of the kingdom succeeding him. Arjuna agreed, and later spent time in the palace till the birth of his son, Babruvahana. Reaching Dwarka and Subhadra
Arjuna and Subhadra. Painting by Raja Ravi Varma. Arjuna moved to other Tirthas, including the southern regions in Kerala. Finally he reached Dwarka, the place where his cousin Krishna resided. Arjuna had, in his childhood, heard about Krishna’s ravishing sister, Subhadra. Now he was in Dwarka, he felt an intense longing to see her. Krishna knew of Arjuna’s yearning and devised a plan to arrange their meet. Accordingly Arjuna disguised himself as a “yati” and stayed at Subhadra’s palace. Soon the couple managed to fall in love. They spent a year together in Dwarka. Later they moved to a small ashram in Pushkara where they stayed for another year, before moving to Indraprastha. After a few years Abhimanyu was born to Arjuna and Subhadra. Burning of Khandava Vana
Srikrishna offer to build a palace, to mayasura Once when roaming in the Khandava Vana, Arjuna and Krishna met the God of Fire, Agni. Agni was in great hunger and needed to burn down the entire Khandava Vana to quench his hunger. But Takshaka, the serpent-king lived in the same forest and was a friend of Indra’s. So the latter brought down heavy rains to thwart Agni’s plans to burn the woods. Agni requested Krishna and Arjuna to help him realize his goal. The three of them then invoked Varuna, the God of the oceans, who blessed them with the Gandiva – the moon bow created by Brahma. Agni also gave Arjuna an incandescent chariot with four horses yoked and bearing a flag of Hanuman. Arjuna uses the weapon and chariot to fight the Kurukshetra War during the later parts of the epic. Agni presented Krishna with the Sudarshana Chakra. Together with these weapons, Arjuna and Krishna waged a successful battle against Indra and helped Agni burn down the entire Khandava Vana including all its demons and evil spirits. Saving Mayasura In their demolition of Khandava Krishna and Arjuna had saved one demon, Mayasura. Mayasura was a great architect who soon constructed the Maya assembly hall – a gigantic palace for the Pandavas in Indraprastha. Conquest for Rajasuya
Possible route taken by Arjuna for the Rajasuya sacrifice. Arjuna was sent north by Yudhisthira to subjugate kingdoms for the Rajasuya Yagya, after crowning as the Emperor of Indraprastha. The Mahabharata mentions several kingdoms to the east of Indraprastha which were conquered by Arjuna. Some of them are as under. Bhagadatta of Pragjyotisha, Dhananjaya Vrihanta, the king of Uluka Modapura, Vamadeva, Sudaman, Susankula, the Northern Ulukas, and the kings of those countries and peoples Devaprastha, the city of Senavindu Viswagaswa of Puru's race Seven tribes called Utsava-sanketa Kshatriyas of Kashmira and also king Lohita along with ten minor chiefs Trigartas, the Daravas, the Kokonadas, and various other Kshatriyas town of Avisari Rochamana ruling in Uraga Singhapura Regions Suhma and Sumala Valhikas Daradas along with the Kambojas Robber tribes that dwelt in the north-eastern regions Lohas, the eastern Kambojas, and northern Rishikas country of the Limpurushas ruled by Durmaputra Harataka Various lakes and tanks sacred to the Rishis regions ruled by the Gandharvas that lay around the Harataka territories. Here the conqueror took, as tribute from the country, numerous excellent horses called Tittiri, Kalmasha, Manduka. North Harivarsha city of Sakraprastha Exile
After Yudhisthira succumbed to Shakuni's challenge in the game of dice, the Pandavas were forced to be in exile for 13 years, which included one year in anonymity. Penance for Pashupatastra
Kiratarjuniya Indra had promised Arjuna to give all his weapons before the eventual war with the Kauravas, but on the condition that he would receive the Pashupatastra from Lord Shiva. Sage Vyasa advised Arjuna to go on a tapasya to fetch this divine weapon. Arjuna left his brothers for a penance. Arjuna travelled for a while before reaching the mountain Indrakila. Here he sat in meditation of the name of Lord Shiva. Shiva appeared soon enough in the guise of a hunter. Shiva challenged Arjuna for a fight and although he defeated Arjuna, Shiva was very pleased with bravery and prowess of the prince. Consequently, Shiva transformed himself to show his real avatar and blessed Arjuna with the Pashupatastra. Other Devas like Kubera, Yama, Varuna and Indra followed suit and blessed each of their potent weapons to Arjuna. Indra also invited his son to his palace in the Heaven. Arjuna was amazed at the splendor of his father’s palace at Amaravathi. Dancers like Urvashi, Tilottama, Rambha and Menaka entertained him. There was a huge banquet serving different varieties of tasty and heavenly dishes. Arjuna learnt song and dance from the Gandharva, Chitrasena. Indra himself taught him to wield the divine astras, and also gifted him with his own Vajra. Urvashi’s curse
Urvashi’s curse Indra had noted the passionate glances exchanged between Arjuna and Urvashi during his stay. He commanded Urvashi to spend a night with Arjuna. However Arjuna did not have any sexual attraction for Urvashi, and so called her a mother, equal in respect to Kunti. Urvashi was annoyed and cursed him that he will become a eunuch who will live among women, singing and dancing. On Indra’s request, Urvashi reduced her curse to a period of one year, the thirteenth year of Pandavas’ exile. Trial with Devastras : Slaying Rakshasas at heaven Arjuna got the opportunity to test his skills with the divine weapons at Indra’s palace itself. Arjuna was taken to the palace of the Nivatakavachas, a tribe of Rakshasas who had a magnificent palace under the oceans. Arjuna used the mohini astra and the madhava astra to demolish these asuras. He was also taken to Hiranyapuri, a palace in the sky created by a witch Puloma and his asura tribe of the Kaalakeyas. Here Arjuna used the Pashupatastra and annihilated the demons. Eunuch at Virata’s Kingdom
Brihannala - Eunuch at Virata’s Kingdom Main article: Brihannala Along with his brothers, Arjuna spent his last year of exile in the kingdom of Virata. Urvashi’s curse came true and he became a eunuch and called himself Brihannala (within themselves Pandavas called him Vijaya). He taught song and dance, qualities he had learnt from Chitrasena, to the king's daughter, Uttarā_(Mahabharata). Later Arjuna arranged for Uttara to become his daughter-in-law by marrying his son Abhimanyu to her. At Virata, a host of Kaurava warriors that included Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Ashwattama and Duryodhana attacked Virata. Arjuna single handedly defeated this great host of Kaurava warriors with only the prince of Virata (who was only a mere boy) for a charioteer. Kurukshetra War
A statue of Arjuna and Lord Krishna, with Krishna as the sarathi or charioteer Main article: Bhagavad Gita As the battle nears, Arjuna was overcome with self-doubts about the righteousness of the war against his own kith and kin. He was aggrieved at having to fight his dear teacher, Drona and the fatherlike Bhishma. It was then that Krishna took charge and explained the necessity and inevitability of the war to Arjuna. This conversation is a key part of the Mahabharata and is considered as a holy scripture of Hinduism. Battles fought at Kurukshetra Arjuna was a key Pandava warrior and played a huge role in the Kurukshetra war. His flag bore the symbol of Hanuman. Some of the crucial battles fought by Arjuna are as follows:
Defeat of Jayadratha Defeat of Jayadratha: Arjuna held Jayadratha responsible for Abhimanyu's death on the thirteenth day of the war. He vowed to kill him the very next day before sunset, failing which he would kill himself by jumping in a pyre. The Kauravas smartly hid Jayadratha from Arjuna, in a back-handed way to kill Arjuna. However Krishna created an artificial eclipse by using his Sudarshana Chakra to hide the sun, forcing Kauravas to believe the day was over and Arjuna’s death was imminent. Presently Jayadratha reappeared in joy, even as the sun emerged from the eclipse. Arjuna promptly used his most powerful weapon, Pashupatastra to slaughter Jayadratha.
Arjuna Slays Karna, page from a copy of the Razmnama, Mughal period Defeat of Karna: Karna and Arjuna were sworn enemies in the epic, each having taken an oath to kill the other in the battle. On the seventeenth day of battle the two foes faced each other once more. This battle between Arjuna and Karna is perhaps the most cataclysmic and awesome of the great epic. The warriors on the battlefield and the Devas in Swarga watched the battle in speechless amazement and terrified admiration of the strength and skill of these greatest of warriors. The epic states that initially the battle was even between the two foes but then Karna's chariot wheel gets stuck in the mud. Further, owing to a curse Karna received from his guru Parasurama, Karna forgets the mantra to invoke the Brahmastra. The epic states that Arjuna, always righteous, hesitates to attack his foe at this juncture but Krishna commands Arjuna to attack Karna and reminds Arjuna of all the atrocities that Karna committed against the Pandavas, such as, his instigation and participation of their wife Draupadi's public humiliation and disrobing, and his participation in the treacherous and cowardly killing of Arjuna's son Abhimanyu. Krishna reminds Arjuna that Karna sided with adharma (unrighteousness) and had no right at this point in his life to invoke dharma (righteousness). Arjuna hence kills Karna using the Anjalika weapon to decapitate him. Conquest for Ashvamedha
After the conclusion of the war, the Pandavas take charge of Hastinapura, the undivided realm of their ancestors. Yudhishira appointed Arjuna as the in-charge for the army and security forces of Hastinapura. Yudhisthira decided to hold the Ashvamedha Yagna, or "horse sacrifice", to grant them the title of Chakravarti ("Emperor"). Arjuna led the armed forces which followed the horse around its random wanderings. He received the submission of many kings, either without or following an armed confrontation. He was thus instrumental in the expansion of the Pandava domains. Some of the campaigns are as under: Uttarapatha, including those of Pragjyotisha, Uluka, Modapura, Vamadeva, Sudaman, Susankula, Northern Uluka, Puru kingdom of Viswagaswa, Utsava-Sanketa, Lohita, Trigarta, Darava, Abhisara, Kokonada, Ursa, Simhapura, Suhma, Sumala, Balhika, Darada, Kamboja. Transoxiana region (Sakadvipa or Scythia), the Lohas, Parama Kambojas, Northern Rishikas (or Parama Rishikas), Limpurushas, Haratakas, Gandharvas and the Uttarakurus. Trigarta: Ketuvarman and Dhritavarman King Vajradatta, son of Bhagadatta Saindhava Manipura and death by Babruvahana:
Arjuna is killed by his son Babhruvahana in battle - a composite Razmnama illustration circa 1616 Arjuna went to Manipura, where the king was Babruvahana, his own son with Chitrangadaa. Seeing his father Babruvahana came all the way to receive Arjuna. Arjuna was very upset that Babruvahana did not respect the duties worthy of a King and did not ask for war. He cursed his son as a coward and asked him to prepare for war. In the fight between father and son Babruvahana killed Arjuna, but Ulupi, the snake-princess used the Mritasanjivani, a boon from Ganga Devi to bring Arjuna back to life. It is later stated that the defeat was because of Arjuna’s using Shikhandi to plot Bhishma’s death. Magadha, Rajagriha and King Meghasandhi Chedi and other kingdoms Kasi, Anga, Kosala, Kirata and Tanga kingdoms. Arjuna accepted due honors from respective rulers. Dakarna Nishada: Arjuna was able to defeat the Nishada King, the son of Eklavya. Andhra people led by Mahishaksha, tribes of Kolwa hills Saurashtra, Gokarn city and Prabhaska Dwarvati and Vrishni race Punjab Gandhara Death
Upon the onset of the Kali yuga and the death of Krishna, Bhima and other Pandavas retired, leaving the throne to their only descendant to survive the war of Kurukshetra, Arjuna's grandson Parikshit. Giving up all their belongings and ties, the Pandavas, accompanied by a dog, made their final journey of pilgrimage to the Himalayas. It is also to be noted that the listener of the Mahabharata is Janamejaya, a son in the lineage of Arjuna. Character of Arjuna
Arjuna meets Sri Krishma at Prabhasa teertha The character of Arjuna is described as one whose mind is spotless and clean of all impurities. Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita refers to Arjuna as Anagha, which means pure of heart or sinless. On the 17th day of the Great War when Karna is trying to extricate his chariot from the mud, Arjuna (in spite of all the cruelty and unchivalrous acts previously meted out by Karna to the Pandavas) hesitates to kill Karna. He does so only at the behest of Krishna. This reveals his restrain and self-control. Arjuna's nobility is manifested in his magnanimity in victory and compassion towards adversaries. He bears all the injustice of the Kauravas with stoicism and yet hesitates to kill them just before the war. As Nara of Nara Narayana (an avatar of Vishnu), Arjuna embodies Kshatriya manhood. Krishna being Narayana of the Nara Narayana avatar, symbolizes the atman, and hence the two are inseparable. Arjuna was chosen by Krishna to be his dearest friend and disciple. In the great epic, on several occasions, Krishna reveals his great and eternal love for Arjuna. Krishna states that no one in the world is dearer to him that Arjuna and that there is nothing in the world that he wouldn’t give his friend. In the epic, when Arjuna takes a vow to either kill Jayadratha before sunset or else immolate himself, Krishna remarks to his charioteer, Daruka, that neither his wives nor friends nor kinsmen nor relatives nor any other is dearer to him than Arjuna. He further states that he is unable to live in a world deprived of Arjuna for even a moment. Krishna refers to Arjuna as Purusharshva, which translates to best of men.
Sri Arjuna In Three Genders In Vedic narratives Sri Arjuna manifests all three genders—male, female, and hermaphrodite. He is most popularly known in his male form as the heroic warrior of the Mahabharata, the disciple of Sri Krsna in Bhagavad Gita and the husband of Draupadi. He is very, very dear to Lord Krsna. It is said that when Krsna first met Arjuna tears came to His eyes and He embraced Arjuna wholeheartedly—this was because Arjuna reminded Krsna of His intimate cowherd friend in Vraja of the same name. Krsna and Arjuna became instant companions and spent many years together in deep friendship. In the Mahabharata (Sauptika Parva, XII), Krsna states, “I have no dearer friend on earth than Arjuna, and there is nothing that I cannot give to him including my wives and children.” In the Drona Parva of the same text, Krsna reiterates, “O Daruka, I shall not be able to cast my eyes, even for a single moment, on the earth bereft of Arjuna…Know that Arjuna is half of my body.” Once, when Krsna had to leave Hastinapura for Dvaraka, He quickly hurried to the apartments of Arjuna and spent the entire night with him in happy slumber, even at the risk of upsetting His temperamental wife, Satyabhama. As inseparable friends, Arjuna and Krsna are said to be nondifferent from the two Vedic sages of the Himalayas, Nara and Narayana. In a lesser-known narrative from the Padma Purana (5.74.60-198), Arjuna is transformed into a female—the beautiful cowherd maiden Arjuni. After continuously expressing his desire to know all about Krsna’s divine sporting affairs, Krsna finally relents. He instructs Arjuna to bathe in a sacred lake, wherefrom he arises as a beautiful, youthful maiden. Worshiping Sri Radha, the maiden Arjuni is granted permission to sport with Krsna. However, upon seeing Krsna and His beautiful male features, Arjuni becomes wonderstruck and overwhelmed with love, exhibiting all types of ecstatic symptoms and then fainting. Seeing her overcome with desire, Krsna takes Arjuni’s hand and guides her into His pleasure forest where He sports with her secretly and at will. After some time Krsna returns Arjuni to Radha, who then instructs her to again bathe in the lake. Arjuna thus regains his male form but is left depressed and heartbroken. Krsna reassures Arjuna and, by touching him, restores his male awareness and nature. One of the most popular narratives of Arjuna is his appearance as the male-to-female transgender, Brihannala. When Arjuna refuses the advances of the celestial courtesan, Urvasi, she curses him to become a shandha—an effeminate man who dresses and behaves like a woman. Indra reduces the curse to one year, and this turns out to be a blessing in disguise—Arjuna is able to use the so-called curse to his advantage during his exile in the capital city of Virata. Arjuna enters the city as Brihannala, a most unusual transgender woman with masculine features but an exceedingly effeminate gait, manner of speech, and attire. Brihannala is donned in a woman’s blouse and draped in red silk. Wearing numerous bangles, earrings and necklaces, she enters the royal palace with the gait of a broad-hipped woman. After Brihannala requests the king, Maharaja Virata, for employment, he grants her service in the lady’s chamber as a teacher of dancing, singing, music, and hairdressing—typical occupations for people of the third sex during Vedic times. It is also said that during this one-year period, Brihannala performed all of the traditional duties of the shandha by dancing and offering blessings at wedding and birth ceremonies.