Thursday, August 23, 2012

Arjuna on Mahabharata: Character Thursday (25)

Arjuna in Indonesian folklore style

Of all the characters in the ancient Indian mythology Mahabharata, Arjuna was always my favorite. Arjuna is the third of the Pandavas, and is one of the family’s protectors besides Bhima. From the graphic novel version I read, he is very handsome, the most handsome of the brothers, with well built body, the type that easily attracted women. I also believe he has a polite and elegant manner, a good personality to whom everyone enjoys his conversation. Arjuna is the son of Kunti with Indra (the lord of the heavens for sons), so he is a demigod, like all Pandavas.

In swordsmanship, Arjuna is most leading than all his brothers and of the Kauravas. He is perhaps a knight who has the highest skill among the universe. One day the heaven (or where the gods lived) was attacked by a strong and wicked enemy, and it is Arjuna who helped the gods to beat the enemy. For that, Arjuna was allowed to stay for few days in the heaven. From there he could be regarded as gods dear son, a human being whom the gods always protect. Well taught by Kunti, Arjuna—like all Pandavas—has a tender and noble heart, always eager to help others who are weaker and in need.

Woman is always his weakness. I reckoned that he at least married twice in the version I read, but in the original version he also married Draupadi, a woman he won at a competition whom he must share with his four brothers as Kunti’s request. His biggest ‘sin’ was when he was, at his young age, meditating in a cave in a dark forest. At that time a young queen was having a journey, and has been attacked by the forest villains. She ran away from her guards deeper in the forest and arrived at the cave where she—in her astonishment—found a handsome knight who was in his meditation. Out of terrible fear, she disturbed Arjuna’s meditation by her sobs and gentle touch that suddenly turned the young man on. He did not know that she was a queen, he thought she was just a beautiful girl in fright, and decided to seduce her.

Arjuna agreed to help her on one condition, that she must do whatever he asked in return of the protection. The frightful queen agreed without much consideration, and Arjuna killed all the attackers. Arjuna who was already burnt with desire, despite the fact that the woman is a married woman and even a queen, kept seducing her to a degree of almost became a rape. The queen who was cornered, and in order to protect her pureness, threw herself down a cliff and would have died if her god mother have not helped her. And this is what I like from him, Arjuna deeply regretted his big mistake, and was at once confessed his sin in front of his brothers after he returned home. He was also willing to take all the consequences when the woman’s husband (a King) challenged him for duel, and was ready to die to compensate his deed. I always like men (or women) who made mistakes (for all human being must have mistakes in their life) but brave enough to confess it and to take all the consequences. That made Arjuna a real gentleman.

Arjuna was also a man with high persistency and discipline that made him good in meditating (that’s I guess what made him such a strong and skillful knight). When Pandavas were at trouble, he was instructed by Krishna to take a meditation to ask gods for invincible weapon which he would need to protect the Pandavas.

Arjuna (left) with Krishna in Kurukshetra war

Arjuna has always respected his big brothers, especially Yudhisthira who was too weak as a leader and who was incapable of making decisions. At a crucial time when Krishna asked the Pandavas to demand the return of their kingdom from Kauravas, it was Arjuna—together with Bhima—who finally made the decision, while Yudhisthira could not make it.

Although it was not pictured in this graphic novel, I think (and I read about this in later series of Pandavas stories) Arjuna must have swollen with pride from his handsome appearance and being the best knight of the universe, despite of his efforts of being humble. I mean, he seemed to be quite humble in this epic, but I think it only makes sense that a man whom everyone regarded as the highest, must have this quality.

I picked Arjuna illustrations from the graphic novel I read, it is illustrated in Indonesian culture, so the fashion must not reflect the original appearance of Indian men on 500 BCs.

That is my Character Thursday of this week, an analysis of book character of my choice, who is yours?... Just put your post URL in the linky below. Do you like to join us in discussing characters from books you read? See the details of Character Thursday first.


  1. Saya jadi tambah pengen baca ulang buku R.A. Kosasih sejak diterbitkan ulang, duluuu banget baca buku ini, pas SD kayanya.

    Habis ini baca The Palace of Illutions mbak, jadi dibandingin sama versi Divakaruni, walau dari sudut pandang Drupadi sih :)

    1. Sama Mia, aku juga masih SD baca ini. Palace of Illusion udah baca, lumayan bagus kok.

  2. Aaaaahhhhh.......!!!.*masuk ke blog ini karena liat di blogroll ada gambar khas RA Kosasih*

    Cintaaaaaaaaaaaa banget sama komik wayangnya RA Kosasih. Harta berhargaku waktu kecil dulu.

    Lagi baca Mahabrata ya, mbak? Yg versi siapa?
    Kalo udah baca Mahabharata, trus lanjut ke Bharatayudha maka kudu terus ampe Bhagawadgita, mbak. Trus lanjut Parikesit deh, cucunya Arjuna.

    RA Kosasih juga yang gambar itu.

    Btw aku juga suka Arjuna sih. Cuma ya itu...dia playboy sejati. Istrinya (klo gak salah ingat sih) ada 4 : Drupadi, Ulupi, Citranggada (Srikandi), Sumbadra.
    Tapi kayaknya di versi indo, Drupadi dibilang istrinya Yudisthira aja. bener gak sih?
    Ingatanku udah blur euy, bacanya udah waktu SD.

    Oya mbak fanda baca versi aoa?
    Vixxio jual lengkap yg versi RA Kosasih kah?

    1. Aku baca versi RA Kosasih dong, masak gak ngenalin tuh ilustrasinya? Khas banget itu.. Vixxio gak jual, susah carinya. Aku nemu ini di internet kok (beli baru versi HC).

      Tentang Arjuna, di Mahabharata diceritakan hanya Subadra sama Ulupi. Versi asli memang Drupadi itu nikah sama ke-5 Pandawa, kalo Srikandi gak tahu itu versi mana ya?

    2. Berhubung aku bacanya dulu versi RA Kosasih, jadi (rasanya sih) tentang Srikandi itu ada di versi RA Kosasih.

      Aku lupa di versi Kosasih itu disebutnya Citranggada ato Srikandi (kayaknya sih dua2nya), putri kerajaan apa gitu (lupa). Itu cewek dinikahin sama Arjuna pas dalam masa pengasingan. Tapi terus ditinggal karena sesuai perjanjian dgn ayahnya Citranggada, kalo anaknya laki2 harus diserahkan ke bapaknya citranggada spy jadi pewaris tahta.

      Wait....setelah dipikir lagi, kayaknya itu versi drama tv nya deh :|
      Dulu waktu aku SD, di TPI sempat diputar drama seri Ramayana dan Mahabharata versi India.

      Klo disitu kan dibilang Drupadi nikah sama ke-5nya ya. Jadi suatu malam, Arjuna masuk ke kamar tidurnya Drupadi pdhal malam itu gilirannya Drupadi dgn Yudhistira.
      Sesuai perjanjian, Arjuna harus dibuang selama 1 tahun. Selama pembuangan itu, dia ketemu Citranggada aka Srikandi.

      Klo di buku, bagian Arjuna dibuang 1 tahun ada gak ya?
      Trus...yg kisah Srikandi diceritainnya gimana? (lupa banget).

      Btw...versi HC tuh apaan, mbak?
      Emang komiknya Kosasih dicetak ulang?
      Klo jaman dulu kan yg segede majalah itu. Mbak Fanda punyanya yg kayak gitu?

    3. Gak ada Dewi, Srikandi memang sempat menikah di versi RA Kosasih tp sewaktu masih jadi pria (menikah sama putri raja). Ceritanya Srikandi lahir sbg perempuan tp menyamar sbg laki2, nah ada putri raja yg 'jatuh cinta' sama dia, Srikandi bingung krn kalau ngaku dia perempuan, pasti jd perang. Sesuai kehendak dewata dia pergi ke hutan & tukar kelamin dengan raksasa yg baik hati (Srikandi jd laki2, si raksasa jd perempuan). Setelah itu dia menikah sama putri raja itu

      Tentang pengasingan Arjuna, di RA Kosasih ceritanya Arjuna ngintip waktu Yudhistira lagi cinta2an sama Drupadi, Arjuna merasa bersalah jadi dia menghukum diri sendiri dengan mengasingkan diri selama 1 thn.

      Aku baca HC (Hard Cover). Ya, dicetak ulang, memang gede seperti majalah tapi dijadikan 2 buku (bukan 4 seperti versi lama).


What do you think?