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By Julian F. Woods

Considers the questions of loose will within the nice India epic, the Mahabharata.

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5– 16). 90ff), and Na¯rada, are also important mercurial figures who bring their divine knowledge to bear on the meanings of the lives of the major actors. 15). Disembodied voices heard at the birth of the Pa¯nw dw avas also comment on the roles they are called upon to play; for example, Yudhisw tw hira will be the greatest of the upholders of the dharma . . 6). 9). 18). 2–5). 29–35) make it quite clear that it is Arjuna—the equal of Ra¯ma Ja¯madagnya (the previous avatar) and the peer of Visw nw u in strength—to whom the future destiny of the world has been entrusted, not Yudhisw tw hira, the incarnation of the god Dharma.

We must therefore lower the microscope from these macrocosmic heights to examine the force of Destiny as revealed and experienced within the microcosm of human life (daiva with a small d). The contextual use of the word suggests that daiva may either further or, more commonly, hinder human purposes in two ways. ” This would suggest that character itself is daiva. Secondly, these higher influences may confront the individual from without, either in the form of some insurmountable obstacle, or as a force that deflects or halts the course of an action already launched upon the world.

2). Deaths Engineered by Krw sw nw a Krw sw nw a uses these skills to good effect in engineering the deaths of a number of the combatants. One of the early examples is the death of Ghatw otkaca on the Pa¯nw dw ava side, who is killed by Karnw a with a magic javelin that could be used only once, and that had always been intended for Arjuna. The other Kaurava leaders had urged Karnw a night after night to employ his magic spear against Arjuna or Krw sw nw a. 37). 3). This lightness of heart is attributed to the success of Krw sw nw a’s long-held plan to use this demonson of Bhı¯ma to divest Karnw a of the one asset that remained to him for the destruction of Arjuna (he had already been divested of his natural 40 ¯ BHA ¯ RATA DESTINY AND HUMAN INITIATIVE IN THE MAHA armor and golden earrings).

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