I read different stories in articles about Arjuna death (Killed by Yama, Killed by Babruvahana during Ashwamedha Yagya and Arjuna finally died during his journey to Swargaloka)

According to Wiki sources: "It is also to be noted that the listener of the Mahabharata is Janamejaya, Parikshit's son. Except for Yudhishthira, all of the Pandavas grew weak and died before reaching heaven (only Yudhishthira is allowed to keep his mortal body). Arjuna was the fourth one to fall after Draupadi, Sahadeva and Nakula".

All stories apart, So My question was there are any Scripture describe exact reason or Curse behind Arjuna death? If Arjuna killed or weak why didn't Krishna help him for journey to Swargaloka (Heaven)?


1 Answer 1


Arjuna died twice. Let me address each of the three stories you mentioned:

  1. During the end of their time in the forest, all the Pandavas except Yudhishthira temporarily died after drinking water from a lake. Here's how this chapter of the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata describes Arjuna's temporary death:

    Thus addressed, the intelligent Gudakesa, taking his bow and arrows and also his naked sword, set out tor that lake of waters. And reaching that spot, he whose car was drawn by white steeds beheld those tigers among men, his two younger brothers who had come to fetch water, lying dead there. And seeing them as if asleep, that lion among men, exceedingly aggrieved, raised his bow and began to look around that wood. But he found none in that mighty forest. And, being fatigued, he who was capable of drawing the bow by his left hand as well, rushed in the direction of the water. And as he was rushing (towards the water), he heard these words from the sky, 'Why dost thou approach this water? Thou shalt not be able to drink of it by force. If thou, O Kaunteya, can answer the question I will put to thee, then only shalt thou drink of the water and take away as much as thou requirest, O Bharata!' Thus forbidden, the son of Pritha said, 'Do thou forbid me by appearing before me! And when thou shalt be sorely pierced with my arrows, thou wilt not then again speak in this way!' Having said this, Partha covered all sides with arrows inspired by mantras. And he also displayed his skill in shooting at an invisible mark by sound alone. And, O bull of the Bharata race, sorely afflicted with thirst, he discharged barbed darts and javelins and iron arrows, and showered on the sky innumerable shafts incapable of being baffled. Thereupon, the invisible Yaksha said, 'What need of all this trouble, O son of Pritha? Do thou drink only after answering my questions! If thou drink, however, without answering my questions, thou shalt die immediately after.' Thus addressed, Pritha's son Dhananjaya capable of drawing the bow with his left hand as well, disregarding those words, drank of the water, and immediately after dropped down dead.

    But this just a test of Yudishthira by his father Yama the god of death, who revived the rest of the Pandavas once Yudhishthira passed the test as described in another chapter of the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata.

    Then agreeable to the words of the Yaksha the Pandavas rose up; and in a moment their hunger and thirst left them.... Having said these words, the worshipful Lord of justice, who is the object of contemplation of all the worlds, vanished therefrom; and the high-souled Pandavas after they had slept sweetly were united with one another. And their fatigue dispelled, those heroes returned to the hermitage, and gave back that Brahmana his firesticks.

  2. When Arjuna fought his son Babruvahana in the course of defending the horse in Yudhishthira's Ashwamedha Yagna, Babruvahana hit Arjuna with an arrow, and Arjuna fainted and appeared dead as described in this chapter of the Ashwamedha Parva of the Mahabharata

    The mighty Vabhruvahana, thinking that his father was no longer able to face him, again afflicted him with many shafts resembling snakes of virulent poison. From a spirit of boyishness he then vigorously pierced his father in the breast with a whetted shaft equipt with excellent wings. That shaft, O king, penetrated the body of Pandu's son and reaching his very vital caused him great pain. The delighter of the Kurus, Dhananjaya, deeply pierced therewith by his son, then fell down in a swoon on the Earth, O king.

    But then the Naga princess Ulupi, who was another wife of Arjuna (as opposed to Babruvahana's mother Chitrangada), explained to Babruvahana that she had just used her magical powers to make Arjuna appear dead, and then she gave him a gemstone to revive his father, as described in the next chapter of the Ashwamedha Parva of the Mahabharata:

    The daughter of the prince of snakes taking it up, uttered these words that highly gladdened the combatants standing on the field. 'Rise up, O son. Do not grieve. Jishnu has not been vanquished by thee. This hero is incapable of being vanquished by men as also by the deities with Vasava himself at their head I have exhibited this illusion, deceiving your senses, for the benefit of this foremost of men, viz., thy illustrious sire. O thou of Kuru's race, desirous of ascertaining the prowess of thyself, his son, this slayer of hostile heroes, O king, came here for battling with thee. It was for that reason, O son, that thou wert urged by me to do battle. O puissant king, O son, do not suspect that thou hast committed any, even the least, fault, by accepting his challenge. He is a Rishi, of a mighty soul, eternal and indestructible. O dear son, Sakra himself is incapable of vanquishing him in battle. This celestial gem has been brought by me, O king. It always revives the snakes as often as they die. O puissant king, do thou place this gem on the breast of thy sire. Thou shalt then see the son of Pandu revived.' Thus addressed, the prince who had committed no sin, moved by affection for his sire, then placed that gem on the breast of Pritha's son of immeasurable energy. After the gem had been placed on his breast; the heroic and puissant Jishnu became revived. Opening his red eyes he rose up like one who had slept long. Beholding his sire, the high-souled hero of great energy, restored to consciousness and quite at his ease, Vabhruvahana worshipped him with reverence.

    So as you can see, Arjuna did not actually die in this story.

  3. Arjuna finally died once and for all after Krishna departed the Earth, while the Pandavas were trying to climb to Swargarohini mountains in an attempt to go to Swarga in their own body. Other then Yudishthira, each of the remaining Pandavas fell off the Swargarohini mountains due to some personal failing that rendered them unworthy of going to Swarga in their own body. In particular Arjuna fell off because he was too arrogant concerning his prowess in battle, as described in this chapter of the Swargarohanika Parva of the Mahabharata:

    Beholding Nakula and the others fall down, Pandu’s son Arjuna of white steeds, that slayer of hostile heroes, fell down in great grief of heart. When that foremost of men, who was endued with the energy of Shakra, had fallen down, indeed, when that invincible hero was on the point of death, Bhima said unto the king, ‘I do not recollect any untruth uttered by this high-souled one. Indeed, not even in jest did he say anything false. What then is that for whose evil consequence this one has fallen down on the Earth?’ Yudhishthira said, ‘Arjuna had said that he would consume all our foes in a single day. Proud of his heroism, he did not, however, accomplish what he had said. Hence has he fallen down. This Phalguna disregarded all wielders of bows. One desirous of prosperity should never indulge in such sentiments.’

    On a side note, you asked why Krishna didn't prevent the death of Arjuna. Krishna had already departed he Earth by that point. That is the whole reason the Pandavas decided to depart the Earth as well.

So out of the three stories, only two involve actual death.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .