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It is said that Nara-Narayana sages were born as Arjuna and Krishna respectively. But at the same time Arjuna is biological son of Indra.

Also it is said that Draupadi is incarnation of wives of Dharma, Vayu,Indra and Aswini Kumaras.

So my questions now are

  • Whose soul did Arjuna have? Indra's or Nara's ?

  • If Arjuna had Nara's soul (Atma), is this the reason why Krishna exhorted Bhagavadgita to Arjuna, indirectly saying to himself ?( Lord Vishnu was born as Nara and Narayana brothers.).

  • If assumption in second question is correct, is this the reason behind their friendship?
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  1. Whose soul did Arjuna have? Indra's or Nara's ?

Arjuna was biological son of Indra, and to some extent his soul was partly of Sakra (the Indra). Similarly Krishna was 1/6 of Vishnu. From Adi Parva:

... And Hari (lord Vishnu) took up two hairs from his body, one of which hairs was black and the other white. And those two hairs entered the wombs of two of the Yadu race, by name Devaki and Rohini. And one of these hairs viz., that which was white, became Valadeva. And the hair that was black was born as Kesava's self, Krishna. And those Indras of old who had been confined in the cave on the Himavat are none else than the sons of Pandu, endued with great energy. And Arjuna amongst the Pandavas, called also Savyasachin (using both hands with equal dexterity) is a portion of Sakra.'

"Vyasa continued, 'Thus, O king, they who have been born as the Pandavas are none else than those Indras of old. And the celestial Sri herself who had been appointed as their wife is this Draupadi of extraordinary beauty.

His soul was indeed "Nara". Karna Parva describes about him and Krishna just before the deciding battle with Karna:

When the two Krishnas are excited with wrath, they show regard for nothing. These two bulls among beings are the Creators of all real and unreal things. These two are Nara and Narayana, the two ancient and best of Rishis. There is none to rule over them. They are rulers over all, perfectly fearless, they are scorchers of all foes. In heaven or among human beings, there is none equal to either of them.

So we can say that Arjun's soul was amalgamation of Sakra (the Indra) and sage Nara.
For other Mahabharata characters' previous births refer:
What were the previous births of the characters of Mahabharata?

  1. If Arjuna had Nara's soul (Atma), is this the reason why Krishna exhorted Bhagavadgita to Arjuna, indirectly saying to himself ?( Nara and Narayana were parts of Lord Vishnu).

This can or cannot be a reason for the same.
Though Arjuna had Nara's soul, he was not self realized about it. But in layman's context, Bhagavad Gita was exhorted to Arjuna because he had surrendered his soul to Krishna.

BG 2.7

Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.

But again there can be many reasons, which people can come up with:

  • Krishna was Arjuna's Saarathy and Arjuna was the one who got confused before the war.
  • Bhagavad Gita was said before but was forgotten; Hence for the good for the humanity post Mahabharata, it was recited once more to Arjuna by making him drop his weapons.
  • Yudhishtira was on the right path of Dharma, while Bhima was waiting for the war since the dice game. Remaining Paandava army were obedient to Yudhishtira and Kauravas were to Duryodhana. They did not require any such message giving.
  1. If assumption in second question is correct, is this the reason behind their friendship?

Possibly yes. During Mahabharata, Nara-Narayana took birth as first cousins, but also dear friends and in a way Guru-Shishya too.

How strong lord krishna and Arjuna's friendship was?

  • If Arjuna's soul was Nara's, does that mean Draupadi had portion of Goddess lakshmi soul? – The Destroyer Sep 24 '15 at 11:40
  • @AnilKumar, according to this question's text Draupadi was either Sri/Lakshmi or almagamation of the goddesses Syamala, Bharati, Sachi and Ushas, denoted as Sri because of their opulence. Since Draupadi considered Krishna as an elderly/brotherly figure, she may not be Lakshmiji. Again it's just a speculation. – iammilind Sep 24 '15 at 12:29
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    Actually, Arjuna was an incarnation of Indra as well; see the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata: sacred-texts.com/hin/m01/m01200.htm "And those Indras of old who had been confined in the cave on the Himavat are none else than the sons of Pandu, endued with great energy. And Arjuna amongst the Pandavas, called also Savyasachin (using both hands with equal dexterity) is a portion of Sakra." Arjuna was a incarnation of Indra and a partial incarnation of Vishnu. – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 24 '15 at 13:05
  • By the way, Nara was also a partial incarnation of Vishnu. That's why Narayana taught Nara the Ashtakshari mantra and not the other way around. – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 24 '15 at 13:07
  • Here's a source for Krishna being a one-sixth part: gdurl.com/Ixm9 It's from my question here about Shiva's incarnation Lakukisha: gdurl.com/Ixm9 Also, when it says Hari or Narayana took two hairs, it means Vishnu, not the sage Narayana. It's true that Arjuna and Krishna are rebirths of Nara and Narayana, but the sage Narayana didn't do anything with his hair. Also, sage Narayana shouldn't to as "sage Hari"; he actually had another brother named Hari: hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/3936/36 – Keshav Srinivasan Sep 25 '15 at 6:03

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