“I have come to win the war for you, Arjuna! Without your lifting your bow, I shall make corpses of Duryodhana’s best kshatriyas. When I have slain your enemies, I shall make a gift of the earth to you! Fear nothing any more, Arjuna, your war is already won.”As expected, the proud Arjuna is outraged by this and tells Rukmi to bugger off (in slightly more high-falutin language):
“Dare you come here and speak to me of my being afraid? Who are you that you dare speak of winning the war for us? We have no need for the likes of you. You may stay or leave, as you please.”So Rukmi leaves, rides straight to Duryodhana and speaks to the Kaurava in much the same vein. And predictably:
Duryodhana laughed in his face. So the lord of Vidarbha returned to his capital, seething. Thus, apart from Krishna’s brother Balarama, he was the only king of Bharatvarsha who did not fight in the Kurukshetra war.“Seething”, indeed. Like he had been forced to miss the college prom or something. I mean, here the end of the Dwapara Yuga is in sight, jackals are howling away forebodingly, vultures are making whatever sounds they make and you have every billboard and advertising agency in the place proclaiming the onset of the war to end all wars – the war that will end the lives of nearly all who participate in it, and make living corpses of the survivors. And it’s compulsory for everyone to attend. But here’s this clever king who wriggles neatly out of the whole mess just by stoking the egos of the main players.
I say smart cookie, this Rukmi. We should all aspire to be like him. Only then will the great wars of our own time be avoided.