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The Sacred Names of Arjuna

In the Gita, Krishna used a number of names to address Arjuna. Even Even in worldly life, a number of titles and names may be conferred on people. In the Gita, it was the embodiment of divinity, Lord Krishna, who conferred the different names on Arjuna. Krishna told Arjuna, "O Arjuna. You are not a child of mortality. You are the divinity itself. You are the son of immortality." In his life Arjuna found himself in a number of trying circumstances in which he acquitted himself heroically. As a result, he was given various titles. To obtain his bow, which was a sacred weapon, he performed severe penance and faced a number of difficult problems. But throughout he persisted with a great deal of faith, courage and conviction.

His determination in the face of all obstacles was ultimately rewarded by gaining the grace of Lord Shiva and winning the bow directly from him. In the process of getting this celestial weapon even the elements of nature went against him, but nothing could deter him from his firm resoluteness and purpose. Because he was able to win that bow, the Lord conferred on him the title, the victor of the bow.

From a worldly point of view, Arjuna could also be thought of as the one who was victorious in gaining wealth. There is a story for this. The oldest of the Pandava brothers, Dharmaraja, who was the king, decided to undertake a great ceremonial sacrifice, performed only by reigning kings. At that time the Pandavas were opposed by the wicked Kauravas. The treasury of the Pandavas was completely empty. They had no money available at all. In the face of such obstacles it would have been nearly impossible to proceed with such a grand ceremony. Still, Dharmaraja insisted on going ahead with the ceremonial sacrifice. He said to Arjuna, "Brother, this occasion will require a very heavy expenditure of funds. We will need a great deal of wealth. How might we raise this money?" Arjuna replied, "Dharmaraja, why worry about money when we have with us the wish-fulfilling tree in the form of Krishna? Why should we be afraid? Once Krishna blesses us we will be able to get any amount of money."

Arjuna went around to the different kings ruling over the surrounding areas to inform them of Dharmaraja's wish to hold the great sacrifice. As soon as these kings heard that Dharmaraja was planning to perform the ceremony, they offered to support Dharmaraja with their own treasuries, and so Arjuna brought back wealth in such huge quantities that it took dozens of elephants to carry it. There were great heaps of gold, silver and jewels. Krishna who had prompted all this, came and acted as if he didn't know anything. He asked Dharmaraja, "Wherever did you get so much wealth? Where did it all come from?" Dharmaraja, out of ignorance and fraternal pride, replied, "It is because of my brother Arjuna that I got all this."

From that day on, Krishna addressed Arjuna as the conqueror of wealth, in this way concealing his own role and announcing to the world that it was Arjuna who was able to gather so much wealth. There were many other names given to Arjuna, such as son of the earth. These names were not intended for Arjuna alone. As you hear these various names you can start applying them to yourself; each contains a deeper meaning and shows how the Lord showers his grace on his devotees. Make them part of you; fully live them by striving to understand their deeper meaning and by putting them into practice in your daily life.