16 Different Names of Arjuna And Stories Associated With Them

16 Different Names of Arjuna And Stories Associated With Them
Krishna Instructs Arjuna (Gita Upadesh)/Source: Salagram
At one point of time, till I haven't read the Eklavya story, I did not know anything about Arjuna. For me, he was just a friend of Krishna, who is shown playing a secondary role to Krishna in B R Chopra's Mahabharat. But from that day, when I learned about Eklavya, I started hating him for no reason (as this was Dronacharya fault and because of his favoritism, Eklavya lost his thumb), and similarly, when I heard about Karna's story for the first time, I started hating him more (but this was more Kunti's fault, not his. More than her, it was society's fault, and Arjuna was part of that society, when he called Karna "Sutputra")

But when I saw the Mahabharata again, at the age of twenty one (I haven't still read the Mahabharata at that point of time), I realized that he was just an ordinary, confused, and fallible being, just like all of us, but with some peculiar qualities that make him stand out among all. Most important one is his will to achieve excellence, glory, and greatness. And maybe this is why I started appreciating him. And maybe this is why, despite all his faults, Dronacharya, Bhishma, Krishna, and everyone else favored him than anyone else. And maybe this is why, even today, everyone recognizes him as the sole hero of the Mahabharata war, only for his will to achieve greatness.

Impressed by humaneness of his character and will to achieve the greatness, here I have drafted this post to tell you different stories that are associated with him and his different names. Hope you will learn something new today.

The first ten names are enumerated by the Arjuna, himself, when the Prince of Matsya Kingdom, Uttara*, asks him to prove his identity. And rest of the names can be found in different sections of the Mahabharata or are associated with him, thanks to folklores and old wives' tales.

Arjuna tells Prince Uttara, the reason why they call him Arjuna, because of his complexion is very rare (like Arjuna Tree) within the four boundaries of earth and also because of his acts are always stainless.

He is known as Phalgun as he was born on the slopes of Himavat (or Himalaya) in a place called Satsring on the day when constellation Uttara Phalgun was on the ascendant.

He is called Jishnu because he is unmatched and uncontrollable when he is in the battleground. He is called Jishnu also because he is like his father, the slayer of Paka.

Arjuna is known as Keertin because of Indra, his celestial father, presented him a diadem, resplendent like the Sun, after his win over powerful Danvas.

During a fight between Agni and Indra, Arjuna chose to take the side of Agni, despite the fact, he know, Indra is his father. On which, Agni gifted him the celestial bow Gandiva and a chariot with four white horses. And because of his chariot, he became to be known as Shwetavahana.

Arjuna tells Prince Uttara, he is known as Vibhatsu, because of terror he wields within the hearts of his enemies.

Arjuna tells Uttara, once he goes out to battle invincible kings, he never returns from the battleground without having Vijaya over them.

Many don't know, Arjuna is also known as Krishna, because of his dark illuminating skin. Arjuna tells Uttara while describing his ten names, "my tenth appellation, was given to me by my father out of affection towards his black-skinned boy of great purity."

So Vasudeva Krishna is not only Krishna, there are two more Krishna, one is Arjuna and other is Draupadi.

Arjuna tells he never fights with meanness. He gives due respect to his enemies and because of his ability to use Gandiva with such excellence, he is known as Savyasachee.

He is known as Dhananjaya, as he conquered all the King who resisted him during the Raja Surya Yagna and collected precious gifts from them.

He is known as Partha, as Krishna candidly call him because he is the son of Pritha (Kunti). Pritha was the original name of the Kunti. They used to call her Kunti because she was the Princess of Kunti-Bhoja Kingdom.

The name Gudakesha is composite of two Sanskrit words, "Gudaka" and "Isha", where Gudaka means "darkness" or "sleep" and Isha simply means "lord" or "conqueror". So the two words give the meaning, "one who is lord of the sleep" or "one who has conquered over the darkness."

It is interesting to know, Krishna is also known as Hrishikesha, which means one who has conquered the senses.

Arjuna is also known as Kapidhwaja, because of the flag on his chariot. His flag (Dhwaja) has the image of Hanuman (Kapish), as Hanuman once shattered his pride of being best warrior and archer on the earth, and on that day, he learned how to be humble and appreciative of others.

Gandivadhara is simply another sobriquet, he earned because of his capabilities to use Gandiva. As mentioned earlier, the Gandiva was gifted to him by Agni, along with the Chariot and the Conch, because of his truthfulness.

As the third of the Pandava brothers, younger than Yudhisthira and Bhima, and elder than twins Nakula and Sahadeva, he became to be known as Madhyapandava.

This was the name assumed by the Arjuna when they were spending the thirteenth (and secret) year of their exile. He taught dance and music to Princess Uttara* and served as the charioteer to the Prince Uttara in Matsya-Kuru War. At the end of war, Arjuna discloses his identity to Prince Uttara and enumerates his first ten names.**

Along with Karna, Yudhishthira, and Bhima, Arjuna was also known as Kaunteya.

*Don't be confused with Prince Uttara and Princess Uttara. Prince Uttara is pronounced as Uttar and Princess Uttara is pronounced as Uttaraa. However, thanks to the transliteration, they are spelled exactly same.
**Source: The Mahabharata, Book 4: Virata Parva: Go-harana Parva: Section XLIV

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