One of the greatest epic, Mahabharata has the honour of being one of the longest epic in world literature. The name means “great [story of the] Bharatas.” Bharata was an early ancestor of both the Pandavas and Kauravas who fight each other in a great war. The conflict arose between two groups of cousins, the Kauravas, and Pandavas, due to the struggle for a dynastic succession for the throne of Hastinapura. Many ancient kingdoms participated as allies of the rival groups in the battle that occurred in Kurukshetra, whose modern day location is the state of Haryana.
In short, it is the story of five heroic brothers who were destined to rule a vast kingdom. Athough, all the five Pandava brothers were skilled and had an eminent role in the great war. Though, Bhim killed all the 100 Kauravas, it was Arjuna who was portrayed as the lead character.
Arjuna was fathered by the grace of Lord Indra, King of Devtas. He lived a luxurious and dramatic life and was in centre of many important events of Mahabharata. Arjuna was destined to embody his father, the warrior king. He was a diligent student of the combative arts, learning everything that his Guru, Dronacharya could teach him and attaining the status of “Maharathi” or outstanding warrior. He was particularly skilled in archery, with much of his proficiency attributable to his habit of practising in the dark. As Dronacharya’s best pupil, Arjuna received instruction in the use of the Brahmasira, an immensely powerful weapon of mass destruction.
Arjuna was the brightest and most accomplished student of Guru Drona. No other student, not even Ashwatthama, son of Drona was anywhere close to him. We’ve heard many stories about him, right from the aim at bird’s eye that portray him way superior than Bhima or any other Pandavas. When Guru Drona asked his students to capture Draupad as his Guru-Dakshina, Arjuna captured Draupad himself. Draupad was so impressed by him that he wished Arjuna to marry his daughter . When no one could hit the fish’s eye in Draupdi Swayamvara it was only Arjuna who was able to complete the task. Futhermore, Lord Agni (Fire) had even gifted Arjuna with his famous bow, Gandiva, an incandescent chariot with four horses yoked, and bearing a flag that would one-day be occupied by Lord Hanuman.
One day accidentally, Arjuna violated the privacy of Yudhishtira and Draupadi. For which, Arjuna was given the punishment to set off for Tirth Yatra. It was there where Arjuna married the princess of powerful kingdoms and thus, indirectly expanding the Pandavas army for a war to come. Arjuna famous elope with Subhadra was one of the main turning point of Mahabharata where the Yadavas and Pandavas officially tied up. Also, during the exile, Arjuna worshipped Lord Shiva to obtain the Pashupatastra and many different weapons from his father Indra.
While highlighting some of the key turning point during the war too, Arjuna was responsible for most of them. Such as, the fall of Bhishma, which was one of the most important turning point of battle; killing of the Trigartas, which failed the plan of Drona to capture Yudhishtira; death of Jayadratha and most important of all was death of Karna the biggest capable rival of Arjuna and the last barrier in victory. Also, the famous Virat Yudh where Arjuna single handedly defeated the entire Kuru Army to save the city from siege tells you about his supremacy over all others.
Above all, he was accompanied by Lord Krishna. He was the only one on the battle field to see that divine Virat Roop of Lord Krishna. Arjuna was a great leader as well as he represented the entire humanity in his famous conversation to Lord Krishna in Bhagvad Gita.
Clearly, Arjuna was at the centre of number of important events of Mahabharata that shaped the story entirely. Definitely, Bhima was a great warrior and was responsible for killing hundreds of Kaurava brothers along with the most important rival, Duryodhan. However, it is Arjuna, a character who outshined everyone else with his, dedication, devotion perfection and skills. Nevertheless, it was evident for him to shine, as the Lord himself was by his side!
Originally published on Quora