When Asvathaman used the Brahma astra to destroy the Pandavas and Arjuna also invoked the Brahma astra, the Rishi Vyasa asked them both to withdraw it, but Asvathaman could not do it. His directing it to the unborn child of Abhimanyu, his inability and unwillingness to withdraw it shows his unworthiness. Yet these important secrets were taught to him and which endangered the human race.
Thus despite Drona’s high spiritual and occult abilities, he was tied by the bonds of attachment which ultimately destroyed him. Arjuna, on the other hand, though he suffered the same loss of a son, which Drona thought he had, did not lose heart. Though greatly angered, he relied entirely on the strength of Sri Krishna and his own hard work. Thus he was able to cross great hurdles and yet kill Jayadratha. But Drona was so dispirited by news of his son’s death that he forgot his duty to the king whose employee he had been for so many years and took to the meditation which he should have been practising earlier.
This is because his actions were fuelled not by a desire to serve God or his king but for self-aggrandisement. Arjuna on the other hand was filled with the teaching of Sri Krishna and served Him even through his military actions.
This is not because of the fact that he had just received the message of the Gita but because he was ready to receive the message of the Gita. It is only in fertile sand that a seed will grow. All Arjuna’s life had been spent following the principles of Dharma. At no time did he or any of the Pandavas succumb to temptation After they lost the kingdom, Duryodhana offered all the Pandavas their freedom or share in the kingdom if any of them said that Yudhistira had no right to stake them. Bhima’s reply is memorable. “The King had every right to stake us he is our King, our eldest brother and our Guru.” When Arjuna went in search of Divine Astras, at the request of Indra he destroyed some evil beings called the Nivatakavachas. He stayed in Indraloka for sometime. Once when the Apsaras were dancing before Indra, Arjuna asked who was Urvashi. Thinking he was interested in her, Indra sent Urvashi to him. Arjuna courteously told her he was interested in her as she was his ancestor, being the wife of Pururavas. Urvashi told him that such bonds did not exist for Apsaras. He however insisted that he was not interested in her, which led her to curse him. But even this curse led to good as he was able to live as Brhannala in Virata’s court without being recognized.
For a person who follows Dharma like as the Pole star never swerving from it, all misfortunes turn into good fortune but for this they have to work hard as avoiding evil and strictly following Dharma is no easy matter. The Rishis describe it as difficult as walking on a razors edge.
When Yudhistira was a young king in Indraprastha, the rule was that when one of the brothers was with Draupadi, none of the others should enter. If anyone did enter they would have to go into exile for a year. However Arjuna had to enter once to take his weapons to help a Brahmana. Since it was for a noble purpose Yudhistira offered to forgive Arjuna’s offence. Arjuna replied, “I have heard you say not to follow Dharma with pretences. I shall not waver from my Truth, I am armed with my Truth!”
To such a person, who is filled with devotion, uprightness and a sense of Dharma, the way to God is clear. But to one whose spiritual quest is a mere show, an intellectual game the truth is far away.