Shalya was a powerful warrior and a king who played a significant role in the Kurukshetra war, which is the central conflict of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. He was the brother of Madri, the second wife of King Pandu and the mother of the Pandava twins, Nakula and Sahadeva. Here are some reasons why Shalya fought against the Pandavas:
- Alliance with the Kauravas: Shalya was the maternal uncle of the Kaurava brothers, who were the main adversaries of the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra war. He had been tricked into agreeing to ally with the Kauravas by their advisor, Shakuni, who had promised him the throne of the powerful kingdom of Madra.
- Tricked into being Karna’s charioteer: On the 17th day of the war, Shalya was tricked into being the charioteer of Karna, who was one of the greatest warriors on the Kaurava side. Karna had known that Shalya’s skills as a charioteer were unparalleled, and he had convinced Shalya to be his charioteer by flattery and deceit.
- Death of son: Shalya’s son, Rukmaratha, was killed in battle by Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna and one of the Pandava warriors. This loss enraged Shalya and fueled his desire for revenge against the Pandavas.
Despite his loyalty to the Kauravas and his anger over his son’s death, Shalya remained an honorable warrior who fought with valor and skill on the battlefield. His story teaches us the importance of honoring our commitments, even when they may lead us into conflict with those we care about, and the dangers of being blinded by anger and revenge.