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In the Mahabharata, how did the Brahmins challenge the heroic ideals by stressing knowledge, wisdom, and introspection? 

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that Arjuna's manner in the Mahabharata is where the traditional, heroic conceptions of a warrior are augmented with embracing the values of knowledge, wisdom, and introspection.  At the critical moment where the sides amass, Arjuna, the greatest Pandava warrior, falters.  He lays down his bow and arrow because he simply cannot kill those on the other side.  Family members, gurus, respected elders all stand against him.  Arjuna is the classical warrior.  Son of Kunti, he represented the strength, honor, and warrior capacity that was to be expected.  Yet, despite these attributes, he cannot fulfill his duty.  It is only through his dialogue with Lord Krishna, the essence of the work, that he is able to perform his duty.  It is through the knowledge he gains from his conversation with Lord Krishna, complete with reflection and introspection as well as wisdom that Arjuna is able to be the best warrior he can be.  His dialogue with Lord Krishna, filled with questions and answers, give and take, and reflection through discussion is where Arjuna is able to gain the strength needed to fight.  It is here where the Mahabharata challenges the traditionally held heroic ideals in its suggestion that all great warriors must embrace a mindset focused on Lord Krishna whereby knowledge of the Lord, wisdom from the Lord, and introspection as provided by the Lord is evident.

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