Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Uttara - The Prince of Matsya


Uttara was the youngest son of Virata, the King of Matsya. He had an elder brother named Shweta. Being the youngest, he was much indulged and was a great favorite of his sister Uttara and his mother.

When the Kaurava army threatened the borders of Matsya, King Virata, his eldest son Shweta and all the Pandavas excepting Arjuna accompanied him to battle, with the entire army. The Pandavas were incognito, for that was the condition for the thirteenth year of their exile.

His father did not take Uttara along, because he considered him to be too young. The young prince was very disappointed and boasted that he would have made short work of the enemy, had he been allowed to go into battle.

He was called upon to make good on his boasts rather sooner than expected, for the first attack had been merely a blind for the real invasion. A major division of the Kuru army, accompanied by all their illustrious warriors, mounted an attack on the Matsya capital from a totally different direction.

When he saw that his sister and other ladies of his household expected him to face the formidable army single handed, Uttara was shocked. Although no coward, he hesitated from taking up the challenge, for he knew that death would be his only reward for such presumption. He tried making an excuse that he did not have a good charioteer for going to battle.

His objections were overborne, and he was provided with a charioteer in Brihannala, the eunuch music teacher of his sister, who was presented to him as a master-charioteer, the veteran of many battles. This was none other than Arjuna, who had assumed this disguise for the thirteenth year.

When the reluctant prince at last arrived at the battlefield, he was overcome by panic when he saw the huge army of the Kauravas, featuring Bhishma, Drona and Karna as their commanders. He jumped down from the chariot and ran away from the battlefield, much to the amusement of the Kurus.

Arjuna chased him down, and tried to persuade him to return to the battlefield, but overcome by panic, the prince would not listen. At last, Arjuna revealed himself to the young prince, and promised to protect him. They retrieved the weapons of Arjuna, that had been hidden in a nearby tree. Arjuna then mounted the chariot as a warrior, with Uttara becoming the charioteer. In the ensuing battle, the Kuru army was utterly routed, and fled in terror to Hastinapura.

Arjuna resumed his disguise at Brihannala, and drove the prince back to the Matsya capital. It was given out that a divine archer had aided the prince to win a signal victory over the Kurus. The very next day, the period of exile of the Pandavas came to an end, and they revealed themselves to Virata. Uttara's sister Uttara married Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna and Subhadra.

Although he had started his martial career rather unpromisingly, Uttara became a renowned warrior in time. He fought bravely on the Pandava side in the great Kurukshetra battle, and fell there after bringing great honour to his Matsyas.

Last Modified At: Sat May 21 18:37:46 2005