The Kurukshetra war was on. The most ferocious fighter that day was Karna. He had told his friend Duryodhana that he would defeat the Pandavas, so he was charged and raring to go. The first to arrive in the battlefield was Yudhishtra. Being the chieftain of the Pandava army, Karna decided to tackle Yudhishtra first.
Fighting with Karna seemed tedious to Yudhishtra who felt he was no match for a good archer like Karna. He fell unconscious when Karna rained a volley of arrows on him.
Lord Krishna was saddened at the turn of events and was also worried as to how he could help the Pandavas. While Karna was waiting to kill the Pandavas Krishna told Arjuna to retaliate and take on Karna while he made arrangements to treat the wounded Yudhishtra.
Arjuna went to fight with Karna, but his mind wasn’t on the battlefield. He was thinking about his older brother who was wounded. Knowing this, Krishna sent Bheema to fight and brought Arjuna outside the war zone to give him some advice.
Krishna took Arjuna to the place where Yudhishtra was being treated. Yudhishtra who was in a groggy state saw Arjuna entering the room welcomed him saying “He who has killed Karna I welcome you.” Arjuna was dumbstruck and didn’t reply.
Lord Krishna said “Now that you have uttered that Karna would be killed by Arjuna, it will definitely come true one day.”
Yudhishtra was very disappointed at the fact that Karna hadn’t been killed yet. He began lamenting that blessed with the Gandiva Arjuna didn’t kill Karna. He asked Arjuna to throw away his Gandiva.
Arjuna was livid with rage. He was standing quietly by Krishna’s side without talking back to his older brother as a mark of respect, but the minute Yudhishtra spoke ill of his weapon which he had got after years of penance, he could not control his anger. He took his sword out and rushed to kill Yudhishtra. But Krishna rushed forward and snatched it away from him and threw it aside.
But Arjuna told Krishna “I have made a pledge to kill anyone who talks ill of my weapon, so what do I do now? Wouldn’t I be going against my word?”
So Krishna says “Just vent your anger at him with words rather than kill him.”
So Arjuna takes Krishna’s advice and taunts Yudhishtra. “You couldn’t stand one blow from Karna and we are led by you who are a coward. What will you do if someone stronger than Karna fights you in the battlefield?” Yudhishtra listened to this rant in silence and shed tears.
Now finished with his ranting, Arjuna took his sword and was about to kill himself when Krishna stepped in again. “Don’t stop me Krishna I have done a heinous crime by talking ill of my elder brother, so it is better I die than live with the thought that I have badly hurt my brother,” said Arjuna.
Now Krishna gives another suggestion. “There is one way. Self-praise is equivalent to suicide. So if you go on talking about yourself and your achievements it will be equal to killing yourself. This way you will have kept your pledge too.”
So Arjuna begins to talk about how he burnt a huge forest, and fought Indira single handedly. He spoke about fighting Lord Shiva, fought to save Indra from his enemies, et.al, Thus Krishna managed to save Arjuna from killing himself.