Chitrasena (Mahabharata)

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Arjuna battles with Chitra Sena.jpg
Chitrasena fights with Arjuna

Chitrasena, a character in the Indian epic Mahabharata, was a Gandharva king who taught song and dance to Arjuna. He used to reside in Indra's palace along with his fellow Gandharvas and Apsaras. He also routed the army of Duryodana in a battle that took place before the Kurukshetra War.

As Arjuna's teacher[edit]

Chitrasena was introduced in the epic in the Vana Parva, as a teacher of music by Indra. Indra foresaw that Arjuna would have to spend one year at King Virata's palace as a eunuch, during which time he would need the knowledge of music and dance. He wanted Arjuna to be trained by the king of the Gandharvas, Chitrasena. Chitrasena began his classes soon and the two also became good friends.[1]

When Urvashi cursed Arjuna to remain a eunuch for life, it was Chitrasena along with Indra who mediated with her to reduce the tenure of her curse to a single year. Chitrasena was able to achieve this by narrating to her the story of the Pandavas and the bravery of Arjuna.[2]

Skirmish with Kauravas[edit]

In another incident in the Mahabharata, in Vana Parva, Duryodhana accompanied by Karna, after consuming a lot of alcohol, ventured into the Dwaitavana. They reached the forest and were taken in by its splendour. Duryodhana planned to swim in the beautiful lakes of the forest. But Chitrasena was already camping there along with his fellow Gandharvas.

Duryodhana was disappointed when Chitrasena denied him an entry into the beautiful lakes of the Dwaitavana. He tried to ransom them. But after repeated denial a drunk Duryodhan showed off his wealth and insulted the Gandharvas. Eventually, Chitrasena made Duryodhana and Karna his prisoners. The two warriors being drunk were easily captured.

Some soldiers went to the place where the Pandavas were residing and requested them to free Duryodhana. Yudhishthira ordered his brother [Arjuna] to save Duryodhan. On his request, Chitrasena released Duryodhana. Arjuna also introduced Chitrasena as his dance teacher to his brothers.

Duryodhana was so embarrassed by this incident that he wanted to commit suicide, but was stopped by Karna who swore not to touch alcohol and meat until he defeats all of the enemies of Hastinapur in his Vijaya yatra.


  1. ^ Chandra Roy, Pratap. The Mahābhārata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa. Forgotten Books. pp. 98–99. ISBN 9781451018240. 
  2. ^ Chandra Roy, Pratap. The Mahābhārata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa. Forgotten Books. pp. 100–102. ISBN 9781451018240.