Indian and Himalayan Art
Arjuna Chooses Lord Krishna As His Charioteer
Artist/maker unknown, India
Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
Currently not on view
1988-77-10Gift of Stella Kramrisch, 1988
LabelAfter a tense night of deliberation, the Pandava prince Arjuna chooses to have the unarmed Krishna as his charioteer rather than the reinforcement of Krishna's large army. As the sky turns from gray to azure, and the army begins to wake, Arjuna confirms his decision by a solemn vow and water is poured over his hands as ritual witness. Although Krishna's army is sent to fight against Arjuna, the prince has chosen well. Krishna is in reality the supreme being, an avatar of Vishnu. As recounted in the best-known section of the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna will guide Arjuna's chariot, as well as his actions and understanding.