Arjuna Chooses Lord Krishna As His Charioteer
Page from a dispersed series of the Mahabharata

Artist/maker unknown, Indian

Made in Himachal Pradesh, India, Asia

c. 1790-1800

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper

Image: 12 1/4 × 16 3/4 inches (31.1 × 42.5 cm) Sheet: 13 1/2 × 18 3/16 inches (34.3 × 46.2 cm)

Curatorial Department:
South Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Stella Kramrisch, 1988

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After 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.