Bhagadatta is the son of Narakaasura and is a great yoddha. He knows many astras including Vaishnava and Shakti astras. However he joined the Kauravas side in the great Mahaabhaarata yuddham. It is natural in this world that people with similar gunas become friends, whether good or bad.
After Bhishma pitaamaha, Dronaacharya was made the sarva-sainyaadhipati of Kauravas by Duryodhana. Dronaacharya tells Duryodhana “O Raja! I feel very happy that you gave me this oppurtunity. You did not forget me though I am old and though Karna, your priya-mitra is there. I will try my best to fight well and bring you victory”. He tells all the strengths/weakness of Kaurava and Paandava senas. He also tells his own strengths and weaknesses. He clearly mentions that he has only one weakness: “if I hear any apriya vaakyam, then I will do astra-sanyaasam. So please make sure I dont hear any”. Upon being asked by Duryodhana, Dronaacharya says “I can defeat Dharmaraaja, but only if Arjuna is not there near him”. So they wanted to plan out how to make Arjuna go away from Dharmaraaja.
The person who fights Arjuna must keep him busy for a long time (till Dronaachaarya defeats Dharmaraaja). Hence the yoddha must be very good and must know many many astras to even stand before Arjuna for sometime. They decide that the 5 Kings of Samsaptaka kingdoms will challenge Arjuna and slowly take him away from Dharmaraaja. Bhagadatta, the King of Mahishpati/Pragjyotishapuram, was one of them.
Similar to how Shri Raama was taken away from Sita by Maareecha, the Kings of Samsaptakas slowly tried to take Arjuna away from Dharmaraaja. In no time Bhagadatta was only left and he started using his divya-astras.
Arjuna is the greatest Bhakta, Sakha of Shri Krishna, the Parandhaama. He never deviated form the path of Dharmam and Satyam (see these 1 2). Hence Shri Krishna always protected him similar to how eyelids protect the eyes.
Bhagadatta used Vaishnavaastram. Shri Krishna just stood up a little bit and took it. It became a Vyjayantimaala for the Paramaatma. Similarly Shri Krishna protects Arjuna form Shakti astram. Then Bhagadatta tried to attack silently from the back. Shri Krishna, the greatest Ratha-saarathi, in an unbelievable way turns the ratham and helps Arjuna. Though Bhagadatta was not able to harm Arjuna, since he had an abhedya divya invisible kavacham, right form head to toes, Arjuna’s shastra-astras were not able to harm him. However as time proceeds the danger for Dharmaraaja increases. Shri Krishna tells Arjuna to shoot right at the place of joining of the eye brows, which will remove the kavacham.
Like this at each and every point in the life of Paandavas, Shri Krishna protected them.
Morals in the story:
- God always protects the people who never deviate from the path of Dharma. May be the story of Paandavas is the best example to show this.
- Like Paandavas, we must always remember that whatever victories we get, or whatever good we do etc. is because of God only. He is the person who is always behind us. He is the greatest mitra who saves us at times of difficulty. Remembering that, always we are able to achieve things because of God, helps us reduce our Ahankaar too. Else even a slight victory will make us feel proud.
- Some of the sadgunas of Dronaacharya are nicely reflected in his conversation. He clearly mentioned his strengths and weakness. Similarly Bheeshmaacharya also mentions his strengths and weaknesses. He also tells openely that he will do astra-sanyaasam if a stri or a shikhandi comes before him (This niyamam was because, he was a perfect Brahmachaari. He will not even look at a para-stri).