There are 14 Different Names of Arjun (or Arjuna) in Mahabharat. Some of these names are based on his physical appearance. Some are based on his skills. And some of his names are given to him due to his birth.
Before getting to know the 14 different names of Arjun, let us see the story behind the discovery of these names.
All five Pandavas including Arjun and their wife Draupadi were living in Agyat Vas (incognito) in the Virata Kingdom. The ruler of this kingdom is Virata, a Matsya King.
All of them live in disguise (भेस बदल कर). Among them, Arjun dresses as a woman named Brihannala. He becomes the dance teacher of Uttara (daughter of King Virata).
During the last weeks of their exile period, Duryodhana attacks the Virata Kingdom along with his huge army. He knows that King Virata is busy fighting with Susharma, king of Trigartas along with Yudhishthira and Bhima.
Consequently, it is the best time to attack the Matsya Kingdom according to him. Duryodhana is also doubtful about the presence of Pandavas living in the kingdom in disguise.
News of the attack arrives at the kingdom. Hearing this news, Uttar (son of King Virata) brags (डींग मारना) about himself. He says that “I will defeat the entire army single-handedly.”
Upon the request of his mother and her maid (Draupadi), he agrees to take Brihannala along with him as his charioteer.
There is a huge army in front of them. It includes warriors like Duryodhana, Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Ashwathama etc. Seeing this army, Uttar becomes nervous and out of fear he ran away from there.
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Seeing this, Arjun (Brihannala) run after him and finally catches him. In order to restore Uttar’s courage, he reveals his true identity to him that he is Arjuna himself.
Initially, Uttar does not believe him. He said that “I will only believe you when you tell me the ten names of Partha (Arjun), which I have heard before.”
(In Mahabharat, generally, everyone has more than one name. Similarly, there are 14 different names of Arjun)
Then he tells him the ten different names of Arjun in order to make him believe he is Arjuna himself.
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Different Names of Arjun (or Arjuna) in Mahabharata
Arjun said, “My ten names are Arjuna, Jishnu, Falguna, Vijaya, Kiritin, Swetavahana, Vibhatsu, Vijaya, Krishna, Savyasachin and Dhananjaya.”
But then Uttar asks him about the origin of these names. Then Arjun told him the reason behind each of his name.
Reasons behind different names of Arjun:
(1) Arjun or Arjuna – “My complexion is very rare and my acts are always stainless. That’s why everyone calls me Arjuna.”
(2) Falguna or Phalguna – “I am named Falguna because the day I was born on the slopes of Mount Himavat, the constellation Uttara Falguna is on the ascendant.”
(3) Jishnu – “I am called Jishnu because I am unsurpassed and uncontrollable and also a tamer of foes (दुश्मन).
(4) Kiritin or Kriti – “I am called Kiritin due to a splendid and gorgeous crown given to me by Lord Indra during my clash with Danavas.”
(5) Swetavahana or Shwetvaahan – “I am named Swetavahana because, during the battle, there are always white horses joined in my car.”
(6) Vibhatsu or Bibhatsu – “I am named Vibhatsu as I have never fought by unfair means on the battlefield.”
(7) Vijaya – “I was called Vijaya because I never return from the field without defeating the opponent in the battle.”
(8) Krishna – “This name is given to me by my father out of love towards his dark-skinned kid of extraordinary immaculateness.”
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(9) Savyasachin or Savyasachi – “Since I am capable of drawing the Gandiva (bow) with my both hands, that’s why I am called Savyasachin.”
(10) Dhananjaya – “I was called Dhananjaya because I live in the middle of the wealth having conquered many kingdoms and acquired their wealth.”
Other Names of Arjun:
(11) Gudakesa – Arjun is also known as Gudakesa. Gudaka means sleep; Thus Gudakesa is someone who conquers sleep.
(12) Partha or Paarth – Original name of Kunti is “Pritha”. Consequently, Partha means son of Pritha. Now Arjuna is the son of Kunti. Furthermore, he is the favourite cousin of Krishna. That’s Krishna calls him Parta, out of affection.
(13) Parantapa – Arjuna is praised as Parantapa by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. It means the scorcher of foes (दुश्मनो को जलानेवाला) and subduer of enemies (दुश्मनो को अपने अधीन करने वाला).
(14) Kapi-Dhwaja – Since Arjuna has Dhwaja (meaning flag) of Kapi (here referred to Hanuman) in his chariot, he comes to be known as Kapi-Dhwaja.
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