One day Arjuna went to Dwarka to meet Lord Krishna the king of Dwarka. Arjuna told him, “Lord now I have the Gandiv Dhanusha. I can win over anyone, any evil power which comes my way.”
While they were talking, they heard a man crying very loudly. Arjuna saw a Brahmin crying near the palace. They went to the Brahmin with and Arjuna asked, “Dear Brahmin, why are you crying?”
“I have come here to bemoan the death of my ninth son. There is no use of having a powerful king who cannot save a mere child from dying. I wanted him to protect my sons but he could not do that,” he replied.
Arjuna asked, “Lord Krishna you are a powerful warrior and a great ruler yet you could not save this Brahmin’s son. I wonder why you are just smiling and not doing anything about the Brahmin’s plea.” But the Lord Krishna kept on smiling. Before Krishna could say anything Arjuna spoke aloud. “I’ll save your son. Just tell me when your wife is about to give birth to her tenth son?”
“When Krishna and Balram could not do a thing. How can you help me?” The Brahmin said.
Arjuna said proudly, “I possess the Gandiv Dhanusha. No one can win over me and I promise, if I am not able to save your tenth son’s life. I’ll jump into a pyre alive.”
The Brahmin went away reassured. He returned after two months and told Arjuna that his tenth son was going to be born. Arjuna followed the Brahmin to his hut. The Brahmin’s wife was inside the hut. To protect the Brahmin’s tenth son Arjuna shot numerous arrows from his powerful bow and covered the whole hut with arrows from outside. He himself stood as guard at the door and claimed, “Not even Yama can dare enter now.“‘
A few minutes later they heard a baby’s cry from the hut, the Brahmin went in and came out in anger and shouted at Arjuna. “You are a liar. The last nine times at least I could see my dead sons but not this time. My wife told me that the baby vanished into air just as it was born.”
Arjuna felt very sorry and promised to get back the Brahmin’s son and went in search of the baby. He went everywhere but could not find it, so he returned and prepared a pyre. Just when he was about to jump into it then Lord Krishna arrived.
“Dear Arjuna, stop,” Krishna called. “Come with me and I’ll take you to the Brahmin’s son.”
When Arjuna heard this he was shocked and surprised. “So the Lord knew where the baby was yet he had let no one know about it.” Krishna and Arjuna boarded the chariot and Krishna led the horses.
After few minutes they came to a dark place where nobody could see a thing. Krishna took his chakra and let it go before them, lighting up the path. Arjuna followed the Krishna and lo! What did he see, Lord Vishnu who sat on the shesh Nag in Kshir Sagar surrounded by the ten sons of the Brahmin. Arjuna bowed to Lord Vishnu. Krishna, himself the avtar of Vishnu, also bowed to Vishnu. Arjuna looked at Krishna, Krishna said to him, “Don’t be surprised, Arjuna. You thought that you could help the Brahmin by protecting his son when even I did not. All this was done to teach you a lesson not to boast of your powers.”
Lord Vishnu said, “Calling these children here was just an excuse to call you here. Now you’ve learnt your lesson. Go back and spread the message of dharma and kill all the evil powers. This must be your life’s aim.”
Arjuna bowed on his knees and thanked Lord Vishnu. Then he took the Brahmin’s sons and went back. He returned all the ten sons to the Brahmin. When Arjuna reached the Brahmin, and gave him all his ten sons.