The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having ascertained the opinion of his brothers, and of the intelligent Narada, king Yudhishthira, addressing Dhaumya, who was like unto the Grandsire himself, said, 'I have for the acquisition of arms, sent away that tiger among men, Jishnu, whose prowess is incapable of being baffled, and who is possessed of long arms and immeasurable intelligence. O thou of ascetic wealth, that hero is devoted to me, endued with ability, and well-skilled in weapons, and like unto the exalted Vasudeva himself. I know them both, Krishna and Arjuna, those destroyers of enemies, O Brahmana, endued with prowess, even as the puissant Vyasa knoweth them. I know Vasudeva and Dhananjaya to be none else than Vishnu himself, possessed of the six attributes. And this is also what Narada knoweth, for he hath always spoken so unto me. I also know them to be Rishis, Nara and Narayana. Knowing him to possess the ability, I have sent him (on the mission). Not inferior unto Indra and fully competent (for the task), I have sent that son of a god
to see the lord of the celestials and obtain weapons from him. Bhishma and Drona are Atirathas. Kripa and the son of Drona are invincible; these mighty warriors have been installed by Dhritarashtra's son in the command of his army. All these are versed in the Vedas, are heroic, and possessed of the knowledge of every weapon. Endued with great strength, these always desire to encounter Arjuna in fight. And Karna also of the Suta caste is a mighty warrior versed in celestial weapons. In respect of the impetus of his weapons, he is endued with the strength of the Wind-god. Himself like a flame of fire, the arrows (proceeding from him) constitute its tongues. The slaps of his left hand cased in leathern fence constitute the crackling of that flame. The dust of the battle-field is its smoke. Urged by the sons of Dhritarashtra even as the wind urgeth the fire, Karna like unto the all-consuming fire at the end of the Yuga that is sent by Death himself, will, without doubt, consume my troops like unto a heap of straw. Only that mighty mass of clouds called Arjuna, aided by Krishna like unto a powerful wind, with celestial weapon representing its fierce lightning, the white steeds, the rows of white cranes coursing underneath and the unbearable Gandiva, the rainbow ahead, is capable of extinguishing the blazing flame represented by Karna by means of its arrowy showers let off with unflagging steadiness. That conqueror of hostile cities, Vibhatsu, will, without doubt, succeed in obtaining from Indra himself all the celestial weapons with their fullness and life. Alone he is equal, I think, unto them all. Otherwise it is impossible (for us) to vanquish in fight all those foes, who have attained to eminent success in all their purposes. We shall behold Arjuna, that repressor of foes, fully equipped with celestial weapons, for Vibhatsu having once undertaken a task, never, droopeth under its weight. Without that hero, however, that best of men, ourselves, with Krishna, cannot be at rest in Kamyaka. Therefore, do thou mention some other wood that is sacred and delightful, and abounds in food and fruits, and that is inhabited by men of pious practices:--where we may pass some time, expecting the warlike Arjuna of unbaffled prowess, like the Chataka in expectation of gathering clouds. Do thou tell us of some asylums open to the regenerate ones, and lakes and streams and beautiful mountains. O Brahmana, deprived of Arjuna, I do not like to stay in this wood of Kamyaka. We wish to go somewhere else.'"
Next: Section LXXXVII