The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'Discomfited before, O monarch, many a time and oft by Matsya's Suta Kichaka aided by the Matsyas and the Salyas, the mighty king of the Trigartas, Susarman, who owned innumerable cars, regarding the opportunity to be a favourable one, then spoke the following words without losing a moment. And, O monarch, forcibly vanquished along with his relatives by the mighty Kichaka, king Susarman, eyeing Karna in askance, spoke these words unto Duryodhana, 'My kingdom hath many a time been forcibly invaded by the king of the Matsyas. The mighty Kichaka was that king's generalissimo. Crooked and wrathful and of wicked soul, of prowess famed over all the world, sinful in deeds and highly cruel, that wretch, however, hath been slain by the Gandharvas, Kichaka being dead, king Virata, shorn of pride and his refuge gone, will, I imagine, lose all courage I think, we ought now to invade that kingdom, if it pleases thee, O sinless one, as also the illustrious Karna and all the Kauravas. The accident that hath happened is, I imagine, a favourable one for us. Let us, therefore, repair to Virata's kingdom abounding in corn. We will appropriate his gems and other wealth of diverse kinds, and let us go to share with each other as regards his villages and kingdom. Or, invading his city by force, let us carry off by thousands his excellent kine of various species. Uniting, O king, the forces of the Kauravas and the Trigartas, let us lift his cattle in droves. Or, uniting our forces well, we will check his power by forcing him to sue for peace. Or, destroying his entire host, we will bring Matsya under subjection. Having brought him under subjection by just means, we will live in our kingdom happily, while thy power also will, without doubt, be enhanced.' Hearing these words of Susarman, Karna addressed the king, saying, 'Susarman hath spoken well; the opportunity is favourable and promises to be profitable to us. Therefore, if it pleases thee, O sinless one, let us, drawing up our forces in battle array and marshalling them in divisions, speedily set out. Or, let the expedition be managed as Saradwata's son Kripa, the preceptor Drona, and the wise and aged grandsire of the Kurus may think. Consulting with each other, let us, O lord of earth, speedily set out to attain our end. What business have we with the sons of Pandu, destitute as they are of wealth, might, and prowess? They have either disappeared for good or have gone to the abode of Yama? We will, O king, repair without anxiety to Virata's city, and plunder his cattle and other wealth of diverse kinds.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Accepting these words of Karna, the son of Surya, king Duryodhana speedily commanded his brother Dussasana, born immediately after him and always obedient to his wishes, saying, 'Consulting with the elders, array without delay, our forces. We will, with all the Kauravas go to the appointed place. Let also the mighty
warrior, king Susarman, accompanied by a sufficient force with vehicles and animals, set out with the Trigartas for the dominions of Matsyas. And let Susarman proceed first, carefully concealing his intention. Following in their wake, we will set out the day after in close array, for the prosperous dominions of king Matsya. Let the Trigartas, however, suddenly repair to the city of Virata, and coming upon the cowherds, seize that immense wealth (of kine). We also marching in two divisions, will seize thousands of excellent kine furnished with auspicious marks.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then, O Lord of earth, those warriors, the Trigartas, accompanied by their infantry of terrible prowess, marched towards the south-eastern direction, intending to wage hostilities with Virata from the desire of seizing his kine. And Susarman set out on the seventh day of the dark fortnight for seizing the kine. And then, O king, on the eighth day following of the dark fortnight, the Kauravas also accompanied by all their troops, began to seize the kine by thousands."
Next: Section XXXI