The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'Beholding that bull among men seated on the car in the habit of a person of the third sex, driving toward the Sami tree, having taken (the flying) Uttara up, all the great car-warriors of the Kurus with Bhishma and Drona at their head, became affrighted at heart, suspecting the comer to be Dhananjaya. And seeing them so dispirited and marking also the many wonderful portents, that foremost of all wielders of arms, the preceptor Drona, son of Bharadwaja, said, 'Violent and hot are the winds that below, showering gravels in profusion. The sky also is overcast with a gloom of ashy hue. The clouds present the strange sight of being dry and waterless. Our weapons also of various kinds are coming out of their cases. The jackals are yelling hideously affrighted at the conflagrations on all sides. 1 The horses too are shedding tears, and our banners are trembling though moved by none. Such being the inauspicious indications seen, a great danger is at hand. Stay ye with vigilance, Protect ye your own selves and array the troops in order of battle. Stand ye, expecting a terrible slaughter, and guard ye well the kine. This mighty bowman, this foremost of all wielders of weapons, this hero that hath come in the habit of a person of the third sex, is the son of Pritha. There is no doubt of this.' Then addressing Bhishma, the preceptor continued, 'O offspring of the Ganges, apparelled as a woman, this is Kiriti called after a tree, the son of the enemy of the mountains, and having on his banner the sign of devastator of the gardens of Lanka's lord. Vanquishing us he will surely take away the kine today! 2 This chastiser of foes is the valiant son of Pritha surnamed Savyasachin. He doth not desist from conflict even with the gods and demons combined. Put to great hardship in the forest he cometh in wrath. Taught by even Indra himself, he is like unto Indra in battle. Therefore, ye Kauravas, I do not see any hero who can withstand him. It is said that the lord Mahadeva himself, disguised in the attire of a hunter, was gratified by this son of Pritha in battle on the mountains of Himavat.' Hearing these words, Karna said, 'You always censure us by speaking on the virtues of Falguna, Arjuna, however, is
not equal to even a full sixteenth part of myself or Duryodhana!' And Duryodhana said, 'If this be Partha, O Radheya, then my purpose hath already been fulfilled, for then, O king, if traced out, the Pandavas shall have to wander for twelve years again. Or, if this one be any other person in a eunuch's garb, I will soon prostrate him on the earth with keen-edged arrows.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'The son of Dhritarashtra, O chastiser of foes, having said this, Bhishma and Drona and Kripa and Drona's son all applauded his manliness!'"
71:1 Some texts read Diptasya for Diptayam.
71:2 This sloka does not occur in every text. This is a typical illustration of the round about way, frequently adopted by Sanskrit writers, of expressing a simple truth. The excuse in the present instance consists in Drona's unwillingness to identify the solitary hero with Arjuna, in the midst of all his hearers. Nadiji is an exclamation referring to Bhishma, the son of the river Ganga. Lankesa-vanari-ketu is simply 'ape-bannered,' or as rendered in the text, having the devastator of the gardens of Lanka's lord for the sign of his banner. Nagahvaya is 'named after tree' for Arjuna is the name of an Indian tree. Nagri-sunu is 'Indra's son',--Indra being the foe of mountain, for formerly it was he who cut off the wings of all mountains and compelled them to be stationary. He failed only in the case of Mainaka, the son of Himavat.
Next: Section XL