The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'Making Uttara his charioteer, and circumambulating the Sami tree, the son of Pandu set out taking all his weapons with him. And that mighty car-warrior set out with Uttara as the driver of his car, having taken down that banner with the lion's figure and deposited it at the foot of the Sami tree. And he hoisted on that car his own golden banner bearing the figure of an ape with a lion's tail, which was a celestial illusion contrived by Viswakarman himself. For, as soon, indeed, as he had thought of that gift of Agni, than the latter, knowing his wish, ordered those superhuman creatures (that usually sat there) to take their place in that banner. And furnished with a beautiful flag of handsome make, with quivers attached to it, and adored with gold, that excellent flag-staff of celestial beauty than quickly
fell from the firmament on his car. 1 And beholding that banner arrived on his car, the hero circumambulated it (respectively). And then the ape-bannered Vibhatsu, the son of Kunti, called also Swetavahana, with fingers cased in leathern fences of the Iguana skin, and taking up his bow and arrows set out in a northernly direction. And that grinder of foes, possessed of great strength, then forcibly blew his large conch-shell, of thundering sound, capable of making the bristles of foes to stand on their ends. And at the sound of that conch, those steeds endued with swiftness dropped down on the ground on their knees. And Uttara also, greatly affrighted, sat down on the car. And thereupon the son of Kunti took the reins himself and raising the steeds, placed them in their proper positions. And embracing Uttara, he encouraged him also, saying, 'Fear not, O foremost of princes, thou art, O chastiser of foes, a Kshatriya by birth. Why, O tiger among men, dost thou become so dispirited in the midst of foes? Thou must have heard before the blare of many conchs and the note of many trumpets, and the roar also of many elephants in the midst of ranks arrayed for battled. Why art thou, therefore, so dispirited and agitated and terrified by the blare of this conch, as if thou wert an ordinary person?'
"Uttara said, 'Heard have I the blare of many a conch and many a trumpet and the roar of many an elephant stationed in the battle-array, but never have I heard before the blare of such conch. Nor have I ever seen a banner like this. Never before have I heard also the twang of a bow such as this. Truly, sir, with the blare of this conch, the twang of this bow, the superhuman cries of the creatures stationed on this banner, and the battle of this car, my mind is greatly bewildered. My perception of the directions also is confused, and my heart is painfully afflicted. The whole firmament seemeth to me to have been covered by this banner, and everything seemeth to be hidden from my view! My ears also have been deafened by the twang of the Gandiva! 2
"Arjuna said, 'Firmly stand thou on the car, pressing thy feet on it, and tightly catch hold of the bridles, for I will blow the conch again.'
"Vaisampayana said, 'Arjuna then blew his conch again, that conch which filled foes with grief and enhanced the joy of friends. And the sound was so loud that it seemed to split hills and mountains, and pierce mountain-caves and the cardinal points. And Uttara once again sat down on the car, clinging to it in fear. And with the blare of the conch and the rattle of the car-wheels, and the twang of the Gandiva, the earth itself seemed to tremble. And beholding Uttara's fight, Dhananjaya began to comfort him again.'
"Meanwhile, Drona said, 'From the rattle of the car, and from the manner in which the clouds have enveloped the sky and the earth itself trembles, this warrior can be none else than Savyasachin. Our weapons do not shine, our steeds are dispirited, and our fires, though fed with fuel, do not blare up. All this is ominous. All our animals are setting up a frightful howl, gazing towards the sun. The crows are perching on our banners. All this is ominous. Yon vultures and kites on our right portend a great danger. That jackal also, running through our ranks, waileth dismally. Lo, it hath escaped unstruck. All this portends a heavy calamity. The bristles also of ye all are on their ends. Surely, this forebodes a great destruction of Kshatriyas in battle. Things endued with light are all pale; beasts and birds look fierce; and there are to be witnessed many terrific portents indicative of the destruction of Kshatriyas. And these omens forebode great havoc among ourselves. O king, thy ranks seem to be confounded by these blazing meteors, and thy animals look dispirited and seem to be weeping. Vultures and kites are wheeling all around thy troops. Thou shalt have to repent upon beholding thy army afflicted by Partha's arrows. Indeed, our ranks seem to have been already vanquished, for none is eager to go to fight. All our warriors are of pale face, and almost deprived of their senses. Sending the kine ahead we should stand here, ready to strike, with all our warriors arrayed in order of battle."
80:1 Some texts read Maharatham (incorrectly) for hiranmayan. Indeed, Maharatham would give no meaning in this connection. The incomplete edition of the Roy Press under the auspices of the Principal of the Calcutta Sanskrit College abounds with such incorrect readings and misprints.
80:2 The Roy Press edition adds here a line which looks very much like an interpolation.
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