The Mahabharata Home
"Kripa said, 'O Radheya, thy crooked heart always inclineth to war. Thou knowest not the true nature of things; nor dost thou take into account their after-consequences. There are various kinds of expedients inferrable from the scriptures. Of these, a battle hath been regarded by those acquainted with the past, as the most sinful. It is only when time and place are favourable that military operations can lead to success. In the present instance, however, the time being unfavourable, no good results will be deprived. A display of prowess in proper time and place becometh beneficial. It is by the favourableness or otherwise (of time and place) that the opportuneness of an act is determined. Learned men can never act according to the ideas of a car-maker. Considering all this, an encounter with Partha is not advisible for us. Alone he saved the Kurus (from the Gandharvas), and alone he satiated Agni. Alone he led the life of a Brahmacharin for five years (on the breast of Himavat). Taking up Subhadra on his car, alone he challenged Krishna to single combat. Alone he fought with Rudra who stood before him as a forester. It was in this very forest that Partha rescued Krishna while she was being taken away (by Jayadratha). It is he alone that hath, for five years, studied the science of weapons under Indra. Alone vanquishing all foes he hath spread the fame of the Kurus. Alone that chastiser of foes vanquished in battle Chitrasena, the king of the Gandharvas and in a moment his invincible troops also. Alone he overthrew in battle the fierce Nivatakavachas and the Kalakhanchas, that were both incapable of being slain by the gods themselves. What, however, O Kama, hath been achieved by thee single-handed like any of the sons of Pandu, each of whom had alone subjugated many lords of earth? Even Indra himself is unfit to encounter Partha in battle. He, therefore, that desireth to fight with Arjuna should take a sedative. As to thyself, thou desirest to take out the fangs of an angry snake of virulent poison by stretching forth thy right hand and extending thy forefinger. Or, wandering alone in the forest thou desirest to ride an infuriate elephant and go to a boar without a hook in hand. Or, rubbed over with clarified butter and dressed in silken robes, thou desirest to pass through the midst of a blazing fire fed with fat and tallow and clarified butter. Who is there that would, binding his own hands and feet and tying a huge stone unto his neck, cross the ocean swimming with his bare arms? What manliness is there in such an act? O Kama, he is a fool that would, without, skill in weapons and without strength, desire to fight with Partha who is so mighty and skilled in weapons? Dishonestly deceived by us and liberated from thirteen years' exile, will not the illustrious hero annihilate us? Having ignorantly come to a place where Partha lay concealed like fire hidden in a well, we have, indeed, exposed to a great danger. But irresistible though he be
in battle, we should fight against him. Let, therefore, our troops, clad in mail, stand here arrayed in ranks and ready to strike. Let Drona and Duryodhana and Bhishma and thyself and Drona's son and ourselves, all fight with the son of Pritha. Do not O Kama, act so rashly as to fight alone. If we six car-warriors be united, we can then be a match for and fight with that son of Pritha who is resolved to fight and who is as fierce as the wielder of the thunderbolt. Aided by our troops arrayed in ranks, ourselves--great bowmen--standing carefully will fight with Arjuna even as the Danavas encounter Vasava in battle.'"
Next: Section L