The Mahabharata Home
"Dhritarashtra said, "I ask thee, O Sanjaya, in the presence of my boy and of these kings, what words were said by the illustrious Dhananjaya of might that knoweth no diminution,--that leader of warriors,--that destroyer of the lives of the wicked?'
"Sanjaya said, 'Let Duryodhana listen to the words which the high-souled Arjuna, eager for fight, uttered, with Yudhishthira's sanction and in the hearing of Kesava. Fearless (in battle) and conscious of the might of his arms, the heroic Kiritin, eager for fight, spoke thus unto me in the presence of Vasudeva, 'Do thou, O suta, say unto Dhritarashtra's son, in the presence of all the Kurus, and also in the hearing of that Suta's son, of foul tongue and wicked soul, of little sense, stupid reason, and of numbered days, who always desires to fight against me, and also in the hearing of those kings assembled for fighting against the Pandavas, and do thou see that all the words now uttered by me are heard well by that king with his counsellors.' O monarch, even as the celestials eagerly listen to the words of their chief armed with the thunderbolt, so did the Pandavas and the Srinjayas listened to those words of grave import uttered by Kiritin. Just these are the words spoken by Arjuna, the wielder of Gandiva, eager for the fight and with eyes red as the lotus, 'If Dhritarashtra's son doth not surrender to king Yudhishthira of the Ajamida race, his kingdom, then (it is evident) there must be some sinful act committed by the sons of Dhritarashtra, whose consequences are yet unreaped by them, for it can be nothing else when they desire battle with Bhimasena and Arjuna, and the Aswins and Vasudeva and Sini's
son, and Dhrishtadyumna infallible in arms, and Sikhandin, and Yudhishthira, who is like Indra himself and who can consume heaven and earth by merely wishing them ill. If Dhritarashtra's son desireth war with these, then will all objects of the Pandavas be accomplished. Do not, therefore, propose peace for the sons of Pandu, but have war if thou likest. That bed of woe in the woods which was Yudhishthira's when that virtuous son of Pandu lived in exile; Oh, let a more painful bed than that, on the bare earth, be now Duryodhana's and let him lie down on it, as his last, deprived of life. Win thou over those men that were ruled by the wicked Duryodhana of unjust conduct to the side of Pandu's son endued with modesty and wisdom and asceticism and self-restraint and valour and might regulated by virtue. Endued with humility and righteousness, with asceticism and self-restraint and with valour regulated by virtue, and always speaking the truth, our king, though afflicted by numerous deceptions, hath forgiven all and hath patiently borne great wrongs. When the eldest son of Pandu, of soul under proper control, will indignantly dart at the Kurus his terrible wrath accumulated for years, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. As a blazing fire burning all around consumeth dry grass in the hot season, so will Yudhishthira, inflamed with wrath, consume the Dhritarashtra host by glance alone of his eye. When Dhritarashtra's son will behold Bhimasena, that wrathful Pandava of terrific impetus, stationed on his car, mace in hand, vomiting the venom of his wrath, then will Duryodhana repent for this war. Indeed, when he will behold Bhimasena, who always fighteth in the van, accoutred in mail, scarcely capable of being looked at even by his own followers felling hostile heroes and devastating the enemy's ranks like Yama himself, then will the exceedingly vain Duryodhana recollect these words. When he will behold elephants, looking like mountain-peaks, felled by Bhimasena, blood flowing their broken heads like water from broken casks, then will Dhritarashtra's son repent for this war. When falling upon the sons of Dhritarashtra the fierce Bhima of terrible mien, mace in hand, will slaughter them, like a huge lion falling upon a herd of kine, then will Duryodhana repent for this war. When the heroic Bhima undaunted even in situations of great danger and skilled in weapons-when that grinder of hostile hosts in battle,--mounted on his car, and alone will crush by his mace crowds of superior cars and entire ranks of infantry, seize by his nooses strong as iron, the elephants of the hostile army, and mow down the Dhritarashtra's host, like a sturdy woodsman cutting a forest down with an axe, then will Dhritarashtra's son repent for this war. When he will behold the Dhartarashtra's host consumed like a hamlet full of straw-built huts by fire, or a field of ripe corn by lightning,--indeed when he will behold his vast army scattered, its leaders slain, and men running away with their back towards the field afflicted with fear, and all the warriors, humbled to the dust, being scorched by Bhimasena with the fire of his weapons,--then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war, When
[paragraph continues] Nakula, that warrior of wonderful feats, that foremost of all car-warriors, dexterously shooting arrows by hundreds, will mangle the car-warriors of Duryodhana, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. Accustomed to enjoy all the comforts and luxuries of life, when Nakula, recollecting that bed of woe on which he had slept for a long time in the woods, will vomit the poison of his wrath like an angry snake, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. Ready to lay down their very lives, the (allied) monarchs, O Suta, urged to battle by king Yudhishthira the just, will furiously advance on their resplendent cars against the (hostile) army. Beholding this, the son of Dhritarashtra will certainly have to repent. When the Kuru prince will behold the five heroic sons of (Draupadi), tender in years but not in acts, and all well-versed in arms, rush, reckless of their lives, against the Kauravas, then will that son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When bent upon carnage Sahadeva, mounted on his car of noiseless wheels, and motion incapable of being obstructed, and set with golden stars, and drawn by well-trained steeds, will make the heads of monarchs roll on the field of battle with volleys of arrows,--indeed, beholding that warrior skilled in weapons, seated on his car in the midst of that frightful havoc, turning now to the left and now to the right and falling upon the foe in all directions, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. Indeed, when the modest but mighty Sahadeva, skilled in battle, truthful, conversant with all the ways of morality, and endued with great activity and impetuousness, will fall upon the son of Gandhari in fierce encounter and rout all his followers, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When he will behold the sons of Draupadi, those great bowmen, those heroes skilled in weapons and well-versed in all the ways of chariot-fighting, dart at the foe like snakes of virulent poison, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When that slayer of hostile heroes, Abhimanyu, skilled in arms like Krishna himself, will overpower the foe showering upon them, like the very clouds, a thick downpour of arrows, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. Indeed, when he will behold that son of Subhadra, a child in years but not in energy, skilled in weapons and like unto Indra himself, failing like Death's self upon the ranks of the foe, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When the youthful Prabhadrakas, endued with great activity, well-versed in battle, and possessed of the energy of lions will overthrow the sons of Dhritarashtra with all their troops, then will Duryodhana repent for this war. When those veteran car-warriors Virata and Drupada will assail, at the head of their respective divisions, the sons of Dhritarashtra and their ranks, then will Duryodhana repent for this war. When Drupada, skilled in weapons, and seated on his car, desirous of plucking the heads of youthful warriors, will wrathfully strike them off with arrows shot from his bow, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When that slayer of hostile heroes, Virata will penetrate into the ranks of the foe, grinding all before him with the aid
of his Matsya warriors of cool courage, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When he will behold in the very van the eldest son of the Matsya king, of cool courage and collected mien, seated on his car and accoutred in mail on behalf of the Pandavas, then will the son of Dhritarashtra. repent for this war. I tell thee truly that when that foremost of Kaurava heroes, the virtuous son of Santanu, will be slain in battle by Sikhandin, then all our foes, without doubt, will perish. Indeed, when, overthrowing numerous car-warriors, Sikhandin, seated on his own well-protected car, will proceed towards Bhishma, crushing multitudes of (hostile) cars by means of his own powerful steeds, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When he will behold Dhristadyumna unto whom Drona hath imparted all the mysteries of the science of weapons, stationed in splendour in the very van of the Srinjaya ranks, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent. Indeed, when the leader of the Pandava host, of immeasurable prowess and capable of withstanding the rush of any force, will proceed to attack Drona in battle, crushing with his arrows the Dhritarashtra ranks, then will Duryodhana repent for this war. What enemy can withstand him who hath, for fighting in his van, that lion of the Vrishni race, that chief of the Somakas, who is modest and intelligent, mighty and endued with great energy, and blessed with every kind of prosperity? Say also this (unto Duryodhana),--Do not covet (the kingdom). We have chosen, for our leader, the dauntless and mighty car-warrior Satyaki, the grandson of Sini, skilled in weapons and having none on earth as his equal. Of broad chest and long arms, that grinder of foes, unrivalled in battle, and acquainted with the best of weapons, the grandson of Sini, skilled in arms and perfectly dauntless, is a mighty car-warrior wielding a bow of full four cubits' length. When that slayer of foes, that chief of the Sinis, urged by me, will shower, like the very clouds, his arrows on the foe, completely overwhelming their leaders with that downpour, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When that illustrious warrior of long arms and firm grasp of the bow, musters his resolution for fight, the foe then, like kine getting the scent of the lion, fly away from him before even commencing the encounter. That illustrious warrior of long arms and firm grasp of the bow is capable of splitting the very hills and destroying the entire universe. Practised in weapons, skilled (in battle), and endued with exceeding lightness of hand, he shineth on the field of battle like the sun himself in the sky. That lion of the Vrishni race, that scion of Yadu's line, of superior training, hath diverse wonderful and excellent weapons. Indeed, Satyaki is possessed of a knowledge of all those uses of weapons that are said to be of the highest excellence. When he will behold in battle the golden car of Satyaki of Madhu's race, drawn by four white steeds, then will that wretch of uncontrolled passions, the son of Dhritarashtra, repent. When he will also behold my terrible car, endued with the effulgence of gold and bright gems, drawn by white steeds and furnished with the banner
bearing the device of the Ape and guided by Kesava himself, then will that wretch of uncontrolled passions repent. When he will hear the fierce twang produced by the constant stretch of the bow-string with fingers cased in leather gloves,--that terrible twang, loud as the rolling of the thunder, of my bow Gandiva wielded by me in the midst of the great battle,--then will that wicked wretch, the son of Dhritarashtra repent, beholding himself abandoned by his troops, flying away like kine from the field of battle in all directions, overwhelmed with the darkness created by my arrowy downpour. When he will behold innumerable keen-edged arrows, furnished with beautiful wings, and capable of penetrating into the very vitals, shot from the string of Gandiva, like fierce and terrible flashes of lightning emitted by the clouds, destroying enemies by thousands, and devouring numberless steeds and elephants clad in mail, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When he will behold the arrows shot by the enemy turned off, or turned back struck by my shafts, or cut to pieces pierced transversely by my arrows, then will the foolish son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When broad-headed arrows shot by my hands will strike off the heads of youthful warriors, like birds picking off fruits from the tree-tops, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When he will behold excellent warriors of his failing down from their cars, and elephants and steeds rolling on the field, deprived of life by my arrows, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When he will behold his brothers, even before fairly coming within the range of the enemy's weapons, die all around, without having achieved anything in battle, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When pouring my blazing shafts incessantly, I will, like Death himself with mouth wide-open, destroy on all sides multitudes of cars and foot-soldiers, then will that wretch repent. When he will behold his own troops, covered with the dust raised by my car wander in all directions, torn to pieces by Gandiva and reft of senses, then will that wretch repent. When he will behold his whole army running away in fear in all directions, mangled in limbs, and bereft of senses; when he will behold his steeds, elephants, and foremost of heroes slain; when he will see his troops thirsty, struck with panic, wailing aloud, dead and dying, with their animals exhausted; and hair, bones and skulls lying in heaps around like half-wrought works of the Creator, then will that wretch repent. When he will behold on my car, Gandiva, Vasudeva, and the celestial conch Panchajanya, myself, my couple of inexhaustible quivers, and my conch called Devadatta as also my white steeds, then will the son of Dhritarashtra repent for this war. When I consume the Kauravas, like Agni consuming innumerable wicked souls assembled together at the time of ushering in another Yuga at the end of the last one, then Dhritarashtra with all his sons repent. When the wicked, hearted and the wrathful son of Dhritarashtra will be deprived of prosperity with brothers and army and followers, then, reft of pride and losing heart and trembling all over, will that fool repent. One morning when
[paragraph continues] I had finished my water-rites and prayers, a Brahmana spoke unto me these pleasant words, 'O Partha, thou shalt have to execute a very difficult task. O Savyasachin, thou shalt have to fight with thy foes. Either Indra riding on his excellent steed and thunderbolt in hand will walk before thee slaying thy foes in battle, or Krishna, the son of Vasudeva will protect thee from behind riding on his car drawn by the steeds headed by Sugriva. Relying on those words, I have, in this battle passing over Indra, the wielder of the thunderbolt, preferred Vasudeva as my ally. That Krishna hath been obtained by me for the destruction of those wicked ones. I see the hand of the gods in all this. The person whose success is only wished for by Krishna, without the latter's actually taking up arms in his behalf, is certain to prevail over all enemies, even if those be the celestials with Indra at their head, while anxiety there is none if they be human. He that wisheth to conquer in battle that foremost of heroes, Vasudeva's son Krishna endued with great energy, wisheth to cross by his two arms alone the great ocean of wide expanse and immeasurable water. He. that wisheth to split by a slap of his palm the high Kailasa mountain, is not able to do the slightest damage to the mountain although his hand only with its nails is sure to wear away. He that would conquer Vasudeva in battle, would, with his two arms, extinguish a blazing fire, stop the Sun and the Moon, and plunder by force the Amrita of the gods,--that Vasudeva, viz., who having mowed down in battle by main force all the royal warriors of the Bhoja race, had carried off on a single car Rukmini of great fame for making her his wife; and by her was afterwards born Pradyumna of high soul. It was this favourite of the gods, who, having speedily smashed the Gandharas and conquered all the sons of Nagnajit, forcibly liberated from confinement king Sudarsana of great energy. It was he that slew king Pandya by striking his breast against his, and moved down the Kalingas in battle Burnt by him, the city of Varanasi remained for many years without e king, incapable of being defeated by others. Ekalavya, the king of the Nishadas, always used to challenge this one to battle; but slain by Krishna he lay dead like the Asura Jambha violently thrashed on a hillock. It was Krishna, who, having Baladeva for his second, slew Ugrasena's wicked son (Kansa), seated in court in the midst of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, and then gave unto Ugrasena the kingdom. It was Krishna who fought with king Salya, the lord of Saubha, stationed in the skies, fearless in consequence of his powers of illusion; and it was he, who, at the gate of Subha caught with his hands the fierce Sataghni (hurled by Saubha's lord). What mortal is able to bear his might? The Asuras had a city named Pragjyotisha, which was formidable, inaccessible and unbearable. It was there that the mighty Naraka, the son of the Earth, kept the jewelled ear-rings of Aditi, having brought them by force. The very gods, who, fearless of death, assembled together with Sakra at their head were incapable of conquering him. Beholding Kesava's prowess and might, and weapon that is irresistible, and knowing also the object of his
birth, the gods employed him for the destruction of those Asuras. Vasudeva, too, endued with all the divine attributes that ensure success, agreed to undertake that exceedingly difficult task. In the city of Nirmochana that hero slew six thousand Asuras, and cutting into pieces innumerable keen-edged shafts, he slew Mura and hosts of Rakshasas, and then entered that city. It was there, that an encounter took place between the mighty' Naraka and Vishnu of immeasurable strength. Slain by Krishna, Naraka lay lifeless there, like a Karnikara tree uprooted by the wind. Having slain the Earth's son, Naraka, and also Mura, and having recovered those jewelled ear-rings, the learned Krishna of unparalleled prowess came back, adorned with beauty and undying fame. Having witnessed his terrible feats in that battle, the gods then and there blessed him saying, 'Fatigue will never be thine in fights, neither the firmament nor the waters shall stop thy course, nor shall weapons penetrate thy body.' And Krishna, by all this, regarded himself amply rewarded. Immeasurable, and possessed of great might, in Vasudeva ever exist all the virtues. And yet the son of Dhritarashtra seeketh to vanquish that unbearable Vishnu of infinite energy, for that wretch often thinks of imprisoning him. Krishna, however, beareth all this for our sake only. That wretch seeketh to create a sudden disunion between Krishna and myself. How far, however, he is capable of taking away the affection of Krishna from the Pandavas, he will see on the field of battle. Having bowed down unto Santanu's son, and also Drona with his son, and the unrivalled son of Saradwat, I shall fight for regaining our kingdom. The God of justice himself, I am sure, will bring destruction on that sinful man who will fight with the Pandavas. Deceitfully defeated at dice by those wretches, ourselves, of royal birth, had to pass twelve years in great distress in the forest and one long year in a state of concealment. When those Pandavas are still alive, how shall the sons of Dhritarashtra rejoice, possessing rank and affluence? If they vanquish us in fight, aided by the very gods headed by Indra, the then practice of vice would be better than virtue, and surely there would be nothing like righteousness on earth. If man is affected by his acts, if we be superior to Duryodhana, then, I hope that, with Vasudeva as my second, I shall slay Duryodhana, with all his kinsmen. O lord of men, if the act of robbing us of our kingdom be wicked, if these our own good deeds be not fruitless, than beholding both this and that, it seems to me, the overthrow of Duryodhana is certain. Ye Kauravas, ye will see it with your eyes that, if they fight, the sons of Dhritarashtra shall certainly perish. If they act otherwise instead of fighting, then they may live; but in the event of a battle ensuing, none of them will be left alive. Slaying all the sons of Dhritarashtra along with Karna, I shall surely wrest the hole of their kingdom, Do ye, meanwhile, whatever ye think best, and enjoy also your wives and other sweet things of life. There are, with us, many aged Brahmanas, versed in various sciences, of amiable behaviour, well-born, acquainted with the cycle of the years, engaged in the study of astrology, capable of
understanding with certainty the motions of planets and the conjunctions of stars as also of explaining the mysteries of fate, and answering questions relating to the future, acquainted with the signs of the Zodiac, and versed with the occurrences of every hour, who are prophesying the great destruction of the Kurus and the Srinjayas, and the ultimate victory of the Pandavas, so that Yudhishthira, who never made an enemy, already regardeth his objects fulfilled in consequence of the slaughter of his foes. And Janardana also, that lion among the Vrishnis, endued with the knowledge of the invisible future, without doubt, beholdeth all this. And I also, with unerring foresight, myself behold that future, for that foresight of mine, acquired of old, is not obstructed. The sons of Dhritarashtra, if they fight, will not live. My bow, Gandiva, yawneth without being handled; my bow-string trembleth without being stretched; and arrows also, issuing from my quiver's mouth, are again and again seeking to fly. My bright scimitar issueth of itself from its sheath, like a snake quitting its own worn off slough; and on the top of my flag-staff are heard terrific voices,--When shall thy car be yoked, O Kiritin? Innumerable jackals set up hideous howls at night, and Rakshasas frequently alight from the sky; deer and jackals and peacocks, crows and vultures and cranes, and wolves and birds of golden plumage, follow in the rear of my car when my white steeds are yoked unto it. Single-handed I can despatch, with arrowy showers, all warlike kings, to the regions of death. As a blazing fire consumeth a forest in the hot season, so, exhibiting diverse courses, I will hurl those great weapons called Sthur-karna, Pasupata, and Brahma, and all those that Sakra gave me, all of which are endued with fierce impetuosity. And with their aid, setting my heart on the destruction of those monarchs, I will leave no remnant of those that come to the field of battle. I will rest, having done all this. Even this is my chief and decided resolve. Tell them this, O son of Gavalgana. Look at the folly of Duryodhana! O Suta, they that are invincible in battle even if encountered with the aid of the very gods headed by Indra,--even against them that son of Dhritarashtra thinketh of warring! But so let it be even as the aged Bhishma, the son of Santanu, and Kripa, and Drona with his son, and Vidura endued with great wisdom, are saying, 'May the Kauravas all live long!"
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