The Mahabharata Home
"Duryodhana said, 'Having obtained, O Sanjaya, an army numbering seven Akshauhinis, what is Yudhishthira, the son of Kunti, with the other kings in his company, doing in view of the war?'
"Sanjaya said, 'Yudhishthira, O king, is very cheerful in view of the battle. And so also are Bhimasena and Arjuna. The twins also are perfectly fearless. Desirous of making an experiment of the mantras (obtained by him). Vibhatsu, the son of Kunti, yoked his celestial car illuminating all the directions. Accoutred in mail, he looked like a mass of clouds charged with lightning. After reflecting for a while, he cheerfully addressed me, saying,--Behold, O Sanjaya, these preliminary signs. We will certainly conquer.' Indeed, what Vibhatsu said unto me appeared to me to be true.'
"Duryodhana said, 'Thou rejoicest to applaud those sons of Pritha defeated at dice. Tell us now what sort of steeds are yoked unto Arjuna's car and what sort of banners are set up on it?'
"Sanjaya said, 'O great king, the celestial artificer called Tashtri or Bhaumana, aided by Sakra and Dhatri, created forms of diverse kinds and great beauty for Arjuna's car. And displaying divine illusion they placed on his flagstaff those celestial forms, large and small, of great value. And at Bhimasena's request, Hanumat, the son of the Wind-god, will also place his own image on it. And Bhaumana has, in its creation, had recourse to such illusion that that banner covers, both perpendicularly and laterally, an area of one yojana, and even if trees stand in its way, its course cannot be impeded. Indeed, even as Sakra's bow of diverse colours is exhibited in the firmament, and nobody knows of what it is made, so hath that banner been contrived by Bhaumana, for its form is varied and ever varying. And as column of smoke mixed with fire riseth up, covering the sky and displaying many bright hues and elegant shapes, so doth that banner contrived by Bhaumana rear its head. Indeed, it hath no weight, nor is it capable of being obstructed. And unto that car are a century of excellent celestial steeds of white hue and endued with the speed of the mind, all presented by Chitrasena (the king of the Gandharvas). And neither on earth, O king, nor in the sky, nor in heaven, their course can be impeded. And formerly a boon hath been granted to the effect that their number would always remain full how often so ever they might be slain. And unto Yudhishthira's car are yoked large steeds of equal energy and white in colour like ivory. And unto Bhimasena's car are yoked courses endued with the speed of the wind and the splendour of the seven Rishis. And steeds of sable bodies and backs variegated like the wings of the Tittri bird, all presented by his gratified brother Falguna, and superior to those of the heroic Falguna himself, cheerfully carry Sahadeva. And Nakula of Ajamida's race, the son of Madri, is borne, like Indra the slayer of Vritra, by excellent steeds, presented by the great Indra himself, all mighty as the wind and endued with great speed. And excellent steed of large size, equal unto those of the Pandavas themselves in years and strength, endued with great swiftness and of handsome make, and all presented by the celestials, carry those youthful princes, the sons of Subhadra and Draupadi.'"
Next: Section LVII