The Mahabharata Home
"Dhritarashtra said, Yudhishthira the son of Pandu is endued with Kshatriya energy and leadeth the Brahmacharya mode of life from his
very youth. Alas, with him these foolish sons of mine desire to fight, disregarding me that am thus bewailing. I ask thee, O Duryodhana, O foremost of the Bharata race, desist from hostility. O chastiser of foes, under any circumstances, war is never applauded. Half the earth is quite enough for the maintenance of thyself and all thy followers. Give back unto the sons of Pandu, O chastiser of foes, their proper share. All the Kauravas deem just this to be consistent with justice, that thou shouldst make peace with the high-souled sons of Pandu. Reflect thus, O son, and thou wilt find that this thy army is for thy own death. Thou understandest not this from thy own folly. I myself do not desire war, nor Vahlika, nor Bhishma, nor Drona, nor Aswatthaman, nor Sanjaya, nor Somadatta, nor Salya, nor Kripa, nor Satyavrata, nor Purumitra, nor Bhurisravas,--in fact, none of these desireth war. Indeed, those warriors upon whom the Kauravas, when afflicted by the foe, will have to rely, do not approve of the war. O child, let that be acceptable to thee. Alas, thou dost not seek it of thy own will, but it is Karna and the evil-minded Dussasana and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, that are leading thee to it.'
"Duryodhana said, 'I challenge the Pandavas to battle, without depending upon thyself, Drona, or Aswatthaman, or Sanjaya, or Vikarna, or Kamvoja, or Kripa, or Vahlika, or Satyavrata, or Purumitra, or Bhurisravas, or others of thy party. But, O bull among men, only myself and Karna, O sire, are prepared to celebrate the sacrifice of battle with all the necessary rites, making Yudhishthira the victim. In that sacrifice, my car will be the altar; my sword will be the smaller ladle, my mace, the large one, for pouring libations; my coat of mail will be assembly of spectators; my four steeds will be the officiating priests; my arrows will be the blades of Kusa grass; and fame will be the clarified butter. O king, performing, in honour of Yama, such a sacrifice in battle, the ingredients of which will all be furnished by ourselves, we will return victoriously covered with glory, after having slain our foes. Three of us, O sire, viz., myself and Karna and my brother Dussasana,--will slay the Pandavas in battle. Either I, slaying the Pandavas, will sway this Earth, or the sons of Pandu, having slain me, will enjoy this Earth. O king, O thou of unfading glory, I would sacrifice my life, kingdom, wealth, everything, but would not be able to live side by side with the Pandavas. O venerable one, I will not surrender to the Pandavas even that much of land which may be covered by the sharp point of a needle.'
"Dhritarashtra said, 'I now abandon Duryodhana for ever. 'A nevertheless grieve for you all, ye kings, that will follow this fool who is about to proceed to Yama's abode. Like tigers among a herd of deer, those foremost of smiters-the sons of Pandu,--will smite down your principal leaders assembled for battle. Methinks, the Bharata host, like a helpless woman, will be afflicted and crushed and hurled to a distance by Yuyudhana of long arms. Adding to the strength of Yudhishthira's army, which without him was already sufficient, Sini's son will take up
his stand on the field of battle and scatter his arrows like seeds on a cultivated field. And Bhimasena will take up his position in the very van of the combatants, and all his soldiers will fearlessly stand in his rear, as behind a rampart. Indeed, when thou, O Duryodhana, wilt behold elephants, huge as hills, prostrated on the ground with their tusks disabled, their temples crushed and bodies dyed with gore,--in fact, when thou wilt see them lying on the field of battle like riven hills, then, afraid of a clash with him, thou wilt remember these my words. Beholding thy host consisting of cars, steeds, and elephants, consumed by Bhimasena, and presenting the spectacle of a wide-spread conflagration's track, thou wilt remember these my words. If ye do not make peace with the Pandavas, overwhelming calamity will be yours. Slain by Bhimasena with his mace, ye will rest in peace. Indeed, when thou wilt see the Kuru host levelled to the ground by Bhima, like a large forest torn up by the roots, then wilt thou remember these my words.'
"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said this unto all those rulers of the earth, the king addressing Sanjaya again, asked him as follows.'"
Next: Section LIX