The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Having reached the Pandava camp, the gambler's son (Uluka) presented himself before the Pandavas, and addressing Yudhishthira said, 'Thou art fully conversant with what envoys say! It behoveth thee not, therefore, to be angry with me if I repeat those words only which Duryodhana hath instructed me to tell!'
"Hearing this, Yudhishthira said, 'Thou hast no fear., O Uluka! Tell us, without any anxiety what are the views of the covetous Duryodhana of limited sight!' Then in the midst and presence of the illustrious and high-souled Pandavas, of the Srinjayas, and Krishna possessed of great fame, of Drupada with his sons, of Virata, and of all monarchs, Uluka said these words.'
"Uluka said, 'Even this is what the high-souled king Duryodhana hath in the presence of all the Kuru heroes, said unto thee! Listen to those words, O Yudhishthira! Thou wert defeated at dice, and Krishna was brought into the assembly! At this, a person who regardeth himself a man would be justified in giving way to wrath! For twelve years wert thou banished from home into the woods! For one whole year didst thou live in Virata's service. Remembering the reason there is for wrath, thy exile, and the persecution of Krishna, be a man, O son of Pandu! Though weak, Bhima yet, O Pandava, made a vow! Let him, if able, drink the blood of Dussasana! Thy weapons have been properly worshipped and their presiding deities have been invoked! The field of Kurukshetra also is without mire. The roads are even. Thy steeds are well-fed. Engage in battle, therefore, on the morrow, with Kesava as thy ally! Without having yet approached Bhishma in battle, why dost thou indulge in boasts? Like a fool that boasteth of his intention to ascend the mountains of Gandhamadana, thou, O son of Kunti, art indulging in a vain boast. Without having vanquished in battle the Suta's son (Karna) who is invincible, and Salya, that foremost of mighty persons, and that first of all warriors and equal unto Sachi's lord himself in combat, why, O son of Pritha, dost thou wish for sovereignty? A preceptor
in both the Vedas and the bow, he hath reached the end of both these branches of learning. Thou desirest in vain, O son of Pritha, to vanquish that leader of troops, the illustrious Drona, who fightest in the van, is incapable of being agitated, and whose strength knows no diminution. Never have we heard that the mountains of Sumeru have been crushed by the wind! But the wind will bear away Sumeru, heaven itself will fall down on the earth, the very Yugas will be reversed if what thou hast said unto me really taketh place! Who is there fond of life, fighting from the back of an elephant or of a horse or from a car, that would return home (safe and sound), after having encountered that grinder of foes? What creature treading the earth with his feet, would escape with life from battle, having been attacked by Drona and Bhishma, or pierced with their terrible shafts? Like a frog within a well, why dost thou not realise the strength of this assembled host of monarchs, which resembleth the very celestial host, and which is protected by these kings like the gods protecting theirs in heaven, and which, swarming with the kings of the East, West, South, and North, with Kamvojas, Sakas, Khasas, Salwas, Matsyas, Kurus of the middle country, Mlechchhas, Pulindas, Dravidas, Andhras, and Kanchis, indeed, with many nations, all addressed for battle, is uncrossable like the swollen tide of Ganga? O fool of little understanding, how wilt thou fight with me while I am stationed in the midst of my elephant force?'
'Having said these words unto king Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, Uluka, turning his face then towards Jishnu, said unto him these words, 'Fight without bragging, O Arjuna! Why dost thou brag so much? Success resulteth from the application of method. A battle is never won by bragging. If acts in this world, O Dhananjaya, succeeded in consequence only of boasts, then all men would have succeeded in their objects, for who is there that is not competent to brag? I know that thou hast Vasudeva for thy ally. I know that thy Gandiva is full six cubits long. I know that there is no warrior equal to thee. Knowing all this, I retain thy kingdom yet! A man never winneth success in consequence of the attribute of lineage. It is the Supreme Ordainer alone who by his fiat maketh (things hostile) friendly and subservient. For these thirteen years have I enjoyed sovereignty, while ye were weeping! I shall continue to rule in the same way, slaying thee with thy kinsmen! Where was thy Gandiva then when thou wert made a slave won at dice? Where, O Falguni, was Bhimasena's might then? Your deliverance then came neither from Bhimasena armed with mace, nor from you armed with Gandiva, but from faultless Krishna. It was she, the daughter of Prishata's house, that delivered you all, sunk in slavery, engaged in occupations worthy only of the low, and working as servitors! I characterised ye as sesame seeds without kernel. That is very true, for, did not Partha bear a braid while living in Virata's city? In the cooking apartments of Virata, Bhimasena was fatigued with doing the work of a cook. Even this, O son of Kunti, is (evidence of) thy manliness! Flying
from an encounter with braids and waist-bands thyself binding thy hair into a braid, thou wert employed in teaching the girls to dance! It is thus that Kshatriyas always inflict punishment on a Kshatriya! From fear of Vasudeva, or from fear of thyself, O Falguni, I will not give up the kingdom. Fight, with Kesava as thy ally! Neither deception, nor conjuror's tricks, nor jugglery can terrify an armed man ready for fight. On the other hand, all this provokes only his wrath! A thousand Vasudevas, a hundred Falgunis, approaching me whose aim and weapons never go for nothing, will fly away in all directions, Encounter Bhishma in combat, or pierce the hills with thy head, or cross with the aid of thy two arms the vast and deep main! As regards my army, it is a veritable ocean with Saradwat's son as its large fish; Vivingsati, its smaller fish; Vrihadvala its waves; Somadatta's son its whale; Bhishma its mighty force; Drona its unconquerable alligator; Karna and Salya, its fishes and whirlpools; Kamvoja its equine head vomiting fire, Jayadratha its (submarine) rock, Purumitra its depth, Durmarshana its waters, and Sakuni its shores! When having plunged into this swelling ocean with its inexhaustible waves of weapons thou wilt from fatigue be deprived of thy senses, and have all thy relatives and friends slain, then will repentance possess thy heart! Then will thy heart turn away, O Partha, from the thought of ruling the earth like the heart of a person of impure deeds turning away from (hope of) heaven. Indeed, for thee to win a kingdom to rule is as impossible as for one not possessed of ascetic merit to obtain heaven!'"
Next: Section CLXIII