The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'This thy maternal uncle Sakuni is, O king, equal to a single Ratha. Having caused the (present) hostilities (to break out) with the sons of Pandu, he will fight. There is no doubt in this. His troops are irresistible when rushing to battle. Armed with various kinds of weapons in abundance, in speed, they are equal to the very wind. The mighty bowman (Aswatthaman) who is Drona's son surpasseth all bowmen. Acquainted with all modes of warfare, and of unbaffled weapons, he is a Maharatha. Like the wielder of Gandiva, the shafts of this warrior, shot from his bow, proceed in a continuous line, touching one another. If he wishes it, this Maharatha is capable of consuming the three worlds. Engaged in austerities in his hermitage, he hath, by these, increased both his fury and energy. Possessed of great intelligence, he hath been favoured by Drona with (the gift of all) celestial weapons. There is, however, O bull of Bharata's race, one great defect in him, in consequence of which, O best of kings, I do not regard him either as a Ratha or a Maharatha. This regenerate man is exceedingly fond of living, life being very dear to him. Amongst the warriors of both armies there is no one who can be regarded as his peer. On even a single car he can annihilate the very army of the celestials. Possessed of a strong frame, he can split the very mountains by the flaps of his bow-string, striking against the leathern fence on his left arm. Endued with innumerable qualities, this smiter of fierce effulgence will wander (over the field of battle), incapable of being withstood like Yama himself, mace in hand. Resembling the fire at the end of the Yuga as regards his fury, possessed
of leonine neck, and endued with great lustre, Aswatthaman will extinguish the embers of this battle between the Bharata's. His father (Drona) is endued with great energy, and though aged, is still superior to many young men. He will achieve great feats in battle. I have no doubt of this. Staying immovably (on the field), he will consume Yudhishthira's troops. The Pandava army will play the part of the dry grass and fuel in which that fire will originate, while the impetus of his own weapons will be the wind for fanning it into a (mighty) flame. This bull among men, is a leader of bands of car-warriors. The son of Bharadwaja will achieve fierce feats for thy good! The preceptor of all Kshatriyas of royal lineage, the venerable preceptor, will exterminate the Srinjayas. Dhananjaya, however, is dear to him. This mighty bowman, therefore, remembering his own celebrated and highly meritorious services as preceptor, will never be able to slay Partha who is capable of achieving great feats without any trouble. O hero, Drona always boasteth of the numerous accomplishments of Partha. Indeed, Bharadwaja looketh on him with greater affection than on his own son. Endued with great prowess, he can, on a single car, beat in battle, by means of his celestial weapons, all the gods, Gandharvas, and human beings united together. That tiger among kings, is, O monarch, one of thy Maharathas. Capable of breaking the car-ranks of hostile heroes, he, in my judgment, is one of thy foremost of car-warriors. Afflicting the ranks of the enemy at the head of his own large force, he will consume the Panchalas like fire consuming a heap of dry grass. Possessed of true fame, prince Vrihadvala is equal to single Ratha. He, O monarch, will roam amid thy enemy's troops like Death himself. His troops, O king of kings, accoutred in various kinds of mail and armed with diverse kinds of weapons, will wander on the field, slaying all the warriors opposed to them. Vrishasena, the son of Karna, is one of thy foremost of car-warriors and is a Maharatha. That foremost of mighty men will consume the troops of thy enemy. Endued with great energy, Jalasandha, O king, is one of thy foremost of Rathas. Born in Madhu's race, that slayer of hostile heroes, is prepared to cast away his very life in battle. Skilled in battle, that mighty-armed warrior, scattering the enemy's ranks before him, will fight in battle mounted on car or from the elephant's back. That best of kings, O monarch, is in my judgment, a Ratha. He will, in fierce battle, cast away for thy sake his very life with all, his troops possessed of great prowess and acquainted with all the modes of warfare, he will, O king, fight fearlessly with thy foes in battle. Never retreating from battle, brave, and resembling Yama himself, Vahlika, O king, is in my judgment, an Atiratha. Rushing to the encounter he never cometh back. Indeed, he will slay hostile warriors in battle like the Wind-god himself. That router of hostile car-ranks, that car-warrior of wonderful feats in battle, commander of thy forces, Satyavan is, O king, a Maharatha. He never cherisheth grief at the prospect of battle. Confounding those warriors that stand in the way of his car, he falleth upon them. Always displaying his prowess against the
enemy, that best of men will, for thy sake, in fierce press of battle, achieve all that a good Kshatriya should. Thai chief of Rakshasas, Alambhusha, of cruel deeds, is a Maharatha. Remembering his old hostilities (with the Pandavas), he will commit great execution among the foe. He is the best of Rathas amongst all the Rakshasa-warriors. Possessing powers of illusion, and firm in enmity, he will wander fiercely on the field. The ruler of Pragjyotisha, the brave Bhagadatta of exceeding prowess, is the foremost of those holding the elephant hook, and is skilled also in fighting from a car. An encounter took place between him and the wielder of Gandiva for days together, O king, each desirous of victory over the other. Then Bhagadatta, O son of Gandhari, who regarded Indra as his friend, made friendship with (Indra's son) the high-souled Pandava. Skilled in fight from the elephant's neck, this king will fight in battle, like Vasava among the celestials, fighting from his Airavata.'"
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