The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said,--"Beholding Dhananjaya then to take up once again (his) arrows and Gandiva, the mighty car-warriors (of the Pandava party) uttered a tremendous shout. And those heroes, viz., the Pandavas and the Somakas, and those who followed them, filled with joy, blew their sea-born conches. And drums, and Pesis, and Karkachas, and cow-horns were beaten and blown together, and the uproar made was very loud. And then, O ruler of men, there came the gods, with Gandharvas and the Pitris, and the hosts of Siddhas and Charanas, from desire of witnessing (the sight). And Rishis highly blessed came there in a body with him (Indra) of a hundred sacrifices at their head, for beholding that great slaughter. Then, O king, beholding the two armies, that looked like two oceans, ready for the encounter and continuously moving, the heroic king Yudhishthira, the Just, putting off his coat of mail and casting aside his excellent weapon and quickly descending from his car, with joined hands, proceeded on foot, eyeing the grandsire, with restrained speech, facing the east, towards the direction where the hostile host was (standing). 2 And
seeing him proceed (thus), Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, speedily alighting from his car, followed him, accompanied by his (other) brothers. And the Lord Vasudeva also followed him behind. And the principal kings too (of his army), filled with anxiety, followed in the same path.
"Arjuna said, 'What is this act of thine, O king, that abandoning thy brothers, thou proceedest on foot, face eastwards, to the hostile host?'
"Bhimasena said, 'Where wilt thou go, O king of kings, having cast off thy coat of mail and weapons, towards the warriors of the foe cased in mail, and leaving thy brothers, O ruler of earth?'
"Nakula said, 'Thou art my eldest brother, O Bharata, (beholding) thee proceeding in this way, fear troubleth my bosom. Tell (us), whither wilt thou go?'
"Sahadeva said, 'When these hostile divisions, terrible and numerous, are here with whom we are to fight, whither dost thou go, O king, in the direction of our foes?'
Sanjaya continued, "Though thus addressed by his brothers, O son of Kuru's race, Yudhishthira of restrained speech said nothing but continued to proceed. Unto them (then), the high-souled Vasudeva of great wisdom smilingly said,--His object is known to me. Having paid his respects to all his superiors (such as) Bhishma, Drona, and Kripa, and Salya also, he will fight the foe. It is heard in histories of olden times that he who, having paid his respects according to the ordinance unto his preceptors, revered in years and his kinsmen, fighteth with those that are his superiors, is sure to obtain victory in battle. Even that is my opinion.--When Krishna was saying this, among the ranks of Dhritarashtra's son, a loud uproar of Alas, and Oh arose, but the other (army) remained perfectly still. Beholding Yudhishthira, the heroic warriors of Dhritarashtra's Son conversed with one another saying,--'This one is an infamous wretch of his race. It is plain that this king is coming in terror towards Bhishma's side. Yudhishthira, with his brothers, hath become a seeker after (Bhishma's) shelter. When Dhananjaya, however, is (his) protector, and Pandu's son Vrikodara, and Nakula, and Sahadeva also, why doth the (eldest) son of Pandu come (hither) in fear? Though celebrated in the world, this one, however, could never have been born in the Kshatriya order, since he is weak and his bosom is filled with fear (at the prospect) of battle.' Then those warriors all praised the Kauravas. And all of them, becoming rejoiced, with cheerful hearts waved their garments. And, O monarch, all the warriors there (then) censured Yudhishthira with all his brothers and along with Kesava too. Then the Kaurava army, having said Fie to Yudhishthira, soon again, O monarch, became perfectly still,--What will this king say? What will Bhishma say in reply? What will Bhima boastful of his powers in battle, (say), and what Krishna and Arjuna? What, indeed, hath (Yudhishthira) to say?--Great was the curiosity then, O king, of both the armies in respect of Yudhishthira. The king (meanwhile), penetrating the hostile array bristling with arrows and darts, proceeded quickly towards Bhishma, surrounded by his brothers. Seizing his feet with his two
hands, the royal son of Pandu then said unto Santanu's son Bhishma who was there ready for battle, (these words).
"Yudhishthira said, 'I salute thee, O invincible one. With thee we will do battle. Grant (us) thy permission in that matter. Give (us) also (thy) blessing."
"Bhishma said, 'If, O lord of the earth, thou hadst not, in this battle come to me thus, I would have, O great king, cursed thee, O Bharata, for bringing about thy defeat. I am gratified (with thee), O son. Do battle, and obtain victory, O son of Pandu, What else may be desired by thee, obtain thou in battle. Solicit also the boon, O son of Pritha, which thou desirest to have from us. If it happens so, O great king, then defeat will not be thine. A man is the slave of wealth, but wealth is no one's slave. This is very true, O king. I have been bound by the Kauravas with (their) wealth. It is for this, O son of Kuru's race, that like a eunuch I am uttering these words, viz.,--Bound I am by the Kauravas with wealth. Battle excepted, what dost thou desire? 1'
"Yudhishthira said, 'O thou of great wisdom, do thou, desirous of my welfare, from day to day, consult my interests. Do battle, however for the sake of the Kauravas. Even this is always my prayer (to thee).'
"Bhishma said, 'O king, O son of Kuru's race, what aid can I render thee in this? I shall, of course, fight for (thy) foes. Tell me what thou hast to say.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'Therefore, O Sire, I ask thee, I bow to thee, O grandsire, how shall we, in battle, vanquish thee that art invincible? Tell me this that is for my benefit, if indeed, thou seest any good in it."
"Bhishma said, 'I do not, O son of Kunti, see the person who, even if he were the chief of the celestials himself, can defeat me in battle when I fight.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'My salutations to thee, O grandsire. Therefore, do I ask thee (this). Tell us how thy own death may be compassed by foes in battle.'
"Bhishma said, 'I do not see the person, O sire, who can vanquish me in battle. The time also of my death is not yet come to me once again."
Sanjaya continued,--"Then, O son of Kuru's race, Yudhishthira, once more saluting him, accepted Bhishma's words with a bend of his head. And that mighty-armed one then proceeded towards the car of the preceptor ( Drona) through the midst of all the soldiers who were eyeing him, accompanied by his brothers. Then saluting Drona and walking round him, the king spoke to that invincible warrior words that were for his own benefit. 2
"Yudhishthira said, 'I ask thee, O invincible one, how I may fight without incurring sin, and how, with thy permission, O regenerate one, I may vanquish all my foes? 1
"Drona said, 'If, having resolved to fight, thou hadst not come to me (thus), I would have cursed thee. O king, for thy complete overthrow. I am, however, gratified, O Yudhishthira, and honoured by thee, O sinless one. I permit thee, fight and obtain victory. I will also fulfil thy wish. Say what thou hast to say. Under these circumstances, battle excepted, what dost thou wish? A man is the slave of wealth, but wealth is not one's slave. This is quite true, O king! Bound I have been with (their) wealth by the Kauravas! It is for this that like a eunuch I shall fight for the sake of the Kauravas. It is for this that like a eunuch I am uttering these words--Battle excepted, what dost thou wish? I shall fight for the sake of the Kauravas, but will pray for thy victory.' 2
"Yudhishthira said, 'Pray for my victory, O regenerate one, and counsel what is for my good. Fight, however, for the Kauravas. This is the boon solicited by me.'
"Drona said, 'Victory, O king, is certain for thee that hast Hari for thy counsellor. I (also) grant thee that thou wilt vanquish thy foes in battle. Thither where righteousness is, thither is Krishna, and thither where Krishna is, thither is victory. Go, fight, O son of Kunti! Ask me, what shall I say unto thee?'
"Yudhishthira said, 'I ask thee, O foremost of regenerate ones, listen to what I have to say. How shall we in battle vanquish thee that art invincible?'
"Drona said, 'As long as I will fight, so long victory can never be thine. (Therefore) O king, seek with thy brothers, for my speedy slaughter.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'Alas, for this, O thou of mighty arms, tell (us) the means of thy death. O preceptor, prostrating myself I ask thee this. (My) salutations to thee."
"Drona said, 'The foe, O sire, I see not who may slay me while standing in battle I am engaged in fight, with wrath excited, and scattering (my) arrowy showers continually. Except when addrest for death O king, having abandoned my arms and withdrawn (in Yoga meditation) from surrounding sights, none will be able to slay me. This that I tell thee is true. I also tell thee truly that I will cast off my arms in battle, having heard something very disagreeable from some one of credible speech.--'"
Sanjaya continued, "Hearing these words, O king, of the wise son of Bharadwaja, and honouring the preceptor, (Yudhishthira then) proceeded towards the son of Saradwat. And saluting Kripa and walking round him, O king, Yudhishthira, accomplished in speech, said these words unto that
warrior of great valour.
"Yudhishthira said, 'Obtaining thy permission, O preceptor, I will fight without incurring sin, and permitted by thee, O sinless one, I will vanquish all (my) foes."
"Kripa said, 'If having resolved on fight, thou hadst not come to me (thus), I would have cursed thee, O king, for thy complete overthrow. A man is the slave of wealth, but wealth is no one's slave. This is very true, O king, and bound I have been with wealth by the Kauravas. I must, O king, fight for their sake. This is my opinion. I therefore, speak like a eunuch in asking thee,--Battle excepted, what dost thou desire?'
"Yudhishthira said, 'Alas, I ask thee, therefore., O preceptor, listen to my words.--Saying this, the king, greatly agitated and deprived of his sense, stood silent."
Sanjaya continued.--"Understanding, however, what he intended to say, Gautama (Kripa) replied to him, saying,--I am incapable of being slain, O king. Fight, and obtain victory. I am gratified with thy coming. Rising every day [from bed] I will pray for thy victory, O monarch. I say this to thee truly.--Hearing, O king, these words of Gautama, and paying him due honours, the king proceeded thither where the ruler of the Madra was. Saluting Salya and walking round him the king said unto that invincible warrior those words that were for his own benefit.
'Yudhishthira said,--'Obtaining thy permission, O invincible one, I will fight without incurring sin, and permitted by thee, O king, I will vanquish (my) valourous foes.' 1--
"Salya said, 'If, having resolved on fight, thou hadst not come to me (thus), I would have, O king, cursed thee for thy overthrow in battle. I am gratified (with thee) and honoured (by thee). Let it be as thou wishest. I grant thee permission, fight and obtain victory. Speak, O hero, for what hast thou any need? What shalt I give thee? Under these circumstances, O king, battle excepted, what dost thou desire? A man is the slave of wealth but wealth is no one's slave. This is true, O king. Bound I have been with wealth by the Kauravas, O nephew, it is for this that I am speaking to thee like a eunuch,--I will accomplish the desire thou mayst cherish. Battle excepted, what dost thou wish.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'Think, O king, daily of what is for my great good. Fight, according to thy pleasure, for the sake of the foe. This is the boon that I solicit.'
"Salya said, 'Under these circumstances, say, O best of kings what aid shall I render thee? I shall, of course, fight for the sake of (thy) enemy, for I have been made one of their party by the Kauravas with their wealth. 2
"Yudhishthira said, 'Even that is my boon, O Salya, which was solicited by me during the preparations (for the fight). The energy of the Suta's son (Karna) should be weakened by thee in battle.'
"Salya said, 'This thy wish, O Yudhishthira, shall be accomplished, O son of Kunti. Go, fight according to thy pleasure. I shall look after thy victory."
'Sanjaya continued, "Having obtained the permission of his maternal uncle, the ruler of the Madra, the son of Kunti, surrounded by his brothers, came out of that vast army. Vasudeva then went to Radha's son on the field of battle. And the elder brother of Gada, for the sake of the Pandavas, then said to Karna,--It hath been heard by me, O Karna, that from hatred of Bhishma thou wilt not fight. Come to our side, O son of Radha, and (stay with us) as long as Bhishma is not slain. After Bhishma is slain, O son of Radha, thou mayst then again engage in battle on Duryodhana's side, if thou hast no preference for any of the parties.--'
"Karna said, 'I will not do anything that is disagreeable to Dhritarashtra's son, O Kesava. Devoted to Duryodhana's good, know that I have cast off my life (for him).--Hearing these words (of Karna), Krishna ceased, O Bharata, and reunited himself with the sons of Pandu headed by Yudhishthira. Then amid all the warriors the eldest son of Pandu, loudly exclaimed,--He who will choose us, him we shall choose for our ally!--Casting his eyes then upon them, Yuyutsu said these words, with a cheerful heart, unto Kunti's son king Yudhishthira the Just,--I will fight under thee in battle, for the sake of you all, with the sons of Dhritarashtra, if, O king, thou wilt accept me, sinless one.'
"Yudhishthira said, 'Come, come, all of us will fight with thy foolish brothers. O Yuyutsu, both Vasudeva and we all say to thee--I accept thee, O thou of mighty arms, fight for my cause. On thee rests, it seems, the thread of Dhritarashtra's line as also his funeral cake. O prince, O thou of great splendour, accept us that accept thee. The wrathful Duryodhana of wicked understanding will cease to live.'"
Sanjaya continued, 'Yuvutsu then, abandoning the Kurus thy sons, went over to the army of the Pandavas, with beat of drums and cymbals. Then king Yudhishthira of mighty arms, filled with joy, again put on his shining coat of mail of golden effulgence. And those bulls among men then mounted their respective cars. And they counter-arrayed their troops in battle-array as before. And they caused drums and cymbals in many hundreds to be sounded. And those bulls among men also set up diverse leonine roars. 1 And beholding those tigers among men, viz., the sons of Pandu, on their cars, the kings (on their side) with Dhrishtadyumna and others, once more set up shouts of joy. And beholding the nobility of the sons of Pandu who had paid due honour to those that were deserving of honour, all the kings there present applauded them highly. And the monarchs, talked with one another about the friendship, the compassion, and
the kindness to kinsmen, displayed at the proper season by those high-souled personages. Excellent,--Excellent,--were the delightful words everywhere bruited about, coupled with eulogistic hymns about those famous men. And in consequence of this the minds and hearts of every one there were attracted towards them. And the Mlechchhas and the Aryas there who witnessed or heard of that behaviour of the sons of Pandu, all wept with choked voices. And those warriors then, endued with great energy, caused large drums and Pushkaras by hundreds upon hundreds to be sounded and also blew their conches all white as the milk of cows.'"
98:1 Bhuti is explained by Sreedhara as gradual abhivridhhi, i.e., growth or greatness. Niti is explained as Nyaya or justice.
98:2 Varayudham is according to Nilakantha, the excellent bow. Yena in verse 8 is equivalent to Yatra.
100:1 What Bhishma says is this: I am bound by the Kauravas and, therefore, I am not a free agent. Obliged I am to battle against you. Yet I am saying, "What do you ask of me?" as if I could really give you what you might ask. My words, therefore, are without meaning, or vain, like those of a eunuch. Klivavat is explained by Nilakantha as Kataravat. Even in that case, the sense would be the same.
100:2 The Bengal reading is evidently incorrect. The Bombay text reads Raja for Vacoa.
101:1 Nilakantha thinks that vigatakalmashas refers to Drona; the meaning he suggests is "Tell me with pure heart etc., etc.," I think Nilakantha is not right.
101:2 The sense of the first line is that because I am bound by the Kauravas with their wealth, therefore, I am obliged to make this reservation in the matter of granting thee thy wishes. That reservation really nullifies my promise.
102:1 Paran is explained by Nilakantha as "superior" qualifying Ripun.
102:2 Vritosmi is the reading of the Bengal texts, better than Vaddhosmi of the Bombay edition, and bhristomi of the Burdwan text. Salya was not bound to the Kauravas like Bhishma or Drona or Kripa by pensions, but gratified by the reception granted to him by Duryodhana in secret, he, generously agreed to aid the latter even against his own sister's sons and their step-brothers.
103:1 For Puskalan the Bombay text reads Pushkaran which means a kind of drum.
Next: Section XLIV