The Mahabharata Home
Dhritarashtra said, "Our army is possessed of many excellencies, consisting of diverse forces, its efficiency is great. It is again arrayed according to the rules of science and, therefore, ought to be irresistible. It is attached to us exceedingly, and always devoted to us. It is submissive, and free from the faults of drunkenness and licentiousness. Its prowess had before been tested. The soldiers are neither very old nor very young. They are neither lean nor corpulent. Of active habits, of well-developed and strong frames, they are free from disease. They are cased in mail and well-equipped with arms. They are exercised in every kind of weapons. They are skilled in encounters with swords, with bare arms, and with maces. They are well-exercised in lances, sabres, and darts, as also in iron clubs, short arrows, javelins and mallets. They are devoted to all kinds of armed exercises, and are adepts in mounting upon and descending from the backs of elephants, in moving forward and stepping back, in smiting effectually, in marching and retreating. Many a time have they been tested in the management of elephants and steeds and cars. Having been examined duly they have been entertained on pay, and not for the sake of lineage, nor from favour nor from relationship, nor from strength of attachments, nor from connections of birth and blood. They are all respectable and honest, and their kinsmen have been well-treated and gratified by us. We have done them many good offices. They are, besides, all renowned men and endued with great mental vigour. O son, they are again protected by many foremost of men endued with great activity, and of famous achievements, resembling the very Regents of the world and renowned over the whole earth. Innumerable Kshatriyas, respected throughout the world, and who have of their own will sided us with their forces and followers also protect them. Indeed, our army is like the vast ocean filled with the water of innumerable rivers running from all directions.
[paragraph continues] It abounds with elephants, and with cars which though destitute of wings, yet resemble the winged tenants of the air. Vast numbers of combatants constitute the waters of that ocean, and the steeds and other animals constitute its terrible waves. Innumerable swords and maces and darts and arrows and lances constitute the oars (piled on that ocean). Abounding with standards and ornaments and adorned with cloth inlaid with gold and gems, the rushing steeds and elephants constitute the winds agitating it into fury. Our host, therefore, really resembles the vast, shoreless ocean roaring in rage. And that host is protected by Drona and Bhishma and by Kritavarman and Kripa and Dussasana, and others headed by Jayadratha. It is also protected by Bhagadatta and Vikarna by Drona's son, and Suvala's son, and Valhika and by many other mighty and high-souled heroes of the world. That our army should yet be slaughtered in battle is due only to predestined fate, O Sanjaya. Neither men nor highly blessed Rishis of old ever beheld such preparations (for battle) on earth before. That so large an army, mustered according to science, and attached (to us) by wealth, should yet be slaughtered in battle, alas, what can it be but the result of Destiny? O Sanjaya, all these seem to be unnatural. Indeed Vidura had often said what was both beneficial and desirable. But my wicked son Duryodhana would not accept it. I believe that high-souled and well-knowing person had foreseen all that is now happening and hence the counsel he gave. 1 Or, O Sanjaya, all these, in all its details, had been pre-arranged by Him, for that which is ordained by the Creator must happen as ordained and cannot be otherwise."
Next: Section LXXVII