The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "Then king Duryodhana, and Sakuni the son of Suvala, and thy son Dussasana, and the invincible Suta's son (Karna) meeting together, consulted in the following way. How could the sons of Pandu, with their followers, be vanquished in battle? Even this was the subject of their consultation. Then king Duryodhana, addressing the Suta's son and the mighty Sakuni, said unto all those counsellors of his, 'Drona, Bhishma, and Kripa, and Salya and Somadatta's son do not resist the Parthas. I do not know what the cause is of such conduct (of theirs). Unslain by any of these, the Pandavas are destroying my forces. Therefore, O Karna, I am becoming weaker in strength and my weapons also are being exhausted'. I am deceived by the heroic Pandavas--they that are incapable of being vanquished by the very gods. Doubt filleth my mind as to
how, indeed, I shall succeed is smiting them in battle.' Unto the king who said so, O great monarch, the Suta's son answered, 'Do not grieve, O chief of the Bharata. Even I will do what is agreeable to thee. Let Santanu's son Bhishma soon withdraw from the great battle. After Ganga's son will have withdrawn from the fight and laid aside his weapons, I will slay the Partha along with all the Somakas, in the very sight of Bhishma. I pledge my truth, O king. Indeed, Bhishma every day showeth mercy towards the Pandavas. He is, besides incapable of vanquishing those mighty car-warriors. Bhishma is proud of showing his prowess in battle. He is again, very fond of fight. Why, O sire, will he, therefore, vanquish the assembled Pandavas (for then the battle will be over)? Therefore, repairing without delay to the tent of Bhishma, solicit that old and reverend signior to lay aside his weapons. After he will have laid aside his weapons, O Bharata, think the Pandavas as already slain, with all their friends and kinsmen, O king, by myself alone.' Thus addressed by Karna, thy son Duryodhana then said unto his brother Dussasana these words, 'See, O Dussasana, that without delay that all who walk in my train be dressed.' Having said these words, O monarch, the king addressed Karna, saying, 'Having caused Bhishma, that foremost of men, to consent to this, I will, without delay, come to thee, O chastiser of foes. After Bhishma will have retired from the fight, thou wilt smite (the foe) in battle'. Then thy son, O monarch, set out without delay, accompanied by his brothers like He of a hundred sacrifices (accompanied) by the gods. Then his brother Dussasana caused that tiger among king, endued, besides, with the prowess of a tiger, to mount on his horse. Graced with bracelets, with diadem on head, and adorned with other ornaments on his arms. O king, thy son shone brightly as he proceeded along the streets. Smeared with fragrant sandal-paste of the hue of the Bhandi flower and bright as burnished gold, and clad in clean vestments, and proceeding with the sportive gait of the lion, Duryodhana looked beautiful like the Sun of brilliant radiance in the firmament. And as that tiger among men proceeded towards the tent of Bhishma, many mighty bowmen, celebrated over the world, followed him behind. And his brothers also walked in his train, like the celestials walking behind Vasava. And others, foremost of men, mounted upon steeds, and others again on elephants, O Bharata, and others on cars, surrounded him on all sides. And many amongst those that wished him well, taking up arms for the protection on his royal self, appeared there in large bodies, like the celestials surrounding Sakra in heaven. The mighty chief of the Kurus, adored by all the Kauravas, thus proceeded, O king, towards the quarters of the renowned son of Ganga. Ever followed and surrounded, by his uterine brothers, he proceeded, often raising his right arm, massive and resembling the trunk of an elephant and capable of resisting all foes. And with that arm of his, he accepted the regards that were paid to him from all sides by by-standers who stood raising towards him their joined hands. And he heard, as he journeyed, the sweet voices of the natives of diverse
realms. Of great fame, he was eulogised by bards and eulogists. And in return that great king paid his regards unto them all. And many high-souled persons stood around him with lighted lamps of gold fed with fragrant oil. And surrounded with golden lamps, the king looked radiant like the Moon attended by the blazing planets around him. And (attendants) with head-gears decked with gold, having canes and Jhariharas in hand, softly caused the crowd all around to make way. The king then, having reached the excellent quarters of Bhishma, alighted from his horse. And arrived at Bhishma's presence, that ruler of men saluted Bhishma and then sat himself down on an excellent seat that was made of gold, beautiful throughout and overlaid with a rich coverlet. With hands joined, eyes bathed in tears, and voice chocked in grief, he then addressed Bhishma, saying, 'Taking thy protection, this battle, O slayer of foes, we ventured to vanquish the very gods and the Asuras with Indra at their head. What shall I say, therefore, of the sons of Pandu, heroic though they be, with their kinsmen and friends? Therefore, O son of Ganga, it behoveth thee, O lord, to show me mercy. Slay the brave sons of Pandu like Mahendra slaying the Danavas.--I will slay, O king, all the Somakas and the Panchalas and the Karushas along with the Kekayas, O Bharata-these were thy words to me. Let these words become true. Slay the assembled Parthas, and those mighty bowmen, viz., the Somakas. Make thy words true, O Bharata. If from kindness (for the Pandavas), O king, or from thy hatred of my unfortunate self, thou sparest the Pandavas, then permit Karna, that ornament of battle, to fight. He will vanquish in battle the Parthas with all their friends and kinsmen. The king, thy son Duryodhana having said this, shut his lips without saying anything more to Bhishma of terrible prowess."
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