The Mahabharata Home
Sanjaya said, "The heroic Drona, that great bowman endued with the prowess of an infuriate elephant, that foremost of men possessed of great might, taking up his large bow which was capable of checking even an infuriate elephant, and shaking it (in his hands), was engaged in afflicting the Pandava ranks, having penetrated into their midst. That valiant warrior acquainted with every omen, beholding the omens on all sides, addressed his son who also was scorching the hostile ranks and said these words, 'This is that day, O son, on which the mighty Partha, desirous of slaying Bhishma in battle, will exert himself to the best of his might. My arrows
are coming out (of the quiver, of their own accord). My bow seems to yawn. My weapon seems unwilling to obey my behests, and my heart also is cheerless. Animals and birds are uttering fearful and incessant cries. Vultures seem to disappear beneath the feet of the Bharata troops. The Sun himself seems to have lost hue. The quarters are all ablaze. The Earth seems to shriek, inspire fear, and tremble everywhere. Kankas, and vultures, and cranes are frequently crying. Jackals are uttering inauspicious and fierce yells foreboding great danger. Large meteors seem to fall from the centre of the solar disc. The constellation called Parigha, with a trunkless form, appeareth around the Sun. The solar and the lunar discs have become awful, foreboding great danger to Kshatriyas about the mangling of their bodies. The idols of the Kuru king in his temples tremble and laugh and dance and weep. The illustrious Moon riseth with his horns downward. The bodies of the kings belonging to the Kuru army all seem to be pale, and though clad in mail, are shorn of splendour. The loud blare of Panchajanya and the twang of Gandiva are heard on all sides of both the armies. Without doubt, Arjuna, relying upon his great weapons and avoiding other warriors will advance upon the grandsire. The pores of my body are contracting, and my heart also is depressed, thinking, O mighty-armed one, of the encounter between Bhishma and Arjuna. Keeping on his fore the Panchala prince of sinful soul and conversant with deceit, Partha is proceeding towards Bhishma for battle. Bhishma said before that he would not slay Sikhandin. By the Creator had that one been made female, though through chance he subsequently became a male person. That mighty son of Yajnasena is also an inauspicious omen (by himself). The son of the Ocean-going (Ganga) will not strike that person of inauspicious self. Thinking of this, viz., that Arjuna, excited with wrath, is about to fall upon the aged Kuru grandsire, my heart is exceedingly depressed. The wrath of Yudhishthira, an encounter between Bhishma and Arjuna in battle, and an endeavour like this (of the shooting of weapons) by myself,--these (three) are certainly fraught with great harm to creatures. Arjuna is endued with great energy; he is powerful, brave, accomplished in weapons, and possessed of valour that is very active. Capable of shooting his arrows to a great distance and shooting them with force, he is, besides, acquainted with omens, Endued with great might and intelligence, and above fatigue, that foremost of warriors is incapable of defeat by the very gods with Vasava at their head. The son of Pandu possesses terrible weapons and is ever victorious in battle. Avoiding his path, go thou to battle (for Bhishma's victory) O thou of rigid vows. 1 Today in this dreadful battle thou wilt behold a great carnage. The beautiful and costly coats of mail, decked with gold, of brave warriors will be pierced with straight shafts. And the tops of standards, and bearded javelins, and bows, and bright lances of sharp points, and darts bright with gold, and the standards on the backs of elephants, will all be cut off by Kiritin
in wrath. O son, this is not the time when dependants should take care of their lives. Go to battle, keeping heaven before thee, and for the sake of fame and victory. There, the ape-bannered (Arjuna) crosseth on his car the river of battle that is awful and incapable of being easily crossed, and hath cars, elephants, and steeds, for its eddies. Regard for Brahmanas, self-restraint, liberality, asceticism, and noble conduct, are seen in Yudhishthira alone who hath for his brothers Dhananjaya, and the mighty Bhimasena, and the twin sons of Madri by Pandu, and who hath Vasudeva of the Vrishni race for his protector. The wrath, born of grief, of that Yudhishthira whose body hath been purified by the flames of penance, directed to the wicked-souled son of Dhritarashtra, is consuming this Bharata host. There cometh Partha, having Vasudeva for his protector, checking (as he cometh) this entire Dhartarashtra army. Behold, Kiritin is agitating this host like a large whale agitating the vast sea of crested waves. Hark, cries of distress and woe are heard in the van of the army. Go, encounter the heir of the Panchala king. As for myself, I will proceed against Yudhishthira. The heart of king Yudhishthira's very strong array is difficult of access. Inaccessible as the interior of the sea, it is guarded on all sides by Atirathas. Satyaki, and Abhimanyu and Dhrishtadyumna, and Vrikodara, and the twins, even these are protecting that ruler of men, viz., king Yudhishthira. Dark as the younger brother of Indra, and risen like a tall Sala, behold Abhimanyu advancing at the head of the (Pandava) host, like a second Phalguna! Take up thy mighty weapons, and with thy large bow in hand proceed against the royal son of Prishata (viz., Sikhandin), and against Vrikodara. Who is there that doth not wish his dear son to live for many years? Keeping the duties of a Kshatriya, however, before me, I am engaging thee (to this task). So Bhishma also, in this battle, is consuming the mighty host of the Pandavas. O son, he is, in battle, equal to Yama or Varuna himself.'"
283:1 I think Yatavrata had better be read Yatavratam. It would then mean Bhishma.
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