The Mahabharata Home
"Dhritarashtra said, 'After Abhimanyu's slaughter when the next day came, what did the Pandavas, afflicted with grief and sorrow do? Who amongst my warriors fought with them? Knowing, as they did, the achievements of Savyasachin, O tell me, how the Kauravas, could, having perpetrated such a wrong, remain fearlessly. How could they in battle venture even to gaze at that tiger among men (viz., Arjuna), as he advanced like the all-destroying Death himself in fury, burning with grief on account of the slaughter of his son? Beholding that warrior having the prince of apes on his banner, that hero grieved on account of his son's death shaking his gigantic bow in battle, what did my warrior do? What, O Sanjaya, hath befallen unto Duryodhana? A great sorrow hath overtaken us today. I do not any longer hear the sounds of joy. Those charming sounds, highly agreeable to the ear, that were formerly heard in the abode of the Sindhu king, alas those sounds are no longer heard today. Alas, in the camp of my sons, the sounds of countless bards and panegyrists singing their praises, and of dances are no longer heard. Formerly, such sounds used to strike my ears incessantly. Alas, as they are plunged into grief I do not any longer hear those sounds uttered (in their camp). Formerly, O Sanjaya, while sitting in the abode of Somadatta who was devoted to truth, I used to hear such delightful sounds. Alas, how destitute of (religious) merit I am, for I observe the abode of my sons today to be echoing with sounds of grief and lamentations and destitute of every noise betokening life and energy. In the houses of Vivinsati, Durmukha, Chitrasena, Vikarna, and other sons of mine, I do not hear the sounds I used to hear formerly. That great bowman, viz., the son of Drona, who was the refuge of my sons, upon him Brahmanas and Kshatriyas and Vaisyas, and a large number of disciples used to wait, who took pleasure day and night in controversial disputations, in talk, in conversation, in the stirring music of diverse instruments, and in various kinds of delightful songs, who was worshipped by many persons among the Kurus, the Pandavas, and the Satwatas, alas, O Suta, in the abode of that son of Drona no sound can be heard as formerly. Singers and dancers used, in a large number, to wait closely upon that mighty bowman, viz., the son of Drona. Alas, their sounds can no longer be heard in his abode. That loud noise which rose in the camp of Vinda and Anuvinda every evening, alas, that noise is no longer heard there. Not in the camp of the Kaikeyas can that loud sound of song and slapping of palms be heard today which their soldiers, engaged in dance and revelry, used to make. Those priests competent in the performance of sacrifices who used to wait upon Somadatta's son, that refuge of scriptural rites, alas, their sounds can no longer be heard. The twang of the bowstring,
the sounds of Vedic recitation, the whiz of lances and swords, and rattle of car-wheels, used incessantly to be heard in the abode of Drona. Alas, those sounds can no longer be heard there. That swell of songs of diverse realms, that loud noise of musical instruments, which used to arise there, alas, those can no longer be heard today. When Janardana of unfading glory came from Upaplavya, desirous of peace, from compassion for every creature, I then, O Suta, said unto the wicked Duryodhana: Obtaining Vasudeva as the means, make peace with the Pandavas, O son! I think the time has come (for making peace). Do not, O Duryodhana, transgress my command. If thou settest Vasudeva aside, who now begs thee for peace and addresses thee for my good, victory thou wilt never have in battle. Duryodhana, however, did set aside him of Dasarha's race, that bull among all bowmen, who then spoke what was for Duryodhana's good. By this, he embraced what was calamitous to himself. Seized by Death himself, that wicked-souled son of mine, rejecting my counsels, adopted those of Duhsasana and Karna. I myself did not approve of the game of dice. Vidura did not approve of it. The ruler of the Sindhus did not, nor Bhishma; nor Salya; nor Bhurisravas; nor Purumitra; nor Jaya; nor Aswatthaman; nor Kripa; nor Drona, O Sanjaya! If my son had conducted himself according to the counsels of these persons, he would then, with his kinsmen and friends have lived for ever in happiness and peace. Of sweet and delightful speech ever saying what is agreeable amid their kinsmen, high-born, loved by all, and possessed of wisdom, the sons of Pandu are sure to obtain happiness. The man who casteth his eye on righteousness, always and everywhere obtaineth happiness. Such a man after death, winneth benefit and grace. Possessed of sufficient might, the Pandavas deserve to enjoy half the earth. The earth girt by the seas is as much their ancestral possession (as of the Kurus). Possessed of sovereignty, the Pandavas will never deviate from the track of righteousness. O child, I have kinsmen to whose voice the Pandavas will ever listen, such, for instance, as Salya, Somadatta, the high-souled Bhishma, Drona, Vikarna, Valhika, Kripa, and others among the Bharatas that are illustrious and reverend in years. If they speak unto them on thy behalf the Pandavas will certainly act according to those beneficial recommendations. Or, who amongst these, thinkest thou, belongs to their party that will speak to them otherwise? Krishna will never abandon the path of righteousness. The Pandavas are all obedient to him. Words of righteousness spoken by myself also, those heroes will never disobey, for the Pandavas are all of righteous soul.' Piteously lamenting, O Suta, I spoke these and many such words unto my son. Foolish as he is, he listened not to me! I think all this to be the mischievous influence of Time! There where Vrikodara and Arjuna are, and the Vrishni hero, Satyaki, and Uttamaujas of the Panchalas, and the invincible Yudhamanyu, and the irrepressible Dhrishtadyumna, and the unvanquished Sikhandin, the Asmakas, the Kekayas, and Kshatradharman of 'the Somakas, the ruler of the Chedis, and Chekitana, and Vibhu, the son of
the ruler of the Kasi, the sons of Draupadi, and Virata and the mighty car-warrior Drupada, and those tigers among men viz., the twins (Nakula and Sahadeva), and the stayer of Madhu to offer counsel, who is there in this world that would fight these, expecting to live? Who else, again, is there, save Duryodhana, and Karna, and Sakuni, the son of Suvala, and Duhsasana as their fourth, for I do not see the fifth that would venture to resist my foes while the latter display their celestial weapons? They who have Vishnu himself on their car, clad in mail and reins in hand, they who have Arjuna for their warrior, they can never have defeat! Doth not Duryodhana now recollect those lamentations of mine? The tiger among men, Bhishma, thou hast said, has been slain. I think, beholding the fruits of the words uttered by the far-seeing Vidura, my sons are now indulging in lamentations! I think, beholding his army overwhelmed by Sini's grandson and Arjuna, beholding the terraces of his cars empty, my sons are indulging in lamentations. As a swelling conflagration urged by the winds consumes a heap of dry grass at the close of winter, even so will Dhananjaya consume my troops. O Sanjaya, thou art accomplished in narration. Tell me everything that transpired after the doing of that great wrong to Partha in the evening. When Abhimanyu was slain, what became the state of your minds? Having, O son, greatly offended the wielder of Gandiva, my warriors are incapable of bearing in battle his achievements. What measures were resolved upon by Duryodhana and what by Karna? What also did Duhsasana and Suvala's son do? O Sanjaya, O son, that which has in battle befallen all my children assembled together, is certainly due to the evil acts of the wicked Duryodhana, who followeth in the path of avarice, who is of wicked understanding, whose judgment is perverted by wrath, who coveteth sovereignty, who is foolish, and who is deprived of reason by anger. Tell me, O Sanjaya, what measures were then adopted by Duryodhana? Were they ill-judged or well-judged?'"
Next: Section LXXXVI