The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'When the army of the Pandavas was thus agitated on all sides, the Parthas and the Panchalas and the Somakas, retreated to a great distance. During the progress of that fierce battle, making the hair stand on end, and that universal carnage like to what happens, O Bharata, at that end of the Yuga, when, indeed, Drona of great prowess was repeatedly uttering leonine shouts, and when the Panchalas were being weakened and the Pandavas slaughtered, king Yudhishthira the Just, failing in that battle to find any refuge in that distress, began, O king, to think how the matter would end. Casting his eyes around in expectation of seeing Savyasachin, Yudhishthira, however, saw neither that son of Pritha nor Madhava. Not seeing that tiger among men viz., the ape-bannered Arjuna, and not hearing also the twang of Gandiva, the monarch became filled with anxiety, not seeing Satyaki also, that foremost of car-warriors among the Vrishnis, king Yudhishthira the Just became equally anxious. Indeed, not seeing those two foremost of men, Yudhishthira knew no peace. The high-souled king Yudhishthira the Just, of mighty arms, fearing the evil opinion of the world, began to think of Satyaki's car. Sini's grandson Satyaki, of true prowess, that dispeller of the fears of friends, hath been sent by me in the track of Phalguna. I had only one source of anxiety
before, but now I have two. I should have tidings of both Satyaki and Dhananjaya, the son of Pandu. Having despatched Satyaki to follow in the track of Arjuna, whom shall I now send in the track of Satyaki? If by every means I endeavour to obtain intelligence of my brother only, without enquiring after Yuyudhana, the world will reproach me. They will say that, 'Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, having enquired after his brother, leaves Satyaki of Vrishni's race, that hero of unfailing prowess, to his fate!' Fearing, as I do, the reproach of the world, I should therefore, send Vrikodara, the son of Pritha, in the track of the high-souled Madhava. The love I bear to the Vrishni hero, to that invincible warrior of the Satwata race, (viz., Satyaki), is not less than the love I bear to Arjuna, that slayer of foes. The delighter of the Sinis hath again, been set by me to a very heavy task. That mighty warrior, however, hath, either for the sake of a friend's request or for that of honour, penetrated into the Bharata army like a Makara into the ocean. Loud is the noise I hear of unretreating heroes, fighting together against that Vrishni hero of great intelligence. Without doubt, they are too many for him. The time, therefore, is come when I should think of his rescue. It seems to me that armed with the bow, Bhimasena, the son of Pandu, should go there where those two mighty car-warriors are. There is nothing on earth that Bhima cannot bear. If he struggles with resolution, he is a match in battle for all the bowmen in the world. Depending on the might of his own arms, he can stand against all foes. Relying on the strength of arms of that high-souled warrior, we have been able to come back from our exile in the woods and we have never been vanquished in battle. If Bhimasena, the son of Pandu, proceedeth hence to Satyaki, both Satyaki and Phalguna will derive real aid. Without doubt, I should not feel any anxiety for Satyaki and Phalguna. Both of them are accomplished in weapons, and Vasudeva himself is protecting them. (For all that, I feel anxious on their account), I should certainly seek to remove my anxiety. I shall, therefore, set Bhima to follow in the wake of Satyaki. Having done this, I should regard my arrangements complete for the rescue of Satyaki.' Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma, having settled this in his mind, addressed his charioteer and said, 'Take me to Bhima.' Hearing the command of king Yudhishthira the Just, the charioteer who was versed in horse-lore, took that car decked with gold to where Bhima was. Arrived at the presence of Bhima, the king, remembering the occasion, became unmanned by grief, and pressed Bhima with diverse solicitations. Indeed, overwhelmed with grief, the monarch addressed Bhima. And these were the words, O king, that Yudhishthira the son of Kunti then said unto him, 'O Bhima, I do not behold the standard of that Arjuna, who on a single car had vanquished all the gods, the Gandharvas and Asuras!' Then Bhimasena, addressing king Yudhishthira the Just who was in that plight, said, 'Never before did I see, or hear thy 'Words afflicted with such cheerlessness. Indeed, formerly, when we were smitten with grief, it was thou who hadst been our comforter. Rise, Rise, O king of kings, say what I am to do for thee. O giver of honours, there
is nothing that I cannot do. Tell me what your commands are, O foremost one of Kuru's race! Do not set your heart on grief.' Unto Bhimasena then, the king with a sorrowful face and with eyes bathed in tears, said, sighing the while like a black cobra, 'The blasts of the conch Panchajanya, wrathfully blown by Vasudeva of world-wide renown, are being heard. It seems, from this, that thy brother Dhananjaya lieth today on the field, deprived of life. Without doubt, Arjuna having been slain, Janardana is fighting. That hero of great might, relying on whose prowess the Pandavas are alive, he to whom we always turn in times of fear like the celestials towards their chief of a thousand eyes, that hero hath, in search after the ruler of Sindhus, penetrated into the Bharata host. I know this, O Bhima, viz., that he hath gone, but he hath not yet returned. Dark in complexion, youthful in years, of curly locks, exceedingly handsome mighty car-warrior, of broad chest and long arms, possessed of the tread of an infuriated elephant, of eyes of the colour of burnished copper and like those a chakra, that brother of thine enhances the fears of foes. Blessed be thou, even this is the cause of my grief, O chastiser of foes! For Arjuna's sake, O thou of mighty arms, as also for the sake of Satwata, my grief increaseth like a blazing fire fed with libations of clarified butter. I do not see his standard. For this am I stupefied with sorrow. Without doubt, he hath been slain, and Krishna, skilled in battle, is fighting. Know also that the tiger among men, that mighty car-warrior, Satwata is slain. Alas! Satyaki hath followed in the wake of that other mighty car-warrior, with thy brother. Without seeing Satyaki also, I am stupefied by grief. Therefore, O son of Kunti, go thither, where Dhananjaya is and Satyaki also of mighty energy, if, of course, thou thinkest it thy duty to obey my words, O thou that art acquainted with duty.' Remember that I am thy eldest brother. Thou shouldst think Satyaki to be dearer to thee than Arjuna himself. O son of Pritha, Satyaki hath gone, from desire of doing good to me, in the track of Arjuna, a track that is incapable of being trod by persons of vile souls. Beholding the two Krishnas and Satyaki also of the Satwata race sound and whole, send me a message, O son of Pandu, by uttering a leonine roar.'"
Next: Section CXXVI