The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'The world regards thee to be equal to Yayati the son of Nahusha, in beauty, birth, fame, asceticism, and learning! Indeed, in learning, thou art, O king, like a great rishi, highly accomplished and crowned with success! Summon thy fortitude! Do not yield to grief!'
"Dhritarashtra said, 'I think destiny is supreme, and exertion fruitless since even Karna, who was like a shala tree, hath been slain in battle! Having slaughtered Yudhishthira's army and the large throngs of the Pancala car-warriors, having scorched all the points of the compass by means of his arrowy showers, having stupefied the Parthas in battle like the wielder of the thunderbolt stupefying the asuras, alas, how could that mighty car-warrior, slain by the foe, fall down on the earth like a large tree uprooted by the tempest? Indeed, I do not behold the end of my sorrows like a drowning man unable to see the end of the ocean. My anxieties are increasing, I do not desire to live, hearing of Karna's death and Phalguni's victory! Indeed O Sanjaya, I regard the slaughter of Karna to be highly incredible. Without doubt, this hard heart of mine is made of the essence of adamant, for it does not burst into a 1,000 fragments upon hearing of the fall of Karna! Without doubt, the gods ordained, before (my birth), a very long life for me, since sore distressed on hearing of the death of Karna, I do not die! Fie, O Sanjaya, on this life of one that is destitute of friends. Brought today, O Sanjaya, to this wretched plight, miserably shall I have to live, of foolish understanding that I am, pitied by all! Having formerly been the honoured of the whole world, how shall I, O Suta, live, overridden by foes? From pain to greater pain and calamity, have I come, O Sanjaya, in consequence of the fall of Bhishma and Drona and the high-souled Karna! I do not see that anyone (of my army) will escape with life when the Suta's son hath been slain in battle! He was the great raft, O Sanjaya, to my sons! That hero, having shot innumerable arrows, hath been slain in battle! What use have I of life, without that bull among men? Without doubt, the son of Adhiratha, afflicted with arrows, fell down from his car, like a mountain-peak riven by the fall of thunder! Without doubt, bathed in blood, he lieth, adorning the Earth, like an elephant slain by an infuriate prince of elephants! He who was the strength of the Dhartarashtras, he who was an object of fear to the sons of Pandu, alas, he viz., Karna, that pride of all bowman, hath been slain by Arjuna! He was a hero, a mighty bowman, the dispeller of the fears of my sons! Alas, that hero, reft of life, lieth (on the earth), like mountain struck down by Indra! The fulfilment of Duryodhana's wishes is even like locomotion to one that is lame, or the gratification of the poor man's desire, or stray drops of water to one that is thirsty! Planned in one way, our schemes end otherwise. Alas, destiny is all powerful, and time incapable of being transgressed! Was my son Duhshasana, O Suta, slain, while flying away from the field, humbled (to the dust), of cheerless soul, and destitute of all manliness? O son, O Sanjaya, I hope he did no dastardly act on that occasion? Did not that hero meet with his death like the other kshatriyas that have fallen? The foolish Duryodhana did not accept Yudhishthira's constant advice, wholesome as medicine, against the propriety of battle. Possessed of great renown, Partha, when begged for drink by Bhishma then lying on his arrowy bed, pierced the surface of the earth! Beholding the jet of water caused by the son of Pandu, the mighty-armed (Bhishma, addressing Duryodhana), said, "O sire, make peace with the Pandavas! Hostilities ceasing, peace will be thine! Let the war between thyself and thy cousins end with me! Enjoy the earth in brotherliness with the sons of Pandu!" Having disregarded those counsels, my child is certainly repenting now. That has now come to pass which Bhishma of great foresight said. As regards myself, O Sanjaya, I am destitute of counsellors and reft of sons! In consequence of gambling, I am fallen into great misery like a bird shorn of its wings! As children engaged in sport, O Sanjaya, having seized a bird and cut off its wings, merrily release it, but the creature cannot achieve locomotion in consequence of its winglessness; even so have I become, like a bird shorn of its wings! Weak, destitute of every resource, without kinsmen and deprived of relatives and friends, cheerless and overpowered by enemies, to which point of the compass shall I go? He who vanquished all the Kambojas and the Amvashthas with the Kaikeyas, that puissant one, who, having for the accomplishment of his purpose vanquished the Gandharas and the Videhas in battle, subjugated the whole Earth for the sake of Duryodhana's aggrandisement, alas, he hath been vanquished by the heroic and strong Pandavas endued with mighty arms! Upon the slaughter, in battle, of that mighty bowman, Karna, by the diadem-decked (Arjuna), tell me, O Sanjaya, who were these heroes that stayed (on the field)! I hope he was not alone and abandoned (by friends) when slain in battle by the Pandavas? Thou hast, O sire, told me, before this, how our brave warriors have fallen. With his powerful shafts Shikhandi felled in battle that foremost of all wielders of weapons, viz., Bhishma, who did nothing to repel the attack. Similarly, Sanjaya, Drupada's son Dhrishtadyumna, uplifting his scimitar, slew the mighty bowman Drona who, already pierced with many arrows, had laid aside his weapons in battle and devoted himself to Yoga. These two were both slain at a disadvantage and especially by deceit. Even this is what I have heard about the slaughter of Bhishma and Drona! Indeed, Bhishma and Drona, while contending in fight, were incapable of being slain in battle by the wielder of the thunderbolt himself by fair means. This that I tell thee is the truth! As regards Karna, how, indeed, could Death touch him, that hero equal unto Indra himself, while he was engaged in shooting his manifold celestial weapons? He unto whom in exchange for his earrings, Purandara had given that foe slaying, gold-decked, and celestial dart of the splendour of lightning,--he who had, lying (within his quiver) amid sandal-dust, that snake-mouthed celestial arrow decked with gold, equipped with goodly wings, and capable of slaying all foes, he who, disregarding those heroic and mighty car-warriors having Bhishma and Drona at their head, had acquired from Jamadagni's son the terrible brahmastra, that mighty-armed one, who, having seen the warriors with Drona at their head afflicted with arrows and turn away from the field, had cut off with his keen shafts the bow of Subhadra's son, he who, having in a trice deprived the invincible Bhimasena endued with the might of 10,000 elephants and the speed of the wind, of his car, had laughed at him,--he who, having vanquished Sahadeva by means of his straight shafts and made him carless, slew him not from compassion and considerations of virtue,--he who, with Shakra's dart, slew that prince of rakshasas, Ghatotkaca, who from desire of victory, had invoked a 1,000 kinds of illusions,--he whose feats in battle, filling Dhananjaya with fear, had made the latter for such a long period avoid a single combat with him,--alas, how could that hero be slain in battle? How could he be slain by foes unless one of these had happened to him viz., the destruction of his car, the snapping of his bow, and the exhaustion of his weapons? Who could vanquish that tiger among men, like a real tiger, endued with great impetuosity, Karna, while shaking his formidable bow and shooting therefrom his terrible shafts and celestial weapons in battle? Surely, his bow broke, or his car sank in the earth, or his weapons became exhausted, since thou tellest me that he is slain! I do not, indeed, see any other cause for (explaining) his slaughter! That high-souled one who had made the terrible vow "I will not wash my feet till I slay Phalguni," that warrior through whose fear that bull among men, king Yudhishthira the just, had not, in the wilderness, for thirteen years continuously, obtained a wink of sleep,--that high-souled hero of great prowess relying upon whose valour my son had forcibly dragged the wife of the Pandavas to the assembly, and there in the midst of that conclave, in the very sight of the Pandavas and in the presence of the Kurus, had addressed the princess of Pancala as the wife of slaves, that hero of the Suta caste, who in the midst of the assembly had addressed Krishna, saying, "All thy husbands, O Krishna, that are even like sesamum seeds without kernel, are no more, therefore, seek some other husband, O thou of the fairest complexion!" and in wrath had caused her to listen to other expressions equally harsh and rude, how was that hero slain by the foe? He who had said unto Duryodhana even these words, viz., "If Bhishma who boasteth of his prowess in battle or Drona who is invincible in fight, doth not, from partiality, slay the sons of Kunti, O Duryodhana, even I will slay them all, let the fever of thy heart be dispelled!" who also said, "What will (Arjuna's) gandiva and the two inexhaustible quivers do to that shaft of mine, smeared with cool sandal-paste, when it will course through the welkin?" alas, how could that warrior possessed of shoulders broad as those of the bull be slain by Arjuna? He who, disregarding the fierce touch of the arrows shot from gandiva had addressed Krishna, saying, "Thou hast no husbands now" and glared at the Pandavas, he who, O Sanjaya, relying on the might of his own arms, had entertained no fear, for even a moment, of the Parthas with their sons and Janardana,--he, I think, could not possibly meet with death at the hands of the very gods with Vasava at their head rushing against him in fury, what then need I say, O sire, of the Pandavas? The person could not be seen competent to stay before the son of Adhiratha, while the latter, putting on his fences, used to touch the bowstring! It was possible for the Earth to be destitute of the splendour of the Sun, of the Moon, or of fire, but the death of that foremost of men, who never retreated from battle, could not be possible. That foolish child of mine, of wicked understanding, who having got Karna, as also his brother Duhshasana, for his ally, had made up his mind for the rejection of Vasudeva's proposals, surely, that wight, beholding the slaughter of the bull-shouldered Karna and of Duhshasana, is now indulging in lamentations! Seeing Vikartana's son slain in single combat by Savyasaci, and the Pandavas crowned with victory, what indeed, did Duryodhana say? Seeing Durmarshana slain in battle and Vrishasena also, and seeing his host break when slaughtered by mighty car-warriors, beholding also the kings (of his army) turn back their faces, intent on flight, and his car-warriors already fled, I think that son of mine is now indulging in lamentations! Beholding his host dispirited, what, indeed, did the ungovernable, proud, and foolish Duryodhana, with passions not under control, say? Having himself provoked such fierce hostility though dissuaded by all his friends what, indeed, did Duryodhana, who has suffered a great loss in battle of friends and followers, say? Beholding his brother slain in battle by Bhimasena, and upon his blood being drunk, what indeed, did Duryodhana say? My son had, with the ruler of the gandharvas, said, "Karna will slay Arjuna in battle!" When he saw that Karna slain, what indeed, did he say? What, O sire, did Shakuni, the son of Subala, who had formerly been filled with joy after going through the match at dice and cheating the son of Pandu, say when he saw Karna slain? What did that mighty car-warrior among the Satwatas, that great bowman, Kritavarma the son of Hridika, say when he saw Vaikartana slain? Endued with youth, possessed of a handsome form, agreeable to the sight, and celebrated throughout the world, what, O Sanjaya, did Ashvatthama, the intelligent son of Drona, upon whom brahmanas and kshatriyas and vaishyas who are desirous of acquiring the science of arms wait, for protections, say when he saw Karna slain? What did Sharadvata's son Kripa, O sire, of Gotama's race, that foremost of car-warriors, that teacher of the science of arms, say when he saw Karna slain? What did the mighty leader of the Madras warriors, that king of the Madras, the great bowman Shalya of the Sauvira clan, that ornament of assemblies, that foremost of car-warriors (temporarily) engaged in driving the car, say when he saw Karna slain? What also did all the other warriors, difficult of defeat in battle, those lords of earth that came to fight, say, O Sanjaya, when they behold Vaikartana slain? After the fall of the heroic Drona, that tiger among car-warriors that bull among men, who, O Sanjaya, became the heads of the several division in their order? Tell me, O Sanjaya, how that foremost of car-warriors, Shalya the ruler of the Madras, became engaged in driving the car of Vaikartana! Who were they that guarded the right wheel of the Suta's son while the latter was engaged in fight, and who were they that guarded his left wheel, and who were they that stood at the rear of that hero? Who were those heroes that did not desert Karna, and who were those mean fellows that ran away? How was the mighty car-warrior Karna slain amidst your united selves? How also did those mighty car-warriors, the brave Pandavas, advance against him shooting showers of shafts like the clouds pouring torrents of rain? Tell me also, O Sanjaya, how that mighty shaft, celestial and foremost of its species, and equipped with a head like that of a serpent became futile! I do not, O Sanjaya, see the possibility of even a small remnant of my cheerless host being saved when its leaders have been crushed! Hearing of the slaughter of those two heroes, those two mighty bowmen, Bhishma and Drona, who were ever ready to lay down their lives for my sake, what use have I of life? Again and again I am unable to endure that Karna, the might of whose arms equalled that of 10,000 elephants, should be slain by the Pandavas! Tell me, O Sanjaya, all that occurred in the battle between the brave warriors of the Kauravas and their foes, after the death of Drona! Tell me also how the sons of Kunti fought the battle with Karna, and how that slayer of foes received his quietus in the fight!'"
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