The Mahabharata Home
"'Yudhishthira said, "Welcome, O thou that hast Devaki for thy mother, and welcome to thee, O Dhananjaya! The sight of both of you, O Acyuta and Arjuna, is exceedingly agreeable! I see that without being wounded yourselves, you two, his foes, have slain the mighty car-warrior Karna! He was in battle like unto a snake of virulent poison. He was accomplished in all weapons. The leader of all the Dhartarashtras, he was their armour and protector! While fighting he was always protected by Vrishasena and by Sushena, both of whom are great bowmen! Of great energy, he had received lessons from Rama in weapons! He was invincible in battle! The foremost one in all the world, as a car-warrior he was celebrated throughout all the worlds. He was the saviour of the Dhartarashtras, and the proceeder in their van! A slayer of hostile troops, he was the crusher of large bands of foes. Ever engaged in Duryodhana's good, he was always prepared to inflict woe on us! He was invincible in battle by the very gods with Vasava at their head. In energy and might he was equal unto the god of fire and the god of wind. In gravity he was unfathomable as the Nether world. The enhancer of the joys of friends, he was like the Destroyer himself unto foes! Having slain Karna (who was even so) in dreadful battle, by good luck it is that you two have come, like a couple of celestials after vanquishing an Asura! Today, O Acyuta and Arjuna, a great battle was fought between myself exerting with might and that hero resembling the Destroyer himself, while seeking to exterminate all creatures! My standard was cut down, and my two Parshni drivers also were slain by him. I was also made steedless and carless by him in the very sight of Yuyudhana, of Dhrishtadyumna, of the twins (Nakula and Sahadeva), of the heroic Shikhandi, as also in the very sight of the sons of Draupadi, and all the Pancalas! Having vanquished those innumerable foes, Karna of mighty energy then vanquished me, O thou of mighty arms, although I exerted myself resolutely in battle! Pursuing me then and without doubt, vanquishing all my protectors, that foremost of warriors addressed me in diverse harsh speeches. That I am still alive, O Dhananjaya, is due to the prowess of Bhimasena. What more need I say? I am unable to bear that humiliation! For thirteen years, O Dhananjaya, through fear of Karna, I did not obtain any sleep by night or any comfort by day! Filled with hatred of Karna, I burn, O Dhananjaya! Like the bird Vaddhrinasa I fled from Karna, knowing that the time for my own destruction had come. The whole of my time had passed in the thought as to how I would accomplish the destruction of Karna in battle! Awake or asleep, O son of Kunti, I always beheld Karna (with my mind's eye). Wherever I was, the universe appeared to me to be full of Karna! Inspired with the fear of Karna, wherever I used to go, O Dhananjaya, thither I beheld Karna standing before my eyes! Vanquished in battle, with my steeds and car, by that hero who never retreated from battle, alive I was let off by him! What use have I of life or of kingdom either, since Karna, that ornament of battle, today cried fie on me? That which I had never before met with at the hands of Bhishma or Kripa or Drona in battle, that I met with today at the hands of the Suta's son, that mighty car-warrior! It is for this, O son of Kunti, that I ask thee today about thy welfare! Tell me in detail how thou hast slain Karna today! In battle Karna was equal unto Sakra himself. In prowess he was equal unto Yama. In weapons he was equal unto Rama. How then hath he been slain? He was regarded as a mighty car-warrior, conversant with all modes of warfare. He was the foremost of all bowmen, and the one man amongst all men! O prince, the son of Radha was always worshipped by Dhritarashtra and his son, for thy sake! How then hath he been slain by thee? In all engagements, Dhritarashtra's son, O Arjuna, used to regard Karna as thy death, O bull among men! How then, O tiger among men, hath that Karna been slain by thee in battle? Tell me, O son of Kunti, how that Karna hath been slain by thee! How, while he was engaged in battle, didst thou, O tiger among men, strike off his head in the very sight of all his friends like a tiger tearing off the head of a ruru deer? That Suta's son who in battle searched all the points of the compass for finding thee, that Karna who had promised to give a car with six bulls of elephantine proportions unto him that would point thee out, I ask: doth that Karna of wicked soul lie today on the bare ground, slain with thy keen arrows equipped with kanka feathers? Having slain the Suta's son in battle, thou hast accomplished a deed highly agreeable to me! Encountering him in battle, hast thou really slain that Suta's son, who, filled with arrogance and pride and bragging of his heroism, used to search everywhere on the field of battle for thee? Hast thou, O sire, really slain in battle that sinful wretch who used to always challenge thee and who was desirous for thy sake of giving unto others a magnificent car, made of gold along with a number of elephants and bulls and steeds? Hast thou really slain today that sinful wight who was exceedingly dear to Suyodhana, and who, intoxicated with pride of heroism, used always to brag in the assembly of the Kurus? Encountered in battle, doth that wretch lie today on the field, his limbs exceedingly mangled with sky-ranging shafts sped by thee from thy bow and all steeped in blood? Have the two arms of Dhritarashtra's son been (at last) broken? Have those words been unfulfilled, uttered from folly by him who, filled with pride, used to always boast in the midst of the kings for gladdening Duryodhana, saying, 'I will slay Phalguna'? O son of Indra, hath that Karna of little understanding been slain by thee today, that Suta's son who made the vow that he would not wash his feet as long as Partha lived? That Karna of wicked understanding who in the assembly; before the Kuru chiefs, had addressed Krishna, saying, 'Why, O Krishna, dost thou not abandon the Pandavas that are divested of might, exceedingly weak, and fallen?' That Karna who had vowed for thy sake, saying that he would not return from battle without having slain Krishna and Partha. I ask, doth that Karna of sinful understanding lie today on the field, his body pierced with shafts? Thou knowest the nature of the battle that took place when the Srinjayas and the Kauravas encountered each other, the battle in which I was brought to that distressful plight. Encountering that Karna, hast thou slain him today? O Savyasaci, hast thou today, with blazing shafts sped from gandiva, cut off from the trunk of that Karna of wicked understanding his resplendent head decked with earrings? Pierced with Karna's shafts today, I had, O hero, thought of thee (that thou wouldst slay him)! Hast thou then, by the slaughter of Karna, made that thought of mine true? In consequence of the protection granted him by Karna, Suyodhana, filled with pride, always recked us little. Displaying thy prowess, hast then today destroyed that refuge of Suyodhana? That Suta's son of wicked soul, that Karna of great wrath, who had formerly, in the presence of the Kauravas and in the midst of the assembly called us sesame seeds without kernel, encountering that Karna in battle, hast thou slain him today? That Suta's son of wicked soul who had, laughing the while, commanded Duhshasana to forcibly drag Yajnasena's daughter won in gambling by Subala's son, hath he been slain today by thee? That Karna of little understanding who, having been counted as only half a car-warrior during the tale of rathas and atirathas, had upbraided that foremost of all wielders of weapons on Earth, our grandsire Bhishma, hath he been slain by thee? Extinguish, O Phalguna, this fire in my heart that is born of vindictiveness and is fanned by the wind of humiliation, by telling me that thou hast slain Karna today, having encountered him in battle! The news of Karna's slaughter is exceedingly agreeable to me. Tell me, therefore, how the Suta's son hath been slain! Like the divine Vishnu waiting for the arrival of Indra with the intelligence of Vritra's slaughter, I had so long waited for thee, O hero!"'"
Next: Section 67