The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Hearing that Karna of mighty energy was still alive, Pritha's son Yudhishthira of immeasurable energy, exceedingly angry with Phalguna and burning with the shafts of Karna, said these words unto Dhananjaya, "O sire, thy army is fled and hath been beaten in a way that is scarcely honourable! Inspired with fear and deserting Bhima, thou hast come hither since thou hast been unable to slay Karna. Thou hast, by entering her womb, rendered the conception of Kunti abortive. Thou hast acted improperly by deserting Bhima, because thou wert unable to slay the Suta's son. Thou hadst, O Partha, said unto me in the Dwaita woods that thou wouldst, on a single car, slay Karna. Why, then, through fear of Karna hast come hither, avoiding Karna and deserting Bhima? If in the Dwaita woods thou hadst said unto me, 'O king, I shall not be able to fight with Karna,' we would then, O Partha, have made other arrangements suitable to the circumstances. Having promised me the slaughter of Karna, thou hast not, O hero, kept that promise. Bringing us into the midst of foes, why hast thou broken us into pieces by throwing us down on a hard soil? Expecting diverse good things and benefits from thee, O Arjuna, we have always uttered blessings on thee. All those expectations, however, O prince, have proved vain like those of persons expectant of fruit getting instead of a tree burthened only with flowers! Like a fish-hook hid within a piece of meat, or poison overlaid with food, thou didst, for disappointing us at last, point out destruction in the shape of kingdom unto ourselves covetous of kingdom! For these thirteen years, O Dhananjaya, we have, from hope, lived relying on thee, like seeds sown on earth in expectation of the showers sent by the gods in season! Even these were the words that a voice in the skies had said unto Pritha on the seventh day after thy birth, O thou of foolish understanding! 'This son of thine that is born will have the prowess of Vasava himself! He will vanquish all his heroic foes! Endued with superior energy, he will at Khandava vanquish all the celestials united together and diverse other creatures. This one will subjugate the Madras, the Kalingas, and the Kaikeyas. This one will, in the midst of many kings, slay the Kurus. There will be no bowman superior to him, and no creature will ever be able to vanquish him. With his senses under control, and having obtained mastery over all branches of knowledge, this one, by merely desiring it, will bring all creatures under subjection to himself. This high-souled son that is born of thee, O Kunti, will in beauty be the rival of Soma, in speed of the god of wind, in patience of Meru, in forgiveness of Earth, in splendour of Surya, in prosperity of the Lord of treasures, in courage of Sakra, and in might of Vishnu. He will be the slayer of all foes like Vishnu, the son of Aditi. Endued with immeasurable energy, he will be celebrated for the destruction he will deal to foes and the success he will win for friends. He will, besides, be the founder of a race!' Even thus, in the skies, on the summit of the Satasringa mountains, in the hearing of many ascetics, that voice spoke. All that, however, hath not come to pass. Alas, it shows that the gods even may speak untruths! Hearing also the words of praise always uttered about thee by many foremost of Rishis, I never expected that Suyodhana would win success and prosperity or that thou thyself wouldst be afflicted with the fear of Karna! Thou ridest upon an excellent car constructed by the celestial artificer himself, with axles that do not creak, and with standard that bears the ape. Thou bearest a sword attached to thy belt of gold and silk. This thy bow Gandiva is full six cubits long. Thou hast Keshava for thy driver. Why, then, through fear of Karna hast thou come away from battle, O Partha? If, O thou of wicked soul, thou hadst given this bow to Keshava and become his driver, then Keshava could have (by this time) slain the fierce Karna like the lord of the Maruts (Sakra) slaying with his thunder the Asura Vritra. If thou art unable to resist the fierce son of Radha today, as he is careering in battle, give this thy Gandiva today to some other king, that may be thy superior in (the use and knowledge of) weapons. If that be done, the world will not then behold us bereft of sons and wives, deprived of happiness in consequence of the loss of kingdom, and sunk, O son of Pandu, in an unfathomable hell of great misery. It would have been better for thee if thou hadst never been born in the womb of Kunti, or having taken thy birth there, if thou hadst come out on the fifth month an abortion, than to have, O prince, thus come away from battle, O thou of wicked soul! Fie on thy Gandiva, fie on the might of thy arms, fie on thy inexhaustible arrows! Fie on thy banner with the gigantic ape on it, and fie on thy car given thee by the god of fire!"'"
Next: Section 69