The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Thus addressed by Janardana, Pritha's son Arjuna, applauding those counsels of his friend, then vehemently addressed king Yudhishthira the just, in language that was harsh and the like of which he had never used before.
"'Arjuna said, "Do thou not, O king, address these upbraidings to me, thou that art passing thy time full two miles away from battle. Bhima, however, who is battling with the foremost heroes of the world may upbraid me. Having afflicted his foes at the proper time in battle, and slain many brave lords of earth and many foremost of car-warriors and huge elephants and many heroic horsemen and countless brave combatants, he hath, in addition, slain a 1,000 elephants and 10,000 Kamboja mountaineers, and is uttering loud roars in battle like a lion after slaying innumerable smaller animals. That hero achieveth the most difficult feats, the like of which thou canst never achieve. Jumping down from his car, mace in hand, he hath destroyed a large number of steeds and cars and elephants in battle. With also his foremost of swords he hath destroyed many horsemen and cars and steeds and elephants. With the broken limbs of cars, and with his bow also, he consumeth his foes. Endued with the prowess of Indra, with his feet and also his bare arms he slayeth numerous foes. Possessed of great might and resembling Kuvera and Yama, he destroyeth the hostile army, putting forth his strength. That Bhimasena hath the right to upbraid me, but not thou that art always protected by friends. Agitating the foremost of car-warriors and elephants and steeds and foot-soldiers, Bhima, single-handed, is now in the midst of the Dhartarashtras. That chastiser of foes hath the right to upbraid me. The chastiser of foes who is slaying the Kalingas, the Vangas, the Angas, the Nishadas, and the Magadhas, and large numbers of hostile elephants that are ever infuriated and that look like masses of blue clouds, is competent to upbraid me. Riding on a suitable car, shaking his bow at the proper time, and with shafts in his (other) hand, that hero poureth showers of arrows in great battle like the clouds pouring torrents of rain. Eight hundred elephants, I have seen, with their frontal globes split open and the ends of their tusks cut off, have today been slain by Bhima with shafts in battle. That slayer of foes is competent to tell me harsh words. The learned say that the strength of the foremost of Brahmanas lies in speech, and that the Kshatriya's strength is in his arms. Thou, O Bharata, art strong in words and very unfeeling. Thou thinkest me to be like thyself. I always strive to do thee good with my soul, life, sons and wives. Since, not withstanding all this, thou still piercest me with such wordy darts, it is evident that we cannot expect any happiness from thee. Lying on Draupadi's bed thou insultest me, though for thy sake I slay the mightiest of car-warriors. Thou art without any anxiety, O Bharata, and thou art cruel. I have never obtained any happiness from thee. It was for thy good, O chief of men, that Bhishma, firmly devoted to truth, himself told thee the means of his death in battle, and was slain by the heroic and high-souled Shikhandi, the son of Drupada, protected by me. I do not derive any pleasure from the thought of thy restoration to sovereignty, since thou art addicted to the evil practice of gambling. Having thyself committed a wicked act to which they only are addicted that are low, thou desirest now to vanquish thy foes through our aid. Thou hadst heard of the numerous faults and the great sinfulness of dice that Sahadeva spoke about. Yet dice, which are worshipped by the wicked, thou couldst not abandon. It was for this that all of us have fallen into hell. We have never derived any happiness from thee since thou wert engaged in gambling with dice. Having, O son of Pandu, thyself caused all this calamity, thou art, again, addressing these harsh words to me. Slain by us, hostile troops are lying on the field, with mangled bodies and uttering loud wails. It was thou that didst that cruel act in consequence of which the Kauravas have become offenders and are being destroyed. Nations from the North, the West, the East, and the South, are being struck, wounded and slain, after the performance of incomparable feats in battle by great warriors of both sides. It was thou that hadst gambled. It was for thee that we lost our kingdom. Our calamity arose from thee, O king! Striking us, again, with the cruel goad of thy speeches, O king, do not provoke our wrath.'"
"Sanjaya said, 'Having addressed these harsh and exceedingly bitter words unto his eldest brother and thereby committed a venial sin, the intelligent Savyasaci of calm wisdom, who is ever actuated by the fear of defection from virtue, became very cheerless. The son of the chief of the celestials became filled with remorse and breathing heavily, drew his sword. Seeing this, Krishna asked him, "What is this? Why dost thou again unsheathe thy sword blue as the sky? Tell me what thy answer is, for then I shall give thee counsel for the gratification of thy object." Thus addressed by that foremost of men, Arjuna, in great sorrow answered Keshava, saying, "I shall, putting forth my strength, slay my own self by whom this wicked act hath been done." Hearing those words of Partha, Keshava, that foremost of all righteous persons said this unto Dhananjaya, "Having said these words unto the king, why hast thou become so cheerless? O slayer of foes, thou desirest now to destroy thy own self. This, however, Kiritin, is not approved by the righteous. If, O hero among men, thou hadst today, from fear of sin, slain this thy eldest brother of virtuous soul, what would then have been thy condition and what wouldst thou not then have done? Morality is subtle, O Bharata, and unknowable, especially by those that are ignorant. Listen to me as I preach to thee. By destroying thy own self, thou wouldst sink into a more terrible hell than if thou hadst slain thy brother. Declare now, in words, thy own merit. Thou shalt then, O Partha, have slain thy own self." Applauding these words and saying, "Let it be so, O Krishna," Dhananjaya, the son of Sakra, lowering his bow, said unto Yudhishthira, that foremost of virtuous persons, "Listen, O king, there is no other bowman, O ruler of men, like unto myself, except the deity that bears Pinaka; I am regarded by even that illustrious deity. In a moment I can destroy this universe of mobile and immobile creatures. It was I, O king, that vanquished all the points of the compass with all the kings ruling there, and brought all to thy subjection. The Rajasuya (performed by thee), brought to completion by gift of Dakshina, and the celestial palace owned by thee, were both due to my prowess. In my hands are (marks of) sharp shafts and a stringed bow with arrow fixed thereon. On both my soles are the signs of cars with standards. No one can vanquish a person like me in battle. Nations from the North, the West, the East and the South, have been struck down, slain, exterminated and destroyed. A small remnant only of the samsaptakas is alive. I alone have slain half of the entire (hostile) army. Slaughtered by me, the Bharata host that resembled, O king, the very host of the celestials, is lying dead on the field. I slay those with (high) weapons that are conversant with high weapons. For this reason I do not reduce the three worlds to ashes. Riding upon my terrible and victorious car, Krishna and myself will soon proceed for slaying the Suta's son. Let this king become cheerful now. I will surely slay Karna in battle, with my arrows. Either the Suta dame will today be made childless by me, or Kunti will be made childless by Karna. Truly do I say it that I will not put off my armour before I have slain Karna with my arrows in battle.'"
"Sanjaya said, 'Having said these words unto that foremost of virtuous persons, viz., Yudhishthira, Partha threw down his weapons and cast aside his bow and quickly thrust his sword back into its sheath. Hanging down his head in shame, the diadem-decked Arjuna, with joined hands, addressed Yudhishthira, and said, "Be cheerful, O king, forgiving me. What I have said, you will understand a little while after. I bow to thee." Thus seeking to cheer that royal hero capable of bearing all foes, Arjuna, that foremost of men, standing there, once more said, "This task will not be delayed. It will be accomplished soon. Karna cometh towards me. I shall proceed against him. I shall, with my whole soul, proceed for rescuing Bhima from the battle and for slaying the Suta's son. I tell thee that I hold my life for thy good. Know this for the truth, O king." Having said so, the diadem-decked Arjuna of blazing splendour touched the king's feet and rose for proceeding to the field. Hearing, however, those harsh words of his brother Phalguna, Pandu's son, king Yudhishthira, the just, rising up from that bed (on which he had been sitting), said these words unto Partha, with his heart filled with sorrow, "O Partha, I have acted wickedly. For that, ye have been overwhelmed with terrible calamity. Do thou strike off, therefore, this my head today. I am the worst of men, and the exterminator of my race. I am a wretch. I am addicted to wicked courses. I am of foolish understanding. I am idle and a coward. I am an insulter of the old. I am cruel. What wouldst thou gain by always being obedient to a cruel person like me? A wretch that I am, I shall this very day retire into the woods. Live you happily without me. The high-souled Bhimasena is fit to be king. A eunuch that I am, what shall I do with sovereignty? I am incapable of bearing these harsh speeches of thee excited with wrath. Let Bhima become king. Having been insulted thus, O hero, what use have I with life." Having said these words, the king, leaving that bed, suddenly stood up and desired to go to the woods. Then Vasudeva, bowing down, said unto him, "O king, the celebrated vow of the wielder of Gandiva who is ever devoted to truth about his Gandiva, is known to thee. That man in the world who would tell him, 'Give thy Gandiva to another', would be slain by him. Even those very words were addressed to him by you. Therefore, for keeping that earnest vow, Partha, acting also at my instance, inflicted you this insult, O lord of Earth. Insult to superiors is said to be their death. For this reason, O thou of mighty arms, it behoveth thee to forgive me that beseech and bow to thee this transgression, O king, of both myself and Arjuna, committed for maintaining the truth. Both of us, O great king, throw ourselves on thy mercy. The Earth shall today drink the blood of the wretched son of Radha. I swear truly to thee. Know the Suta's son as slain today. He, whose slaughter thou desirest, hath today lost his life." Hearing those words of Krishna, king Yudhishthira the just, in a great fury, raised the prostrate Hrishikesha and joining his hands, said in haste, "It is even so as thou hast said. I have been guilty of a transgression, I have now been awakened by thee, O Govinda. I am saved by thee, O Madhava. By thee, O Acyuta, we have today been rescued from a great calamity. Both of us stupefied by folly, viz., myself and Arjuna, have been rescued from an ocean of distress, having obtained thee as our lord. Indeed, having obtained the raft of thy intelligence today, we have, with our relatives and allies, passed over an ocean of sorrow and grief. Having obtained thee, O Acyuta, we are not masterless."'"
Next: Section 71