The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Hearing these words of Keshava, O Bharata, Vibhatsu soon cast off his anxiety and became cheerful. Rubbing then the string of gandiva and stretching it, he held his bow for the destruction of Karna, and addressed Keshava, saying, 'With thee for my protector, O Govinda, and when thou that art acquainted with the past and the future art gratified with me today, victory is sure to be mine. Aided by thee, O Krishna, I can, in great battle, destroy the three worlds assembled together, what need be said of Karna then? I see the Pancala host is flying away, O Janardana. I see also Karna careering fearlessly in battle. I see too the bhargava weapon careering in all directions, having been invoked by Karna, O thou of Vrishni's race, like the puissant thunder invoked by Shakra. This is that battle in which Karna will be slain by me and of which all creatures will speak as long as the earth will last. Today, O Krishna, unbarbed arrows, impelled by my arms and sped from the gandiva, mangling Karna, will take him to Yama. Today king Dhritarashtra will curse that intelligence of his in consequence of which he had installed Duryodhana, who was undeserving of sovereignty, on the throne. Today, O mighty-armed one, Dhritarashtra will be divested of sovereignty, happiness, prosperity, kingdom, city, and sons. I tell thee truly, O Krishna, that today, Karna being slain, Duryodhana will become hopeless of both life and kingdom. Today, beholding Karna cut in pieces by me with my arrows, like Vritra in days of yore by Indra in the battle between the gods and the asuras, let king Duryodhana call to mind the words thou hast spoken for bringing about peace. Today let the son of Subala, O Krishna, know that my shafts are dice, my gandiva the box for throwing them, and my car, the chequered cloth. O Govinda, slaying Karna with keen shafts I will dispel the long sleeplessness of Kunti's son. Today the royal son of Kunti, upon the slaughter of the Suta's son by me, shall be gratified and be of cheerful heart and obtain happiness for ever. Today, O Keshava, I will shoot an irresistible and unrivalled arrow that will deprive Karna of life. Even this, O Krishna, was the vow of that wicked-souled one about my slaughter, viz., 'I will not wash my feet till I slay Phalguna.' Falsifying this vow of that wretch, O slayer of Madhu, I will, with straight shafts, throw down his body today from his car. Today the earth will drink the blood of that Suta's son who in battle condemns all other men on earth! With Dhritarashtra's approbation, the Suta's son Karna, boasting of his own merits, had said, 'Thou hast no husband now, O Krishna!' My keen shafts will falsify that speech of his. Like angry snakes of virulent poison, they will drink his life-blood. Cloth-yard shafts, of the effulgence of the lightning, shot by myself possessed of mighty arms, sped from Gandiva, will send Karna on his last journey. Today the son of Radha will repent for those cruel words that he said unto the princess of Pancala in the midst of the assembly, in disparagement of the Pandavas! They that were on that occasion sesame seeds without kernel, will today become seeds with kernel after the fall of the Suta's son Karna of wicked soul, otherwise called Vaikartana! 'I will save ye from the sons of Pandu!'--even these were the words that Karna, bragging of his own merits, said unto the sons of Dhritarashtra! My keen shafts will falsify that speech of his! Today, in the very sight of all the bowmen, I will slay that Karna who said, 'I will slay all the Pancalas with their sons.' Today, O slayer of Madhu, I will slay that Karna, that son of Radha, relying on whose prowess the proud son of Dhritarashtra, of wicked understanding, always disregarded us. Today, O Krishna, after Karna's fall, the Dhartarashtras with their king, struck with panic, will fly away in all directions, like deer afraid of the lion. Today let king Duryodhana repent upon the slaughter of Karna, with his sons and relatives, by me in battle. Today, beholding Karna slain, let the wrathful son of Dhritarashtra, O Krishna, know me to be the foremost of all bowmen in battle. Today, I will make king Dhritarashtra, with his sons and grandsons and counsellors and servants, shelterless. Today, cranes and other carnivorous birds will, O Keshava, sport over the limbs of Karna cut off into pieces with my shafts. Today, O slayer of Madhu, I will cut off in battle the head of Radha's son Karna, in the very sight of all the bowmen. Today, O slayer of Madhu, I will cut off in battle the limbs of Radha's son of wicked soul with keen vipathas and razor-faced arrows. Today, the heroic king Yudhishthira will cast off a great pain and a great sorrow cherished long in his heart. Today, O Keshava, slaying the son of Radha, with all his kinsmen, I will gladden king Yudhishthira, the son of Dharma. Today, I will slay the cheerless followers of Karna in battle, with shafts resembling the blazing fire or the poison of the snake. Today, with my straight shafts equipped with vulturine feathers, I will, O Govinda, cause the earth to be strewn with (the bodies of) kings cased in golden armour. Today, O slayer of Madhu, I will, with keen shafts, crush the bodies and cut off the heads of all the foes of Abhimanyu. Today, I will bestow the earth, divested of Dhartarashtras on my brother, or, perhaps, thou, O Keshava, wilt walk over the earth divested of Arjuna! Today, O Krishna, I will free myself from the debt I owe to all bowmen, to my own wrath, to the Kurus, to my shafts, and to gandiva. Today, I will be freed from the grief that I have cherished for thirteen years, O Krishna, by slaying Karna in battle like Maghavat slaying Samvara. Today, after I have slain Karna in battle, let the mighty car-warriors of the Somakas, who are desirous of accomplishing the task of their allies, regard their task as accomplished. I do not know what will be the measure, O Madhava, of the joy of Sini's grandson today after I shall have slain Karna and won the victory. Today, I will slay Karna in battle as also his son, that mighty car-warrior, and give joy to Bhima and the twins and Satyaki. Today, slaying Karna in dreadful battle, I will pay off my debt, O Madhava, to the Pancalas with Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi! Today let all behold the wrathful Dhananjaya fight with the Kauravas in battle and slay the Suta's son. Once more there is none equal to me in the world. In prowess also, who is there that resembles me? What other man is there that is equal to me in forgiveness? In wrath also, there is no one that is equal to me. Armed with the bow and aided by the prowess of my arms, I can vanquish the Asuras and the gods and all creatures united together. Know that my prowess is higher than the highest. Alone assailing all the Kurus and the Bahlikas with the fire of my shafts issuing from Gandiva, I will, putting forth my might, burn them with their followers like a fire in the midst of a heap of dry grass at the close of winter. My palms bear these marks of arrows and this excellent and outstretched bow with arrow fixed on the string. On each of the soles of my feet occur the mark of a car and a standard. When a person like me goeth forth to battle, he cannot be vanquished by any one." Having said these words unto Acyuta, that foremost of all heroes, that slayer of foes, with blood red eyes, proceeded quickly to battle, for rescuing Bhima and cutting off the head from Karna's trunk.'"
Next: Section 75