The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Meanwhile the welkin, filled with gods and Nagas and Asuras and Siddhas and Yakshas and with large bands of Gandharvas and Rakshasas, and Asuras and regenerate Rishis and royal sages and birds of excellent feathers, assumed a wonderful aspect. All human beings assembled there beheld those beings of wonderful aspect staying in the sky, and the sky itself resounded with the voice of musical instruments and song and adulatory hymns and laughter and dance, and diverse other kinds of charming sounds. Then both the Kaurava and the Pandava warriors, filled with joy, and causing the earth and the ten points of the compass to resound with the voice of musical instruments, the blare of conchs, and leonine roars and the din of battle, began to slaughter their foes. Teeming with men and steeds and elephants and cars and weapons, unbearable to combatants in consequence of the falling of maces and swords and darts and rapiers, abounding in heroes, and crowded with lifeless bodies, the field of battle, crimsoned with gore, looked exceedingly resplendent. Indeed, the battle between the Kurus and the Pandavas then resembled that in days of yore between the gods and the Asuras. After that fierce and awful battle had commenced between Dhananjaya and Adhiratha's son, each of those two heroes, clad in excellent mail, shrouded the ten points of the compass and the host opposed to him with keen and straight arrows. A darkness having been caused there with the arrows shot on that occasion, neither thy warriors nor the enemy could any longer see anything. From fear all the warriors there sought the protection of either Karna or Arjuna like rays of light spread out in the welkin converging towards either the sun or the moon. The two heroes then, each baffling the other's weapons with his own, like the east and the west winds encountering each other, looked exceedingly resplendent like the sun and the moon risen after dispelling the darkness caused by the clouds and covering the welkin. Each having encouraged his troops, saying, "Do not fly away!" the enemy and thy warriors stood their ground, encircling those two mighty car-warriors like the gods and the asuras standing around Vasava and Samvara. The two armies then greeted those two best of men with the sounds of drums and other instruments and with leonine roars, at which those two bulls among men looked beautiful like the sun and the moon greeted by roaring clouds gathered around. Each armed with a formidable bow drawn to a complete circle and looking like a (solar or lunar) corona, those two heroes of great splendour, shooting, in that battle thousands of arrows that constituted their rays, resembled two unbearable suns risen at the end of the yuga for burning the entire universe with its mobile and immobile creatures. Both invincible, both capable of exterminating foes, each desirous of slaying the other; and each displaying his skill upon the other, those two warriors, Karna and the son of Pandu, closed fearlessly with each other in that dreadful battle, like Indra and the asura Jambha. Invoking the mightiest of weapons then, those two formidable bowmen began, with their terrible shafts, to slay innumerable men and steeds and elephants as also to strike each other, O king! Afflicted once more by those two foremost of men, the troops of both the Kurus and the Pandavas, consisting of elephants and foot-soldiers and horsemen and car-warriors, fled away on all sides like other animals in the forest when assailed by the lion. Then Duryodhana, and the chief of the Bhojas, and Subala's son, and Kripa, and the son of Sharadvata's daughter, these five great car-warriors, assailed Dhananjaya and Keshava with shafts capable of producing great pain. Dhananjaya, however, with his shafts, cut off at the same time the bows, the quivers, the steeds, the elephants, and the cars with their drivers, of those warriors, and mangling every one of them with excellent shafts, pierced the Suta's son with a dozen arrows. Then a hundred cars, a hundred elephants, and a number of Saka and Tukhara and Yavana horsemen, accompanied by some of the foremost combatants among the Kambojas, quickly rushed against Arjuna from desire of slaying him. Speedily cutting off with the shafts and razor-headed arrows in his hands the excellent weapons of his foes, as also their heads, and steeds, and elephants, and cars, Dhananjaya felled his contending enemies on the field. Then in the welkin blasts of celestial trumpets were blown by the excellent gods. These were mingled with the praises of Arjuna. Blown by gentle breezes, excellent floral showers, fragrant and auspicious, fell (upon Arjuna's head). Beholding that incident, which was witnessed by gods and men, all creatures, O king, were filled with wonder.' Only thy son and the Suta's son who were both of the same opinion, felt neither pain nor wonder. Then Drona's son, catching hold of Duryodhana's hand, and adopting a soothing tone, addressed thy son, saying, "Be gratified, O Duryodhana! Make peace with the Pandavas. There is no need for quarrel. Fie on war! The preceptor, conversant with the mightiest of weapons and like unto Brahma itself, hath been slain. Other bulls among men, headed by Bhishma, have also been slain. As regards myself, I am unslayable, as also my maternal uncle. Rule the kingdom for ever, (sharing it) with the sons of Pandu. Dissuaded by me, Dhananjaya will abstain. Janardana also doth not desire hostilities. Yudhishthira is always engaged in the good of all creatures. Vrikodara is obedient to him. So also are the twins. Peace being made between thee and the Parthas, all creatures will be benefited, through, as it would seem, thy desire. Let the kings that are still alive go back to their homes. Let the troops abstain from hostilities. If thou dost not listen to my words, O king, struck by foes in battle, thou wilt have to burn with grief. Thou hast beheld, as well as the universe, what has been achieved by the single-handed Arjuna decked with diadem and garlands. The slayer of Vala himself could not achieve its like, nor the Destroyer, nor Prachetas, nor the illustrious king of the Yakshas. Dhananjaya, as regards his merits, is even much greater than that. He will never transgress whatever I say unto him. He will always follow thee. Be thou gratified, O king, for the benefit of the universe. Thou always honourest me greatly. I, too, bear a great friendship for thee. It is for this that I say so unto thee. I shall dissuade Karna also, provided thou art inclined to peace. Discerning persons say that there are four kinds of friends, viz., those that are naturally so, those that are made so by conciliation, those that become so through wealth, and lastly those brought under subjection by the exercise of power. All these elements are owned by thee with regard to the sons of Pandu. The Pandavas, O hero, are naturally thy friends. Obtain them again as friends for certain by conciliation. If upon thyself being gratified, they agree to become friends, do thou, O king of kings, act in that way." These beneficial words having been said unto him by his friends, Duryodhana reflected for some time. Drawing deep breaths, he then, with a cheerless heart, said, "It is as thou, O friend, hast said. Listen, however, to the words that I would say unto thee. The wicked-hearted Vrikodara, having slain Duhshasana like a tiger, spoke words that still dwell in my heart. Thou also heardest the same. How then can there be peace? Arjuna again will not be able to bear Karna in battle, like a tempest whose force is weakened when encountering the mighty mountains of Meru. Nor will the sons of Pritha have the least confidence in me, thinking of the many acts of forceful hostility (done by me towards them). Nor, O preceptor's son of unfading glory, doth it behove thee to say unto Karna now 'Abstain from battle!' Phalguna is exceedingly tired today. Karna will soon slay him". Having with humility said these words repeatedly unto the preceptor's son, thy son commanded his own troops, saying, "Armed with arrows, rush against and slay these foes. Why stand ye inactive?"'"
Next: Section 89