The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Beholding the fallen boxes of cars, as also the cars of high-souled warriors, and the elephants and foot-soldiers, O sire, slain in battle, seeing the field of battle assume an aspect as awful as that of the sporting ground of Rudra, observing the inglorious end obtained by hundreds and thousands of kings, witnessing also the prowess of Partha after the retreat of thy son with grief-stricken heart and when thy troops, filled with anxiety and fallen into great distress, O Bharata, were deliberating as to what they should next do, hearing also the loud wails of the Kaurava warriors that were being crushed, and marking the displayed and disordered tokens of great kings, the Kuru leader Kripa of great energy, possessed of years and good conduct and filled with compassion, and endued with eloquence, approached king Duryodhana, and angrily said these words unto him, "O Duryodhana, listen, O Bharata, to these words that I will say unto thee. Having heard them, O monarch, do thou act according to them, O sinless one, if it pleases thee. There is no path, O monarch, that is better than the duty of battle. Having recourse to that path, Kshatriyas, O bull of the Kshatriya order, engage in battle. He who lives in the observance of Kshatriya practices fights with son, sire, brother, sister's son, and maternal uncle, and relatives, and kinsmen. If he is slaughtered in battle, there is great merit in it. Similarly, there is great sin in it if he flies from the field. It is for this that the life of a person desirous of living by the adoption of Kshatriya duties is exceedingly terrible. Unto thee, as regards this, I will say a few beneficial words. After the fall of Bhishma and Drona and the mighty car-warrior Karna, after the slaughter of Jayadratha and thy brothers, O sinless one, and thy son Lakshmana, what is there now for us to do? They upon whom we had rested all burdens of sovereignty we had been enjoying, have all gone to regions of blessedness attainable by persons conversant with Brahma, casting off their bodies. As regards ourselves, deprived of those great car-warriors possessed of numerous accomplishments, we shall have to pass our time in grief, having caused numerous kings to perish. When all those heroes were alive, even then Vibhatsu could not be vanquished. Having Krishna, for his eyes, that mighty-armed hero is incapable of being defeated by the very gods. The vast (Kaurava) host, approaching his Ape-bearing standard that is lofty as an Indra's pole (set up in the season of spring) and that is effulgent as Indra's bow, hath always trembled in fear. At the leonine roars of Bhimasena and the blare of Panchajanya and the twang of Gandiva, our heart will die away within us. Moving like flashes of lightning, and blinding our eyes, Arjuna's Gandiva is seen to resemble a circle of fire. Decked with pure gold, that formidable bow as it is shaken, looks lightning's flash moving about on every side. Steeds white in hue and possessed of great speed and endued with the splendour of the Moon or the Kasa grass, and that run devouring the skies, are yoked unto his car. Urged on by Krishna, like the masses of clouds driven by the wind, and their limbs decked with gold, they bear Arjuna to battle. That foremost of all persons conversant with arms, Arjuna, burned that great force of thine like a swelling conflagration consuming dry grass in the forest in the season of winter. Possessed of the splendour of Indra himself, while penetrating into our ranks, we have seen Dhananjaya to look like an elephant with four tusks. While agitating thy army and inspiring the kings with fear, we have seen Dhananjaya to resemble an elephant agitating a lake overgrown with lotuses. While terrifying all the warriors with the twang of his bow, we have again seen the son of Pandu to resemble a lion inspiring smaller animals with dread. Those two foremost of bowmen in all the worlds, those two bulls among all persons armed with the bow, the two Krishnas, clad in mail, are looking exceedingly beautiful. Today is the seventeenth day of this awful battle, O Bharata, of those that are being slaughtered in the midst of this fight. The diverse divisions of thy army are broken and dispersed like autumnal clouds dispersed by the wind. Savyasaci, O monarch, caused thy army to tremble and reel like a tempest-tossed boat exposed on the bosom of the ocean. Where was the Suta's son, where was Drona with all his followers, where was I, where wert thou, where was Hridika's son, where thy brother Duhshasana accompanied by his brothers (when Jayadratha was slain)? Upon beholding Jayadratha and finding him within the range of his arrows, Arjuna, putting forth his process upon all thy kinsmen and brothers and allies and maternal uncles, and placing his feet upon their heads, slew king Jayadratha in the very sight of all. What then is there for us to do now? Who is there among thy troops now that would vanquish the son of Pandu? That high-souled warrior possesses diverse kinds of celestial weapons. The twang, again, of Gandiva robbeth us of our energies. This army of thine that is now without a leader is like a night without the Moon, or like a river that is dried up with all the trees on its banks broken by elephants. The mighty-armed Arjuna of white steeds will, at his pleasure, career amid this thy masterless host, like a blazing conflagration amid a heap of grass. The impetuosity of those two, Satyaki and Bhimasena, would split all the mountains or dry up all the oceans. The words that Bhima spoke in the midst of the assembly have all been nearly accomplished by him, O monarch. That which remains unaccomplished will again be accomplished by him. While Karna was battling before it, the army of the Pandavas, difficult to be defeated, was vigorously protected by the wielder of Gandiva. You have done many foul wrongs, without any cause, unto the righteous Pandavas. The fruits of those acts have now come. For the sake of thy own objects thou hadst, with great care, mustered together a large force. That vast force, as also thyself, O bull of Bharata's race, have fallen into great danger. Preserve thy own self now, for self is the refuge of everything. If the refuge is broken, O sire, everything inhering thereto is scattered on every side. He that is being weakened should seek peace by conciliation. He that is growing should make war. This is the policy taught by Brihaspati. We are now inferior to the sons of Pandu as regards the strength of our army. Therefore, O lord, I think, peace with the Pandavas is for our good. He that does not know what is for his good, or (knowing) disregards what is for his good, is soon divested of his kingdom and never obtains any good. If, by bowing unto king Yudhishthira sovereignty may still remain to us, even that would be for our good, and not, O king, to sustain through folly defeat (at the hands of the Pandavas). Yudhishthira is compassionate. At the request of Vichitravirya's son and of Govinda, he will allow you to continue as king. Whatever Hrishikesa will say unto the victorious king Yudhishthira and Arjuna and Bhimasena, all of them will, without doubt, obey. Krishna will not, I think, be able to transgress the words of Dhritarashtra of Kuru's race, nor will the son of Pandu be able to transgress those of Krishna. A cessation of hostilities with the sons of Pritha is what I consider to be for thy good. I do not say this unto thee from any mean motives nor for protecting my life. I say, O king, that which I regard to be beneficial. Thou wilt recollect these words when thou wilt be on the point of death (if thou neglectest them now)." Advanced in years, Kripa the son of Saradwat said these words weepingly. Breathing long and hot breaths, he then gave way to sorrow and almost lost his senses.'"
Next: Section 5