The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Thus addressed by the celebrated grandson of Gotama, the king (Duryodhana), breathing long and hot breaths, remained silent, O monarch. Having reflected for a little while, the high-souled son of Dhritarashtra, that scorcher of foes, then said these words unto Saradwat's son Kripa, "Whatever a friend should say, thou hast said unto me. Thou hast also, whilst battling, done everything for me, without caring for thy very life. The world has seen thee penetrate into the midst of the Pandava divisions and fight with the mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas endued with great energy. That which should be said by a friend hast been said by thee. Thy words, however, do not please me, like medicine that ill pleases the person that is on the point of death. These beneficial and excellent words, fraught with reason, that thou, O mighty-armed one, hast said do not seem acceptable to me, O foremost of Brahmanas. Deprived by us of his kingdom (on a former occasion), why will the son of Pandu repose his trust on us? That mighty king was once defeated by us at dice. Why will he again believe my words? So also, Krishna, ever engaged in the good of the Parthas, when he came to us as an envoy, was deceived by us. That act of ours was exceedingly ill-judged. Why then, O regenerate one, will Hrishikesa trust my words? The princess Krishna, while standing in the midst of the assembly, wept piteously. Krishna will never forget that act of ours, nor that act, the deprivation of Yudhishthira by us of his kingdom. Formerly, it was heard by us that the two Krishnas have the same heart between them and are firmly united with each other. Today, O lord, we have seen it with our eyes. Having heard of the slaughter of his sister's son, Keshava passeth his nights in sorrow. We have offended him highly. Why will he forgive us then? Arjuna also, in consequence of Abhimanyu's death, hath become very miserable. Even if solicited, why will he strike for my good? The second son of Pandu, the mighty Bhimasena, is exceedingly fierce. He has made a terrible vow. He will break but not bend. The heroic twins, breathing animosity against us, when clad in mail and armed with their swords, resemble a pair of Yamas. Dhrishtadyumna and Shikhandi have drawn their swords against me. Why will those two, O best of Brahmanas, strive for my good? While clad in a single raiment and in her season, the princess Krishna was treated cruelly by Duhshasana in the midst of the assembly and before the eyes of all. Those scorchers of foes, the Pandavas, who still remember the naked Draupadi plunged into distress, can never be dissuaded from battle.
"'"Then again, Krishna, the daughter of Drupada, is in sorrow, undergoing the austerest of penances for my destruction and the success of the objects cherished by her husbands, and sleepeth every day on the bare ground, intending to do so till the end of the hostilities is attained. Abandoning honour and pride, the uterine sister of Vasudeva (Subhadra) is always serving Draupadi as veritable waiting woman. Everything, therefore, hath flamed up. That fire can never be quenched. Peace with them hath become impossible in consequence of the slaughter of Abhimanyu. Having also enjoyed the sovereignty of this earth bounded by the ocean, how shall I be able to enjoy, under favour of the Pandavas, a kingdom in peace? Having shone like the Sun upon the heads of all the kings, how shall I walk behind Yudhishthira like a slave? Having enjoyed all enjoyable articles and shown great compassion, how shall I lead a miserable life now, with miserable men as my companions? I do not hate those mild and beneficial words that thou hast spoken. I, however, do not think that this is the time for peace. To fight righteously is, O scorcher of foes, what I regard to be good policy. This is not the time for acting like a eunuch. On the other hand, that is time for the battle. I have performed many sacrifices. I have given away Dakshinas to Brahmanas, I have obtained the attainment of all my wishes. I have listened to Vedic recitations. I have walked upon the heads of my foes. My servants have all been wellcherished by me. I have relieved people in distress. I dare not, O foremost of regenerate ones, address such humble words to the Pandavas. I have conquered foreign kingdoms. I have properly governed my own kingdom. I have enjoyed diverse kinds of enjoyable articles. Religion and profit and pleasure I have pursued. I have paid off my debt to the Pitris and to Kshatriya duty. Certainly, there is no happiness here. What becomes of kingdom, and what of good name? Fame is all that one should acquire here. That fame can be obtained by battle, and by no other means. The death that a Kshatriya meets with at home is censurable. Death on one's bed at home is highly sinful. The man who casts away his body in the woods or in battle after having performed sacrifices, obtains great glory. He is no man who dies miserably weeping in pain, afflicted by disease and decay, in the midst of crying kinsmen. Abandoning diverse objects of enjoyment, I shall now, by righteous battle, proceed to the regions of Shakra, obtaining the companionship of those that have attained to the highest end. Without doubt, the habitation of heroes of righteous behaviour, who never retreat from battle, who are gifted with intelligence and devoted to truth, who are performers of sacrifices, and who have been sanctified in the sacrifice of weapons, is in heaven. The diverse tribes of Apsaras, without doubt, joyfully gaze at such heroes when engaged in battle. Without doubt, the Pitris behold them worshipped in the assembly of the gods and rejoicing in heaven, in the company of Apsaras. We will now ascend the path that is trod by the celestials and by heroes unreturning from battle, that path which has been taken by our venerable grandsire, by the preceptor endued with great intelligence, by Jayadratha, by Karna, and by Duhshasana. Many brave kings, who had exerted themselves vigorously for my sake in this battle, have been slain. Mangled with arrows and their limbs bathed in blood, they lie now on the bare Earth. Possessed of great courage and conversant with excellent weapons, those kings, who had, again, performed sacrifices as ordained in the scriptures, having cast off their life breaths in the discharge of their duties, have now become the denizens of Indra's abode. They have paved the way (to that blessed region). That road will once more be difficult in consequence of the crowds of heroes that will hurry along it for reaching that blessed goal. Remembering with gratitude the feats of those heroes that have died for me, I desire to pay off the debt I owe them, instead of fixing my heart upon kingdom. If, having caused my friends and brothers and grandsires to be slain, I save my own life, the world will without doubt, censure me. What kind of sovereignty will that be which I will enjoy, destitute of kinsmen and friends and well-wishers, and bowing down unto the son of Pandu? I, who have lorded it over the universe in that way, will now acquire heaven by fair fight. It will not be otherwise." Thus addressed by Duryodhana, all the Kshatriyas there applauded that speech and cheered the king, saying, "Excellent, Excellent." Without at all grieving for their defeat, and firmly resolved upon displaying their prowess, all of them, being determined to fight, became filled with enthusiasm. Having groomed their animals, the Kauravas, delighting at the prospect of battle, took up their quarters (for the night) at a spot a little less than two Yojanas distant from the field. Having reached the Sarasvati of red waters on the sacred and beautiful table-land at the foot of Himavat, they bathed in that water and quenched their thirst with it. Their spirits raised by thy son, they continued to wait (on their resting ground). Once more rallying their own selves as well as one another, all those Kshatriyas, O king, urged by fate, waited (in their encampment).'"
Next: Section 6