The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'Hearing these words of the (Kuru) king, the valiant monarch (Shalya), O king, said these words unto Duryodhana in reply, "O mighty-armed Duryodhana, listen to me, O foremost of eloquent men. Thou regardest the two Krishnas, when on their car, to be the foremost of car-warriors. They are not, however, together equal to me in might of arms. What need I say of the Pandavas? When angry, I can fight, at the van of battle, with the whole world consisting of gods, Asuras, and men, risen up in arms. I will vanquish the assembled Parthas and the Somakas in battle. Without doubt, I will become the leader of thy troops. I will form such an array that our enemies will not be able to overmaster it. I say this to thee, O Duryodhana. There is no doubt in this." Thus addressed (by Shalya), king Duryodhana cheerfully poured sanctified water, without losing any time, O best of the Bharatas, on the ruler of the Madras, in the midst of his troops, according to the rites ordained in the scriptures, O monarch. After Shalya had been invested with the command, loud leonine roars arose among thy troops and diverse musical instruments also, O Bharata, were beat and blown. The Kaurava warriors became very cheerful, as also the mighty car-warriors among the Madrakas. And all of them praised the royal Shalya, that ornament of battle, saying, "Victory to thee, O king. Long life to thee! Slay all the assembled foes! Having obtained the might of thy arms, let the Dhartarashtras endued with great strength, rule the wide Earth without a foe. Thou art capable of vanquishing in battle the three worlds consisting of the gods, the Asuras, what need be said of the Somakas and the Srinjayas that are mortal?" Thus praised, the mighty king of the Madrakas obtained great joy that is unattainable by persons of unrefined souls.
"'Shalya said, "Today, O king, I will either slay all the Pancalas with the Pandavas in battle, or, slain by them, proceed to heaven. Let the world behold me today careering (on the field of battle) fearlessly. Today let all the sons of Pandu, and Vasudeva, and Satyaki, and the sons of Draupadi, and Dhrishtadyumna, and Shikhandi, and all the Prabhadrakas, behold my prowess and the great might of my bow, and my quickness, and the energy of my weapons, and the strength of my arms, in battle. Let the Parthas, and all the Siddhas, with the Charanas behold today the strength that is in my arms and the wealth of weapons I possess. Beholding my prowess today, let the mighty car-warriors of the Pandavas, desirous of counteracting it, adopt diverse courses of action. Today I will rout the troops of the Pandavas on all sides. Surpassing Drona and Bhishma and the Suta's son, O lord, in battle, I will career on the field, O Kauravas, for doing what is agreeable to thee."'
"Sanjaya continued, 'After Shalya had been invested with the command, O giver of honours, no one among thy troops, O bull of Bharata's race, any longer felt any grief on account of Karna. Indeed, the troops became cheerful and glad. They regarded the Parthas as already slain and brought under the power of the ruler of the Madras. Having obtained great joy, thy troops, O bull of Bharata's race, slept that night happily and became very cheerful. Hearing those shouts of thy army, king Yudhishthira, addressing him of Vrishni's race, said these words, in the hearing of all the Kshatriyas, "The ruler of the Madras, Shalya, that great bowman who is highly regarded by all the warriors hath, O Madhava, been made the leader of his forces by Dhritarashtra's son. Knowing this that has happened, do, O Madhava, that which is beneficial. Thou art our leader and protector. Do that which should next be done." Then Vasudeva, O monarch, said unto that king, "I know Artayani, O Bharata, truly. Endued with prowess and great energy, he is highly illustrious. He is accomplished, conversant with all the modes of warfare, and possessed of great lightness of hand. I think that the ruler of the Madras is in battle equal to Bhishma or Drona or Karna, or perhaps, superior to them. I do not, O ruler of men, even upon reflection, find the warrior who may be a match for Shalya while engaged in fight. In battle, he is superior in might to Shikhandi and Arjuna and Bhima and Satyaki and Dhrishtadyumna, O Bharata. The king of the Madras, O monarch, endued with the prowess of a lion or an elephant, will career fearlessly in battle like the Destroyer himself in wrath amongst creatures at the time of the universal destruction. I do not behold a match for him in battle save thee, O tiger among men, that art possessed of prowess equal to that of a tiger. Save thee there is no other person in either heaven or the whole of this world, who, O son of Kuru's race, would be able to slay the ruler of the Madras while excited with wrath in battle. Day after day engaged in fight, he agitates thy troops. For this, slay Shalya in battle, like Maghavat slaying Samvara. Treated with honour by Dhritarashtra's son, that hero is invincible in battle. Upon the fall of the ruler of the Madras in battle, thou art certain to have victory. Upon his slaughter, the vast Dhartarashtra host will be slain. Hearing, O monarch, these words of mine now, proceed, O Partha, against that mighty car-warrior, the ruler of the Madras. Slay that warrior, O thou of mighty arms, like Vasava slaying the Asura Namuchi. There is no need of showing any compassion here, thinking that this one is thy maternal uncle. Keeping the duties of a Kshatriya before thee, slay the ruler of the Madras. Having crossed the fathomless oceans represented by Bhishma and Drona and Karna, do not sink, with thy followers, in the print of a cow's hoof represented by Shalya. Display in battle the whole of thy ascetic power and thy Kshatriya energy. Slay that car-warrior." Having said these words, Keshava, that slayer of hostile heroes, proceeded to his tent in the evening, worshipped by the Pandavas. After Keshava had gone, king Yudhishthira the just, dismissing all his brothers and the Somakas, happily slept that night, like an elephant from whose body the darts have been plucked out. All those great bowmen of the Pancalas and Pandavas, delighted in consequence of the fall of Karna, slept that night happily. Its fever dispelled, the army of the Pandavas, abounding with great bowmen and mighty car-warriors having reached the shore as it were, became very happy that night, in consequence of the victory, O sire, it had won by the slaughter of Karna.'"
Next: Section 8