The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'After this, the followers of Subala's son, O monarch, became filled with rage. Prepared to lay down their lives in that dreadful battle, they began to resist the Pandavas. Resolved to aid Sahadeva in his victory, Arjuna, as also Bhimasena possessed of great energy and resembling an angry snake of virulent poison in aspect, received those warriors. With his Gandiva, Dhananjaya baffled the purpose of those warriors, who, armed with darts and swords and lances, desired to slay Sahadeva. Vibhatsu, with his broad-headed arrows, cut off the steeds, the heads, and the arms, with weapons in grasp of those rushing combatants. The steeds of those foremost of heroes endued with activity, struck by Savyasaci, fell down on the earth, deprived of their lives. King Duryodhana, beholding that carnage of his own troops, O lord, became filled with rage. Assembling together the remnant of his cars which still numbered many hundreds, as also his elephants and horse and foot, O scorcher of foes, thy son said these words unto those warriors, "Encountering all the Pandavas with their friends and allies, in this battle, and the prince of Pancala also with his own troops, and slaying them quickly, turn back from the fight!" Respectfully accepting that command of his, those warriors, difficult of defeat in battle, proceeded once more against the Parthas in that battle, at the behest of thy son. The Pandavas, however, covered with their arrows resembling snakes of virulent poison, all those warriors, forming the remnant of the Kaurava army, that thus rushed quickly against them in that dreadful battle. That army, O chief of the Bharatas, as it came to battle, was in a moment exterminated by those high-souled warriors, for it failed to obtain a protector. In consequence of the (Kaurava) steeds running hither and thither that were all covered with the dust raised by the army, the cardinal and the subsidiary points of the compass could not be distinguished. Many warriors, issuing out of the Pandava array, O Bharata, slew thy troops in a moment in that battle. Eleven Akshauhinis, O Bharata, of troops had been assembled for thy son! All those, O lord, were slain by the Pandus and the Srinjayas! Amongst those thousands upon thousands of high-souled kings on thy side, only Duryodhana now, O monarch, exceedingly wounded, was seen to be alive, casting his eyes on all sides, and seeing the earth empty, himself destitute of all his troops while the Pandavas, filled with joy in that battle, were roaring aloud in consequence of the accomplishment of all their objects. Duryodhana, O monarch, unable to endure the whiz of the shafts shot by those high-souled heroes, became stupefied! Destitute of troops and animals, he set his heart on retreat from the field.'
"Dhritarashtra said, 'When my troops were slain and our camp made entirely empty, what was the strength, O Suta, of the troops that still remained to the Pandavas? I desire to know this. Therefore, tell me, O Sanjaya, for thou art skilled (in narration). Tell me also, O Sanjaya, that which was done by my son, the wicked Duryodhana, that lord of the earth, the sole survivor of so many men, when he saw his army exterminated.'
"Sanjaya continued, '2,000 cars, 700 elephants, 5,000 horse, and 10,000 foot, this was the remnant, O monarch, of the mighty host of the Pandavas. Taking care of this force, Dhrishtadyumna waited in that battle. Meanwhile, O chief of the Bharatas, king Duryodhana, that foremost of car-warriors, saw not in that battle a single warrior on his side. Beholding his enemies roaring aloud and witnessing the extermination of his own army, that lord of the earth, Duryodhana, without a companion, abandoned his slain steed, and fled from the field with face turned eastwards. That lord of eleven Akshauhinis, thy son Duryodhana, of great energy, taking up his mace, fled on foot towards a lake. Before he had proceeded far on foot, the king recalled the words of the intelligent and virtuous Vidura. Without doubt, this had been foreseen by Vidura of great wisdom, this great carnage of Kshatriyas and of ourselves in battle. Reflecting on this, the king, with heart burning in grief at having witnessed the extermination of his army, desired to penetrate into the depths of that lake. The Pandavas, O monarch, with Dhrishtadyumna at their head, filled with rage, rushed against (the small remnant of) thy army. With his Gandiva, Dhananjaya baffled the purpose of the (Kaurava) troops, who, armed with darts and swords and lances, were uttering loud roars. Having with his sharp shafts slain those troops with their allies and kinsmen, Arjuna, as he stood on his car having white steeds yoked unto it, looked exceedingly beautiful. Upon the fall of Subala's son along with horse, cars and elephants, thy army looked like a large forest laid low (by the wind). In Duryodhana's army then, O monarch, which had numbered many hundred thousands of warriors, not another great car-warrior was seen to be alive, save the heroic son of Drona, and Kritavarma, and Kripa the son of Gotama, O monarch, and that lord of the earth, thy son! Dhrishtadyumna, seeing me, laughingly addressed Satyaki, saying, 'What is the use of seizing this one? Nothing will be gained by keeping him alive.' Hearing these words of Dhrishtadyumna, the grandson of Sini, that great car-warrior, uplifting his sharp sword, prepared to slay me. Just at that juncture, the Island-born Krishna of great wisdom (Vyasa), coming there, said, "Let Sanjaya be dismissed alive! By no means should he be slain!" Hearing these words of the Island-born, the grandson of Sini, joined his hands, and then, setting me free said unto me, "Peace to thee, O Sanjaya, thou mayest go hence!" Permitted by him, I myself then, putting off my armour and making over my weapons, set out on the evening on the road leading to the city, my limbs bathed in blood. After I had come about two miles, O monarch, I beheld Duryodhana, standing alone, mace in hand, and exceedingly mangled. His eyes were full of tears and therefore he could not see me. I stood cheerlessly before him. He looked accordingly at me without recognising me. Beholding him standing alone on the field and indulging in grief, I also, overwhelmed with sorrow, succeeded not for a little while to speak a single word. Then I said unto him everything about my own capture and my release through the grace of the Island-born. Having reflected for a moment, and regained his senses, he enquired of me about his brothers and his troops. I had seen everything with my eyes and therefore told him everything, that his brothers had all been slain and that all his troops had been exterminated. I told the king that we had at that time only three car-warriors left alive, for the Island-born had said so unto me when I set out (from the place where the Pandavas were). Drawing deep breaths and looking repeatedly at me, thy son touched me with his hand and said, "Except thee, O Sanjaya, there is none else that liveth, amongst those engaged in this battle! I do not see another (on my side), while the Pandavas have their allies living! Say, O Sanjaya, unto that lord, the blind king Dhritarashtra, that his son Duryodhana hath entered the depths of a lake! Destitute of friends such as those (I lately had), deprived of sons and brothers, and seeing his kingdom taken by the Pandavas, who is there like me that would desire to live? Say all this unto the king and tell him further that I have escaped with life from that dreadful battle, and that, alive, though exceedingly wounded, I shall rest within the depths of this lake." Having said these words unto me, O monarch, the king entered that lake. That ruler of men, by his power of illusion, then charmed the waters of that lake, making a space for him within them. After he had entered that lake, I myself, without anybody on my side, saw those three car-warriors (of our army) coming together to that spot with their tired animals. They were Kripa, the son of Saradwat, and the heroic Ashvatthama, that foremost of car-warriors, and Kritavarma of Bhoja's race. Mangled with shafts, all of them came together to that spot. Beholding me, they all urged their steeds to greater speed and coming up to me, said, "By good luck, O Sanjaya, thou livest yet!" All of them then enquired after thy son, that ruler of men, saying, 'Is our king Duryodhana still alive, O Sanjaya?' I then told them that the king was well in body. I also told them everything that Duryodhana had said unto me. I also pointed out to them the lake that the king had entered. Then Ashvatthama, O king, having heard those words from me, cast his eyes on that extensive lake and began to wail in grief, saying, "Alas, alas, the king knows not that we are still alive! With him amongst us, we are still quite able to fight with our foes!" Those mighty car-warriors, having wept there for a long time, fled away at sight of the sons of Pandu. Those three car-warriors that formed the remnant of our army took me up on the well-adorned car of Kripa, and then proceeded to the Kuru camp. The sun had set a little before. The troops forming the outposts of the camp, learning that all thy sons had been slain, wept aloud. Then, O monarch, the old men that had been appointed to look after the ladies of the royal household proceeded towards the city, taking the princesses after them. Loud were the wails uttered by those weeping ladies when they heard of the destruction of the whole army. The women, O king, crying ceaselessly, caused the earth to resound with their voices like a flight of she-ospreys. They tore their bodies with nails and struck their heads with their hands, and untied their braids, indulging all the while in loud cries. Filling the air with sounds such as "Oh!" and "Alas!" and beating their breasts, they cried aloud and wept and uttered loud shrieks, O monarch! Then the friends of Duryodhana, deeply afflicted and made voiceless by their tears, set out for the city, taking the ladies of the royal household with them. The camp-guards quickly fled towards the city, taking with them many white beds overlaid with costly coverlets. Others, placing their wives on cars drawn by mules, proceeded towards the city. Those ladies, O monarch, who, while in their houses could not be seen by the very sun, were now, as they proceeded towards the city, exposed to the gaze of the common people. Those women, O chief of the Bharata's race, who were very delicate, now proceeded with speed towards the city, having lost their near ones and kinsmen. The very cow-herds and shepherds and common men, filled with panic and afflicted with the fear of Bhimasena, fled towards the city. Even these were filled with a great fear of the Parthas. Looking at one another, all of them fled towards the city. During the progress of that general flight attended with such circumstances of fear, Yuyutsu, deprived of his senses by grief, thought upon what he should do in view of the emergency that had come. "Duryodhana hath been vanquished in battle by the Pandavas of terrible prowess! He had eleven Akshauhinis of troops under him! All his brothers have been slain! All the Kauravas, headed by Bhishma and Drona, have perished! Through the influence of Destiny, only I have been saved! All those that were in the Kuru camp have fled! Alas, they are flying on all sides, deprived of energy and destitute of protectors! Such a sight had never been seen before! Afflicted with sorrow, with eyes anxious in fear, they are flying away on all sides like a herd of deer, looking at one another! Those amongst the counsellors of Duryodhana that are yet alive have fled towards the city, taking with them the ladies of the royal household! I think, O lord, that the time hath come when I also should enter the city with them, after taking the permission of Yudhishthira and Vasudeva!" For this purpose that mighty-armed prince presented himself before both those heroes. King Yudhishthira, who is always compassionate, became highly pleased with him. The mighty-armed Pandava embraced that child of a Vaisya mother and dismissed him affectionately. Riding upon his own car, he urged his steeds to great speed. He then supervised the removal of the ladies of the royal household to the city. The sun was setting. With those ladies, Yuyutsu entered the city of Hastinapura, with tearful eyes and with voice choked in grief. He then saw Vidura of great wisdom, sitting with tearful eyes. He had come away from Dhritarashtra, his heart having been afflicted with great sorrow. Bowing down unto Vidura, he stood before him. Devoted to truth, Vidura addressed him, saying, "By good luck, O son, thou livest amid this general destruction of the Kurus! Why, however, hast thou come without king Duryodhana in thy company? Tell me in detail the cause of this!" Yuyutsu then said, "After the fall of Shakuni, O sire, with all his kinsmen and friends, king Duryodhana abandoning the steed he rode, fled away, in fear towards the east. After the king had fled away, all the people in the (Kaurava) encampment, agitated with fear, fled towards the city. Then the protectors of the ladies, placing the wives of the king, as also those of his brothers, on vehicles, fled away in fear. Obtaining the permission of king Yudhishthira and Keshava, I set out for Hastinapura, for protecting the people thus flying away!' Hearing these words spoken by the son of Dhritarashtra's Vaisya wife, Vidura of immeasurable soul, conversant with every usage and feeling that was proper at that hour, applauded the eloquent Yuyutsu. And he said, 'Thou hast acted properly, having regard for what has come, in view of this destruction of all the Bharatas of which thou art speaking! Thou hast also, from compassion, maintained the honour of thy race! By good luck, we behold thee come back with life from this terrible battle that is so destructive of heroes, like creatures beholding the sun possessed of blazing glory! Thou, O son, are now in every way the sole staff of the blind monarch, bereft of foresight, afflicted with calamity, struck by Destiny, and who, though repeatedly dissuaded, could not abstain from pursuing his evil policy. Take rest here for this day! Tomorrow thou mayst return to Yudhishthira!" Having said these words, Vidura, with tearful eyes, took leave of Yuyutsu and entered the abode of the king, which resounded with cries of "Oh!" and "Alas!" uttered by citizens and villagers afflicted with woe. The cheerless mansion seemed to have lost all its beauty; comfort and happiness seemed to have deserted it. It was all empty and pervaded by disorder. Already filled with sorrow, Vidura's grief increased at that sight. Conversant with every duty, Vidura, with a sorrowful heart, entered the palace, drawing deep breaths. As regards Yuyutsu, he passed that night in his own abode. Afflicted with woe, he failed to obtain any joy at the panegyrics with which he was greeted. He passed the time, thinking of the terrible destruction of the Bharatas at one another's hands.'"
Next: Section 30