The Mahabharata Home
"Sanjaya said, 'After those three car-warriors had left that spot, the Pandavas arrived at that lake within which Duryodhana was resting himself. Having reached the banks of the Dvaipayana lake, O chief of Kuru's race, they beheld that receptacle of waters enchanted by thy son. Then Yudhishthira, addressing Vasudeva, said, "Behold, the son of Dhritarashtra hath applied his power of illusion to these waters! Having enchanted the waters, he lieth within them. He can have now no fear (of injury) from man! Having invoked a celestial illusion, he is now within the waters! By an act of deception, that wight conversant with every deception hath sought this refuge! He shall not, however, escape me with life! Even if the wielder of the thunderbolt himself aid him in battle, people, O Madhava, shall yet behold him slain today!'
"'Vasudeva said, "With thy own powers of illusion, O Bharata, destroy this illusion of Duryodhana who is an adept in it! One conversant with illusion should be slain with illusion! This is the truth, O Yudhishthira! With acts and means and applying thy power of illusion to these waters, slay, O chief of the Bharatas, this Suyodhana, who is the very soul of illusion! With acts and means Indra himself slew the Daityas and the Danavas! Vali himself was bound by that high-souled one (Upendra), with the aid of many acts and means! The great Asura Hiranyaksha, as also that other one, Hiranyakasipu, was slain by the aid of many acts and means. Without doubt, O king, Vritra also was slain by the aid of acts! Similarly was the Rakshasa Ravana of Pulastya's race, with his relatives and followers, slain by Rama! Relying upon acts and contrivances, do thou also display thy powers! Those two ancient Daityas, Taraka and Viprachitti of great energy, were in ancient times, O king, slain by the aid of acts and means! Similarly, Vatapi and Ilwala, and Trisiras, O lord, and the Asuras Sunda and Upasunda, were all slain by the aid of means! Indra himself enjoys heaven by the aid of acts and means! Acts are very efficacious, O king, and nothing else so, O Yudhishthira! Daityas and Danavas and Rakshasas and kings had been slain by the aid of acts and means. Do thou take therefore, the help of act!"'
"Sanjaya continued, 'Thus addressed by Vasudeva, Pandu's son of rigid vows, smiling the while, addressed, O monarch, thy son of great might, who, O Bharata, was then within the waters of that lake, saying, "Why, O Suyodhana, hast thou entered these waters, after having caused all the Kshatriyas to perish and after having, O king, caused thy own race to be annihilated? Why hast thou entered into this lake today, wishing to save thy own life? Arise, O king, and fight us, O Suyodhana! Where, O foremost of men, hath that pride and that sense of honour which thou hadst now gone, since, O king, thou hast enchanted these waters and art now lying within them? All men speak of thee in assemblies as a hero. All that, however, is entirely untrue, I think, since thou art now concealed within these waters! Arise, O king, and fight, for thou art a Kshatriya born of a noble race! Thou art Kauraveya in particular! Remember thy birth! How canst thou boast of thy birth in Kuru's race when thou concealest thyself within the depths of this lake, having fled away from battle in fear? This is not the eternal duty of a Kshatriya, staying away from battle! Flight from battle, O king, is not the practice of those that are honourable, nor does it lead to heaven! How is it that without having attained to the end of this war, inspired though thou wert with the desire of victory, thou stayest now within this lake, after having caused and witnessed the slaughter of thy sons and brothers and sires and relatives and friends and maternal uncles and kinsmen? Ever boastful of thy courage, thou art, however, not a hero! Falsely dost thou describe thyself, O Bharata, when thou sayst in the hearing of all men that thou art a hero, O thou of wicked understanding! They that are heroes never fly away at sight of foes! Or, tell us, O hero, about (the nature of) that courage in consequence of which thou hast fled from battle! Arise, O prince, and fight, casting off thy fears! Having caused all thy troops and thy brothers to be slain, O Suyodhana, thou shouldst not, if thou art inspired with righteous motives, think now of saving thy life! One like thee, O Suyodhana, that has adopted Kshatriya duties, should not act in this way! Relying upon Karna, as also upon Shakuni the son of Subala, thou hadst regarded thyself immortal and hadst, from folly, failed to understand thy own self! Having perpetrated such grievous sin, fight now, O Bharata! How dost that flight from battle recommend itself to one like thee? Surely, thou forgettest thyself! Where is that manliness of thine, O sire, and where, O Suyodhana, is that pride cherished by thee! Where hath that prowess of thine now gone, and where also that swelling and great energy which thou hadst? Where is that accomplishment of thine in weapons? Why dost thou lie within this lake now? Arise, O Bharata, and fight, observing the duties of a Kshatriya! Either rule the wide earth after vanquishing us, or sleep, O Bharata, on the bare ground, slain by us! Even this is thy highest duty, as laid down by the illustrious Creator himself! Act as it has been laid down truly in the scriptures, and be a king, O great car-warrior!"'
"Sanjaya continued, 'Thus addressed, O monarch, by the intelligent son of Dharma, thy son answered him from within the waters in these words.
"'Duryodhana said, "It is not at all a matter of surprise, O king, that fear should enter the hearts of living creatures. As regards myself, however, O Bharata, I have not fled from the field of battle actuated by the fear of life! My car was destroyed, my quivers were gone, and my Parshni drivers were killed! I was alone, without a single follower to stand by me in battle! It was for this that I desired a little rest! It was not for the sake of saving my life, it was not from fear, it was not from grief, O king, that I entered these waters! It was only in consequence of fatigue that I did so! Do thou, O son of Kunti, rest a while with those that follow thee! Rising from this lake I will certainly fight all of you in battle!"
"'Yudhishthira said, 'All of us have rested sufficiently. For a long while we were engaged in a search after thee! Rise then, even now, O Suyodhana, and give us battle! Either slaying the Parthas in battle make this kingdom that swelleth with prosperity thy own, or slain by us in battle, proceed to those regions that are reserved for heroes!"
"'Duryodhana said, "They amongst the Kurus, O son of Kurus' race, for whose sake I desired sovereignty, that is, those brothers of mine, O king, all lie dead on the field! I do not, again, like to enjoy any longer the earth that is now shorn of wealth and reft of superior Kshatriyas, and that hath, therefore, become like a widowed lady! I, however, still hope to vanquish thee, O Yudhishthira, after curbing the pride, O bull of Bharata's race, of the Pancalas and the Pandus! There is, however, no longer any need for battle when Drona and Karna have been quieted and when our grandsire Bhishma hath been slain! This shorn earth, O king, now exists for thee! What king is there that would like to rule a kingdom divested of friends and allies? Having caused friends such as I had to be slain and even sons and brothers and sires, and seeing my kingdom wrested by you, who is there like myself that would like to live? Clad in deer-skins I would retire into the woods! I have no desire for kingdom, deprived as I am of friends and allies, O Bharata! Reft almost entirely of friends and allies, of heroes and elephants, this earth exists for thee, O king! Do thou enjoy her now cheerfully! As for myself, clad in deerskins, I shall go to the woods! Friendless as I am, I have no desire, O lord, for even life! Go, O monarch, and rule the earth destitute of lords, without warriors, reft of wealth, and without citadels, as thou choosest!"'
"Sanjaya continued, 'Hearing these words of poignant grief the illustrious Yudhishthira addressed thy son Duryodhana who was still within those waters, saying, "Do not utter such ravings of sorrow, O sire, from within the waters! I do not, like Shakuni, feel any compassion for thee, O king, for such words as these! Thou mayest now, O Suyodhana, be willing to make a gift of the earth to me. I, however, do not wish to rule the earth thus given by thee! I cannot sinfully accept this earth from thee! Acceptance of a gift, O king, is not the duty laid down for a Kshatriya! I do not, therefore, wish to have the wide earth thus given away by thee! I shall, on the other hand, enjoy the earth after vanquishing thee in battle! Thou art now the lord of the earth! Why then dost thou desire to make a gift of that over which thou hast no dominion? Why, O king, didst thou not then give us the earth when we, observant of the rules of righteousness and desirous of the welfare of our race, had begged thee for our portion? Having first refused the request of the mighty Krishna, why dost thou now desire to give away the earth? What is this folly of thine? What king is there, who, assailed by foes, would wish to give away his kingdom? O son of Kuru's race, today thou art not competent to give away the earth! Why then dost thou wish to make a gift of that over which thou hast no power? Vanquishing me in battle, rule thou this earth! Thou didst not formerly agree to give me even that much of the earth which would be covered by the point of a needle! How then, O monarch, dost thou make me a gift of the whole earth? How is it that thou, who couldst not formerly abandon even that much of land which the point of a needle would cover, now wishest to abandon the whole earth? What fool is there that would, after having obtained such prosperity and ruled the entire earth, think of making a gift of that earth to his enemies? Stupefied by folly, thou seest not the impropriety of this! Although thou desirest to give away the earth, thou shalt not yet escape me with life! Either rule the earth after having vanquished us, or go to regions of blessedness after being slain by us! If both of us, that is, thyself and myself, be alive, then all creatures will remain in doubt about to whom the victory belongs. Thy life, O thou of limited foresight, now depends upon me! If I like, I can suffer thee to live, but thou art not capable of protecting thy own life! Thou hadst at one time especially endeavoured to burn us to death and to take our lives by means of snakes and other kinds of poison and by drowning us! We were also wronged by thee, O king, by the deprivation of our kingdom, by the cruel words spoken by thee, and by thy maltreatment of Draupadi! For these reasons, O wretch, thy life must be taken! Rise, rise, and fight us! That will benefit thee!"'
"Sanjaya continued, 'In this strain, O king, those heroes, the Pandavas, flushed with victory, repeatedly spoke there (rebuking and mocking Duryodhana).'"
Next: Section 32