The Mahabharata Home
Vaishampayana said, "Beholding Duryodhana, Gandhari, deprived of her senses by grief, suddenly fell down on the earth like an uprooted plantain tree. Having regained her senses soon, she began to weep, repeatedly uttering loud wails at the sight of her son lying on the bare ground, covered with blood. Embracing her son, Gandhari indulged in piteous lamentations for him. Stricken with grief, and with senses exceedingly agitated, the Kuru queen exclaimed, Alas, O son! Alas, O son! Burning with sorrow, the queen drenched with her tears the body of her son, possessed of massive and broad shoulders, and adorned with garlands and collar. Addressing Hrishikesha who stood near, she said, On the eve of this battle, O puissant one, that has exterminated this race, this foremost of kings, O thou of Vrishnis race, said unto me, "In this internecine battle, O mother, wish me victory!" When he had said these words, I myself, knowing that a great calamity had come upon us, told him even this, tiger among men, "Thither is victory where righteousness is. And since, son, thy heart is set on battle, thou wilt, without doubt, obtain those regions that are attainable by (the use of) weapons (and sport there) like a celestial." Even these were the words that I then said unto him. I did not then grieve for my son. I grieve, however, for the helpless Dhritarashtra bereaved of friends and kinsmen. Behold, O Madhava, my son, that foremost of warriors, wrathful, skilled in weapons, and irresistible in battle, sleeping on the bed of heroes. Behold the reverses brought about by Time. This scorcher of foes that used of old to walk at the head of all crowned persons now sleepeth on the dust. Without doubt, the heroic Duryodhana, when he sleeps on that bed which is the heros hath obtained the most unattainable end. Inauspicious jackals are now delighting that prince asleep on the heros bed, who was formerly delighted by the fairest of ladies sitting round him. He who was formerly encircled by kings vying with one another to give him pleasure, alas, he, slain and lying on the ground, is now encircled by vultures! He who was formerly fanned with beautiful fans by fair ladies is now fanned by (carnivorous) birds with flaps of their wings! Possessed of great strength and true prowess, this mighty-armed prince, slain by Bhimasena in battle, sleeps like an elephant slain by a lion! Behold Duryodhana, O Krishna, lying on the bare ground, covered with blood, slain by Bhimasena with his mace. That mighty-armed one who had in battle assembled together eleven akshauhinis of troops, O Keshava, hath, in consequence of his own evil policy, been now slain. Alas, there that great bowman and mighty car-warrior sleeps, slain by Bhimasena, like a tiger slain by a lion! Having disregarded Vidura, as also his own sire, this reckless, foolish, and wicked prince hath succumbed to death, in consequence of his disregard of the old. He who had ruled the earth, without a rival, for thirteen years, alas, that prince, that son of mine, sleepeth to-day on the bare ground, slain by his foes. Not long before, O Krishna, I beheld the Earth, full of elephants and kine and horses, ruled by Duryodhana! Today, O thou of mighty arms, I see her ruled by another, and destitute of elephants and kine and horses! What need have I, O Madhava, of life? Behold, again, this sight that is more painful than the death of my son, the sight of these fair ladies weeping by the side of the slain heroes! Behold, O Krishna, the mother of Lakshmana, that lady of large hips, with her tresses dishevelled, that dear spouse of Duryodhana, resembling a sacrificial altar of gold. Without doubt, this damsel of great intelligence, while her mighty-armed lord was formerly alive, used to sport within the embrace of her lords handsome arms! Why, indeed, does not this heart of mine break into a hundred fragments at the sight of my son and grandson slain in battle? Alas, that faultless lady now smells (the head of) her son covered with blood. Now, again, that lady of fair thighs is gently rubbing Duryodhanas body with her fair hand. At one time she is sorrowing for her lord and at another for her son. At one time she looketh on her lord, at another on her son. Behold, O Madhava, striking her head with her hands, she falls upon the breast of her heroic spouse, the king of the Kurus. Possessed of complexion like that of the filaments of the lotus, she still looketh beautiful like a lotus. The unfortunate princess now rubbeth the face of her son and now that of her lord. If the scriptures and the shrutis be true, without doubt, this king has obtained those regions (of blessedness) that one may win by the use of weapons!"
Next: Section 18