The Mahabharata Home
"Gandhari said, Behold, O Madhava, my century of sons, incapable of fatigue (from exertion in battle), have all been slain by Bhimasena with his mace in battle! That which grieves me more today is that these my daughters-in-law, of tender years, deprived of sons and with dishevelled hair, are wandering on the field today. Alas, they who formerly walked only on the terraces of goodly mansions with feet adorned with many ornaments, are now, in great affliction of heart, obliged to touch with those feet of theirs this hard earth, miry with blood! Reeling in sorrow, they are wandering like inebriated persons, driving away vultures and jackals and crows with difficulty. Behold, that lady of faultless limbs and slender waist, seeing this terrible carnage, falleth down, overwhelmed with grief. Beholding this princess, this mother of Lakshmana, O thou of mighty arms, my heart is torn with grief. These beautiful ladies of fair arms, some seeing their brothers, some their husbands, and some their sons, lying down in death on the bare ground, are themselves falling down, seizing the arms of the slain. Listen, O unvanquished one, to the loud wails of those elderly ladies and those others of middle age at sight of this terrible carnage. Supporting themselves against broken boxes of cars and the bodies of slain elephants and steeds, behold, O thou of great might, those ladies, worn out with fatigue, are resting themselves. Behold, O Krishna, some one amongst them, taking up some kinsmans severed head decked with beautiful nose and earrings, is standing in grief. I think, O sinless one, that both those and myself of little understanding must have committed great sins in our former lives, since, O Janardana, all our relatives and kinsmen have thus been slain by king Yudhishthira the just! Our acts, righteous or unrighteous, cannot go for nothing, O thou of Vrishnis race! Behold, O Madhava, those young ladies of beautiful bosoms and abdomen, well-born, possessed of modesty, having black eye-lashes and tresses of the same colour on their heads, endued with voice sweet and dear like that of swans, are falling down, deprived of their senses in great grief and uttering piteous cries like flights of cranes. Behold, O lotus-eyed hero, their beautiful faces resembling full-blown lotuses, are scorched by the sun. Alas, O Vasudeva, the wives of my proud children possessed of prowess like that of infuriated elephants, are now exposed to the gaze of common people. Behold, O Govinda, the shields decked with hundred moons, the standards of solar effulgence, the golden coats of mail, and the collars and cuirasses made of gold, and the head-gears, of my sons, scattered on the earth, are blazing with splendour like sacrificial fires over which have been poured libations, of clarified butter. There, Duhshasana sleepeth, felled by Bhima, and the blood of all his limbs quaffed by that heroic slayer of foes. Behold that other son of mine, O Madhava, slain by Bhima with his mace, impelled by Draupadi and the recollection of his woes at the time of the match at dice. Addressing the dice-won princess of Pancala in the midst of the assembly, this Duhshasana, desirous of doing what was agreeable to his (elder) brother as also to Karna, O Janardana, had said, "Thou art now the wife of a slave! With Sahadeva and Nakula and Arjuna, O lady, enter our household now!" On that occasion, O Krishna, I said unto king Duryodhana, "O son, cast off (from thy side) the wrathful Shakuni. Know that thy maternal uncle is of very wicked soul and exceedingly fond of quarrel. Casting him off without delay, make peace with the Pandavas, O son! O thou of little intelligence, thinkest thou not of Bhimasena filled with wrath? Thou art piercing him with thy wordy shafts like a person striking an elephant with burning brands." Alas, disregarding my words, he vomitted his wordy poison at them, like a snake vomitting its poison at a bull,--at them who had already been pierced with his wordy darts. There, that Duhshasana sleepeth, stretching his two massive arms, slain by Bhimasena like a mighty elephant by a lion. The very wrathful Bhimasena perpetrated a most horrible act by drinking in battle the blood of his foe!"
Next: Section 19