The Mahabharata Home
"Gandhari said, He whose might and courage were regarded, O Keshava, as a one and half times superior to those of his sire and thee, he who resembled a fierce and proud lion, he who, without a follower, alone pierced the impenetrable array of my son, he who proved to be the death of many, alas, he now sleepeth there, having himself succumbed to death! I see, O Krishna, the splendour of that son of Arjuna, of that hero of immeasurable energy, Abhimanyu, hath not been dimmed even in death. There, the daughter of Virata, the daughter-in-law of the wielder of gandiva, that girl of faultless beauty overwhelmed with grief at sight of her heroic husband, is indulging in lamentations! That young wife, the daughter of Virata, approaching her lord, is gently rubbing him, O Krishna, with her hand. Formerly, that highly intelligent and exceedingly beautiful girl, inebriated with honeyed wines, used bashfully to embrace her lord, and kiss the face of Subhadras son, that face which resembled a full-blown lotus and which was supported on a neck adorned with three lines like those of a conch-shell. Taking of her lords golden coat of mail, O hero, that damsel is gazing now on the blood-dyed body of her spouse. Beholding her lord, O Krishna, that girl addresses thee and says, "O lotus-eyed one, this hero whose eyes resembled thine, hath been slain. In might and energy, and prowess also, he was thy equal, O sinless one! He resembled thee very much in beauty. Yet he sleeps on the ground, slain by the enemy!" Addressing her own lord, the damsel says again, "Thou wert brought up in every luxury. Thou usedst to sleep on soft skins of the ranku deer. Alas, does not thy body feel pain today by lying thus on the bare ground? Stretching thy massive arms adorned with golden angadas, resembling a couple of elephants trunks and covered with skin hardened by frequent use of the bow, thou sleepest, O lord, in peace, as if exhausted with the toil of too much exercise in the gymnasium. Alas, why dost thou not address me that am weeping so? I do not remember to have ever offended thee. Why dost thou not speak to me then? Formerly, thou usedst to address me even when thou wouldst see me at a distance. O reverend sir, whither wilt thou go, leaving behind thee the much-respected Subhadra, these thy sires that resemble the very celestials, and my own wretched self distracted with woe?" Behold, O Krishna, gathering with her hands the blood-dyed locks of her lord and placing his head on her lap, the beautiful damsel is speaking to him as if he were alive, "How couldst those great car-warriors slay thee in the midst of battle,--thee that art the sisters son of Vasudeva and the son of the wielder of gandiva? Alas, fie on those warriors of wicked deeds, Kripa and Karna and Jayadratha and Drona and Dronas son, by whom thou wert deprived of life. What was the state of mind of those great car-warriors at that time when they surrounded thee, a warrior of tender years, and slew thee to my grief? How couldst thou, O hero, who had so many protectors, be slain so helplessly in the very sight of the Pandavas and the Pancalas? Beholding thee, O hero, slain in battle by many persons united together, how is that tiger among men, that son of Pandu, thy sire, able to bear the burden of life? Neither the acquisition of a vast kingdom nor the defeat of their foes conduces to the joy of the Parthas bereft of thee, O lotus-eyed one! By the practice of virtue and self-restraint, I shall very soon repair to those regions of bliss which thou hast acquired by the use of weapons. Protect me, O hero, when I repair to those regions. When ones hour does not come, one cannot die, since, wretched that I am, I still draw breath after seeing thee slain in battle. Having repaired to the region of the pitris, whom else, like me, dost thou address now, O tiger among men, in sweet words mingled with smiles? Without doubt, thou wilt agitate the hearts of the apsaras in heaven, with thy great beauty and thy soft words mingled with smiles! Having obtained the regions reserved for persons of righteous deeds, thou art now united, O son of Subhadra, with the apsaras! While sporting with them, recollect at times my good acts towards thee. Thy union with me in this world had, it seems, been ordained for only six months, for in the seventh, O hero, thou hast been bereft of life!" O Krishna, the ladies of the royal house of Matsya are dragging away the afflicted Uttara, baffled of all her purposes, while lamenting in this strain. Those ladies, dragging away the afflicted Uttara, themselves still more afflicted than that girl, are weeping and uttering loud wails at sight of the slain Virata. Mangled with the weapons and shafts of Drona, prostrate on the ground, and covered with blood, Virata is encompassed by screaming vultures and howling jackals and crowing ravens. Those black-eyed ladies, approaching the prostrate form of the Matsya king over which carnivorous birds are uttering cries of joy, are endeavouring to turn the body. Weakened by grief and exceedingly afflicted, they are unable to do what they intend. Scorched by the Sun, and worn out with exertion and toil, their faces have become colourless and pale. Behold also, O Madhava, those other children besides Abhimanyu--Uttara, Sudakshina the prince of the Kambhojas, and the handsome Lakshmana--all lying on the field of battle!"
Next: Section 21