The Mahabharata Home
"Gandhari said, There lies Shalya, the maternal uncle himself of Nakula, slain in battle, O sire, by the pious and virtuous Yudhishthira! He used everywhere, O bull among men, to boast of his equality with thee! That mighty car-warrior, the ruler of the Madras, now lieth, deprived of life. When he accepted the drivership of Karnas car in battle, he sought to damp the energy of Karna for giving victory to the sons of Pandu! Alas, alas, behold the smooth face of Shalya, beautiful as the moon, and adorned with eyes resembling the petals of the lotus, eaten away by crows! There, the tongue of that king, of the complexion of heated gold, rolling out of his mouth, is, O Krishna, being eaten away by carnivorous birds! The ladies of the royal house of Madra, uttering loud wails of woe, are sitting around the body of that king, that ornament of assemblies, deprived of life by Yudhishthira! Those ladies are sitting around that fallen hero like a herd of she-elephants in their season around their leader sunk in a slough. Behold the brave Shalya, that giver of protection, that foremost of car-warriors, stretched on the bed of heroes, his body mangled with shafts. There, king Bhagadatta of great prowess, the ruler of a mountainous kingdom, the foremost of all wielders of the elephant-hook, lieth on the ground, deprived of life. Behold the garland of gold that he still wears on his head, looketh resplendent. Though the body is being eaten away by beasts of prey, that garland still adorns the fair locks on his head. Fierce was the battle that took place between this king and Partha, making the very hair stand on end, like that between Shakra and the Asura Vritra. This mighty-armed one, having fought Dhananjaya, the son of Pritha, and having reduced him to great straits, was at last slain by his antagonist. He who had no equal on earth in heroism and energy, that achiever of terrible feats in battle, Bhishma, lieth there, deprived of life. Behold the son of Shantanu, O Krishna, that warrior of solar effulgence, stretched on the earth, like the Sun himself fallen from the firmament at the end of the yuga. Having scorched his foes with the fire of his weapons in battle, that valiant warrior, that Sun among men, O Keshava, hath set like the real Sun at evening. Behold that hero, O Krishna, who in knowledge of duty was equal to Devapi himself, now lying on a bed of arrows, so worthy of heroes. Having spread his excellent bed of barbed and unbarbed arrows, that hero lieth on it like the divine Skanda on a clump of heath. Indeed, the son of Ganga lieth, resting his head on that excellent pillow, consisting of three arrows,--becoming complement of his bed--given him by the wielder of gandiva. For obeying the command of his sire, this illustrious one drew up his vital seed. Unrivalled in battle, that son of Shantanu lieth there, O Madhava! Of righteous soul and acquainted with every duty, by the aid of his knowledge relating to both the worlds, that hero, though mortal, is still bearing his life like an immortal. When Shantanus son lieth today, struck down with arrows, it seems that no other person is alive on earth that possesseth learning and prowess that is competent to achieve great feats in battle. Truthful in speech, this righteous and virtuous hero, solicited by the Pandavas, told them the means of his own death. Alas, he who had revived the line of Kuru that had become extinct, that illustrious person possessed of great intelligence, hath left the world with all the Kurus in his company. Of whom, O Madhava, will the Kurus enquire of religion and duty after that bull among men, Devavrata, who resembles a god, shall have gone to heaven? Behold Drona, that foremost of brahmanas, that preceptor of Arjuna, of Satyaki, and of the Kurus, lying on the ground! Endued with mighty energy, Drona, O Madhava, was as conversant with the four kinds of arms as the chief of the celestials or Shukra of Bhrigus race. Through his grace, Vibhatsu the son of Pandu, hath achieved the most difficult feats. Deprived of life, he now lies on the ground. Weapons refused to come (at last) at his bidding. Placing him at their head, the Kauravas had challenged the Pandavas. That foremost of all wielders of weapons was at last mangled with weapons. As he careered in battle, scorching his foes in every direction, his course resembled that of a blazing conflagration. Alas, deprived of life, he now lieth on the ground, like an extinguished fire. The handle of the bow is yet in his grasp. The leathern fences, O Madhava, still encase his fingers. Though slain, he still looketh as if alive. The four Vedas, and all kinds of weapons, O Keshava, did not abandon that hero even as these do not abandon the Lord Prajapati himself. His auspicious feet, deserving of every adoration and adored as a matter of fact by bards and eulogists and worshipped by disciples, are now being dragged by jackals. Deprived of her senses by grief, Kripi woefully attendeth, O slayer of Madhu, on that Drona who hath been slain Drupadas son. Behold that afflicted lady, fallen upon the Earth, with dishevelled hair and face hanging down. Alas, she attendeth in sorrow upon her lifeless lord, that foremost of all wielders of weapons, lying on the ground. Many brahmacaris, with matted locks on their head, are attending upon the body of Drona that is cased in armour rent through and through, O Keshava, with the shafts of Dhrishtadyumna. The illustrious and delicate Kripi, cheerless and afflicted, is endeavouring to perform the last rites on the body of her lord slain in battle. There, those reciters of Samas, having placed the body of Drona on the funeral pyre and having ignited the fire with due rites, are singing the three (well-known) Samas. Those brahmacaris, with matted locks on their heads, have piled the funeral pyre of that brahmana with bows and darts and car-boxes, O Madhava! Having collected diverse other kinds of shafts, that hero of great energy is being consumed by them. Indeed, having placed him on the pyre, they are singing and weeping. Others are reciting the three (well-known) Samas that are used on such occasions. Consuming Drona on that fire, like fire in fire, those disciples of his of the regenerate class are proceeding towards the banks of the Ganga, along the left side of the pyre and having placed Kripi at their head!"
Next: Section 24