The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'In this connection is cited the old story of the battle between Pratardana and the ruler of Mithila. The ruler of Mithila, viz., Janaka, after installation in the sacrifice of battle, gladdened all his troops (on the eve of fight). Listen to me, O as I recite the story. Janaka, the high souled king of Mithila, conversant with the truth of everything, showed both heaven and hell unto his own warriors. He addressed them, saying, 'Behold, these are the regions, endued with great splendour, for those that fight fearlessly. Full of Gandharva girls, those regions are eternal and capable of granting every wish. There, on the other side, are the regions of hell, intended for those that fly away from battle. They would have to rot there for eternity in everlasting ingloriousness. Resolved upon casting away your very lives, do ye conquer your foes. Do not fall into inglorious hell. The laying down of life, (in battle) constitutes, in respect of heroes, their happy door of heaven.' Thus addressed by their king, O subjugator of hostile towns, the warriors of Mithila, gladdening their rulers, vanquished their foes in battle. They that are of firm souls should take their stand in the van of battle. The car-warriors should be placed in the midst of elephants. Behind the car-warriors should stand the horsemen. Behind the last should be placed the foot-soldiers all accoutred in mail. That king who forms his array in this manner always succeeds in vanquishing his foes. Therefore, O Yudhishthira, the array of battle should always be thus formed. Filled with rage, heroes desire to will blessedness in heaven by
fighting fairly. Like Makaras agitating the ocean, they agitate the ranks of the foe. Assuring one another, they should gladden those (amongst them) that are cheerless. The victor should protect the land newly conquered (from acts of aggression). He should not cause his troops to pursue too much the routed foe. The onset is irresistible of persons that rally after the rout and that, despairing of safety, assail their pursuers. For this reason, O king, thou shouldst not cause thy troops to pursue too much the routed roe. Warriors of courage do not wish to strike them that run away with speed. That is another reason why the routed foe should not be pursued hotly. Things that are immobile are devoured by those that are mobile; creatures that are toothless are devoured by those that have teeth; water is drunk by the thirsty; cowards are devoured by heroes. Cowards sustain defeat though they have, like the victors, similar backs and stomachs and arms and legs. They that are afflicted with fear bend their heads and joining their hands stay before those that are possessed of courage. This world rests on the arms of heroes like a son on those of his sire. He, therefore, that is a hero deserves respect under every circumstance. There is nothing higher in the three worlds than heroism. The hero protects and cherishes all, and all things depend upon the hero.'"
Next: Section C