The Mahabharata Home
"Yudhishthira said, 'Of what disposition, of what behaviour, of what form, how acoutred, and how armed should the combatants be in order that they may be competent for battle?'
"Bhishma said, 'It is proper that those weapons and vehicles should be adopted (by particular bodies of combatants) with which they have become familiar by use. Brave soldiers, adopting those weapons and vehicles, engage in battle. The Gandharvas, the Sindhus, and the Sauviras fight best with their nails and lances. They are brave and endued with great strength. Their armies are capable of vanquishing all forces, The Usinaras are possessed of great strength and skilled in all kinds of weapons. The Easterners are skilled in fighting from the backs of elephants and are conversant with all the ways of unfair fight. The Yavanas, the Kamvojas, and those that dwell around Mathura are well skilled in fighting with bare arms. The Southerners are skilled in fighting sword in hand. It is well-known that persons possessed of great strength and great courage are born in almost every country. Listen to me as I describe their indications. They that have voices and eyes like those of the lion or the tiger, they that have a gait like that of the lion and the tiger, and they that have eyes like those of the pigeon or the snake, are all heroes capable of grinding hostile ranks. 1 They that have a voice like deer, and eyes like those of the leopard or the bull, are possessed of great activity. They whose voice resembles that of bells, are excitable, wicked, and wrathful. They that have a voice deep as that of the clouds, that have wrathful face, or faces like those of camels, they that have hooked noses and tongues, are possessed of great speed and can shoot or hurl their weapons to a great distance. They that have bodies curved like that of the cat, and thin hair and thin skin, become endued with great speed and restlessness and almost invincible in battle. Some that are possessed of eyes closed like those of the iguana, disposition that is mild, and speed and voice like the horses, are competent to fight all foes. They that are of well-knit and handsome and symmetrical frames, and broad chests, that become angry upon hearing the enemy's drum or trumpet, that take delight in affrays of every kind, that have eyes indicative of gravity, or eyes that seem to shoot out, or eyes that are green, they that have faces darkened with frowns, or eyes like those of the mongoose, are all brave and capable of casting away their lives in battle. They that have crooked eyes and broad foreheads and cheek-bones not covered with flesh and arms strong as thunder-bolts and fingers bearing circular marks, and that are lean with arteries and nerves that are visible, rush with great speed when the collision of battle takes place. Resembling infuriated elephants, they become irresistible. They that have greenish hair ending in curls, that have flanks, cheeks, and faces fat and full of flesh, that have elevated shoulders and broad necks, that have fearful visages and fat calves, that are fiery like (Vasudeva's horse) Sugriva or like the offspring of Garuda, the son of Vinata, that have round heads, large mouths, faces like those of cats, shrill voice and wrathful temper, that rush to battle, guided by its din, that are wicked in behaviour and full of haughtiness, that are of terrible countenances, and that live in the outlying districts, are all reckless of their lives and never flyaway from battle. Such troops should always be placed in the van. They always slay their foes in fight and suffer themselves to be slain without
retreating. Of wicked behaviour and outlandish manners, they regard soft speeches as indications of defeat. If treated with mildness, they always exhibit wrath against their sovereign.'"
219:1 Kulinja has many meaning. Nilakantha think that the word, as used here, means 'snake.'
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