The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'After the high-souled Vasudeva of great prowess had finished his narration of the great battle of the Bharatas before his sire, it was plain that that hero had passed over the slaughter of Abhimanyu. The motive of the high-souled one was that his sire might not hear what was highly unpleasant to him. Indeed, the intelligent Krishna did not wish that his sire Vasudeva should, on hearing the dreadful intelligence of the death of his daughter's son, be afflicted with sorrow and grief. (His sister) Subhadra, noticing that the slaughter of her son had not been mentioned, addressed her brother, saying,--Do thou narrate the death of my son, O Krishna--and fell down on the earth (in a swoon). Vasudeva beheld his daughter fallen
on the ground. As soon as he saw this, he also fell down, deprived of his senses by grief. (Regaining his senses) Vasudeva, afflicted with grief at the death of his daughter's son, O king, addressed Krishna, saying, 'O lotus-eyed one, thou art famed on Earth for being truthful in speech. Why, however, O slayer of foes, dost thou not tell me today of the death of my daughter's son? O puissant one, tell me in detail of the slaughter of thy sister's son. Possessed of eyes resembling thine, alas, how was he slain in battle by foes? Since my heart does not from grief break into a hundred pieces, it seems, O thou of the Vrishni's race, that it does not die with men when its hour does not come. Oh, at the time of his fall, what words did he utter; apostrophising his mother? O lotus-eyed one what did that darling of mine, possessed of restless eyes, say unto me? I hope he has not been slain by foes while retreating from battle with his back towards them? I hope, O Govinda, that, his face did not become cheerless while fighting? He was possessed, O Krishna, of mighty energy. From a spirit of boyishness, that puissant hero, boasting (of his prowess) in my presence, used to speak of his skill (in battle). I hope that boy does not lie on the field, slain deceitfully by Drona and Karna and Kripa and others? Do thou tell me this. That son of my daughter always used to challenge Bhishma and that foremost of all mighty warriors, viz., Karna, in battle.' Unto his sire who, from excess of grief, indulged in such lamentations, Govinda, more afflicted than he answered in these words. 'His face did not become cheerless as he fought in the van of battle. Fierce though that battle was, he did not turn his back upon it. Having slain hundreds and thousands of kings of Earth, he was brought to grief by Drona and Karna and at last succumbed to the son of Dussasana. If, O lord, he had been encountered, one to one, without intermission, he was incapable of being slain in battle by even the wielder of the thunderbolt. When his sire Arjuna was withdrawn from the main body by the Samsaptakas (who challenged to fight him separately), Abhimanyu was surrounded by the enraged Kaurava heroes headed by Drona in battle. Then, O sire, after he had slaughtered a very large number of foes in battle, thy daughter's son at last succumbed to the son of Dussasana. Without doubt, he has gone to Heaven. Kill this grief of thine, O thou of great intelligence. They that are of cleansed understandings never languish when they meet with any calamity. He by whom Drona and Karna and others were checked in battle,--heroes that were equal to Indra himself in might--why would not he ascend to Heaven? O irresistible one, do thou kill this grief of thine. Do not suffer thyself to be swayed by wrath. That conqueror of hostile cities has attained in that sanctified goal which depends upon death at the edge of weapons. After the fall of that hero, this my sister Subhadra stricken with grief, indulged in loud lamentations, when she saw Kunti, like a female ospray. When she met Draupadi, she asked her in grief,--O reverend lady, where are all our sons? I desire to behold them. Hearing her lamentations, all the Kaurava ladies embraced her and wept sitting around her. Beholding (her daughter-in-law) Uttara, she said,--'O blessed girl, where has thy husband gone? When he comes back, do thou, without losing a moment, apprise me of it. Alas, O daughter of Virata, as soon he heard my voice, he used to come out
of his chamber without the loss of a moment. Why does not thy husband come out today? Alas, O Abhimanyu, thy maternal uncles--mighty car-warriors--are all hale. They used to bless thee when they saw thee come here prepared to go out for battle. Do thou tell me the incidents of battle today as before, O chastiser of foes. Oh. why dost thou not answer me today--me who am weeping so bitterly?'--Hearing these lamentations of this daughter of the Vrishni race, Pritha, deeply afflicted with grief, addressed her and slowly said,--'O Subhadra, though protected by Vasudeva and Satyaki and by his own sire, thy youthful son has yet been slain. That slaughter is due to the influence of Time! O daughter of Yadu's race, mortal thy son was. Do not grieve. Irresistible in battle, thy son has, without doubt, attained to the highest goal. Thou art born in a high race of high-souled Kshatriyas. Do not grieve, O thou of restless glances, O girl of eyes like lotus-petals. Do thou cast thy eyes on Uttara who is quick with child. O blessed lady, do not yield to sorrow. This auspicious girl will soon bring forth a son to that hero. Having comforted her in this way, Kunti, conversant with every duty, O perpetuator of Yadu's race, casting off her grief, O irresistible one, made arrangements for Abhimanyu's obsequial rites, with the acquiescence of king Yudhishthira and Bhima, and the twins (viz., Nakula and Sahadeva) who in prowess resembled Yama himself. She also made many presents unto the Brahmanas, and bestowed upon them many kine, O perpetuator of Yadu's race, Then the Vrishni dame (Kunti), comforted a little, addressed the daughter of Virata, saying,--O faultless daughter of Virata, thou shouldst not indulge in grief. For the sake of thy husband, O thou of rotund hips, protect the child in thy womb.--Having said these words, O thou of great splendour, Kunti ceased. With her permission I have brought Subhadra here. It was even thus, O giver of honours, that thy daughter's son met with his death. Cast off thy burning grief, O irresistible one. Indeed, do not set thy heart on sorrow.'
Next: Section LXII