The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'The irresistible wielder of Gandiva, addresst for battle, stood immovable on the field like Himavat himself. The Saindhava warriors, once more rallying, showered in great wrath repeated down-pours of shifts on him. The mighty-armed hero, laughing at his foes, who had once more rallied but who were on the point of death, addressed them in these soft words,--'Do ye fight to the best of your power and do ye endeavour to vanquish me. Do ye however, accomplish all necessary acts, for a great danger awaits you all. See, I fight all of you, baffling your clouds of arrows. Bent as you are on battle, tarry a little. I shall soon quell your pride.' The wielder of Gandiva, having said these words in wrath, recollected, however, the words, O Bharata, of his eldest brother. Those words were,--'Thou shouldst not, O child, slay those Kshatriyas who will come against thee for battle. They should, however, be vanquished by thee. That foremost of men, Phalguna, had been thus addressed by king Yudhishthira the just, of great soul. He, therefore, began to reflect in this strain. 'Even thus was I commissioned by my brother. Warriors advancing against me should not be slain. I must act in such a way as not to falsify the words of king Yudhishthira the just.' Having arrived at this conclusion, Phalguna, that foremost of men, then said unto those Saindhavas who were all fierce in battle, these words:--'I say what is for your benefit. Though staying before me. I do not wish to slay you. He amongst you who will say unto me that he has been vanquished by me and that he is mine, will be spared by me. Having heard these words of mine, act towards me in that way which may best conduce to your benefit. By acting in a different way you will place yourselves in a situation of great fear and danger.' Having said these words unto those heroic warriors the chief of the Kurus began to fight them. Arjuna was inflamed with wrath. His foes, desirous of victory, were equally enraged. The Saindhavas then, O king, shot hundreds and thousands of straight arrows at the wielder of Gandiva. Dhananjaya, with his own whetted shafts, cut off those arrows of sharp and terrible points, resembling snakes of virulent poison, before they could come up to him. Having cut off those sharp arrows equipt with Kanka feathers, Arjuna pierced each of the warriors opposed to him with a whetted shaft. The Saindhava Kshatriyas, recollecting that it was Dhananjaya who had slain their king Jayadratha, then hurled at him darts and javelins with great force. The diadem-decked Dhananjaya of great might baffled their intent by cutting off all those weapons before any of them could reach him. At length the son of Pandu became highly angry. With many straight and broad-headed arrows, he felled the heads of many of those warriors who were rushing at him from desire of victory. Many fled, many rushed at Arjuna; many moved not, all of them, however, uttered such aloud noise (of wrath and grief) that it resembled the roar of the ocean. As they were slain by Partha of immeasurable might, they fought him, each according to his strength and prowess. Their animals being all exhausted, Partha succeeded in depriving a large number of those warriors of their senses by means of his sharpest shafts
in that battle. Then Dussala, their queen, the daughter of Dhritarashtra, knowing that they were rendered cheerless by Arjuna, took her grandson in her arms and repaired to Arjuna. The child was the son of Suratha (the son of Jayadratha). The brave prince proceeded to his maternal uncle on his car for the safety of all the Saindhava warriors. The queen, arrived at the presence of Dhananjaya, began to weep in sorrow. The puissant Dhananjaya, seeing her, cast off his bow. Abandoning his bow, Partha duly received his sister and enquired of her as to what he could do for her. The queen replied unto him, saying,--'O chief of the Bharatas, this child is the son of thy sister's son. He salutes thee, O Partha. Look at him, O foremost of men.' Thus addressed by her, Partha enquired after his son (Suratha), saying--'Where is he?' Dussala then answered him, saying,--'Burning with grief on account of the slaughter of his sire, the heroic father of this child died in great affliction of heart. Listen to me how he met with his death. 'O Dhananjaya, he had heard before that his sire Jayadratha had been slain by thee, O sinless one. Exceedingly afflicted with grief at this, and hearing of thy arrival here as the follower and protector of the sacrificial horse, he at once fell down and gave up his life-breaths. Verily, deeply afflicted with grief as he was, as go on as he heard of thy arrival he gave up his life. Seeing him prostrate on the Earth, O lord, I took his infant son with me and have come to thee, desirous of thy protection.' Having said these words, the daughter of Dhritarashtra began to lament in deep affliction. Arjuna stood before her in great cheerlessness of heart. His face was turned towards the Earth. The cheerless sister then said unto her brother, who was equally cheerless, these words: 'Behold thy sister. Behold the child of thy sister's son. O perpetuator of Kuru's race, O thou that art fully conversant with every duty, it behoveth thee to show mercy to this child, forgetting the Kuru prince (Duryodhana) and the wicked Jayadratha. Even as that slayer of hostile heroes, Parikshit, has been born of Abhimanyu, so has this mighty-armed child, my grandson, sprung from Suratha. Taking him with me, O chief of men, I have come to thee, desirous of the safety of all the warriors. Do thou listen to these words of mine. This child of that wicked foe of thine hath now come to thee, O mighty-armed hero. It behoveth thee, therefore to show mercy to this infant. O chastiser of foes, this infant seeks to gratify thee by bending his head. He solicits thee for peace. O mighty-armed hero, be inclined to make peace. O thou that art conversant with every duty, be thou gratified with the child whose friends and kinsmen have all been slain and who himself knows nothing of what has happened. Do not yield to wrath. Forgetting his disreputable and cruel grandfather, who offended against thee so highly, it behoveth thee to show thy grace towards this child.' Recollecting queen Gandhari and king Dhritarashtra, Dhananjaya, afflicted with grief, addressed Dussala who had said so unto him, and answered her, censuring Kshatriya practices the while. 'Fie on Duryodhana, that mean wight, covetous of kingdom and full of vanity! Alas, it was for him that all my kinsmen have been despatched by me to the abode of Yama.' Having said so, Dhananjaya comforted his sister and became inclined to make peace. Cheerfully he embraced her and then dismissed her, telling her to return to her palace. Dussala
bade all her warriors desist from that great battle, and worshipping Partha, she of beautiful face retraced her steps towards her abode. Having vanquished those heroes, viz., the Saindhavas, thus, Dhananjaya began to follow that steed which roved at its will. The heroic Arjuna duly followed that sacrificial horse even as the divine wielder of Pinaka had in days of yore followed the deer through the firmament. 1 The steed, at its will, wandered through various realms one after another, enhancing the feats of Arjuna. In course of time, O chief of men, the horse wandering at its pleasure, at last arrived within the dominions of the ruler of Manipura, followed by the son of Pandu.'"
135:1 The allusion is to Mahadeva's pursuing Sacrifice when the latter fled from him in the form of a deer.
Next: Section LXXIX