The Mahabharata Home
"Vaisampayana said, 'The heroic son of Sakuni, who was a mighty car-warrior among the Gandharas, accompanied by a large force, proceeded against the Kuru hero of curly hair. 1 That force was properly equipt with elephants and horses and cars, and was adorned with many flags and banners. Unable to bear and, therefore, burning to avenge, the slaughter of their king Sakuni, those warriors, armed with bows, rushed together at Partha. The unvanquished Vibhatsu of righteous soul addressed them peacefully, but they were unwilling to accept the beneficial words of Yudhishthira (through Arjuna). Though forbidden by Partha with sweet words, they still gave themselves up to wrath and surrounded the sacrificial steed. At this, the son of Pandu became filled with wrath. Then Arjuna, carelessly shooting from Gandiva many shafts with razor-like heads that blazed with splendour, cut off the heads of many Gandhara warriors. While thus slaughtered by Partha, the Gandharas, O king, exceedingly afflicted, set free the horse, moved by fear and desisted from battle. Resisted, however, by those Gandhara combatants who still surrounded him on every side, the son of Pandu, possessed of great energy, felled the heads of many, previously naming those whom he thus despatched. When the Gandhara warriors were thus being slain all around him
in battle, the royal son of Sakuni came forward to resist the son of Pandu. Unto the Gandhara king who was fighting with him, impelled by Kshatriya duty, Arjuna said, 'I do not intend to slay the kings who fight with me, in consequence of the commands of Yudhishthira. Cease, O hero, to fight with me. Do not court defeat.' Thus addressed the son of Sakuni, stupefied by folly, disregarded that advice and covered with many swift arrows the Kuru hero who resembled Sakra himself in the feats he accomplished in battle. Then Partha, with a crescent-shaped arrow, cut off the head-gear of his foe. Of immeasurable soul, he also caused that head-gear to be borne along a great distance like the head of Jayadratha (after he had cut it off in the battle of Kurukshetra). Beholding this feat, all the Gandhara warriors became filled with wonder. That Arjuna voluntarily spared their king was well understood by them. The prince of the Gandharas then began to fly away from the field, accompanied by all his warriors who resembled a flock of frightened deer. The Gandharas, through fear, lost their senses and wandered over the field, unable to escape. Arjuna, with his broad-headed shafts, cut off the heads of many. Many there were who lost their arms in consequence of Arjuna's arrows, but so stupefied were they with fear that they were not aware of the loss of that limb. Verity, the Gandhara army was exceedingly afflicted with those large shafts which Partha sped from Gandiva. That army, which then consisted of frightened men and elephants and horses, which lost many warriors and animals, and which had been reduced to a rabble and put to rout, began to wander and wheel about the field repeatedly. Among those foes who were thus being slaughtered none could be seen standing in front of the Kuru hero famed for foremost of feats. No one could be seen who was able to bear the prowess of Dhananjaya. Then the mother of the ruler of the Gandharas, filled with fear, and with all the aged ministers of state, came out of her city, bearing an excellent Arghya for Arjuna. She forbade her brave son of steady heart from fighting any longer, and gratified Jishnu who was never fatigued with toil. The puissant Vibhatsu worshipped her and became inclined to show kindness towards the Gandharas. Comforting the son of Sakuni, he said, 'Thou hast not, O mighty-armed hero, done what is agreeable to me by getting thy heart upon these measures of hostility. O slayer of heroes, thou art my brother, O sinless one. 1 Recollecting my mother Gandhari, and for the sake of Dhritarashtra also, I have not taken thy life. It is for this, O king, that thou livest still. Many of thy followers, however, have been slain by me. Let not such a thing happen again. Let hostilities cease. Let not thy understanding again go astray. Thou shouldst go to the Horse-sacrifice of our king which comes off on the day of full moon of the month of Chaitra.'
144:1 The etymology of Gudakesa as the lord of Gudaka or sleep, is fanciful.
145:1 Sakuni was the maternal uncle of Duryodhana and, therefore, of Arjuna also. Sakuni's son and Arjuna, hence, were cousins.
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