The Mahabharata 7
Category: Hindu
29:20 h
The Mahābhārata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Rāmāyaṇa. It narrates the struggle between two groups of cousins in the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes and their succession. Along with the Rāmāyaṇa, it forms the Hindu Itihasa.

The Mahabharata

Book 7: Drona Parva

Kisari Mohan Ganguli, tr.

Section I

(Dronabhisheka Parva)

OM! HAVING BOWED down unto Narayan, and unto that most exalted of male beings, viz., Nara, and unto the goddess Saraswati also, must the word Jaya be uttered.

“Janamejaya said, ‘Hearing that his sire Devavrata of unrivalled vigour and sturdiness, and might, energy and prowess, had been slain by Sikhandin, the prince of the Panchalas, what, indeed, O regenerate Rishi, did the powerful king Dhritarashtra with eyes bathed in tears do? O illustrious one, his son (Duryodhana) wished for sovereignty after vanquishing those mighty bowmen, viz., the sons of Panda, through Bhishma and Drona and other great car-warriors. Tell me, O thou that hast wealth of asceticism, all that he, of Kura’s race, did after that chief of all bowmen had been slain.’

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Hearing that his sire had been slain, king Dhritarashtra of Kura’s race filled with anxiety and grief, obtained no peace of mind. And while he, of Kura’s race, was thus continually brooding over that sorrow, Gavalgana’s son of pure soul once more came to him. Then, O monarch, Dhritarashtra, the son of Amvika, addressed Sanjaya, who had that night come back from the camp to the city called after the elephant. With a heart rendered exceedingly cheerless in consequence of his having heard of Bhishma’s fall, and desirous of the victory of his sons, he indulged in these lamentations in great distress.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘After having wept for the high-souled Bhishma of terrible prowess, what, O son, did the Kauravas, urged by fate, next do? Indeed, when that high-souled and invincible hero was slain, what did the Kauravas do, sunk as they were in an ocean of grief? Indeed, that swelling and highly efficient host of the high-souled Pandavas, would, O Sanjaya, excite the keenest fears of even the three worlds. Tell me, therefore, O Sanjaya, what the (assembled) kings did after Devavrata, that bull of Kura’s race, had fallen.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Listen, O king, with undivided attention, to me as I recite what thy sons did after Devavrata had been killed in battle. When Bhishma, O monarch, of prowess incapable of being baffled, was slain, thy warriors as also the Pandavas both reflected by themselves (on the situation). Reflecting on the duties of the Kshatriya order, they were filled with wonder and joy; but acting according to those duties of their own order, they all bowed to that high-souled warrior. Then those tigers among men contrived for Bhishma of immeasurable prowess a bed with a pillow made of straight shafts. And having made arrangements for Bhishma’s protection, they addressed one another (in pleasant converse). Then bidding Ganga’s son their farewell and walking round him, and looking at one another with eyes red in anger, those Kshatriyas, urged by fate, once more went out against one another for battle. Then by the blare of trumpets and the beat of drums, the divisions of thy army as also those of the foe, marched out. After the fall of Ganga’s son, O king, when the best part of the day had passed away, yielding to the influence of wrath, with hearts afflicted by fate, and disregarding the words, worthy of acceptance, of the high-souled Bhishma, those foremost ones of Bharata’s race went out with great speed, armed with weapons. In consequence of thy folly and of thy son’s and of the slaughter of Santanu’s son, the Kauravas with all the kings seemed to be summoned by Death himself. The Kurus, deprived of Devavrata, were filled with great anxiety, and resembled a herd of goats and sheep without a herdsman, in a forest abounding with beasts of prey. Indeed, after the fall of that foremost one of Bharata’s race, the Kuru host looked like the firmament divested of stars, or like the sky without the atmosphere, or like the earth with blasted crops, or like an oration disfigured by bad grammar, or like the Asura host of old after Vali had been smitten down, or like a beautiful damsel deprived of husband, or like a river whose waters have been dried up, or like a roe deprived of her mate and encompassed in the woods by wolves; or like a spacious mountain cave with its lion killed by a Sarabha. Indeed, O chief of the Bharatas, the Bharata host, on the fall of Ganga’s son, became like a frail boat on the bosom of the ocean, tossed by a tempest blowing from every side. Exceedingly afflicted by the mighty and heroic Pandavas of sure aim, the Kaurava host, with its steeds, car-warriors and elephants much troubled, became exceedingly distressed, helpless, and panic-stricken. And the frightened kings and the common soldiers, no longer relying upon one another, of that army, deprived of Devavrata, seemed to sink into the nethermost region of the world. Then the Kauravas remembered Karna, who indeed, was equal to Devavrata himself. All hearts turned to that foremost of all wielders of arms, that one resembling a guest resplendent (with learning and ascetic austerities). And all hearts turned to him, as the heart of a man in distress turneth to a friend capable of relieving that distress. And, O Bharata, the kings then cried out saying, Karna! Karna! The son of Radha, our friend, the son of a Suta, that one who is ever prepared to lay down his life in battle! Endued with great fame, Karna, with his followers and friends, did not fight for these ten days. O, summon him soon!’ The mighty-armed hero, in the presence of all the Kshatriyas, during the mention of valiant and mighty car-warriors, was by Bhishma classed as an Ardha-ratha, although that bull among men is equal to two Maharathas! Even thus was he classed during the counting of Rathas and Atirathas, he that is the foremost (of all Rathas and Atirathas), he that is respected by all heroes, he that would venture to fight even with Yama, Kuvera, Varuna, and Indra. Through anger caused by this, O king, he had said unto Ganga’s son these words: ‘As long as thou livest, O thou of Kuru’s race, I will never fight! if thou, however, succeedest in slaying the sons of Pandu in great battle, I shall, O Kaurava, with Duryodhana’s permission, retire into the woods. If, on the other hand, thou, O Bhishma, slain by the Pandavas, attainest to heaven, I shall then, on a single car, slay all of them, whom thou regardest as great car-warriors.’ Having said this, mighty-armed Karna of great fame, with thy son’s approval, did not fight for the first ten days. Bhishma, of great prowess in battle and of immeasurable might, slew, O Bharata, a very large number of warriors belonging to Yudhishthira’s army. When, however, that hero of sure aim and great energy was slain, thy sons thought of Karna, like persons desirous of crossing a river thinking, of a boat. Thy warriors and thy sons, together with all the kings, cried out, saying, Karna! And they all said, ‘Even this is the time for the display of his prowess.’ Our hearts are turned to that Karna who derived his knowledge of weapons from Jamadagni’s son, and whose prowess is incapable of being resisted! He, indeed, O king, is competent to save us from great dangers, like Govinda always saving the celestials from great dangers.’

“Vaisampayana continued, ‘Unto Sanjaya who was thus repeatedly applauding Karna, Dhritarashtra sighing like a snake, said those words.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘[I understand] that the hearts of all of you are turned towards Vikartana’s son Karna, and that all of you, saw that son of Radha, that hero of the Suta caste, ever prepared to lay down his life in battle. I hope that hero of prowess incapable of being baffled, did not falsify the expectations of Duryodhana and his brothers, all of whom were then afflicted with grief and fear, and desirous of being relieved from their danger. When Bhishma, that refuge of Kauravas, was slain, could Karna, that foremost of bowmen, succeed in filling up the gap caused? Filling up that gap, could Karna fill the foe with fear? Could he also crown with fruit the hopes, entertained by my sons, of victory?’”

Section II

“Sanjaya said, ‘Then Adhiratha’s son of the Suta caste, knowing that Bhishma had been slain, became desirous of rescuing, like a brother, thy son’s army from the distress into which it had fallen, and which then resembled a boat sunk in the fathomless ocean. [Indeed], O king, having heard that that mighty car-warrior and foremost of men, that hero of unfading glory, viz., Santanu’s son, had been thrown down (from his car), that grinder of foes, that foremost of all wielders of bows, viz., Karna, soon came (to the field of battle). When the best of car-warriors, viz., Bhishma, was slain by the foe, Karna speedily came there, desirous of rescuing the Kuru host which resembled a boat sunk in the ocean, like a sire desirous of rescuing his children.’

“And Karna (addressing the soldiers) said, ‘That Bhishma who possessed firmness, intelligence, prowess, vigour, truth, self-restraint, and all the virtues of a hero, as also celestial weapons, and humidity, and modesty, agreeable speech, and freedom from malice, that ever-grateful Bhishma, that slayer of the foes of Brahmanas, in whom were these attributes as permanently as Lakshmi in the moon, alas, when that Bhishma, that slayer of hostile heroes, hath received his quietus, I regard all other heroes as already slain. In consequence of the eternal connection (of all things) with work, nothing exists in this world that is imperishable. When Bhisma of high vows hath been slain, who is there that would take upon himself to say with certitude that tomorrow’s sun will rise? When he that was endued with prowess equal to that of the Vasus, he that was born of the energy of the Vasus, when he, that ruler of the earth, hath once more been united with the Vasus, grieve ye, therefore, for your possessions and children for this earth and the Kurus, and this host.’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Upon the fall of that boon-giving hero of great might, that lord of the world, viz., Santanu’s son of great energy, and upon the (consequent) defeat of the Bharatas, Karna, with cheerless heart and eyes filled with tears, began to console (the Dhartarashtras). Hearing these words of Radha’s son, thy sons, O monarch, and thy troops, began to wail aloud and shed copious tears of grief corresponding with the loudness of those wails. When, however, the dreadful battle once more took place and the Kaurava divisions, urged on by the Kings, once more set up loud shouts, that bull among mighty car-warriors, viz., Karna, then addressed the great car-warriors (of the Kaurava army) and said words which caused them great delight: In this transient world everything is continually flitting (towards the jaws of Death). Thinking of this, I regard everything as ephemeral. When, however, all of you were here, how could Bhishma, that bull among the Kurus, immovable as a hill, be thrown down from his car? When that mighty car-warrior, viz., the son of Santanu, hath been overthrown, who even now lieth on the ground like the Sun himself dropped (from the firmament), the Kuru kings are scarcely competent to bear Dhananjaya, like trees incapable of bearing the mountain-wind. I shall, however, now protect, as that high-souled one did, this helpless Kuru host of cheerless mien, whose foremost warriors have already been slain by the foe. Let this burden now devolve on me. I see that this universe is transient, since that foremost of heroes hath been slain in battle. Why shall I then cherish any fear of battle? Coursing, therefore, on the field I shall despatch those bulls of Kuru’s race (viz., the Pandavas) to Yama’s abode by means of my straight shafts. Regarding fame as the highest object in the world, I shall slay them in battle, or, slain by the foe, shall sleep on the field. Yudhishthira is possessed of firmness, intelligence, virtue, and might. Vrikodara is equal to a hundred elephant in prowess, Arjuna is young and is the son of the chief of the celestials. The Pandava host, therefore, is not capable of being easily defeated by the very celestials. That force in which are the twins, each resembling Yama himself, that force in which are Satyaki and the son of Devaki, that force is like the jaws of Death. No coward, approaching it, can come back with life. The wise oppose swelling ascetic power with ascetic austerities, so should force be opposed by force. Verily, my mind is firmly fixed upon opposing the foe and protecting my own party, O charioteer, I shall today certainly resist the might of the enemy, and vanquish him by repairing only to the field of battle. I will not tolerate this intestine feud. When the troops are broken, he that cometh (for aiding) in the endeavour to rally is a friend. I shall either achieve this righteous feat worthy of an honest man, or casting off my life shall follow Bhishma. I shall either slay all my foes united together, or slain by them proceed to the regions reserved for heroes. O charioteer, I know that even this is what I should do, when women and children cry for help, or when Duryodhana’s prowess sustains a check. Therefore, I shall today conquer the foe. Reckless of my very life in this terrible battle, I shall protect the Kurus and slay the sons of Pandu. Slaying in battle all my foes banded together, I shall bestow (undisputed) sovereignty on Dhritarashtra’s son. Let my armour, beautiful, made of gold, bright, and radiant with jewels and gems, be donned; and my head-gear, of effulgence equal to that of the sun; and my bows and arrows that resemble fire, poison, or snakes. Let also sixteen quivers be tied (to my car) at the proper places, and let a number of excellent bows be procured. Let also shafts, and darts and heavy maces, and my conch, variegated with gold, be got ready. Bring also my variegated, beautiful, and excellent standard, made of gold, possessed of the effulgence of the lotus, and bearing the device of the elephant’s girth, cleaning it with a delicate cloth, and decking it with excellent garlands and a network of wires. O charioteer’s son, bring me also, with speed, some fleet steeds of the hue of tawny clouds, not lean, and bathed in water sanctified with mantras, and furnished with trappings of bright gold. Bring me also, with speed, an excellent car decked with garlands of gold, adorned gems, bright as the sun or the moon, furnished with every necessary, as also with weapons, and unto which are yoked excellent animals. Bring me also a number of excellent bows of great toughness, and a number of excellent bow-strings capable of smitting (the foe), and some quivers, large and full of shafts and some coats of mail for my body. Bring me also, with speed, O hero, every (auspicious) article needed for occasions of setting out (for battle), such as vessels of brass and gold, full of curds. Let garlands of flowers be brought, and let them be put on the (proper) limbs of my body. Let drums also be beaten for victory! Go, O charioteer, quickly to the spot where the diadem-decked (Arjuna), and Vrikodara, and Dharma’s son (Yudhishthira), and the twins, are. Encountering them in battle, either I shall slay them, or, being slain by them, my foes, I shall follow Bhishma. Arjuna, and Vasudeva, and Satyaki, and the Srinjayas, that force, I think, is incapable of being conquered by the kings. If all-destroying Death himself with unremitting vigilance, were to protect Kiritin, still shall I slay him, encountering him in battle, or repair myself to Yama’s abode by Bhishma’s track. Verily, I say, that I will repair into the midst of those heroes. Those (kings) that are my allies are not provokers of intestine feuds, or of weak attachment to me, or of unrighteous souls.’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Riding on an excellent and costly car of great strength, with an excellent pole, decked with gold, auspicious, furnished with a standard, and unto which were yoked excellent steeds that were fleet as the wind, Karna proceeded (to battle) for victory. Worshipped by the foremost of Kuru car-warriors like Indra by the celestials, that high-souled and fierce bowman, endued with immeasurable energy like the Sun himself, upon his car decked with gold and jewels and gems, furnished with an excellent standard, unto which were yoked excellent steeds, and whose rattle resembled the roll of the clouds, proceeded, accompanied by a large force, to that field of battle where that bull of Bharata’s race (Bhishma) had paid his debt to nature. Of beautiful person, and endued with the splendour of fire, that great bowman and mighty car-warrior, viz., the son of Adhiratha, then mounted on his own beautiful car possessed of the effulgence of fire, and shone like the lord of the celestials himself riding on his celestial car.’”

Section III

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the grandsire, viz., the venerable Bhishma, that destroyer of all the Kshatriyas, that hero of righteous soul and immeasurable energy, that great bowman thrown down (from his car) by Savyasachin with his celestial weapons, lying on a bed of arrows, and looking like the vast ocean dried up by mighty winds, the hope of thy sons for victory had disappeared along with their coats of mail and peace of mind. Beholding him who was always an island unto persons sinking in the fathomless ocean in their endeavours to cross it, beholding that hero covered with arrows that had coursed in a stream as continuous as that of Yamuna, that hero who looked like Mainaka of unbearable energy thrown down on the earth by the great Indra, that warrior lying prostrate on the earth like the Sun dropped down from the firmament, that one who looked like the inconceivable Indra himself after his defeat of old by Vritra, that depriver of all warriors of their senses, that foremost of all combatants, that signal of all bowmen, beholding that hero and bull among men, viz., thy sire Bhishma of high vows, that grandsire of the Bharatas thrown down in battle and lying covered with Arjuna’s shafts, on a hero’s bed. Adhiratha’s son (Karna) alighted from his car, in great affliction, filled with grief, and almost senseless. Afflicted (with sorrow), and with eyes troubled with tears, he proceeded on foot. Saluting him with joined palms, and addressing him reverentially, he said, ‘I am Karna! Blessed be thou! Speak to me, O Bharata, in sacred and auspicious words, and look at me, opening thy eyes. No man certainly enjoyeth in this world the fruits of his pious deeds, since thou, reverend in years and devoted to virtue, liest slain on the ground. O thou that art the foremost one amongst the Kurus, I do not see that there is any one else among them, who is competent (like thee) in filling the treasury, in counsels, in the matter of disposing the troops in battle array, and in the use of weapons, Alas, he that was endued with a righteous understanding, he that always protected the Kurus from every danger, alas, he, having slain numberless warriors, proceedeth to the region of the Pitris. From this day, O chief of the Bharatas, the Pandavas, excited with wrath, will slaughter the Kurus like tigers slaying deer. Today the Kauravas, acquainted with the force of Gandiva’s twang, will regard Savyasachin, like the Asuras regarding the wielder of the thunder-bolt, with terror. Today the noise, resembling that of heaven’s thunder, of the arrows shot from Gandiva, will inspire the Kurus and other kings with great terror. Today, O hero, like a raging conflagration of fierce flames consuming a forest, the shafts of Kiritin will consume the Dhartarashtras. In those parts of the forest through which fire and wind march together, they burn all plants and creepers and trees. Without doubt, Partha is even like a surging fire, and, without doubt, O tiger among men, Krishna is like the wind. Hearing the blare of Panchajanya and the twang of Gandiva all the Kaurava troops, O Bharata, will be filled with fear. O hero, without thee, the kings will never be able to bear the rattle of the ape-bannered car belonging to that grinder of foes, when he will advance (upon them). Who amongst the kings, save thyself, is competent to battle with that Arjuna whose feats, as described by the wise, are all superhuman? Superhuman was the battle that he fought with the high-souled (Mahadeva) of three eyes. From him he obtained a boon that is unattainable by persons of unsanctified souls. Delighted in battle, that son of Pandu is protected by Madhava. Who is there that is competent to vanquish him who could not be vanquished by thee before, although thou, endued with great energy, hadst vanquished Rama himself in battle, that fierce destroyer of the Kshatriya race, worshipped, besides, by the gods and the Danavas? Incapable of putting up with that son of Pandu, that foremost of heroes in battle, even I, with thy permission, am competent to slay, with the force of my weapons, that brave and fierce warrior who resembleth a snake of virulent poison and who slayeth his foes with his glances alone!’”

Section IV

“Sanjaya said, ‘Unto him who was talking thus, the aged Kuru grandsire with a cheerful heart, said these words adapted to both time and place: ‘Like the ocean unto rivers, like the Sun unto all luminous bodies, like the righteous unto Truth, like a fertile soil unto seeds, like the clouds unto all creatures, be thou the refuge of thy relatives and friends! Like the celestials upon him of a thousand eyes, let thy kinsmen depend on thee. Be thou the humiliator of thy foes, and the enhancer of the joys of thy friends. Be thou unto the Kauravas as Vishnu unto the dwellers of heaven. Desirous of doing what was agreeable to Dhritarashtra’s son, thou didst with the might and prowess of own arms, O Karna, vanquish the Kamvojas having proceeded to Rajpura. Many kings, amongst whom Nagnajit was the foremost, while staying in Girivraja, as also the Amvashthas, the Videhas, and the Gandharvas, were all vanquished by thee. The Kiratas, fierce in battle, dwelling in the fastness of Himavat, were formerly, O Karna, made by thee to own Duryodhana’s sway. And so also, the Utpalas, the Mekalas, the Paundras, the Kalingas, the Andhras, the Nishadas, the Trigartas, and the Valhikas, were all vanquished by thee, O Karna, in battle. In many other countries, O Karna, impelled by the desire of doing good to Duryodhana, thou didst, O hero, vanquish many races and kings of great energy. Like Duryodhana, O child, with his kinsmen, and relatives, and friends, be thou also the refuge of all the Kauravas. In auspicious words I command thee, go and fight with the enemy. Lead the Kurus in battle, and give victory unto Duryodhana. Thou art to us our grandson even as Duryodhana is. According to the ordinance, all of us also are as much thine as Duryodhana’s! The wise, O foremost of men, say that the companionship of the righteous with the righteous is a superior relationship to that born of the same womb. Without falsifying, therefore, thy relationship with Kurus, protect thou the Kaurava host like Duryodhana, regarding it as thy own.

“Hearing these words of his, Vikartana’s. son Karna, reverentially saluting Bhishma’s feet, (bade him farewell) and came to that spot where all the Kaurava bowmen were. Viewing that wide and unparalleled encampment of the vast host, he began to cherish (by words of encouragement) those well-armed and broad-chested warriors. And all the Kauravas headed by Duryodhana were filled with joy. And beholding the mighty-armed and high-souled Karna come to the field and station himself at the head of the whole army, for battle, the Kauravas received him with loud shouts and slapping of arm-pits and leonine roars and twang of bows and diverse other kinds of noise.’”

Section V

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding that tiger among men, viz., Karna, mounted on his car, Duryodhana, O king, filled with joy, said these words, ‘This host, protected by thee, hath now, I think, got a proper leader. Let that, however, be settled now which is proper and within our power.’

‘Karna said, ‘Tell us thyself, O tiger among men, for thou art the wisest of kings. Another can never see so well what should be done as one seeth it whose concern it is. Those kings are all desirous of listening to what thou mayst have to say. I am sure that no improper words will be uttered by thee.’

“Duryodhana, said, ‘Bhishma was our commander possessed (as he was) of years, prowess, and learning and supported by all our warriors. That high-souled one, O Karna, achieving great glory and slaying large numbers of my enemies protected us by fair fight for ten days. He achieved the most difficult of feats. But now that he is about to ascend to heaven, whom, O Karna, dost thou think fit to our commander after him? Without a leader, an army cannot stay in battle for even a short while. Thou art foremost in battle, like a boat without a helmsman in the waters. Indeed, as a boat without a helmsman, or a car without a driver, would go anywhere, so would the plight be of a host that is without a leader. Like a merchant who falleth into every kind of distress when he is unacquainted with the ways of the country he visits, an army that is without a leader is exposed to every kind of distress. Look thou, therefore, among all the high-souled warriors of our army and find out a proper leader who may succeed the son of Santanu. Him whom thou wouldst regard as a fit leader in battle, him, all of us, without doubt, will together make our leader.’ “Karna said, ‘All these foremost of men are high-souled persons. Every one of them deserveth to be our leader. There is no need of any minute examination. All of them are conversant with noble genealogies and with the art of smiting; all of them are endued with prowess and intelligence, all of them are attentive and acquainted with the scriptures, possessed of wisdom, and unretreating from battle. All, however, cannot be leaders at the same time. Only one should be selected as leader, in whom are special merits. All of these regard one another as equals. If one amongst them, therefore, be honoured, others will be dissatisfied, and, it is evident, will no longer fight for thee from a desire of benefiting thee. This one, however, is the Preceptor (in arms) of all these warriors; is venerable in years, and worthy of respect. Therefore, Drona, this foremost of all wielders of weapons, should be made the leader. Who is there worthy of becoming a leader, when the invincible Drona, that foremost of persons conversant with Brahma, is here, that one who is equal to Sukra or Vrihaspati himself? Amongst all the kings in thy army, O Bharata, there is not a single warrior who will not follow Drona when the latter goeth to battle. This Drona is the foremost of all leaders of forces, the foremost of all wielders of weapons, and the foremost of all intelligent persons. He is, besides, O king, thy preceptor (in arms). Therefore, O Duryodhana, make this one the leader of thy forces without delay, as the celestials made Kartikeya their leader in battle for vanquishing the Asuras.’”

Section VI

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hearing these words of Karna, king Duryodhana. then said this unto Drona who was staying in the midst of the troops.’

“Duryodhana said, ‘For the superiority of the order of thy birth, for the nobility of thy parentage, for thy learning, years and intelligence, for also thy prowess, skill, invincibility, knowledge of worldly matters, policy, and self-conquest, by reason also of thy ascetic austerities and thy gratitude, superior as thou art as regards every virtue, among these kings there is none who can make so good a leader as thou. Protect thou, therefore, ourselves, like Vasava protecting the celestials. Having thee for our leader, we desire, O best of Brahmanas, to vanquish our foes. As Kapali amongst the Rudras, Pavaka among the Vasus, Kuvera among the Yakshas, Vasava among the Maruts, Vasishtha among Brahmanas, the Sun amongst luminous bodies, Yama among the Pitris, Varuna among aquatic creatures, as the Moon among the stars, and Usanas among the sons of Diti, so art thou the foremost of all leaders of forces. Be thou, therefore, our leader. O sinless one, let these ten and one Akshauhinis of troops be obedient to thy word of command. Disposing these troops in battle array, slay thou our foes, like Indra slaying the Danavas. Proceed thou art the head of us all, like Pavaka’s son (Kartikeya) at the head of the celestial forces. We will follow thee to battle, like bulls following a bovine leader. A fierce and great bowman as thou art, beholding thee stretching the bow at our head. Arjuna will not strike. Without doubt, O tiger among men, if thou becomest our leader, I will vanquish Yudhishthira with all his followers and relatives in battle.’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘After Duryodhana had uttered these words, the kings (in the Kaurava army) all cried victory to Drona. And they delighted thy son by uttering a loud leonine shout. And the troops, filled with joy, and with Duryodhana at their head, desirous of winning great renown, began to glorify that best of Brahmanas. Then, O king, Drona addressed Duryodhana fin those words.’”

Section VII

“Drona said, ‘I know the Vedas with their six branches. I know also the science of human affairs. I am acquainted also with the Saiva weapon, and diverse other species of weapons. Endeavouring to actually display all those virtues which ye, desirous of victory, have attributed to me, I will fight with the Pandavas. I will not, however, O king, be able to slay the son of Prishata. O bull among men, he hath been created for my slaughter. I will fight with the Pandavas, and slay the Somakas. As regards the Pandavas, they will not fight with me with cheerful hearts.’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Thus permitted by Drona, the son, O king, then made him the commander of his forces according to the rites prescribed in the ordinance. And the kings (in the Katirava army) headed by Duryodhana performed the investiture of Drona in the command of the forces, like the celestials headed by India in days of yore performing the investiture of Skanda. After Drona’s installation in the command, the joy of the army expressed itself by the sound of drums and the loud blare of conchs. Then with cries such as greet the ears en a festive day, with auspicious invocations by Brahmanas gratified with cries of Jaya uttered by foremost of Brahmanas, and with the dance of mimes, Drona was duly honoured. And Kaurava warriors regarded the Pandayas as already vanquished.’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Then that mighty car-warrior, viz., Bharadwaja’s son, having obtained the command, arrayed the troops in order of battle, and went out with thy sons from desire of fighting the foe. And the ruler of the Sindhus, and the chief of the Kalingas, and thy son Vikarna, clad in mail, took up their position on the right wing (of Drona). And Sakuni, accompanied by many foremost of horsemen battling with bright lances and belonging to the Gandhara tribe, proceeded, acting as their support. And Kripa, and Kritavarman, and Chitrasena, and Vivinsati headed by Duhsasana, strove vigorously for protecting the left wing. And the Kamvojas headed by Sudakshina, and the Sakas, and the Yavanas, with steeds of great fleetness, proceeded, as the latter’s support. And the Madras, the Trigartas the Amvashthas, the Westerners, the Northerners, the Malavas, the Surasenas, the Sudras the Maladas, the Sauviras, the Kaitavas, the Easterners, and the Southerners placing thy son (Duryodhana) and the Suta’s son (Karna) at their head, forming the rear guard, gladdened warriors of their own army, added to the strength of the (advancing) force, Vikartana’s son Karna proceeded at the head of the bowmen. And his blazing and large and tall standard bearing the advice of the elephant’s rope, shone with an effulgence like that of the Sun, gladdening his own divisions. Beholding Karna, none regarded the calamity caused by Bhishma’s death. And the kings, along with the Kurus, all became freed from grief. And large numbers of warriors, banded together, said unto one another, ‘Beholding Karna on the field, the Pandavas will never be able to stand in battle. Indeed, Karna is quite competent to vanquish in battle the very gods with Vasava at their head. What need be said, therefore, for the sons of Pandu who are destitute of energy and prowess? The mighty-armed Bhishma spared the Parthas in battle. Karna, however, will slay them in the fight with his keen shafts.’ Speaking unto one another thus and filled with joy, they proceeded, applauding and worshipping the son of Radha. As regards our army, it was arrayed by Drona in the form of a Sakata (vehicle); while the array of our illustrious foes, O king, was in the form of a Krauncha (crane), as disposed, O Bharata, by king Yudhishthira the just in great cheerfulness. At the head of their array were those two foremost of persons viz., Vishnu and Dhananjaya, with their banner set up, bearing the device of the ape. The hump of the whole army and the refuge of all bowmen, that banner of Partha, endued with immeasurable energy, as it floated in the, sky, seemed to illumine the entire host of the high-souled Yudhishthira. The banner of Partha, possessed of great intelligence, seemed to resemble the blazing Sun that riseth at the end of the Yuga for consuming the world. Amongst bowmen, Arjuna is the foremost; amongst bows, Gandiva is the foremost amongst creature Vasudeva is the first; and amongst all kinds of discs, Sudarsana is the first. Bearing these four embodiments of energy, that car unto which were yoked white steeds, took up its position in the front of the (hostile) army, like the fierce discus upraised (for striking). Thus did those two foremost of men stand at the very head of their respective forces, viz., Karna at the head of thy army, and Dhananjaya at the head of the hostile one. Both excited with wrath, and each desirous of slaying the other, Karna and Arjuna looked at each other in that battle.’

“Then when that mighty car-warrior, viz.. Bharadwaja’s son, proceeded to battle with great speed, the earth seemed to tremble with loud sounds of wailing. Then the thick dust, raised by the wind resembling a canopy of tawny silk, enveloped the sky and the sun. And though the firmament was cloudless, yet a shower fell of pieces of flesh, bones, and blood. And vultures and hawks and cranes and Kankas, and crows in thousands, began continually to fall upon the (Kaurava) troops. And jackals yelled aloud; and many fierce and terrible birds repeatedly wheeled to the left of thy army, from desire of eating flesh and drinking blood, and many blazing meteors, illuminating (the sky), and covering large areas with their tails, fell on the field with loud sound and trembling motion. And the wide disc of the sun O monarch, seemed to emit flashes of lightning with thundering noise, when commander of the (Kaurava) army set out. These and many other portents, fierce and indicating a destruction of heroes, were seen during the battle. Then commenced the encounter between the troops of the Kurus and the Pandavas, desirous of slaying each other. And so loud was the din that it seemed to fill the whole earth. And the Pandavas and the Kauravas, enraged with each other and skilled in smiting, began to strike each other with sharp weapons, from desire of victory. ‘Then that great bowman of blazing effulgence rushed towards the troops of the Pandavas with great impetuosity, scattering hundreds of sharp arrows. Then the Pandavas and the Srinjayas, beholding Drona rush towards them, received him, O king, with showers upon showers (in distinct sets) of arrows. Agitated and broken by Drona, the large host of the Pandavas and the Panchalas broke like rows of cranes by force of the wind. Invoking into existence many celestial weapons in that battle, Drona, within a very short time, afflicted the Pandavas and the Srinjayas. Slaughtered by Drona, like Danavas by Vasava, the Panchalas headed by Dhrishtadyumna trembled in that battle. Then that mighty car-warrior, viz., Yajnasena’s son (Dhrishtadyumna), that hero acquainted with celestial weapons, broke, with his arrowy showers, the division of Drona in many places. And the mighty son of Prishata baffling with his own arrowy showers the showers of arrows shot by Drona, caused a great slaughter among the Kurus. The mighty-armed Drona then, rallying his men in battle and gathering them together, rushed towards the son of Prishata. He then shot at Prishata’s son a thick shower of arrows, like Maghavat excited with rage showering his arrows with great force upon the Danavas, Then the Pandavas and the Srinjayas, shaken by Drona with his shafts, repeatedly broke like a herd of inferior animals attacked by a lion. And the mighty Drona coursed through the Pandava force like a circle of fire. All this, O king, seemed highly wonderful. Mounted on his own excellent car which (then) resembled a city coursing through the skies, which was furnished with every necessary article according to (military) science, whose banner floated on the air, whose rattle resounded through the field, whose steeds were (well) urged, and the staff of whose standard was bright as crystal, Drona struck terror into the hearts of the enemy and caused a great slaughter among them.’”

Section VIII

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding Drona thus slaying steeds and drivers and car-warriors and elephants, the Pandavas, without being troubled, encompassed him on all sides. Then king Yudhishthira, addressing Dhrishtadyumna and Dhananjaya, said unto them, ‘Let the pot-born (Drona) be checked, our men surrounding him on all sides with care.’ Thus addressed those mighty car-warriors, viz., Arjuna and Prishata’s son, along with their followers, all received Drona as the latter came. And the Kekaya princes, and Bhimasena, and Subhadra’s son and Ghatotkacha and Yudhishthira, and the twins (Nakula and Sahadeva), and the ruler of the Matsyas, and the son of Drupada, and the (five) sons of Draupadi, all filled with joy, and Dhrishtaketu, and Satyaki, and the wrathful Chitrasena, and the mighty car-warrior, Yuyutsu, and many other kings, O monarch, who followed the sons of Pandu, all achieved diverse feats in keeping with their lineage and prowess. Beholding then that host protected in that battle by those Pandava warriors, Bharadwaja’s son, turning his eyes in wrath, cast his looks upon it. Inflamed with rage, that warrior, invincible in battle, consumed, as he stood upon his car, the Pandava host like the tempest destroying vast masses of clouds. Rushing on all sides at car-warriors and steeds and foot-soldiers and elephants, Drona furiously careered over the field like a young man, though bearing the weight of years. His red steeds, fleet as the wind, and of excellent breed, covered with blood, O king, assumed a beautiful appearance. Beholding that hero of regulated vows, felling them like Yama himself inflamed with wrath, the soldiers of Yudhishthira fled away on all sides. And as some fled away and other rallied, as some looked at him and others stayed on the field, the noise they made was fierce and terrible. And that noise causing delight to heroes and enhancing the fears of the timid, filled the whole sky and the earth. And once more Drona, uttering his own name in battle, made himself exceedingly fierce, scattering hundreds of arrows among the foes. Indeed, the mighty Drona, though old, yet acting like a young man, careered like Death himself, O sire, amid the divisions of Pandu’s son. That fierce warrior cutting off heads and arms decked with ornaments, made the terraces of many cars empty and uttered leonine roars. And in consequence of those joyous shouts of his, as also of the force of his shafts, the warriors, O lord, (of the hostile army) trembled like a herd of cows afflicted by cold. And in consequence of the rattle of his car and the stretching of his bow-string and the twang of his bow, the whole welkin resounded with a loud noise. And the shaft., of that hero, coursing in thousands from his bow, and enveloping all the points of the compass, fell upon the elephants and steeds and cars and foot-soldiers (of the enemy). Then the Panchalas and the Pandavas boldly approached Drona, who, armed with his bow of great force, resembled a fire having weapons for its flames. Then with their elephants and foot-soldiers and steeds he began to despatch them unto the abode of Yama. And Drona made the earth miry with blood. Scattering his mighty weapons and shooting his shafts thick on every side, Drona soon so covered all the points of the compass, that nothing could be seen except his showers of arrows. And among foot-soldiers and cars and steeds and elephants nothing could be seen save Drona’s arrows. The standard of his car was all that could be seen, moving like flashes of lightning amid the cars. Of soul incapable of being depressed, Drona then, armed with bow and arrows, afflicted the five princes of Kekaya and the ruler of the Panchalas and then rushed against the division of Yudhishthira. Then Bhimasena and Dhananjaya and the grandson of Sini, and the sons of Drupada, and the ruler of Kasi, viz., the son of Saivya, and Sivi himself, cheerfully and with loud roars covered him with their arrows. Shafts in thousands, decked with wings of gold, shot from Drona’s bow, piercing through the bodies of the elephants and the young horses of those warriors, entered the earth, their feathers dyed with blood. The field of battle, strewn with cars and the prostrate forms of large bands of warriors, and of elephants and steeds mangled with shafts, looked like the welkin covered with masses of black clouds. Then Drona, desirous of the prosperity of thy sons, having thus crushed the divisions of Satyaki, and Bhima, and Dhananjaya and Subhadra’s son and Drupada, and the ruler of the Kasi, and having ground many other heroes in battle, indeed, that high-souled warrior, having achieved these and many other feats, and having, O chief of the Kurus, scorched the world like the Sun himself as he rises at the end of the Yuga, proceeded hence, O monarch, to heaven. That hero possessed of golden car, that grinder of hostile hosts, having achieved mighty feats and slain in thousands the warriors of the Pandava host in battle, hath at last been himself slain by Dhrishtadyumna. Having, in fact, slain more than two Akshauhinis of brave and unreturning warriors, that hero endued with intelligence, at last, attained to the highest state. Indeed, O king, having achieved the most difficult feats, he hath, at last, been slain by the Pandavas and the Panchalas of cruel deeds. When the preceptor was slain in battle, there arose in the welkin, O monarch, a loud uproar of all creatures, as also of all the troops. Resounding through heaven and earth and the intermediate space and through the cardinal and the subsidiary directions, the loud cry ‘O Fie!’—of creatures; was heard. And the gods, the Pitris, and they that were his friends, all beheld that mighty car-warrior, viz., the son of Bharadwaja, thus slain. The Pandavas, having won the victory, uttered leonine shouts. And the earth trembled with those loud shouts of theirs.’”

Section IX

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘How did the Pandavas and the Srinjayas slay Drona in battle,—Drona. who was so accomplished in weapons amongst all wielders of arms? Did his car break (in course of the fight)? Did his bow break while he was striking (the foe)? Or, was Drona careless at the time when he met with his death-blow? How, indeed, O child, could Prishata’s son, (viz., Dhrishtadyumna) the prince of the Panchalas, slay that hero incapable of being humiliated by enemies, who scattered thick showers of shafts furnished with wings of gold, and who was endued with great lightness of hand, that foremost of Brahmanas, who was accomplished in everything, acquainted with all modes of warfare, capable of shooting his shafts to a great distance, and self-restrained, who was possessed of great skill in the use of weapons and armed with celestial weapons, that mighty warrior, of unfading glory, who was always careful, and who achieved the fiercest feats in battle? It is plain, it seems to me, that destiny is superior to exertion, since even brave Drona hath been slain by the high-souled son of Prishata, that hero in whom were the four kinds of weapons, alas, thou sayest that that Drona, that preceptor in bowmanship, is slain. Hearing of the slaughter of that hero who used to ride his bright car covered with tiger skins and adorned with pure gold. I cannot drive away my grief. Without doubt, O Sanjaya, no one dies of grief caused by another’s calamity, since, wretch that I am, I am yet alive although I have heard of Drona’s death. Destiny I regard to be all powerful, exertion is fruitless. Surely, my heart, hard as it is, is made of adamant, since it breaketh not into a hundred pieces, although I have heard of Drona’s death. He who was waited up-on by Brahmanas and princes desirous of instruction in the Vedas and divination and bowmanship, alas, how could he be taken away by Death? I cannot brook the overthrow of Drona which is even like the drying up of the ocean, or the removal of Meru from its site, or the fall of the Run from the firmament. He was a restrainer of the wicked and a protector of the righteous. That scorcher of foes who hath given up his life for the wretched Duryodhana, upon whose prowess rested that hope of victory which my wicked sons entertained, who was equal to Vrihaspati or Usanas himself in intelligence, alas, how was he slain? His large steeds of red hue, covered with net of gold, fleet as the wind and incapable of being struck with any weapon in battle, endued with great strength, neighing cheerfully, well-trained and of the Sindhu breed, yoked unto his car and drawing the vehicle excellently, always preserving in the midst of battle, did they become weak and faint? Coolly bearing in battle the roar of elephants, while those huge creatures trumpeted at the blare of conchs and the beat of drums, unmoved by the twang of bows and showers of arrows and other weapons, foreboding the defeat of foes by their very appearance, never drawing long breaths (in consequence of toil), above all fatigue and pain, how were those fleet steeds that drew the car of Bharadwaja’s son soon over-powered? Even such were the steeds yoked unto his golden car. Even such were the steeds yoked thereto by that foremost of human heroes. Mounted on his own excellent car decked with pure gold, why, O son, could he not cross the sea of the Pandava army? What feat were achieved in battle by Bharadwaja’s son, that warrior who always drew tears from other heroes, and upon whose knowledge (of weapons) all the bowmen of the world rely? Firmly adhering to truth, and endued with great might, what, indeed, did Drona do in battle? Who were those car-warriors that encountered that achiever of fierce deeds, that foremost of all wielders of the bow, that first of heroes, who resembled Sakra himself in heaven? Did the Pandava fly away beholding him of the golden car and of mighty strength who invoked into existence celestial weapons? Or, did king Yudhishthira the just, with his younger brothers, and having the prince of Panchala (Dhrishtadyumna) for his binding chord, attack Drona, surrounding him with his troops on all sides? Verily, Partha must have, with his straight shafts, checked all the other car-warriors, and then Prishata’s son of sinful deeds must have surrounded Drona. I do not see any other warrior, save the fierce Dhrishtadyumna protected by Arjuna, who could have compassed the death of that mighty hero? It seems that when those heroes, viz., the Kekayas, the Chedis, the Karushas, the Matsyas, and the other kings, surrounding the preceptor, pressed him exceedingly like ants pressing upon a snake, while he was engaged in some difficult feat, the wretched Dhrishtadyumna must have slain him then. This is what, I think. He who, having studied the four Vedas with their branches and the histories forming the fifth (Veda), became the refuge of the Brahmanas, as the ocean is of rivers, that scorcher of foes, who lived both as a Brahmana and as a Kshatriya, alas, how could that Brahmana, reverend in years, meet with his end at the edge of a weapon? Of a proud spirit, he was yet often humiliated and had to suffer, pain on my account. However undeserving of it, he yet attained at the hands of Kunti’s son, the fruit of his own conduct. He, upon whose feats depend all wielders of bows in the world, alas, how could that hero, firmly adhering to truth and possessed of great skill, be slain by persons desirous of affluence? Foremost in the world like Sakra himself in heaven, of great might and great energy, alas, how could he be slain by the Parthas, like the whale by the smaller fish? He, from whose presence no warrior desirous of victory could ever escape with life, he whom, while alive, these two sounds never left, viz., the sound of the Vedas by those desirous of Vedic lore, and the twang of bows caused by those desirous of skill in bowmanship, he who was never cheerless, alas, that tiger among men, that hero endued with prosperity and never vanquished in battle, that warrior of prowess equal to that of the lion or the elephant, hath been slain. Verily, I cannot bear the idea of his death. How could Prishata’s son, in the sight of the foremost of men, slay in battle that invincible warrior whose might was never humiliated and whose fame was never tarnished? Who were they that fought in Drona’s van, protecting him, standing by his side? Who proceeded in his rear and obtained that end which is so difficult of attainment? Who were those high-souled warriors that protected the right and the left wheels of Drona? Who were in the van of that hero while he struggled in battle? Who were they that, reckless of their lives on that occasion, met with death which stood face to face with them? Who were those heroes that went in the last journey in Drona’s battle? Did any of those Kshatriyas that were assigned for Drona’s protection, proving false, abandon that hero in battle? Was he slain by the foe after such desertion and while alone? Drona would never, from fear, show his back in battle, however great the danger. How then was he slain by the foe? Even in great distress, O Sanjaya, an illustrious person should do this, viz., put forth his prowess according to the measure of his might. All this was in Drona; O child, I am losing my senses. Let this discourse be suspended for a while. After regaining my senses I will once more ask thee, O Sanjaya!’”

Section X

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Having addressed the Suta’s son in this way, Dhritarashtra, afflicted with excessive grief of heart and hopeless of his son’s victory, fell down on the ground. Beholding him deprived of his senses and fallen down, his attendants sprinkled him with perfumed and cold water, fanning him the while. Seeing him fallen, the Bharata ladies O king, surrounded him on all sides and gently rubbed him with their hands. And slowly raising the king from the ground, those royal ladies, their voices chocked with tears, seated him on his seat. Seated, the King continued to be under the influence of that swoon. And he remained perfectly motionless, while they fanned him standing around. And a tremour then passed over the monarch’s body and he slowly regained his senses. And once more he began to interrogate Gavalgana’s son of the Suta caste about the incidents, as they occured in the battle.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘[That Ajatasatru] who, like the risen sun, dispelleth darkness by his own light; who rusheth against a foe as a swift and angry elephant with rent temples, incapable of being vanquished by hostile leaders of herds, rusheth against a rival proceeding with cheerful face towards a female of the species in rust, O, what warriors (of my army) resisted that Ajatasatru as he came, for keeping him away from Drona? That hero, that foremost of persons, who hath slain many brave warriors (of my army) in battle, that mighty-armed and intelligent and courageous prince of unbaffled prowess, who, unassisted by any one, can consume the entire host of Duryodhana by means of his terrible glances alone, that slayer by his sight, that one bent on winning victory, that bowman, that hero of unfading glory, that self-restrained monarch who is revered by the whole world, O, who were those heroes (of my army) that surrounded that warrior? That invincible prince, that bowman of unfading glory, that tiger among men, that son of Kunti, who advancing with great celerity came upon Drona, that mighty warrior who always achieves grand feats against the foe, that hero of gigantic fame and great courage, who in strength is equal to ten thousand elephants, O, what brave combatants of my army surrounded that Bhimasena as he rushed upon my host? When that car-warrior of exceeding energy, viz., Vibhatsu, looking like a mass of clouds, came, emitting thunderbolts like the clouds themselves, shooting showers of arrows like Indra pouring rain, and making all the points of the compass resound with the slaps of his palms and the rattle of his car-wheels, when that hero whose bow was like the lightning’s flash and whose car resembled a cloud having for its roars the rattle of its wheels (when that hero came) the whizz of whose arrows made him exceedingly fierce, whose wrath resembles an awful cloud, and who is fleet as the mind or the tempest, who always pierces the foe deep into his very vitals, who, armed with shafts, is terrible to look at, who like Death himself bathes all the points of the compass with human blood in profusion, and who, with fierce uproar and awful visage, wielding the bow Gandiva incessantly pours on my warriors headed by Duryodhana shafts whetted on stone and furnished with vultures’ feathers, alas, when that hero of great intelligence came upon you, what became the state of your mind? When that warrior having the huge ape on his banner came, obstructing the welkin with dense showers of arrows, what became that state of your mind at sight of that Partha? Did Arjuna advance upon you, slaying your troops with the twang of the Gandiva and achieving fierce feats on the way? Did Duryodhana take, with his shafts, your lives, like the tempest destroying gathering masses of clouds or felling forests of reeds, blowing through them? What man is there that is capable of bearing in battle the wielder of the Gandiva? Hearing only that he is stationed at the head of the (hostile) force, the heart of every foe seems to rend in twain. In that battle in which the troops trembled and even heroes were struck with fear, who were they that did not desert Drona, and who were those cowards that abandoned him from fear? Who were they that, reckless of their lives met Death himself, standing face to face with them, in the shape of Dhananjaya, who hath vanquished even superhuman combatants in battle? My troops are incapable of bearing the impetus of that warrior having white steeds yoked unto his car and the twang of Gandiva, that resembles the roll of the very clouds. That car which has Vishnu himself for its driver and Dhananjaya for its warrior, that car I regard to be incapable of being vanquished by the very gods and the Asuras united together. Delicate, young, and brave, and of a very handsome countenance, that son of Pandu who is gifted with intelligence and skill and wisdom and whose prowess incapable of being baffled in battle, when Nakula with loud noise and afflicting all hostile warriors, rushed at Drona, what heroes (of my army) surrounded him? When Sahadeva who resembles an angry snake of virulent poison, when that hero owning white steeds and invincible in battle, observant of laudable vows, incapable of being baffled in his purposes, gifted with modesty, and never vanquished in fight, came upon us, what heroes (of our army) surrounded him? That warrior who, having crushed the mighty host of the Sauvira king, took for his wife the beautiful Bhoja maiden of symmetrical limbs, that bull among men, viz., Yuyudhana, in whom are always truth and firmness and bravery and Brahmacharya, that warrior gifted with great might, always practising truth, never cheerless, never vanquished, who in battle is equal to Vasudeva and is regarded as his second self, who, through Dhananjaya’s instructions, hath become foremost in the use of arrows, and who is equal to Partha himself in weapons, O, what warrior (of my army) resisted that Satyaki, for keeping him away from Drona? The foremost hero among the Vrishnis, exceedingly brave among all bowmen, equal to Rama himself in (knowledge and the use of) weapons and in prowess and fame, (know, O Sanjaya, that) truth and firmness, intelligence and heroism, and knowledge of Brahma, and high weapons, are all in him (Satyaki) of the Satwata race, as the three worlds are in Kesava. What heroes (of my army), approaching that mighty bowman, Satyaki, possessed of all those accomplishments and incapable of being resisted by the very gods, surrounded him? The foremost among the Panchalas, possessed of heroism, high-born and the favourite of all high-born heroes, ever achieving good deeds in battle, viz., Uttamaujas, that Prince ever engaged in the welfare of Arjuna, born for only my evil, equal unto Yama, or Vaisaravana, or Aditya, or Mahendra, or Varuna, that prince regarded as a mighty car-warrior and prepared to lay down his life in the thick of battle, O, what heroes (of my army) surrounded him? Who (amongst my warriors) opposed Dhrishtaketu, that single warrior amongst the Chedis who, deserting them, hath embraced the side of the Pandavas, while he rushed upon Drona? Who resisted the heroic Ketumat for keeping him away from Drona, the brave Ketumat who slew prince Durjaya while the latter had taken shelter in Girivraja? What heroes (of my army) surrounded Sikhandin, that tiger among men, who knows the merits and demerits (in his own person) of manhood and femininity, that son of Yajnasena, who is always cheerful in battle, that hero who became the cause of the high-souled Bhishma’s death in battle, when he rushed towards Drona? That foremost hero of the Vrishni race, that chief of all bowmen, that brave warrior in whom all accomplishments exist in a greater degree than in Dhananajaya himself, in whom are ever weapons and truth and Brahmacharya, who is equal to Vasudeva in energy and Dhananjaya in strength, who in splendour is equal to Aditya and in intelligence to Vrihaspati, viz., the high-souled Abhimanyu, resembling Death himself with wide-open mouth, O what heroes (of my army) surrounded him when he rushed towards Drona? That youth of vigorous understanding, that slayer of hostile heroes, viz., Subhadra’s son, O, when he rushed towards Drona, what became the state of your mind? What heroes surrounded those tigers among men, viz., the sons of Draupadi, when they rushed in battle against Drona like rivers rushing towards the sea? Those children who, giving up all (childish) sports for twelve years, and observing excellent vows, waited upon Bhishma for the sake of weapons, those children, viz., Kshatranjaya and Kshatradeva and Kshatravarman and Manada, those heroic sons of Dhrishtadyumna, O, who resisted them, seeking to keep them away from Drona? He whom the Vrishnis regarded as superior in battle to a hundred car-warriors, O, who resisted that great bowman, viz., Chekitana, for keeping him away from Drona? Those five Kekaya brothers, virtuous and possessed of prowess, incapable of being baffled, resembling (in hue) the insects called Indragopakas, with red coats of mail, red weapons and red banners, those heroes that are the maternal cousins of the Pandavas and that always wish for victory unto the latter, O, what heroes (of my army) surrounded those valiant princes when they rushed towards Drona for slaying him? That lord of battle, that foremost of bowmen, that hero of unbaffled aim and great strength, that tiger among men, viz., Yuyutsu, whom many wrathful kings battling together for six months at Varanavata from desire of slaying him could not vanquish, and who in battle at Varanasi overthrew with a broad-headed arrow that mighty car-warrior, viz., the prince of Kasi, desirous of seizing (at a Swayamvara) a maiden for wife, O, what hero (of my army) resisted him? That mighty bowman, viz., Dhrishtadyumna, who is the chief counsellor of the Pandavas, who is engaged in doing evil to Duryodhana, who was created for Drona’s destruction, O, what heroes (of my army) surrounded him when he came towards Drona, breaking through all my ranks and consuming all my warriors in battle? That foremost of all persons conversant with weapons, who has been reared almost on Drupada’s lap, O, what warriors (of my army) surrounded that Sikhandin protected by (Arjuna’s) weapons, for keeping him away from Drona? He who encompassed this earth by the loud rattle of his car as by a leathern belt, that mighty car-warrior and foremost of all slayers of foes, who, as (a substitute for) all sacrifices, performed, without hindrance, ten Horse sacrifices with excellent food and drink and gifts in profusion, who ruled his subjects as if they were his children, that Usinara’s son who in sacrifices gave away kine countless as the grains of sand in the Ganga’s stream, whose feat none amongst men have been or will ever be able to imitate, after the performance of whose difficult feats the very gods had cried out, saying, ‘We do not see in the three worlds with their mobile and immobile creatures a second person other than Usinara’s son who, was, has ever been, or will ever be born, who hath attained to regions (in after-life) which are unattainable by human beings, O, who (amongst my army) resisted that Saivya, that grandson of that Usinara’s son, while he came upon (Drona)? What heroes (of my army) surrounded the car-division of that slayer of foes, viz.. Virata, the king of the Matsyas, while it reached Drona in battle? Who kept away from Drona the gigantic Ghatotkacha, that thorn (on the side), of my sons, that warrior who always wishes victory unto the Pandavas, that heroic Rakshasa, possessed of extensive powers of illusion, endued with great strength and great prowess, and born of Bhima in course of a single day, and of whom I entertain very great fears? What, O Srinjaya, can remain unconquered by them for whose sake these and many others are prepared to Jay down their lives in battle? How can the sons of Pritha meet with defeat, they, viz., that have the greatest of all beings, the wielder of the bow called Sarnga, for their refuge and benefactor? Vasudeva is, indeed, the great Master of all the worlds, the Lord of all, and Eternal! Of celestial soul and infinite power, Narayana is the refuge of men in battle. The wise recite his celestial feats. I also will recite them with devotion, for recovering my firmness!’”

Section XI

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Hear, O Sanjaya, the celestial feats of Vasudeva, feats that Govinda achieved and the like of which no other person hath ever been able to achieve. Whilst being brought up, O Sanjaya, in the family of the cowherd (Nanda), that high-souled one, while yet a boy, made the might of his arms known to the three worlds. Even then he slew Hayaraja, living in the woods (on the shores) of the Yamuna, who was equal to (the celestial steed) Uchchaisravas in strength and the wind itself in speed. In childhood, he also slew with his two bare arms, the Danava, in the form of a bull, of terrible deeds, and risen like Death himself unto all the kine. Of eyes like the lotus petals, he also slew the mighty Asuras named Pralamva, and Naraka, and Jambha, and Pitha, as also Mura, that terror of the celestials. And so also Kansa of mighty energy, who was, besides, protected by Jarasandha, was, with all his followers, slain in battle by Krishna aided by his prowess alone. With Valadeva as his second, that slayer of foes, viz., Krishna, consumed in battle, with all his troops, the king of the Surasenas, viz., Sunaman, of great activity and prowess in battle, the lord of a full Akshauhini, and the valiant second brother of Kansa, the king of the Bhojas. The highly wrathful regenerate Rishi (gratified with the adoration) gave him boons. Of eyes like the lotus petals, and endued with great bravery, Krishna, vanquishing all the kings at a self-choice, bore away the daughter of the king of the Gandharas. Those angry kings, as if they were horses by birth, were yoked unto his nuptial car and were lacerated with the whip. The mighty-armed Janardana also caused Jarasandha, the lord of a full Akshauhini of troops, to be slain through the instrumentality of another. The mighty Krishna also slew the valiant king of Chedis, that leader of kings, as if he were some animal, on the occasion of the latter’s disputing about the Arghya. Putting forth his prowess, Madhava hurled unto the sea the Daitya city called Saubha, (moving) in the skies, protected by Salwa, and regarded as impregnable. The Angas, the Vangas, the Kalingas, the Magadhas, the Kasis, the Kosalas, the Vatsyas, the Gargyas, the Karushas and the Paundras,—all these he vanquished in battle. The Avantis, the Southerners, the Mountaineers, the Daserakas, the Kasmirakas, the Aurasikas, the Pisachas, the Samudgalas, the Kamvojas, the Vatadhanas, the Cholas, the Pandyas, O Sanjaya, the Trigartas, the Malavas, the Daradas difficult of being vanquished, the Khasas arrived from diverse realms, as also the Sakas, and the Yavanas with followers, were all vanquished by him of eyes like lotus-petals. In days of old, penetrating into the very sea, he vanquished in battle Varuna himself in those watery depths, surrounded by all kinds of aquatic animals. Slaying in battle (the Danava named) Panchajanya living in the depths of Patala, Hrishikesa obtained the celestial conch called Panchajanya. The mighty Kesava, accompanied by Partha, having gratified Agni at Khandava, obtained his invincible weapon of fire, viz., his discus (called Sudarsana). Riding on Vinata’s son and frightening (the denizens of) Amaravati, the heroic Krishna brought from Mahendra himself (the celestial flower called) Parijata. Knowing Krishna’s prowess, Sakra quietly bore that act. We have never heard that there is any one among the kings who has not been vanquished by Krishna. That exceedingly wonderful feat also, O Sanjaya, which the lotus-eyed one performed in my court, who else is capable of performing it? And since, humbled by devotion, I was suffered to behold Krishna as the Supreme Lord; everything (about that feat) is well-known to me, myself having witnessed it with my own eyes, O Sanjaya, the end can never be seen of the (infinite) achievements of Hrishikesa. of great energy and great intelligence. Gada, and Samva, and Pradyumna, and Viduratha, and Charudeshna, and Sarana, and Ulmukha, and Nisatha, and the valiant Jhilivabhru, and Prithu, and Viprithu, and Samika, and Arimejaya,—these and other mighty Vrishni heroes, accomplished in smiting, will, standing on the field of battle, take up their position in the Pandava host, when summoned by that Vrishni hero, viz., the high-souled Kesava. Everything (on my side) will then be in great danger. Even this is what I think. And there where Janardana is, there will be the heroic Rama, equal in strength to ten thousand elephants, resembling the Kailasa peak, decked with garlands of wild flowers, and armed with the plough. That Vasudeva, O Sanjaya, whom all the regenerate ones describe as the Father of all, will that Vasudeva fight for the sake of the Pandavas? O son, O Sanjaya, if he puts on his armour for the sake of the Pandavas, there is none amongst us who can be his antagonist. If the Kauravas happen to vanquish the Pandavas, he, of the Vrishni race, will then, for the sake of the latter, take up his mighty weapon. And that tiger among men, that mighty-armed one, slaying then all the kings in battle as also the Kauravas, will give away the whole earth to Kunti’s son. What car will advance in battle against that car which has Hrishikesa for its driver and Dhananjaya for its warrior? The Kurus cannot, by any means, gain victory. Tell me, then everything about how the battle took place. Arjuna is Kesava’s life and Krishna is always victory; in Krishna is always fame. In all the worlds, Vibhatsu is invincible. In Kesava are infinite merits in excess. The foolish Duryodhana, who doth not know Krishna or Kesava, seems, through Destiny, to have Death’s noose before him. Alas, Duryodhana knows not Krishna of Dasarha’s race and Arjuna the son of Pandu. These high-souled ones are ancient gods. They are even Nara and Narayana. On earth they are seen by men as; two separate forms, though in reality they are both possessed but by one soul. With the mind alone, that invincible pair, of world-wide fame, can, if only they wish it, destroy this host. Only, in consequence of their humanity they do not wish it. Like a change of the Yuga, the death of Bhishma, O child, and the slaughter of the high-souled Drona, overturn the senses. Indeed, neither by Brahmacharya, nor by the study of the Vedas, nor by (religious) rites, nor by weapons, can any one prevent death. Hearing of the slaughter of Bhishma and Drona, those heroes accomplished in weapons, respected by all the worlds, and invincible in battle, why O Sanjaya, do I yet live? In consequence of the death of Bhishma and Drona, O Sanjaya, we will henceforth have to live as dependants on that prosperity beholding which in Yudhishthira we had before been so jealous. Indeed, this destruction of the Kurus hath come in consequence only of my acts. O Suta, in killing these that are ripe for destruction, the very straw becomes thunderbolt. That prosperity is without end in this; world which Yudhishthira is about to obtain — Yudhishthira through whose wrath both Bhishma and Drona have fallen. In consequence of his very disposition, hath Righteousness gone over to the side of Yudhishthira, while it is hostile to my son. Alas, time, so cruel, that hath now come for the destruction of all, cannot be overcome. Things calculated in one way, O son, even by men of intelligence, become otherwise through Destiny. This is what I think. Therefore, tell me everything that has taken place during the progress of this unavoidable and dreadful calamity productive of the most sorrowful reflection incapable of being crossed over (by us).’”

Section XII

“Sanjaya said, ‘Yes, as I saw everything with my own eyes, I will describe to thee how Drona fell down, slain by the Pandavas and the Srinjayas. Having obtained the command of the troops, that mighty car-warrior, viz., Bharadwaja’s son, said these words unto thy son in the midst of all the troops, ‘Inasmuch as, O king, thou hast honoured me with the command of the troops immediately after that bull among the Kauravas, viz., the son of the Ocean-going (Ganga), take thou, O Bharata, the adequate fruit of that act of thine. What business of thine shall I now achieve? Ask thou the boon that thou desirest.’ Then king Duryodhana having consulted with Karna and Duhsasana and others, said unto the preceptor, that invincible warrior and foremost of all victors, these words, ‘If thou wouldst give me a boon, then, seizing that foremost of car-warriors, viz., Yudhishthira, alive, bring him unto me here.’ Then that preceptor of the Kurus, hearing those words of thy son, returned him the following answer, gladdening all the troops therewith, Praised be Kunti’s son (Yudhishthira) whose seizing only thou desirest. O thou that art difficult of being vanquished, thou askest not any other boon (one for example) for his slaughter. For what reason, O tiger among men, dost thou not desire his death? Thou art, without doubt, O Duryodhana, not ignorant of policy. Why, therefore, dost thou not allude to Yudhisthira’s death? It is a matter of great wonder that king Yudhisthira, the just, hath no enemy desirous of his death. Inasmuch as thou wishest him to be alive, thou (either) seekest to preserve thy race from extinction, or, O chief of the Bharatas, thou, having vanquished the Pandavas in battle, art desirous of establishing brotherly relation (with them) by giving them their kingdom. Auspicious was the birth of that intelligent prince. Truly is he called Ajatasatru (the foeless one), for even thou bearest affection for him.’ Thus addressed by Drona, O Bharata, the feeling that is ever present in thy son’s breast suddenly made itself known. Not even persons like Vrihaspati can conceal the expressions of their countenance. For this, thy son, O king, filled with joy, said these words, ‘By the slaughter of Kunti’s son in battle, O preceptor, victory cannot be mine. If Yudhishthira were slain, Partha then, without doubt, would slay all of us. All of them, again, cannot be slain by the very gods. He amongst them that will, in that case, survive, will exterminate us. Yudhishthira, however, is truthful in his promises. If brought hither (alive), vanquished once more at dice, the Pandavas will once more go to the woods, for they are all obedient to Yudhishthira. It is evident that such a victory will be an enduring one. It is for this that I do not, by any means, desire the slaughter of king Yudhishthira the just.’ Ascertaining this crooked purpose of Duryodhana, Drona who was conversant with the truths of the science of profit and gifted with great intelligence, reflected a little and gave him the boon circumscribing it in the following way.’

“Drona said, ‘If the heroic Arjuna do not protect Yudhishthira in battle, thou mayst think the eldest Pandava as already brought under thy control. As regards Partha, the very gods and the Asuras together headed by Indra, cannot advance against him in battle. It is for this that I dare not do what thou askest me to do. Without doubt, Arjuna is disciple, and I was his first preceptor in arms. He is, however, young, endued with great good fortune, and excessively intent (on the achievement of his purposes). He hath obtained, again, many weapons from Indra and Rudra. He hath besides been provoked by thee. I dare not, therefore, do what thou askest me. Let Arjuna be removed, by whatsoever means that can be done, from the battle. Upon Partha being withdrawn, thou mayst regard king Yudhishthira as already vanquished. Upon his seizure is victory and not upon his slaughter, O bull among men! Even by stratagem, can his seizure be accomplished. Seizing that king devoted to truth and righteousness, I will, without doubt, O monarch, bring him to thy control this very day, if he stays before me in battle even for a moment, of course, if Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, that tiger among men, be withdrawn from the field. In Phalguni’s presence, however, O king, Yudhishthira is incapable of being taken in battle even by the gods and the Asuras headed by Indra.’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘After Drona had promised the king’s seizure even under these limitations, thy foolish sons regarded Yudhishthira as already taken. Thy son (Duryodhana) knew Drona’s partiality for the Pandavas. In order to make Drona stick to his promise, therefore, he divulged those counsels. Then, O chastiser of foes, the fact of Drona’s having promised to seize the (eldest) Pandava was proclaimed by Duryodhana unto all his troops.’”

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