“Vaisampayana said, ‘O thou of Bharata’s race, beholding the sons ofDhritarashtra and Pandu accomplished in arms, Drona, O monarch, addressedking Dhritarashtra, in the presence of Kripa, Somadatta, Valhika, thewise son of Ganga (Bhishma), Vyasa, and Vidura, and said, ‘O best of Kurukings, thy children have completed their education.
With thy permission,O king, let them now show their proficiency.’ Hearing him, the king saidwith a gladdened heart, ‘O best of Brahmanas, thou hast, indeed,accomplished a great deed. Command me thyself as to the place and thetime where and when and the manner also in which the trial may be held.Grief arising from my own blindness maketh me envy those who, blessedwith sight, will behold my children’s prowess in arm. O Kshatri (Vidura),do all that Drona sayeth. O thou devoted to virtue, I think there isnothing that can be more agreeable to me.’ Then Vidura, giving thenecessary assurance to the king, went out to do what he was bid. AndDrona endued with great wisdom, then measured out a piece of land thatwas void of trees and thickets and furnished with wells and springs. Andupon the spot of land so measured out, Drona, that first of eloquent men,selecting a lunar day when the star ascendant was auspicious, offered upsacrifice unto the gods in the presence of the citizens assembled byproclamation to witness the same. And then, O bull among men, theartificers of the king built thereon a large and elegant stage accordingto the rules laid down in the scriptures, and it was furnished with allkinds of weapons. They also built another elegant hall for thelady-spectators. And the citizens constructed many platforms while thewealthier of them pitched many spacious and high tents all around.
“When the day fixed for the Tournament came, the king accompanied by hisministers, with Bhishma and Kripa, the foremost of preceptors, walkingahead, came unto that theatre of almost celestial beauty constructed ofpure gold, and decked with strings of pearls and stones of lapis lazuli.And, O first of victorious men, Gandhari blessed with great good fortuneand Kunti, and the other ladies of the royal house-hold, in gorgeousattire and accompanied by their waiting women, joyfully ascended theplatforms, like celestial ladies ascending the Sumeru mountain. And thefour orders including the Brahmanas and Kshatriyas, desirous of beholdingthe princes’ skill in arms, left the city and came running to the spot.And so impatient was every one to behold the spectacle, that the vastcrowd assembled there in almost an instant. And with the sounds oftrumpets and drums and the noise of many voices, that vast concourseappeared like an agitated ocean.
“At last, Drona accompanied by his son, dressed in white (attire), with awhite sacred thread, white locks, white beard, white garlands, and whitesandal-paste rubbed over his body, entered the lists. It seemed as if theMoon himself accompanied by the planet Mars appeared in an unclouded sky.On entering Bharadwaja performed timely worship and caused Brahmanasversed in mantras to celebrate the auspicious rites. And after auspiciousand sweet-sounding musical instruments had been struck up as apropitiatory ceremony, some persons entered, equipped with various arms.And then having girded up their loins, those mighty warriors, thoseforemost ones of Bharata’s race (the princes) entered, furnished withfinger-protectors (gauntlet), and bows, and quivers. And withYudhishthira at their head, the valiant princes entered in order of ageand began to show wonderful skill with their weapons. Some of thespectators lowered their heads, apprehending fall of arrows while othersfearlessly gazed on with wonder. And riding swiftly on horses andmanaging them ‘dexterously’ the princes began to hit marks with shaftsengraved with their respective names. And seeing the prowess of theprinces armed with bows and arrows, the spectators thought that they werebeholding the city of the Gandharvas, became filled with amazement. And,O Bharata, all on a sudden, some hundreds and thousands, with eyes wideopen in wonder, exclaimed, ‘Well done! Well done!’ And having repeatedlydisplayed their skill and dexterity in the use of bows and arrows and inthe management of cars, the mighty warriors took up their swords andbucklers, and began to range the lists, playing their weapons. Thespectators saw (with wonder) their agility, the symmetry of their bodies,their grace, their calmness, the firmness of their grasp and theirdeftness in the use of sword and buckler. Then Vrikodara and Suyodhana,internally delighted (at the prospect of fight), entered the arena, macein hand, like two single-peaked mountains. And those mighty-armedwarriors braced their loins, and summoning all their energy, roared liketwo infuriate elephants contending for a cow-elephant; and like twoinfuriated elephants those mighty heroes faultlessly (in consonance withthe dictates of the science of arm) careered right and left, circling thelists. And Vidura described to Dhritarashtra and the mother of thePandavas (Kunti) and Gandhari, all the feats of the princes.'”