Chapter 22

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“Vasudeva continued, ‘Then O thou foremost of the Bharata race, taking upmy beautiful bow, I began to cut off with my arrows the heads of theenemies of the celestials, from off that car of costly metals! And Ibegan to discharge from the Sharanga many well-looking arrows of theforms of snakes, capable of going at a great height and possessingintense energy. And, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, I could not then seethe car of costly metals, for it had vanished, through illusion! I wasthen filled with wonder! That host of Danvas then, O Bharata, offrightful visages and hair, set up a loud howl while I was waiting forit. In that fierce battle. I then, with the object of destroying them,fixed on my bow-string the weapon capable of piercing the foes if but hissound was inaudible. Upon this, their shouts ceased. But those Danavasthat had sent up that shout were all slain by those shafts of mineblazing as the Sun himself, and capable of striking at the perception ofsound alone. And after the shout had ceased at one place, O mighty king,another yell proceeded from another quarter. Thitherto also I sent myshafts. In this way, O Bharata, the Asuras began to send up yells in allthe ten quarters above and across. These were all slain by me, viz.,those that were in the skies and that were invisible, with arrows ofdiverse forms, and celestial weapons inspired with mantras. Then, O hero,that car of precious metals capable of going anywhere at will,bewildering my eyes, reappeared at Pragjyotisha! And then the destroyingDanavas of fierce forms suddenly drowned me with a mighty shower ofrocks. And, O thou foremost of monarchs, torrents of rocks falling uponme covered me up, and I began to grow like an ant-hill (with its summitsand peaks)! And covered along with my horses and charioteer andflagstaffs, with crags on all sides, I disappeared from sight altogether.Then those foremost of heroes of the Vrishni race who were of my armywere, struck with panic, and all on a sudden began to fly in alldirections. And beholding me in that plight, O king, the heaven, thefirmament, and the earth were filled with exclamation of Oh! and Alas!And then, O monarch, my friends filled with sorrow and grief began toweep and wail with heavy hearts! And delight filled the hearts of theenemies. And O thou who never waverest, I heard of this after I haddefeated the foe! And then wielding the thunderbolt, that favourite(weapon) of Indra, capable of riving stones, I destroyed that entire massof crags! But my steeds, afflicted with the weight of the stones andalmost on the point of death began to tremble. And beholding me, all myfriends rejoiced again even as men rejoice on seeing the sun rise in thesky, dispersing the clouds. And seeing my horses almost in their lastgasp for breath, afflicted with that load of stones, my charioteer saidunto me in words suitable to the occasion, ‘O thou of the Vrishni race,behold Salwa the owner of the car of precious metals sitting (yonder). Donot disregard him! Do thou exert thyself! Do thou abandon thy mildnessand consideration for Salwa. Slay Salwa, O thou of mighty arms! O Kesava,do not let him live! O hero, O thou destroyer of those that are not thyfriends (enemies), an enemy should be slain with every exertion! Even aweak enemy who is under the feet of a man endued with strength, shouldnot be disregarded by the latter: that (shall I say) of one that darethus to the fight? Therefore, O thou tiger among men, putting forth everyexertion, slay him, O lord, O thou foremost of the Vrishni race! Do thounot delay again! This one is not capable of being vanquished by mildermeasures. And he cannot in my opinion be thy friend who is fighting theeand who devastated Dwaraka!’ O Kaunteya, hearing such words of mycharioteer, and knowing that what he said was true, I directed myattention to the fight (afresh), with the view of slaying Salwa anddestroying the car of costly metals! And, O hero, saying unto Daruka,’Stay a moment’ I fixed on my bow-string my favourite weapon of fire,blazing and of celestial origin, of irresistible force, and incapable ofbeing baffled, bursting with energy, capable of penetrating intoeverything, and of great splendour! And saying, ‘Destroy the car ofprecious metals together with all those enemies that are in it.’ Ilaunched with the might of my arms and in wrath with mantras, the greatpowerful discus Sudarsana which reduceth to ashes in battle Yakshas andRakshasas and Danavas and kings born in impure tribes, sharp-edged likethe razor, and without stain, like unto Yama the destroyer, andincomparable, and which killeth enemies. And rising into the sky, itseemed like a second sun of exceeding effulgence at the end of the Yuga.And approaching the town of Saubha whose splendour had disappeared, thediscus went right through it, even as a saw divideth a tall tree. And cutin twain by the energy of the Sudarsana it fell like the city of Tripurashaken by the shafts of Maheswara. And after the town of Saubha hadfallen, the discus came back into my hands, And taking it up I once morehurled it with force saying, ‘Go thou unto Salwa.’ The discus then cleftSalwa in twain who in that fierce conflict was at the point of hurling aheavy mace. And with its energy it set the foe ablaze. And after thatbrave warrior was slain, the disheartened Danava women fled in alldirections, exclaiming Oh! and Alas! And taking my chariot in front ofthe town of Saubha I cheerfully blew my conch and gladdened the hearts ofmy friends. And beholding their town, high as the peak of the Meru, withits palaces and gate-ways utterly destroyed, and all ablaze, the Danavasfled in fear. And having thus destroyed the town of Saubha and slainSalwa, I returned to the Anarttas and delighted my friends. And, O king,it is for this reason that I could not come to the city named after theelephant (Hastinapura), O destroyer of hostile heroes! O warrior, if Ihad come, Suyodhana would not have been alive or the match at dice wouldnot have taken place. What can I do now? It is difficult to confine thewaters after the dam is broken!'”

Vaisampayana continued, “Having addressed the Kaurava thus, that foremostof male persons, of mighty arms, the slayer of Madhu, possessed of everygrace, saluting the Pandavas, prepared for departure. And themighty-armed hero reverentially saluted Yudhishthira the just, and theking in return and Bhima also smelt the crown of his head. And he wasembraced by Arjuna, and the twins saluted him with reverence. And he wasduly honoured by Dhaumya, and worshipped with tears by Draupadi. Andcausing Subhadra and Abhimanyu to ascend his golden car, Krishna, mountedit himself, worshipped by the Pandavas. And consoling Yudhishthira,Krishna set out for Dwaraka on his car resplendent as the sun and untowhich were yoked the horses Saivya and Sugriva. And after he of theDasharha race had departed, Dhristadyumna, the son of Prishata, also setout for his own city, taking with him the sons of Draupadi. And the kingof Chedi, Dhrishtaketu also, taking his sister with him set out for hisbeautiful city of Suktimati, after bidding farewell to the Pandavas. And,O Bharata, the Kaikeyas also, with the permission of Kunti’s sonpossessed of immeasurable energy, having reverentially saluted all thePandavas, went away. But Brahmanas and the Vaisyas and the dwellers ofYudhishthira’s kingdom though repeatedly requested to go, did not leavethe Pandavas. O foremost of king, O bull of the Bharata race, themultitude that surrounded those high-souled ones in the forest of Kamyakalooked extraordinary. And Yudhishthira, honouring those high-mindedBrahmanas, in due time ordered his men, saying ‘Make ready the car.'”

Chapter 52
Chapter 23