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Chapter 242

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

Vaisampayana said, “Hearing the words of Yudhishthira, those bulls amongmen, headed by Bhimasena, rose up with faces beaming in joy. And thosemighty warriors, O Bharata, then began to case themselves in impenetrablemail that were besides variegated with pure gold, and armed themselveswith celestial weapons of various kinds. And the Pandavas thus cased inmail, and mounted on those chariots furnished with flagstaffs and armedwith bows and arrows, looked like blazing fires. And those tigers amongwarriors, riding upon those well furnished cars drawn by fleet horses,proceeded to that spot without losing a moment. And beholding thosemighty warriors–the sons of Pandu–thus proceeding together (for theliberation of Duryodhana), the Kuru army sent forth a loud shout. Andsoon did those rangers of the sky flushed with victory, and thoseimpetuous warriors, the sons of Pandu, fearlessly encounter each other inthat forest. The Gandharvas were flushed with success, and beholding thefour brave sons of Pandu coming to battle seated on their cars, they allturned back towards the advancing combatants. And, the dwellers of theGandhamadana, beholding the Pandavas looking like blazing guardians ofthe world provoked to ire, stood arrayed in order of battle. And, OBharata, in accordance with words of king Yudhishthira of great wisdom,the encounter that took place was a skirmish. But when Arjuna–thatpersecutor of foes–saw that the foolish soldiers of the king ofGandharvas could not be made to understand what was good for them bymeans of a light skirmish, he addressed those invincible rangers of theskies in a conciliatory tone and said, ‘Leave ye my brother kingSuyodhana.’ Thus addressed by the illustrious son of Pandu, theGandharvas, laughing aloud, replied unto him saying, ‘O child, there isbut one in the world whose behests we obey and living under whose rule wepass our days in happiness: O Bharata, we always act as that one onlyperson commandeth us! Besides that celestial chief there is none that cancommand us!’ Thus addressed by the Gandharvas, Dhananjaya, the son ofKunti, replied unto them, saying, ‘This contact with other people’s wivesand this hostile encounter with human beings are acts that are bothcensurable in the king of the Gandharvas and not proper for him.Therefore, leave ye these sons of Dhritarashtra all endued with mightyenergy. And liberate ye also these ladies, at the command of kingYudhishthira the just. If, ye Gandharvas, ye do not set the sons ofDhritarashtra free peacefully, I shall certainly rescue Suyodhana (andhis party) by exerting my prowess.’ And speaking unto them thus, Pritha’sson, Dhananjaya, capable of wielding the bow with his left hand also,then rained a shower of sharp pointed sky-ranging shafts upon thoserangers of the firmament. Thus attacked, the mighty Gandharvas thenencountered the sons of Pandu with a shower of arrows equally thick, andthe Pandavas also replied by attacking those dwellers of heaven. And thebattle then, O Bharata, that ranged between the active and agileGandharvas and the impetuous son of Pandu was fierce in the extreme.”

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