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Chapter 250

Mahabharata English - ARANYAKA PARVA

“The Danavas said, ‘O Suyodhana, O great king? O perpetuator of the raceof Bharata, thou art ever surrounded by heroes and illustrious men. Whyhast thou, then, undertaken to do such a rash act as the vow ofstarvation? The suicide ever sinketh into hell and becometh the subjectof calumnious speech. Nor do intelligent persons like thee ever set theirhands to acts that are sinful and opposed to their best interests andstriking at the very root of their purposes. Restrain this resolve ofthine, therefore, O king, which is destructive of morality, profit, andhappiness, of fame, prowess, and energy, and which enhanceth the joy offoes O exalted king, know the truth, the celestial origin of thy soul,and the maker of thy body, and then summon thou patience to thy aid. Indays of old. O king, we have obtained thee, by ascetic austerities fromMaheswara. The upper part of thy body is wholly made of an assemblage ofVajras, and is, therefore, invulnerable to weapons of every description,O sinless one. The lower part of thy body, capable of captivating thefemale heart by its comeliness was made of flowers by the goddessherself–the wife of Mahadeva. Thy body is thus, O best of kings, thecreation of Maheswara himself and his goddess. Therefore, O tiger amongkings, thou art of celestial origin, not human. Other brave Kshatriyas ofmighty energy headed by Bhagadatta, and all acquainted with celestialweapons, will slay thy foes. Therefore, let this grief of thine cease.Thou hast no cause for fear. For aiding thee, many heroic Danavas havebeen born on the earth. Other Asuras will also possess Bhishma and Dronaand Kama and others. Possessed by those Asuras, these heroes will castaway their kindness and fight with thy foes. Indeed, when the Danavaswill enter their heart and possess them completely, flinging allaffections to a distance, becoming hard-hearted, these warriors willstrike every body opposed to them in battle without sparing sons,brothers, fathers, friends, disciples, relatives, even children and oldmen. Blinded by ignorance and wrath, and impelled by that destiny whichhath been ordained by the Creator, these tigers among men, with heartssteeped in sin, will, O thou foremost of the Kurus, depopulate the earthby hurling and shooting all kinds of weapons, with great manliness andstrength and always addressing one another boastfully with words such asthese, ‘Thou shall not escape from me today with life.’ And theseillustrious sons of Pandu also, five in number, will fight with these.And, endued with mighty strength and favoured by Fate, they will compassthe destruction of these. And, O king, many Daityas and Rakshasas alsothat have been born in the Kshatriya order, will fight with great prowessin the battle with thy foes, using maces and clubs and lances and variousweapons of a superior kind. And, O hero, with respect to the fear that isin thy heart rising from Arjuna, we have already settled the means forslaying Arjuna. The soul of the slain Naraka hath assumed the form ofKarna. Recollecting his former hostility he will encounter both Kesavaand Arjuna. And that mighty warrior and foremost of smiters, proud of hisprowess will vanquish Arjuna in battle as also all thy enemies. Thewielder of the thunder-bolt, knowing all this, and desirous of savingArjuna, will in disguise take away from Karna his ear-rings and coat ofmail. We also have for that reason appointed hundreds upon hundreds andthousands upon thousands of Daityas and Rakshasas, viz., those that areknown by the name of Samsaptakas.[83] These celebrated warriors will slaythe heroic Arjuna. Therefore, grieve not, O king. Thou wilt rule thewhole earth, O monarch, without a rival. Do not yield to despondency.Conduct such as this does not suit thee. O thou of the Kuru race, if thoudiest, our party becometh weak. Go thou, O hero, and let not thy mind bedirected to any other course of action. Thou art ever our refuge as,indeed, the Pandavas are the refuge of the gods.’

Vaisampayana continued, “Having addressed him thus, those Daityasembraced that elephant among kings, and those bulls among the Danavascheered that irrepressible one like a son. And, O Bharata, pacifying hismind by soft speech, they permitted him to depart, saying, ‘Go and attainvictory!’ And when they had given leave to the mighty-armed one, thatvery goddess carried him back to the spot where he had sat down, intentupon putting an end to his life. And having set that hero down and paidhim homage, the goddess vanished, taking the king’s permission. OBharata, when she had gone, king Duryodhana considered all (that hadhappened) as a dream. He then thought within himself, ‘I shall defeat thePandavas in battle.’ And Suyodhana thought that Karna and the Samsaptakaarmy were both able (to destroy) and intent upon destroying that slayerof foes, Partha. Thus, O bull of the Bharata race, the hope wasstrengthened of the wicked minded son of Dhritarashtra, of conquering thePandavas. And Karna also, his soul and faculties possessed by the inmostsoul of Naraka, had at that time cruelly determined to slay Arjuna. Andthose heroes–the Samsaptakas also–having their sense possessed by theRakshasas, and influenced by the qualities of emotion and darkness, weredesirous of slaying Phalguna. And, O king, others with Bhishma, Drona,and Kripa at their head, having their faculties influenced by theDanavas, were not so affectionate towards the sons of Pandu as they hadbeen. But king Suyodhana did not tell any one of this.

“When the night passed away, Karna, that offspring of the Sun, withjoined hands, smilingly addressed these wise words to king Duryodhana,’No dead man conquereth his foes: it is when he is alive that he can seehis good. Where is the good of the dead person; and, O Kauraveya, whereis his victory? Therefore, this is no time for grief, or fear or death.’And having, with his arms embraced that mighty-armed one, he furthersaid, ‘Rise up, O king! Why dost thou lie down? Why dost thou grieve, Oslayer of foes? Having afflicted thy enemies by thy prowess, why dostthou wish for death? Or (perhaps) fear hath possessed thee at the sightof Arjuna’s prowess. I truly promise unto thee that I will slay Arjuna inbattle. O lord of men, I swear by my weapon that when the three and tenyears shall have passed away, I will bring the sons of Pritha under thysubjection.’ Thus addressed by Karna, and remembering the words of theDaityas and supplications made by them (his brothers), Suyodhana rose up.And having heard those words of the Daityas that tiger among men, with afirm resolve in his heart arrayed his army, abounding in horses andelephants and cars and infantry. And, O monarch, immensely swarming withwhite umbrellas, and pennons, and white Chamaras, and cars, andelephants, and foot-soldiers, that mighty army, as it moved like thewaters of the Ganga, looked graceful like the firmament, at a season whenthe clouds have dispersed and the signs of autumn have been but partiallydeveloped. And, O foremost of kings, eulogised like a monarch by the bestof the Brahmanas blessing with victory, that lord of men Suyodhana,Dhritarashtra’s son, receiving honours paid with innumerable joinedpalms, and flaming in exceeding splendour, went in the front, accompaniedby Karna, and that gambler, the son of Suvala. And all his brothers withDussasana at their head, and Bhurisrava, and Somadatta, and the mightyking Vahlika, followed that lion among kings on his way, with cars ofvarious forms, and horses, and the best of elephants. And, O prime amongmonarchs, in a short time, those perpetuators of the Kuru race enteredtheir own city.”

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