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Chapter 74

Mahabharata English - ASWAMEDHA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said. ‘A battle took place between the diadem-decked(Arjuna) and the sons and grandsons of the Trigartas whose hostility thePandavas has incurred before and all of whom were well-known as mightycar-warriors. Having learnt that that foremost of steeds, which wasintended for the sacrifice, had come to their realm, these heroes, casingthemselves in mail, surrounded Arjuna. Mounted on their cars, drawn byexcellent and well-decked horses, and with quivers on their backs, theysurrounded that horse, O king, and endeavoured to capture it. Thediadem-decked Arjuna, reflecting on that endeavour of theirs, forbadethose heroes, with conciliatory speeches, O chastiser of foes.Disregarding Arjuna’s message, they assailed him with their shafts. Thediadem-decked Arjuna resisted those warriors who were under the sway ofdarkness and passion. Jishnu, addressed them smilingly and said, ‘Desist,ye unrighteous ones. Life is a benefit (that should not be thrown away).’At the time of his setting out, he had been earnestly ordered by kingYudhishthira the just, not to slay those Kshatriyas whose kinsmen hadbeen slain before on the field of Kurukshetra. Recollecting thesecommands of king Yudhishthira the just who was endued with greatintelligence, Arjuna asked the Trigartas to forbear. But they disregardedArjuna’s injunction. Then Arjuna vanquished Suryavarman, the king of theTrigartas, in battle, by shooting countless shafts at him and laughed inscorn. The Trigarta warriors, however, filling the ten points with theclatter of their cars and car-wheels, rushed towards Dhananjaya. ThenSuryavarman, displaying his great lightness of hand, pierced Dhananjayawith hundreds of straight arrows, O monarch. The other great bowmen whofollowed the king and who were all desirous of compassing the destructionof Dhananjaya, shot showers of arrows on him. With countless shafts shotfrom his own bow-siring, the son of Pandu, O king, cut off those cloudsof arrows; upon which they fell down. Endued with great energy,Ketuvarman, the younger brother of Suryavarman, and possessed of youthfulvigour, fought, for the sake of his brother, against Pandu’s sonpossessed of great fame. Beholding Ketuvarman approaching towards him forbattle, Vibhatsu, that slayer of hostile heroes, slew him with manysharp-pointed arrows. Upon Ketuvarman’s fall, the mighty car-warriorDhritavarman, rushing on his car towards Arjuna, showered a perfectdownpour of arrows on him. Beholding that lightness of hand displayed bythe youth Dhritavarman, Gudakesa of mighty energy and great prowessbecame highly gratified with him. The son of Indra could not see when theyoung warrior took out his arrows and when he placed them on hisbow-string aiming at him. He only saw showers of arrows in the air. For abrief space of time, Arjuna gladdened his enemy and mentally admired hisheroism and skill. The Kuru hero, smiling the while, fought with thatyouth who resembled an angry snake. The mighty armed Dhananjaya, glad ashe was in beholding the valour of Dhritavarman, did not take his life.While, however, Partha of immeasurable energy fought mildly with himwithout wishing to take his life, Dhritavarman shot a blazing arrow athim. Deeply pierced in the hand by that arrow, Vijaya became stupefiedand his bow Gandiva fell down on the Earth from his relaxed grasp. Theform of that bow, O king, when it fell from the grasp of Arjuna,resembled, O Bharata, that of the bow of Indra (that is seen in thewelkin after a shower). When that great and celestial bow fell down, Omonarch, Dhritavarman laughed loudly in battle. At this, Jishnu, excitedwith rage, wiped the blood from his hand and once more taking up his bow,showered a perfect downpour of arrows. Then a loud and confused noisearose, filling the welkin and touching the very heavens as it were, fromdiverse creatures who applauded that feat of Dhananjaya. Beholding Jishnuinflamed with rage and looking like Yama himself as he appears at the endof the Yuga, the Trigarta warriors hastily surrounded him, rushing fromtheir posts and desirous of rescuing Dhritavarman. Seeing himselfsurrounded by his foes, Arjuna became more angry than before. He thenquickly despatched eight and ten of their foremost warriors with manyshafts of hard iron that resembled the arrows of the great Indra himself.The Trigarta warriors then began to fly. Seeing them retreat, Dhananjaya,with great speed, shot many shafts at them that resembled wrathful snakesof virulent poison, and laughed aloud. The mighty car-warriors of theTrigartas, with dispirited hearts, fled in all directions, exceedinglyafflicted by Dhananjaya with his arrows. They then addressed that tigeramong men, that slayer of the Samsaptaka host (on the field ofKurukshetra), saying, ‘We are your slaves. We yield to thee.[190] Do thoucommand us, O Partha. Lo, we wait here as the most docile of thyservants. O delighter of the Kurus, we shall execute all thy commands.’Hearing these words expressive of their submission, Dhananjaya, said untothem, ‘Do ye, O kings, save your lives, and accept my dominion.'”

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