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Chapter 76

Mahabharata English - ASWAMEDHA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘Thus waged that battle, O chief of the Bharatas, forthree days between Arjuna and that prince like the encounter between himof a hundred sacrifices and Vritra. On the fourth day, Vajradatta ofgreat might laughed loudly and, addressing Arjuna, said these words:’Wait, wait, O Arjuna. Thou shalt not escape me with life. Slaying thee Ishall duly discharge the water-rite of my sire. My aged sire, Bhagadatta,who was the friend of thy sire, was slain by thee in consequence of hisweight of years. Do thou, however, fight me that am but a boy!'[192]Having said these words, O thou of Kuru’s race, king Vajradatta, filledwith rage, urged his elephant towards the son of Pandu. Urged on byVajradatta of great intelligence, that prince of elephants, as ifdesirous of cutting through the welkin, rushed towards Dhananjaya. Thatprince of elephants drenched Arjuna with a shower of juice emitted fromthe end of his trunk, like a mass of blue clouds drenching a hill withits downpour. Indeed, urged on by the king, elephant, repeatedly roaringlike a cloud, rushed towards Phalguna, with that deep noise emitted fromits mouth. Verily, urged on by Vajradatta, that prince of elephantsquickly moved towards the mighty car-warrior of the Kurus, with the treadof one that seemed to dance in excitement. Beholding that beast ofVajradatta advance towards him, that slayer of foes, viz., the mightyDhananjaya, relying on Gandiva, stood his ground without shaking withfear. Recollecting what an obstacle Vajradatta was proving to theaccomplishment of his task, and remembering the old enmity of the house(of Pragjyotisha towards the Pandavas), the son of Pandu becameexceedingly inflamed with wrath against the king. Filled with rage,Dhananjaya impeded the course of that beast with a shower of arrows likethe shore resisting the surging sea. That prince of elephants possessedof beauty (of form), thus impeded by Arjuna, stopped in its course, withbody pierced with many an arrow, like a porcupine with its quills erect.Seeing his elephant impeded in its course, the royal son of Bhagadatta,deprived of sense by rage, shot many whetted arrows at Arjuna. Themighty-armed Arjuna baffled all those arrows with many foe-slaying shaftsof his. The feat seemed to be exceedingly wonderful. Once more the kingof the Pragjyotishas, inflamed with ire, forcibly urged his elephant,which resembled a mountain, at Arjuna. Beholding the beast once moreadvancing towards him, Arjuna shot with great strength a shaft at it thatresembled a veritable flame of fire. Struck deeply in the very vitals, Oking, by the son of Pandu, the beast suddenly fell down on the Earth likea mountain summit loosened by a thunder-bolt. Struck with Dhartanjaya’sshaft, the elephant, as it lay on the Earth, looked like a huge mountaincliff lying on the ground, loosened by the bolt of Indra. When theelephant of Vajradatta was prostrated on the ground, the son of Pandu,addressing the king who had fallen down with his beast, said,–‘Do notfear. Indeed, Yudhishthira of mighty energy said unto me whilecommissioning me for this task even these words,–‘Thou shouldst not, ODhananjaya, slay those kings (who may encounter thee in battle). O tigeramong men, thou shouldst regard thy task as accomplished if only thoudisablest those hostile kings. Thou shouldst not also, O Dhananjaya, slaythe warriors of those kings who may come forth to fight thee, with alltheir kinsmen and friends. They should be requested to come to thehorse-sacrifice of Yudhishthira.’–Having heard these commands of mybrother, I shall not slay thee, O king. Rise up; let no fear be thine;return to thy city safe and sound, O lord of Earth. When the day of fullmoon in the month of Chaitra comes, thou shalt, O great king, repair tothat sacrifice of king Yudhishthira the just, for it takes place on thatday. Thus addressed by Arjuna, the royal son of Bhagadatta, defeated bythe son of Pandu, said,–‘So be it.'”

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