Chapter 78

Mahabharata English - ASWAMEDHA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘The irresistible wielder of Gandiva, addresst forbattle, stood immovable on the field like Himavat himself. The Saindhavawarriors, once more rallying, showered in great wrath repeated down-poursof shifts on him. The mighty-armed hero, laughing at his foes, who hadonce more rallied but who were on the point of death, addressed them inthese soft words,–‘Do ye fight to the best of your power and do yeendeavour to vanquish me. Do ye however, accomplish all necessary acts,for a great danger awaits you all. See, I fight all of you, baffling yourclouds of arrows. Bent as you are on battle, tarry a little. I shall soonquell your pride.’ The wielder of Gandiva, having said these words inwrath, recollected, however, the words, O Bharata, of his eldest brother.Those words were,–‘Thou shouldst not, O child, slay those Kshatriyas whowill come against thee for battle. They should, however, be vanquished bythee. That foremost of men, Phalguna, had been thus addressed by kingYudhishthira the just, of great soul. He, therefore, began to reflect inthis strain. ‘Even thus was I commissioned by my brother. Warriorsadvancing against me should not be slain. I must act in such a way as notto falsify the words of king Yudhishthira the just.’ Having arrived atthis conclusion, Phalguna, that foremost of men, then said unto thoseSaindhavas who were all fierce in battle, these words:–‘I say what isfor your benefit. Though staying before me. I do not wish to slay you. Heamongst you who will say unto me that he has been vanquished by me andthat he is mine, will be spared by me. Having heard these words of mine,act towards me in that way which may best conduce to your benefit. Byacting in a different way you will place yourselves in a situation ofgreat fear and danger.’ Having said these words unto those heroicwarriors the chief of the Kurus began to fight them. Arjuna was inflamedwith wrath. His foes, desirous of victory, were equally enraged. TheSaindhavas then, O king, shot hundreds and thousands of straight arrowsat the wielder of Gandiva. Dhananjaya, with his own whetted shafts, cutoff those arrows of sharp and terrible points, resembling snakes ofvirulent poison, before they could come up to him. Having cut off thosesharp arrows equipt with Kanka feathers, Arjuna pierced each of thewarriors opposed to him with a whetted shaft. The Saindhava Kshatriyas,recollecting that it was Dhananjaya who had slain their king Jayadratha,then hurled at him darts and javelins with great force. The diadem-deckedDhananjaya of great might baffled their intent by cutting off all thoseweapons before any of them could reach him. At length the son of Pandubecame highly angry. With many straight and broad-headed arrows, hefelled the heads of many of those warriors who were rushing at him fromdesire of victory. Many fled, many rushed at Arjuna; many moved not, allof them, however, uttered such aloud noise (of wrath and grief) that itresembled the roar of the ocean. As they were slain by Partha ofimmeasurable might, they fought him, each according to his strength andprowess. Their animals being all exhausted, Partha succeeded in deprivinga large number of those warriors of their senses by means of his sharpestshafts in that battle. Then Dussala, their queen, the daughter ofDhritarashtra, knowing that they were rendered cheerless by Arjuna, tookher grandson in her arms and repaired to Arjuna. The child was the son ofSuratha (the son of Jayadratha). The brave prince proceeded to hismaternal uncle on his car for the safety of all the Saindhava warriors.The queen, arrived at the presence of Dhananjaya, began to weep insorrow. The puissant Dhananjaya, seeing her, cast off his bow. Abandoninghis bow, Partha duly received his sister and enquired of her as to whathe could do for her. The queen replied unto him, saying,–‘O chief of theBharatas, this child is the son of thy sister’s son. He salutes thee, OPartha. Look at him, O foremost of men.’ Thus addressed by her, Parthaenquired after his son (Suratha), saying–‘Where is he?’ Dussala thenanswered him, saying,–‘Burning with grief on account of the slaughter ofhis sire, the heroic father of this child died in great affliction ofheart. Listen to me how he met with his death. ‘O Dhananjaya, he hadheard before that his sire Jayadratha had been slain by thee, O sinlessone. Exceedingly afflicted with grief at this, and hearing of thy arrivalhere as the follower and protector of the sacrificial horse, he at oncefell down and gave up his life-breaths. Verily, deeply afflicted withgrief as he was, as go on as he heard of thy arrival he gave up his life.Seeing him prostrate on the Earth, O lord, I took his infant son with meand have come to thee, desirous of thy protection.’ Having said thesewords, the daughter of Dhritarashtra began to lament in deep affliction.Arjuna stood before her in great cheerlessness of heart. His face wasturned towards the Earth. The cheerless sister then said unto herbrother, who was equally cheerless, these words: ‘Behold thy sister.Behold the child of thy sister’s son. O perpetuator of Kuru’s race, Othou that art fully conversant with every duty, it behoveth thee to showmercy to this child, forgetting the Kuru prince (Duryodhana) and thewicked Jayadratha. Even as that slayer of hostile heroes, Parikshit, hasbeen born of Abhimanyu, so has this mighty-armed child, my grandson,sprung from Suratha. Taking him with me, O chief of men, I have come tothee, desirous of the safety of all the warriors. Do thou listen to thesewords of mine. This child of that wicked foe of thine hath now come tothee, O mighty-armed hero. It behoveth thee, therefore to show mercy tothis infant. O chastiser of foes, this infant seeks to gratify thee bybending his head. He solicits thee for peace. O mighty-armed hero, beinclined to make peace. O thou that art conversant with every duty, bethou gratified with the child whose friends and kinsmen have all beenslain and who himself knows nothing of what has happened. Do not yield towrath. Forgetting his disreputable and cruel grandfather, who offendedagainst thee so highly, it behoveth thee to show thy grace towards thischild.’ Recollecting queen Gandhari and king Dhritarashtra, Dhananjaya,afflicted with grief, addressed Dussala who had said so unto him, andanswered her, censuring Kshatriya practices the while. ‘Fie onDuryodhana, that mean wight, covetous of kingdom and full of vanity!Alas, it was for him that all my kinsmen have been despatched by me tothe abode of Yama.’ Having said so, Dhananjaya comforted his sister andbecame inclined to make peace. Cheerfully he embraced her and thendismissed her, telling her to return to her palace. Dussala bade all herwarriors desist from that great battle, and worshipping Partha, she ofbeautiful face retraced her steps towards her abode. Having vanquishedthose heroes, viz., the Saindhavas, thus, Dhananjaya began to follow thatsteed which roved at its will. The heroic Arjuna duly followed thatsacrificial horse even as the divine wielder of Pinaka had in days ofyore followed the deer through the firmament.[193] The steed, at itswill, wandered through various realms one after another, enhancing thefeats of Arjuna. In course of time, O chief of men, the horse wanderingat its pleasure, at last arrived within the dominions of the ruler ofManipura, followed by the son of Pandu.'”

Chapter 79
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