Chapter 82

Mahabharata English - ASWAMEDHA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘The (sacrificial) steed, having wandered over thewhole Earth bounded by the ocean, then ceased and turned his face towardsthe city called after the elephant. Following as he did that horse, thediadem-decked Arjuna also turned his face towards the Kuru capital.Wandering at his will, the steed then came to the city of Rajagriha.Beholding him arrived within his dominion, O monarch, the heroic son ofSahadeva, observant of Kshatriya duties, challenged him to battle. Comingout of his city, Meghasandhi, mounted on his car and equipt with bow andarrows and leathern fence, rushed towards Dhananjaya who was on foot.Possessed of great energy, Meghasandhi approaching Dhananjaya, O king,said these words from a spirit of childishness and without any skill.’This steed of thine, O Bharata, seems to move about, protected by womenonly. I shall take away the horse. Do thou strive to free him. Althoughmy sires did not teach thee in battle, I, however, shall do the duties ofhospitality to you. Do thou strike me, for I shall strike thee.’ Thusaddressed, the son of Pandu, smiling the while, answered him, saying, ‘Toresist him who obstructs me is the vow cast on me by my eldest brother.Without doubt, O king, this is known to thee. Do thou strike me to thebest of thy power. I have no anger.’ Thus addressed, the ruler of Magadhafirst struck the son of Pandu, showering his arrows on him like thethousand-eyed Indra showering heavy downpour of rain. Then, O chief ofBharata’s race, the heroic wielder of Gandiva, with shafts sped from hisexcellent bow, baffled all the arrows shot carefully at him by hisantagonist. Having thus baffled that cloud of arrows, the ape-banneredhero sped a number of blazing arrows at his foe that resembled snakeswith fiery mouths. These arrows he shot at his flag and flag-staff andcar and poles and yoke and the horses, sparing the body of his foe andhis car-driver. Though Partha who was capable of shooting the bow withthe left hand (as well as with the right) spared the body of the princeof Magadha, yet the latter thinking that his body was protected by hisown prowess, shot many arrows at Partha. The wielder of Gandiva, deeplystruck by the prince of Magadha, shone like a flowering Palasa (Buteafrondosa) in the season of spring. Arjuna had no desire of slaying theprince of Magadha. It was for this that, having struck the son of Pandu,he succeeded in remaining before that foremost of heroes. ThenDhananjaya, becoming angry, drew his bow with great force, and slew hisantagonist’s steeds and then struck off the head of his car-driver. Witha razor-headed shaft he then cut off Meghasandhi’s large and beautifulbow, and then his leathern fence. Then cutting off his flag andflag-staff, he caused it to fall down. The prince of Magadha, exceedinglyafflicted, and deprived of his steeds and bow and driver, took up a maceand rushed with great speed at the son of Kunti. Arjuna then with manyshafts of his equipt with vulturine feathers cut off into fragments, thatmace of his advancing foe which was adorned with bright gold. Thus cutoff into fragments, that mace with its begemmed bonds and knots allsevered, fell on the Earth like a she-snake helplessly hurled down bysomebody. When his foe became deprived of his car, his bow, and his mace,that foremost of warriors, viz., the intelligent Arjuna, did not wish tostrike him. The ape-bannered hero then, comforting his cheerless foe whohad been observant of Kshatriya duties, said unto him these words, ‘Oson, thou hast sufficiently displayed thy adherence to Kshatriya duties.Go now. Great have been the feats, O king, which thou hast accomplishedin battle although thou art very young in years. The command I receivedfrom Yudhishthira was that kings who oppose me should not be slain. It isfor this thou livest yet, O monarch, although thou hast offended me inbattle. Thus addressed, the ruler of Magadha considered himselfvanquished and spared. Thinking then that it was his duty to do so, heapproached Arjuna and joining his hands in reverence worshipped him. Andhe said, ‘Vanquished have I been by thee. Blessed be thou, I do notventure to continue the battle. Tell me what I am to do now for thee.Regard thy behest as already accomplished. Comforting him again, Arjunaonce more said unto him, ‘Thou shouldst repair to the Horse-sacrifice ofour king which takes place at the coming full moon of Chaitra.’ Thusaddressed by him, the son of Sahadeva said, ‘So be it,’–and then dulyworshipped that horse as also Phalguna, that foremost of warriors. Thesacrificial horse then, equipt with beautiful manes, proceeded at hiswill along the sea-coast, repairing to the countries of the Bangas, thePundras, and the Kosalas. In those realms Dhananjaya, with his bowGandiva, O king, vanquished innumerable Mlechecha armies one afteranother.'”

Chapter 83
Chapter 81
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