Chapter 84

Mahabharata English - ASWAMEDHA PARVA

“Vaisampayana said, ‘The heroic son of Sakuni, who was a mightycar-warrior among the Gandharas, accompanied by a large force, proceededagainst the Kuru hero of curly hair.[200] That force was properly equiptwith elephants and horses and cars, and was adorned with many flags andbanners. Unable to bear and, therefore, burning to avenge, the slaughterof their king Sakuni, those warriors, armed with bows, rushed together atPartha. The unvanquished Vibhatsu of righteous soul addressed thempeacefully, but they were unwilling to accept the beneficial words ofYudhishthira (through Arjuna). Though forbidden by Partha with sweetwords, they still gave themselves up to wrath and surrounded thesacrificial steed. At this, the son of Pandu became filled with wrath.Then Arjuna, carelessly shooting from Gandiva many shafts with razor-likeheads that blazed with splendour, cut off the heads of many Gandharawarriors. While thus slaughtered by Partha, the Gandharas, O king,exceedingly afflicted, set free the horse, moved by fear and desistedfrom battle. Resisted, however, by those Gandhara combatants who stillsurrounded him on every side, the son of Pandu, possessed of greatenergy, felled the heads of many, previously naming those whom he thusdespatched. When the Gandhara warriors were thus being slain all aroundhim in battle, the royal son of Sakuni came forward to resist the son ofPandu. Unto the Gandhara king who was fighting with him, impelled byKshatriya duty, Arjuna said, ‘I do not intend to slay the kings who fightwith me, in consequence of the commands of Yudhishthira. Cease, O hero,to fight with me. Do not court defeat.’ Thus addressed the son of Sakuni,stupefied by folly, disregarded that advice and covered with many swiftarrows the Kuru hero who resembled Sakra himself in the feats heaccomplished in battle. Then Partha, with a crescent-shaped arrow, cutoff the head-gear of his foe. Of immeasurable soul, he also caused thathead-gear to be borne along a great distance like the head of Jayadratha(after he had cut it off in the battle of Kurukshetra). Beholding thisfeat, all the Gandhara warriors became filled with wonder. That Arjunavoluntarily spared their king was well understood by them. The prince ofthe Gandharas then began to fly away from the field, accompanied by allhis warriors who resembled a flock of frightened deer. The Gandharas,through fear, lost their senses and wandered over the field, unable toescape. Arjuna, with his broad-headed shafts, cut off the heads of many.Many there were who lost their arms in consequence of Arjuna’s arrows,but so stupefied were they with fear that they were not aware of the lossof that limb. Verity, the Gandhara army was exceedingly afflicted withthose large shafts which Partha sped from Gandiva. That army, which thenconsisted of frightened men and elephants and horses, which lost manywarriors and animals, and which had been reduced to a rabble and put torout, began to wander and wheel about the field repeatedly. Among thosefoes who were thus being slaughtered none could be seen standing in frontof the Kuru hero famed for foremost of feats. No one could be seen whowas able to bear the prowess of Dhananjaya. Then the mother of the rulerof the Gandharas, filled with fear, and with all the aged ministers ofstate, came out of her city, bearing an excellent Arghya for Arjuna. Sheforbade her brave son of steady heart from fighting any longer, andgratified Jishnu who was never fatigued with toil. The puissant Vibhatsuworshipped her and became inclined to show kindness towards theGandharas. Comforting the son of Sakuni, he said, ‘Thou hast not, Omighty-armed hero, done what is agreeable to me by getting thy heart uponthese measures of hostility. O slayer of heroes, thou art my brother, Osinless one.[201] Recollecting my mother Gandhari, and for the sake ofDhritarashtra also, I have not taken thy life. It is for this, O king,that thou livest still. Many of thy followers, however, have been slainby me. Let not such a thing happen again. Let hostilities cease. Let notthy understanding again go astray. Thou shouldst go to theHorse-sacrifice of our king which comes off on the day of full moon ofthe month of Chaitra.’

Chapter 85
Chapter 83
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