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Chapter 113

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “The heroic Drona, that great bowman endued with theprowess of an infuriate elephant, that foremost of men possessed of greatmight, taking up his large bow which was capable [of] checking even aninfuriate elephant, and shaking it (in his hands), was engaged inafflicting the Pandava ranks, having penetrated into their midst. Thatvaliant warrior acquainted with every omen, beholding the omens on allsides, addressed his son who also was scorching the hostile ranks andsaid these words, ‘This is that day, O son, on which the mighty Partha,desirous of slaying Bhishma in battle, will exert himself to the best ofhis might. My arrows are coming out (of the quiver, of their own accord).My bow seems to yawn. My weapon seems unwilling to obey my behests, andmy heart also is cheerless. Animals and birds are uttering fearful andincessant cries. Vultures seem to disappear beneath the feet of theBharata troops. The Sun himself seems to have lost hue. The quarters areall ablaze. The Earth seems to shriek, inspire fear, and trembleeverywhere. Kankas, and vultures, and cranes are frequently crying.Jackals are uttering inauspicious and fierce yells foreboding greatdanger. Large meteors seem to fall from the centre of the solar disc. Theconstellation called Parigha, with a trunkless form, appeareth around theSun. The solar and the lunar discs have become awful, foreboding greatdanger to Kshatriyas about the mangling of their bodies. The idols of theKuru king in his temples tremble and laugh and dance and weep. Theillustrious Moon riseth with his horns downward. The bodies of the kingsbelonging to the Kuru army all seem to be pale, and though clad in mail,are shorn of splendour. The loud blare of Panchajanya and the twang ofGandiva are heard on all sides of both the armies. Without doubt, Arjuna,relying upon his great weapons and avoiding other warriors will advanceupon the grandsire. The pores of my body are contracting, and my heartalso is depressed, thinking, O mighty-armed one, of the encounter betweenBhishma and Arjuna. Keeping on his fore the Panchala prince of sinfulsoul and conversant with deceit, Partha is proceeding towards Bhishma forbattle. Bhishma said before that he would not slay Sikhandin. By theCreator had that one been made female, though through chance hesubsequently became a male person. That mighty son of Yajnasena is alsoan inauspicious omen (by himself). The son of the Ocean-going (Ganga)will not strike that person of inauspicious self. Thinking of this, viz.,that Arjuna, excited with wrath, is about to fall upon the aged Kurugrandsire, my heart is exceedingly depressed. The wrath of Yudhishthira,an encounter between Bhishma and Arjuna in battle, and an endeavour likethis (of the shooting of weapons) by myself,–these (three) are certainlyfraught with great harm to creatures. Arjuna is endued with great energy;he is powerful, brave, accomplished in weapons, and possessed of valourthat is very active. Capable of shooting his arrows to a great distanceand shooting them with force, he is, besides, acquainted with omens,Endued with great might and intelligence, and above fatigue, thatforemost of warriors is incapable of defeat by the very gods with Vasavaat their head. The son of Pandu possesses terrible weapons and is evervictorious in battle. Avoiding his path, go thou to battle (for Bhishma’svictory) O thou of rigid vows.[478] Today in this dreadful battle thouwilt behold a great carnage. The beautiful and costly coats of mail,decked with gold, of brave warriors will be pierced with straight shafts.And the tops of standards, and bearded javelins, and bows, and brightlances of sharp points, and darts bright with gold, and the standards onthe backs of elephants, will all be cut off by Kiritin in wrath. O son,this is not the time when dependants should take care of their lives. Goto battle, keeping heaven before thee, and for the sake of fame andvictory. There, the ape-bannered (Arjuna) crosseth on his car the riverof battle that is awful and incapable of being easily crossed, and hathcars, elephants, and steeds, for its eddies. Regard for Brahmanas,self-restraint, liberality, asceticism, and noble conduct, are seen inYudhishthira alone who hath for his brothers Dhananjaya, and the mightyBhimasena, and the twin sons of Madri by Pandu, and who hath Vasudeva ofthe Vrishni race for his protector. The wrath, born of grief, of thatYudhishthira whose body hath been purified by the flames of penance,directed to the wicked-souled son of Dhritarashtra, is consuming thisBharata host. There cometh Partha, having Vasudeva for his protector,checking (as he cometh) this entire Dhartarashtra army. Behold, Kiritinis agitating this host like a large whale agitating the vast sea ofcrested waves. Hark, cries of distress and woe are heard in the van ofthe army. Go, encounter the heir of the Panchala king. As for myself, Iwill proceed against Yudhishthira. The heart of king Yudhishthira’s verystrong array is difficult of access. Inaccessible as the interior of thesea, it is guarded on all sides by Atirathas. Satyaki, and Abhimanyu andDhrishtadyumna, and Vrikodara, and the twins, even these are protectingthat ruler of men, viz., king Yudhishthira. Dark as the younger brotherof Indra, and risen like a tall Sala, behold Abhimanyu advancing at thehead of the (Pandava) host, like a second Phalguna! Take up thy mightyweapons, and with thy large bow in hand proceed against the royal son ofPrishata (viz., Sikhandin), and against Vrikodara. Who is there that dothnot wish his dear son to live for many years? Keeping the duties of aKshatriya, however, before me, I am engaging thee (to this task). SoBhishma also, in this battle, is consuming the mighty host of thePandavas. O son, he is, in battle, equal to Yama or Varuna himself.'”

Chapter 114
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