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Chapter 50

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “When the troops, O bull of Bharata’s race, were withdrawnon the first day, and when Duryodhana was filled with delight upon(beholding) Bhishma excited with wrath in battle, king Yudhisthira thejust, speedily repaired unto Janardana, accompanied by all his brothersand all the kings (on his side). Filled with great grief thinking of hisdefeat, and beholding Bhishma’s prowess, O king, he addressed that scionof Vrishni’s race, saying, ‘Behold, O Krishna, that mighty bowman Bhishmaof terrible prowess. He consumes with his arrow my troops like fire(consuming) dry grass. How shall we even look at that high-souled(warrior) who is licking up my troops like fire fed with clarifiedbutter? Beholding; that tiger among men, that mighty warrior armed withthe bow, my troops fly away, afflicted with arrows. Enraged Yama himself,or He armed with the thunder, or even Varuna noose in hand, or Kuveraarmed with mace, may be vanquished in battle but the mighty car-warriorBhishma, of great energy is incapable of being vanquished. Such being thecase, I am sinking in the fathomless ocean represented by Bhishma,without a boat (to rescue me).[352] In consequence, O Kesava, of theweakness of my understanding, having obtained Bhishma (for a foe inbattle), I shall, O Govinda, retire into woods. To live there ispreferable to devoting these lords of earth to Death in the form ofBhishma. Conversant with mighty weapons, Bhishma, O Krishna, willannihilate my army. As insects rush into the blazing fire for their owndestruction, the combatants of my army are even so. In putting forthprowess for the sake of kingdom, O thou of Vrishni’s race, I am being ledto destruction. My heroic brothers also are pained and afflicted witharrows for my sake, having been deprived of both sovereignty andhappiness in consequence of their love for their eldest brother. Weregard life very highly, for, under these circumstances, life is tooprecious (to be sacrificed). During the remainder of my days I willpractise the severest of ascetic austerities. I will not, O Kesava, causethese friends of mine to be slain.[353] The mighty Bhishma incessantlystays, with his celestial weapon, many thousands of my car-warriors whoare foremost of smiters. Tell me, O Madhava, without delay, what shouldbe done that might do me good. As regards Arjuna, I see that he is anindifferent spectator in this battle. Endued with great might, this Bhimaalone, remembering Kshatriya duties, fighteth putting forth the prowessof his arms and to the utmost of his power. With his hero-slaying mace,this high-souled (warrior), to the full measure of his powers, achieveththe most difficult feats upon foot-soldiers and steeds and cars andelephants. This hero, however, is incapable, O sire, of destroying infair fight the hostile host in even a century. This thy friend (Arjuna)alone (amongst) is conversant with (mighty) weapons. He, however,beholding us consumed by Bhishma and the high-souled Drona, lookethindifferently on us. The celestial weapons of Bhishma and the high-souledDrona, incessantly applied, are consuming all the Kshatriyas. O Krishna,such is his prowess, that Bhishma, with wrath excited, aided by the kings(on his side), will, without doubt annihilate us. O Lord of Yoga, lookfor that great bowman, that mighty car-warrior, who will give Bhishma hisquietus like rain-charged clouds quenching a forest conflagration. (Then)through thy grace, O Govinda, the son of Pandu, their foes being slain,will, after recovery of their kingdom, be happy with their kinsmen.

“Having said this, the high-souled son of Pritha, with heart afflicted bygrief and mind turned within, remained silent for a long while in areflected mood. Beholding the son of Pandu stricken with grief anddeprived of his senses by sorrow, Govinda then gladdening all thePandavas said, ‘Do not grieve, O chief of the Bharatas. It behoveth theenot to grieve, when thy brothers are all heroes and renowned bowmen inthe world. I also am employed in doing thee good, as also that mightycar-warrior Satyaki and Virata and Drupada, both reverend in years, andDhrishtadyumna of Prishata’s line. And so also, O best of kings, allthese monarchs with their (respective) troops are expectant of thy favourand devoted to thee, O king. This mighty car-warrior Dhrishtadyumna ofPrishata’s race placed in command of thy army is always desirous of thywelfare and engaged in doing that which is agreeable to thee, as alsothis Sikhandin, O thou of mighty arms, who is certainly the slayer ofBhishma. Hearing these words, the king (Yudhishthira), said, unto thatmighty car-warrior Dhrishtadyumna, in that very assembly and in thehearing of Vasudeva, these words, O Dhrishtadyumna, mark these words thatI say unto thee, O thou of Prishata’s line. The words uttered by meshould not be transgressed. Approved by Vasudeva, thou hast been thecommander of our forces. As Kartikeya, in days of old, was ever thecommander of the celestial host, so also art thou, O bull among men, thecommander of the Pandava host. Putting forth thy prowess, O tiger amongmen, slay the Kauravas. I will follow thee, and Bhima, and Krishna also,O sire, and the sons of Madri united together, and the sons of Draupadiaccoutred in mail, and all the other foremost of kings, O bull among men.Then gladdening (the listeners) Dhrishtadyumna said, ‘Ordained of old bySambhu himself, I am, O son of Pritha, the slayer of Drona. I shall nowfight in battle against Bhishma, and Drona and Kripa and Salya andJayadratha and all the proud monarchs (on the Kuru side)’. When thatforemost of princes, that slayer of foes, the son of Prishata, said thisdefiantly, the Pandava warriors, endued with great energy and incapableof being defeated in battle, all set up a loud shout. And then Pritha’sson Yudhishthira said unto the commander of his army, the son ofPrishata, (these words), ‘An array known by the name of Krauncharuma,that is destructive of all foes, and that was spoken of by Vrihaspatiunto Indra in days of old when the gods and the Asuras fought,–thatarray destructive of hostile divisions, do thou form. Unseen before, thekings behold it, along with the Kurus.’ Thus addressed by that god amongmen, like Vishnu addressed by the wielder of the thunderbolt,[354] he(Dhrishtadyumna), when morning dawned, placed Dhananjaya in the van ofthe whole army. And Dhananjaya’s standard, created at Indra’s command bythe celestial artificer, while moving through the skies, seemedwonderfully beautiful. Decked with banners bearing hues resembling thoseof Indra’s bow,[355] coursing through the air like a ranger of the skies,and looking like the fleeting edifice of vapour in the welkin, it seemed,O sire to glide dancingly along the track of the car (to which it wasattached). And the bearer of Gandiva with that (standard) graced withgems, and that standard itself with the bearer of Gandiva, looked highlyadorned, like the Self-create with the Sun (and the Sun with theSelf-create).[356] And king Drupada, surrounded by a large number oftroops, became the head (of that array). And the two kings Kuntibhoja andSaivya became its two eyes. And the ruler of the Dasarnas, and thePrayagas, with the Daserakas, and the Anupakas, and the Kiratas wereplaced in its neck, O bull of Bharata’s race. And Yudhishthira, O king,with the Patachcharas, the Hunas, the Pauravakas and the Nishadas, becameits two wings, so also the Pisachas, with the Kundavishas, and theMandakas, the Ladakas, the Tanganas, and the Uddras, O Bharata, and theSaravas, the Tumbhumas, the Vatsas, and the Nakulas. And Nakula andSahadeva placed themselves on the left wing. And on the joints of thewings were placed ten thousand cars and on the head a hundred thousand,and on the back a hundred millions and twenty thousand and on the neck ahundred and seventy thousand. And on the joints of the wings, the wingsand the extremities of the wings proceeded elephants in large bodies,looking, O king, like blazing mountains. And the rear was protected byVirata aided by the Kekayas, and the ruler of Kasi and the king of theChedis, with thirty thousand cars.[357] Forming, O Bharata, their mightyarray thus, the Pandavas, expectant of sunrise, waited for battle, allcased in armour. And their white umbrellas, clean and costly, andbrilliant as the sun, shone resplendent on their elephants and cars.”[358]

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