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Chapter 76

Dhritarashtra said, “Our army is possessed of many excellencies,consisting of diverse forces, its efficiency is great. It is againarrayed according to the rules of science and, therefore, ought to beirresistible. It is attached to us exceedingly, and always devoted to us.It is submissive, and free from the faults of drunkenness andlicentiousness. Its prowess had before been tested. The soldiers areneither very old nor very young. They are neither lean nor corpulent. Ofactive habits, of well-developed and strong frames, they are free fromdisease. They are cased in mail and well-equipped with arms. They areexercised in every kind of weapons. They are skilled in encounters withswords, with bare arms, and with maces. They are well-exercised inlances, sabres, and darts, as also in iron clubs, short arrows, javelinsand mallets. They are devoted to all kinds of armed exercises, and areadepts in mounting upon and descending from the backs of elephants, inmoving forward and stepping back, in smiting effectually, in marching andretreating. Many a time have they been tested in the management ofelephants and steeds and cars. Having been examined duly they have beenentertained on pay, and not for the sake of lineage, nor from favour norfrom relationship, nor from strength of attachments, nor from connectionsof birth and blood. They are all respectable and honest, and theirkinsmen have been well-treated and gratified by us. We have done themmany good offices. They are, besides, all renowned men and endued withgreat mental vigour. O son, they are again protected by many foremost ofmen endued with great activity, and of famous achievements, resemblingthe very Regents of the world and renowned over the whole earth.Innumerable Kshatriyas, respected throughout the world, and who have oftheir own will sided us with their forces and followers also protectthem. Indeed, our army is like the vast ocean filled with the water ofinnumerable rivers running from all directions. It abounds withelephants, and with cars which though destitute of wings, yet resemblethe winged tenants of the air. Vast numbers of combatants constitute thewaters of that ocean, and the steeds and other animals constitute itsterrible waves. Innumerable swords and maces and darts and arrows andlances constitute the oars (piled on that ocean). Abounding withstandards and ornaments and adorned with cloth inlaid with gold and gems,the rushing steeds and elephants constitute the winds agitating it intofury. Our host, therefore, really resembles the vast, shoreless oceanroaring in rage. And that host is protected by Drona and Bhishma and byKritavarman and Kripa and Dussasana, and others headed by Jayadratha. Itis also protected by Bhagadatta and Vikarna by Drona’s son, and Suvala’sson, and Valhika and by many other mighty and high-souled heroes of theworld. That our army should yet be slaughtered in battle is due only topredestined fate, O Sanjaya. Neither men nor highly blessed Rishis of oldever beheld such preparations (for battle) on earth before. That so largean army, mustered according to science, and attached (to us) by wealth,should yet be slaughtered in battle, alas, what can it be but the resultof Destiny? O Sanjaya, all these seem to be unnatural. Indeed Vidura hadoften said what was both beneficial and desirable. But my wicked sonDuryodhana would not accept it. I believe that high-souled andwell-knowing person had foreseen all that is now happening and hence thecounsel he gave.[404] Or, O Sanjaya, all these, in all its details, hadbeen pre-arranged by Him, for that which is ordained by the Creator musthappen as ordained and cannot be otherwise.”

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