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Chapter 98

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “Then king Duryodhana, and Sakuni the son of Suvala, andthy son Dussasana, and the invincible Suta’s son (Karna) meetingtogether, consulted in the following way. How could the sons of Pandu,with their followers, be vanquished in battle? Even this was the subjectof their consultation. Then king Duryodhana, addressing the Suta’s sonand the mighty Sakuni, said unto all those counsellors of his, ‘Drona,Bhishma, and Kripa, and Salya and Somadatta’s son do not resist theParthas. I do not know what the cause is of such conduct (of theirs).Unslain by any of these, the Pandavas are destroying my forces.Therefore, O Karna, I am becoming weaker in strength and my weapons alsoare being exhausted’. I am deceived by the heroic Pandavas–they that areincapable of being vanquished by the very gods. Doubt filleth my mind asto how, indeed, I shall succeed is smiting them in battle.’ Unto the kingwho said so, O great monarch, the Suta’s son answered, ‘Do not grieve, Ochief of the Bharata. Even I will do what is agreeable to thee. LetSantanu’s son Bhishma soon withdraw from the great battle. After Ganga’sson will have withdrawn from the fight and laid aside his weapons, I willslay the Partha along with all the Somakas, in the very sight of Bhishma.I pledge my truth, O king. Indeed, Bhishma every day showeth mercytowards the Pandavas. He is, besides incapable of vanquishing thosemighty car-warriors. Bhishma is proud of showing his prowess in battle.He is again, very fond of fight. Why, O sire, will he, therefore,vanquish the assembled Pandavas (for then the battle will be over)?Therefore, repairing without delay to the tent of Bhishma, solicit thatold and reverend signior to lay aside his weapons. After he will havelaid aside his weapons, O Bharata, think the Pandavas as already slain,with all their friends and kinsmen, O king, by myself alone.’ Thusaddressed by Karna, thy son Duryodhana then said unto his brotherDussasana these words, ‘See, O Dussasana, that without delay that all whowalk in my train be dressed.’ Having said these words, O monarch, theking addressed Karna, saying, ‘Having caused Bhishma, that foremost ofmen, to consent to this, I will, without delay, come to thee, O chastiserof foes. After Bhishma will have retired from the fight, thou wilt smite(the foe) in battle’. Then thy son, O monarch, set out without delay,accompanied by his brothers like He of a hundred sacrifices (accompanied)by the gods. Then his brother Dussasana caused that tiger among king,endued, besides, with the prowess of a tiger, to mount on his horse.Graced with bracelets, with diadem on head, and adorned with otherornaments on his arms. O king, thy son shone brightly as he proceededalong the streets. Smeared with fragrant sandal-paste of the hue of theBhandi flower and bright as burnished gold, and clad in clean vestments,and proceeding with the sportive gait of the lion, Duryodhana lookedbeautiful like the Sun of brilliant radiance in the firmament. And asthat tiger among men proceeded towards the tent of Bhishma, many mightybowmen, celebrated over the world, followed him behind. And his brothersalso walked in his train, like the celestials walking behind Vasava. Andothers, foremost of men, mounted upon steeds, and others again onelephants, O Bharata, and others on cars, surrounded him on all sides.And many amongst those that wished him well, taking up arms for theprotection on his royal self, appeared there in large bodies, like thecelestials surrounding Sakra in heaven. The mighty chief of the Kurus,adored by all the Kauravas, thus proceeded, O king, towards the quartersof the renowned son of Ganga. Ever followed and surrounded, by hisuterine brothers, he proceeded, often raising his right arm, massive andresembling the trunk of an elephant and capable of resisting all foes.And with that arm of his, he accepted the regards that were paid to himfrom all sides by by-standers who stood raising towards him their joinedhands. And he heard, as he journeyed, the sweet voices of the natives ofdiverse realms. Of great fame, he was eulogised by bards and eulogists.And in return that great king paid his regards unto them all. And manyhigh-souled persons stood around him with lighted lamps of gold fed withfragrant oil. And surrounded with golden lamps, the king looked radiantlike the Moon attended by the blazing planets around him. And(attendants) with head-gears decked with gold, having canes andJhariharas in hand, softly caused the crowd all around to make way. Theking then, having reached the excellent quarters of Bhishma, alightedfrom his horse. And arrived at Bhishma’s presence, that ruler of mensaluted Bhishma and then sat himself down on an excellent seat that wasmade of gold, beautiful throughout and overlaid with a rich coverlet.With hands joined, eyes bathed in tears, and voice chocked in grief, hethen addressed Bhishma, saying, ‘Taking thy protection, this battle, Oslayer of foes, we ventured to vanquish the very gods and the Asuras withIndra at their head. What shall I say, therefore, of the sons of Pandu,heroic though they be, with their kinsmen and friends? Therefore, O sonof Ganga, it behoveth thee, O lord, to show me mercy. Slay the brave sonsof Pandu like Mahendra slaying the Danavas.–I will slay, O king, all theSomakas and the Panchalas and the Karushas along with the Kekayas, OBharata-these were thy words to me. Let these words become true. Slay theassembled Parthas, and those mighty bowmen, viz., the Somakas. Make thywords true, O Bharata. If from kindness (for the Pandavas), O king, orfrom thy hatred of my unfortunate self, thou sparest the Pandavas, thenpermit Karna, that ornament of battle, to fight. He will vanquish inbattle the Parthas with all their friends and kinsmen. The king, thy sonDuryodhana having said this, shut his lips without saying anything moreto Bhishma of terrible prowess.”

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