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Chapter 111

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Dhritarashtra said, Our army is equally possessed of many excellences.It is equally regarded as superior. It is equally arrayed according tothe rules of science, and it is equally numerous, O Sanjaya![151] It isalways well-treated by us, and is always devoted to us. It is vast innumerical strength, and presents a wonderful aspect. Its prowess hadbefore been tested. The soldiers are neither very old nor very young.They are neither lean nor corpulent. Of active habits, of well-developedand strong frames, they are free from disease. They are cased in mail andwell-equipped with arms. They are devoted to all kinds of armedexercises. They are adepts in mounting upon and descending from the backsof elephants, in moving forward and stepping back, in smitingeffectually, and in marching and retreating. Oftentimes have they beentested in the management of elephants and steeds and cars. Having beenexamined duly, they have been entertained on pay and not for the sake oflineage, nor from favour, nor from relationship. They are not a rabblecome of their own accord, nor have they been admitted into my armywithout pay. My army consists of well-born and respectable men, who are,again, contented, well-fed, and submissive. They are sufficientlyrewarded. They are all famous and endued with great intelligence. Theyare, again, O son, protected by many of our foremost counsellors andothers of righteous deeds, all of whom are best of men, resembling thevery Regents of the world. Innumerable rulers of earth, seeking to dowhat is agreeable to us, and who have of their own well sided with uswith their forces and followers, also protect them. Indeed, our army islike the vast ocean filled with the waters of innumerable rivers runningfrom all directions. It abounds in steeds and cars which, thoughdestitute of wings, still resemble the winged tenants of the air. Itseems also with elephants adorned whose cheeks flow with juicysecretions. What can it, therefore, be but Destiny that even such an armyshould be slain? (Ocean-like it is) vast number of combatants constituteits interminable waters, and the steeds and other animals constitute itsterrible waves. Innumerable swords and maces and darts and arrows andlances constitute the oars (plied on that ocean).[152] Abounding instandards and ornaments, the pearls and gems (of the warriors) constitutethe lotuses that deck it. The rushing steeds and elephants constitute thewinds that agitate it into fury. Drona constitutes the fathomless cave ofthat ocean, Kritavarman its vast vortex. Jalasandha its mighty alligator,and Karna the rise of the moon that makes it swell with energy and pride.When that bull amongst the Pandavas, on his single car, hath speedilygone, piercing through that army of mine vast (though it be) like theocean, and when Yuyudhana also hath followed him, I do not, O Sanjaya,see the prospect of even a remnant of my troops being left alive bySavyasachin, and that foremost of car-warriors belonging to the Satwatarace. Beholding those two exceedingly active heroes pierce through (thedivisions placed in the van), and seeing the ruler of the Sindhus alsowithin reach of the shafts from Gandiva, what, indeed, was the measureadopted by the Kaurava impelled by fate? At that time, when all werefighting intently, what became of them? O sire, I regard the assembledKurus to be overtaken by Death himself. Indeed, their prowess also inbattle is no longer seen to be what it once was. Krishna and the son ofPandu have both entered the (Kuru) host unwounded. There is none in thathost, O Sanjaya, capable of resisting them. Many combatants that aregreat car-warriors were admitted by us after examination. They are allhonoured (by us) with pay as each deserves, and others with agreeablespeeches. There is none, O son, amongst my troops who is not honouredwith good offices (done to him). Each receives his assigned pay andrations according to the character of his services. In my army, OSanjaya, there is none who is unskilled in battle, none who receives payless than what he deserves, or none who does not receive any pay. Thesoldiers are adored by me, according to the best of my powers, with giftsand honours and seats. The same conduct is followed towards them by mysons, my kinsmen, and my friends. Yet on the very approach ofSavyasachin, have they been vanquished by him and by the grandson ofSini. What can it be but Destiny? They who are protecting them, allfollow the same road, the protected with the protectors! Beholding Arjunaarrived at the front of Jayadratha, what measure was adopted by myfoolish son? Beholding Satyaki also entering the host, what step didDuryodhana think suitable to that occasion? Indeed, beholding those twoforemost of car-warriors who are beyond the touch of all weapons, entermy host, what resolution was formed by my warriors in battle? I think,beholding Krishna of Dasarha’s race and that bull of Sini’s race alsoboth engaged for Arjuna’s sake my sons are filled with grief. I think,seeing both Satwata and Arjuna pass through my army and the Kurus flyingaway, my sons are filled with grief. I think, seeing their car-warriorsretreat in despair of subjugating the foe and set their hearts uponflying away from the field, my sons are filled with grief. Their steedsand elephants and cars and heroic combatants by thousands flying awayfrom the field in anxiety, my sons are filled with grief I think, seeingmany huge elephants fly away, afflicted with the shafts of Arjuna, andothers fallen and falling, my sons are filled with grief. I think, seeingsteeds deprived of riders and warriors deprived of cars by Satyaki andPartha, my sons are filled with grief. I think, large bodies of steedsslain or routed by Madhava and Partha, my sons are filled with grief. Ithink, seeing large bodies of foot-soldiers flying away in alldirections, my sons, despairing of success, are filled with grief. Ithink, seeing those two heroes pass through Drona’s division unvanquishedwithin a moment, my sons are filled with grief. Stupefied am I, O son,upon hearing that Krishna and Dhananjaya, those two heroes of unfadingglory, have both, with Satwata, penetrated into my host. After thatforemost of car-warriors among the Sinis, had entered my host, and afterhe had passed through the division of the Bhojas, what did the Kauravasdo? Tell me also, O Sanjaya, how did the battle take place there whereDrona afflicted the Pandavas on the field. Drona is endued with greatmight, is the foremost of all persons, is accomplished in weapons, and isincapable of being defeated in battle. How could the Panchalas piercethat great bowman in the fight? Desirous of Dhananjaya’s victory, thePanchalas are inveterate foes of Drona. The mighty car-warrior Drona alsois an inveterate foe of theirs. Thou art skilled in a narration, OSanjaya! Tell me, therefore, everything about what Arjuna did forcompassing the slaughter of the ruler of the Sindhus.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘O bull of Bharata’s race, overtaken by a calamity that isthe direct result of thy own fault, thou shouldst not, O hero, indulge insuch lamentations like an ordinary person. Formerly, many of thy wisewell-wishers, numbering Vidura amongst them, had told thee, ‘Do not, Oking, abandon the sons of Pandu.’ Thou didst not then heed those words.The man that heedeth not the counsels of well-wishing friends, weepeth,falling into great distress, like thyself. He of Dasarha’s race, O king,had formerly begged thee for peace. For all that, Krishna of world-widefame, obtained not his prayer. Ascertaining thy worthlessness, and thyjealousy towards the Pandavas, and understanding also thy crookedintentions towards the sons of Pandu, and hearing thy deliriouslamentations, O best of kings, that puissant Lord of all the worlds, thatBeing, acquainted with the truth of everything in all the worlds, viz.,Vasudeva, then caused the flame of war to blaze forth among the Kurus.This great and wholesale destruction hath come upon thee, brought aboutby thy own fault. O giver of honours, it behoveth thee not to impute thefault to Duryodhana. In the development of these incidents no merit ofthine is to be seen in the beginning, in the middle, or at the end. Thisdefeat is entirely owing to thee. Therefore, knowing as thou dost thetruth about this world, be quiet and hear how this fierce battle,resembling that between the gods and the Asuras, took place. After thegrandson of Sini, that warrior of prowess incapable of being baffled, hadentered into thy host, the Parthas headed by Bhimasena also rushedagainst thy troops. The mighty car-warrior Kritavarman, however, alone,resisted, in that battle the Pandavas thus rushing in fury and wrath withtheir followers against thy host. As the continent resists the surgings,even so did the son of Hridika resist the troops of the Pandavas in thatbattle. The prowess that we then beheld of the son of Hridika waswonderful, inasmuch as the united Parthas succeeded not in transgressinghis single self. Then the mighty-armed Bhima, piercing Kritavarman withthree shafts, blew his conch, gladdening all the Pandavas. Then Sahadevapierced the son of Hridika with twenty shafts, and Yudhishthira the justpierced him with five and Nakula pierced him with a hundred. And the sonsof Draupadi pierced him with three and seventy shafts, Ghatotkachapierced him with seven. And Virata and Drupada and Drupada’s son(Dhrishtadyumna) each Pierced him with five shafts, and Sikhandin, havingonce pierced him with five, again pierced him smilingly with five andtwenty shafts. Then Kritavarman, O king, pierced every one of those greatcar-warriors with five shafts, and Bhima again with seven. And the son ofHridika felled both the bow and the standard of Bhima from the latter’scar. Then that mighty car-warrior, with great speed, wrathfully struckBhima, whose bow had been cut off with seventy keen shafts in the chest.Then mighty Bhima, deeply pierced with those excellent shafts ofHridika’s son, trembled on his car like a mountain during an earthquake.Beholding Bhimasena in that condition, the Parthas headed by kingYudhishthira the just afflicted Kritavarman, O king, shooting at him manyshafts. Encompassing that warrior there with throngs of cars, O sire,they cheerfully began to pierce him with their shafts, desiring toprotect the Wind-god’s son in that battle. Then mighty Bhimasenarecovering consciousness, took up in that battle a dart made of steel andequipped with a golden staff, and hurled it with great speed from his owncar at the car of Kritavarman. That dart resembling a snake freed fromits slough, hurled from Bhima’s hands, fierce-looking, blazed forth as itproceeded towards Kritavarman. Beholding that dart endued with thesplendour of the Yuga-fire coursing towards him, the son of Hridika cutit in twain with two shafts. Thereupon, that dart decked with gold, thuscut off, fell down on the earth, illumining the ten points of thecompass, O king, like a large meteor falling from the firmament. Seeinghis dart baffled, Bhima blazed forth in wrath. Then taking tip anotherbow which was tougher and whose twang was louder, Bhimasena, filled withwrath, attacked the son of Hridika in that battle. Then O king, Bhima, ofterrible might, struck Kritavarman, in the centre of the chest with fiveshafts, in consequence of thy evil policy, O monarch! The ruler of theBhoja then, mangled in every limb, O sire, by Bhimasena, shoneresplendent in the field like a red Asoka covered with flowers. Then thatmighty bowman, viz., Kritavarman, filled with rage, smilingly struckBhimasena with three shafts, and having struck him forcibly, pierced inreturn every one of those great car-warriors struggling vigorously inbattle, with three shafts. Each of the latter then pierced him in returnwith seven shafts. Then that mighty car-warrior of the Satwata race,filled with rage, cut off, smiling in that battle, with a razor-facedshaft the bow of Sikhandin. Sikhandin then, seeing his bow cut off,quickly took up a sword and a bright shield decked with a hundred moons.Whirling his large shield, decked with gold, Sikhandin sent that swordtowards the car of Kritavarman. That large sword, cutting off, O king,Kritavarman’s bow with arrow fixed thereon, fell down on the earth, like.O monarch, a bright luminary loosened from the firmament. Meanwhile,those mighty car-warriors quickly and deeply pierced Kritavarman withtheir shafts in that battle. Then that slayer of hostile heroes, viz.,the son of Hridika, casting off, that broken bow, and taking up another,pierced each of the Pandavas with three straight shafts. And he piercedSikhandin at first with three, and then with five shafts. Then theillustrious Sikhandin, taking up another bow, checked the son of Hridikawith many swift-flying shafts, furnished with heads like tortoise nails.Then, O king, the son of Hridika, inflamed with rage in that battle,rushed impetuously at that mighty car-warrior, viz., the son ofYajnasena, that warrior, O monarch, who was the cause of the illustriousBhishma’s fall in battle. Indeed, the heroic Kritavarman rushed atSikhandin, displaying his might, like a tiger at an elephant. Then thosetwo chastisers of foes, who resembled a couple of huge elephants or twoblazing fires, encountered each other with clouds of shafts. And theytook their best of bows and aimed their arrows, and shot them in hundredslike a couple of suns shedding their rays. And those two mightycar-warriors scorched each other with their keen shafts, and shoneresplendent like two Suns appearing at the end of the Yuga. AndKritavarman in that battle pierced that mighty car-warrior viz.,Yajnasena’s son, with three and seventy shafts and once more with seven.Deeply pierced therewith, Sikhandin sat down in pain on the terrace ofhis car, throwing aside his bow and arrows, and was overtaken by a swoon.Beholding that hero in a swoon, thy troops, O bull among men, worshippedthe son of Hridika, and waved their garments in the air. Seeing Sikhandinthus afflicted with the shafts of Hridika’s son his charioteer quicklybore that mighty car-warrior away from the battle. The Parthas, beholdingSikhandin lying senseless on the terrace of his car, soon encompassedKritavarman in that battle with crowds of cars. The mighty car-warrior,Kritavarman, then achieved a most wonderful feat there, inasmuch as,alone, he held in check all the Parthas with their followers. Having thusvanquished the Parthas, that mighty car-warrior then vanquished theChedis, the Panchalas, the Srinjayas, and the Kekayas, all of whom areendued with great prowess. The forces of the Pandavas then, thusslaughtered by the son of Hridika began to run in all directions, unableto stay coolly in battle. Having vanquished the sons of Pandu headed byBhimasena himself, the son of Hridika stayed in battle like a blazingfire. Those mighty car-warriors, afflicted with torrents of shafts androuted by Hridika’s son in battle, ventured not to face him.'”



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