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Chapter 140

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Sanjaya said, ‘That arm (of Bhurisravas) decked with Angada and thesword in its grasp (thus cut off), fell down on the earth to the greatgrief of all living creatures. Indeed, that arm, which was to have cutoff Satyaki’s head itself, cut off by the unseen Arjuna, quickly droppeddown on the earth, like a snake of five heads. The Kuru warrior,beholding himself incapacitated by Partha abandoned his hold on Satyakiand wrathfully reproved the son of Pandu.’

“Bhurisravas said, ‘Thou hast, O son of Kunti, done a cruel and heartlessdeed, since without being engaged with me, thou hast, unseen by me, cutoff my arm. Shalt thou not have to say unto Yudhishthira, the royal sonof Dharma, even this, viz., ‘Bhurisravas, while otherwise engaged, wasslain by me in battle?’ Wert thou taught this use of weapons by thehigh-souled Indra or by Rudra, O Partha, or by Drona, or by Kripa? Thouart, in this world, better acquainted with the rules about the use ofweapons than all others. Why then hast thou cut off in battle the arm ofa warrior who was not engaged with thee? The righteous never strike himthat is heedless, or him that is terrified, or him that is made carless,or him that beggeth for life or protection, of him that hath fallen intodistress. Why, then, O Partha, hast thou perpetrated such an extremelyunworthy deed that is sinful, that is worthy only of a low wretch, andthat is practised by only a wicked bloke! A respectable person, ODhananjaya, can easily accomplish a deed that is respectable. A deed,however, that is disrespectable becomes difficult of accomplishment by aperson that is respectable. A man quickly catches the behaviour of thosewith whom and amongst whom he moves. This is seen in thee, O Partha!Being of royal lineage and born, especially, in Kuru’s race, how hastthou fallen off from the duties of a Kshatriya, although thou wert ofgood behaviour and observant of excellent vows. This mean act that thouhast perpetrated for the sake of the Vrishni warrior, is without doubt,conformable to Vasudeva’s counsels. Such an act does not suit one likethee. Who else, unless he were a friend of Krishna’s, would inflict sucha wrong upon lone that is heedlessly engaged with another in battle? TheVrishnis and the Andhakas are bad Kshatriyas, ever engaged in sinfuldeeds, and are, by nature, addicted to disreputable behaviour. Why, OPartha, hast thou taken them as model? Thus addressed in battle, Parthareplied unto Bhurisravas, saying, ‘It is evident that with thedecrepitude of the body one’s intellect also becomes decrepit, since, Olord, all those senseless words have been uttered by thee. Although thouknowest Hrishikesa and myself well, how is it that thou rebukest us thus?Knowing as I do the rules of battle and conversant as I am with themeaning of all the scriptures, I would never do an act that is sinful.Knowing this well, thou rebukest me yet. The Kshatriyas fight with theirfoes, surrounded by their own followers, their brothers, sires, sons,relatives, kinsmen, companions, and friends. These also fight, relying onthe (strength of) arms of those they follow. Why, then, should I notprotect Satyaki, my disciple and dear kinsman, who is fighting for oursake in this battle, regardless of life itself, that is so difficult ofbeing laid down.[169] Invincible in fight, Satyaki, O king, is my rightarm in battle. One should not protect one’s own self only, when one goesto battle, he, O king, who is engaged in the business of another shouldbe protected (by that other). Such men being protected, the king isprotected in press of battle. If I had calmly beheld Satyaki on the pointof being slain in great battle (and had not interfered for saying him),sin would, then, owing to Satyaki’s death, have been mine, for suchnegligence! Why then dost thou become angry with me for my havingprotected Satyaki? Thou rebukest me, O king, saying, ‘Though engaged withanother, I have yet been maimed by thee.’ In that matter, I answer, Ijudged wrongly. Sometimes shaking my armour; sometimes riding on my car,sometimes drawing the bow-string, I was fighting with my enemies in themidst of a host resembling the vast deep, teeming with cars and elephantsand abounding with steeds and foot-soldiers and echoing with fierceleonine shouts. Amongst friends and foes engaged with one another, howcould it be possible that the Satwata warrior was engaged with only oneperson in battle? Having fought with many and vanquished many mightycar-warriors, Satyaki had been tired. He himself, afflicted with weapons,had become cheerless. Having, under such circumstances, vanquished themighty car-warrior, Satyaki, and brought him under thy control, thousoughtest to display thy superiority. Thou. hadst desired to cut off,with thy sword, the head of Satyaki in battle. I could not possiblybehold with indifference Satyaki reduced to that strait.[170] Thoushouldst rather rebuke thy own self, since thou didst not take care ofthyself (when seeking to injure another). Indeed, O hero, how wouldstthou have behaved towards one who is thy dependant?’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Thus addressed (by Arjuna), the mighty-armed andillustrious Bhurisravas, bearing the device of the sacrificial stake onhis banner, abandoning Yuyudhana, desired to die according to the vow ofPraya.[171] Distinguished by many righteous deeds, he spread with hisleft hand a bed of arrows, and desirous of proceeding to the region ofBrahman, committed his senses to the care of the deities presiding overthem. Fixing his gaze on the sun, and setting his cleansed heart on themoon, and thinking of (the mantras in) the great Upanishad, Bhurisravas,betaking himself to Yoga, ceased to speak. Then all the persons in theentire army began to speak ill of Krishna and Dhananjaya and applaudedBhurisravas, that bull among men. Though censured, the two Krishnas,however, spoke not a word disagreeable (to the dying hero). Thestake-bannered Bhurisravas also, though thus applauded, felt no joy. ThenPandu’s son Dhanajaya, called also Phalguna, incapable of bearing thysons speaking in that strain, as also of putting up with their words andthe words of Bhurisravas, O Bharata, in grief and without an angry heart,and as if for reminding them all, said these words, ‘All the kings areacquainted with my great vow, viz., that no one shall succeed in slayinganybody that belongs to our side, as long as the latter is within therange of my shafts. Remembering this, O stake-bannered one, it behoveththee not to censure me. Without knowing rules of morality, it is notproper for one to censure others. That I have cut off thy arm while thou,well-armed in battle, wert on the point of slaying (the unarmed) Satyaki,is not all contrary to morality. But what righteous man is there, O sire,that would applaud the slaughter of Abhimanyu, a mere child, withoutarms, deprived of car, and his armour fallen off?’ Thus addressed byPartha, Bhurisravas touched the ground with his left arm the right one(that had been lopped off). The stake-bannered Bhurisravas, O king ofdazzling effulgence, having heard those words of Partha, remained silent,with his head hanging down. Then Arjuna said, ‘O eldest brother of Sala,equal to what I bear to king Yudhishthira the Just, or Bhima, thatforemost of all mighty persons, or Nakula, or Sahadeva, is the love Ibear to thee. Commanded by me as also by the illustrious Krishna, repairthou to the region of the righteous, even where Sivi, the son of Usinara,is.’

“Vasudeva also said, ‘Thou hast constantly performed sacrifices andAgnihotras. Go thou then, without delay, into those pure, regions of minethat incessantly blaze forth with splendour and that are desired by theforemost of deities with Brahma as their head, and becoming equal tomyself, be thou borne on the back to Garuda.’

“Sanjaya continued, ‘Set free by Somadatta’s son, the grandson of Sini,rising up, drew his sword and desired to cut off the head of thehigh-souled Bhurisravas. Indeed, Satyaki desired to slay the sinlessBhurisravas, the eldest brother of Sala, that giver of plenty insacrifices who was staying with his, senses withdrawn from battle, whohad already been almost slain by the son of Pandu, who was sitting withhis arm lopped off and who resembled on that account a trunklesselephant. All the warriors loudly censured him (for his intention). Butdeprived of reason, and forbidden by Krishna and the high-souled Partha,Bhima, and the two protectors of the two wheels (of Arjuna’s car, viz.,Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas), and Aswatthaman, and Kripa and Karna, andVrishasena, and the ruler of the Sindhus also, and while the soldierswere yet uttering shouts of disapproval, Satyaki stew Bhurisravas whilein the observance of his vow. Indeed, Satyaki, with his sword, cut offthe head of the Kuru warrior who had been deprived of his arm by Parthaand who was then sitting in Praya for freeing his soul from the body. Thewarriors did not applaud Satyaki for that act of his in slaying thatperpetuator of Kuru’s race who had before been almost slain by Partha.The Siddhas, the Charanas, and the men there present, as also the gods,beholding the Sakra-like Bhurisravas slain in that battle, throughsitting in the observance of that Praya vow, began to applaud him, amazedat the acts, accomplished by him. Thy soldiers also argued the matter,’It is no fault of the Vrishni hero. That which was pre-ordained hashappened. Therefore, we should not give way to wrath. Anger is the causeof men’s sorrow. It was ordained that Bhurisravas would be slain by theVrishni hero. There is no use of judging of its propriety or otherwise.The Creator had ordained Satyaki to be the cause of Bhurisrava’s death inbattle.’

“Satyaki said, ‘Ye sinful Kauravas, wearing the outward garment ofrighteousness, ye tell me, in words of virtue, that Bhurisravas shouldnot be slain. Where, however, did this righteousness of yours go when yeslew in battle that child, viz., the son of Subhadra, while destitute ofarms? I had in a certain fit of haughtiness vowed that he who would,throwing me down alive in battle, strike me with his foot in rage, hewould be slain by me even though that foe should adopt the vow ofasceticism. Struggling in the encounter, with my arms and eyes hale andsound, ye had yet regarded me as dead. This was an act of folly on ourpart. Ye bulls among the Kurus, the slaughter of Bhurisravas,accomplished by me, hath been very proper! Partha, however, by cuttingoff this one’s arm with sword in grasp for fulfilling, from his affectionfor me, his own vow (about protecting all on his side), hath simplyrobbed me of glory. That which is ordained must happen. It is destinythat works. Bhurisravas hath been slain in press of battle. What sin haveI perpetrated? In days of yore, Valmiki sang this verse on earth, viz.,’Thou sayest, O ape, that women should not be slain. In all ages,however, men should always, with resolute care, accomplish that whichgives pain to enemies.’

“Sanjaya continued, After Satyaki had said these words, none amongst thePandavas and the Kauravas, O king, said anything. On the other hand, theymentally applauded Bhurisravas. No one there applauded the slaughter ofSomadatta’s illustrious son who resembled an ascetic living in the woods,or one sanctified with mantras in a great sacrifice, and who had givenaway thousands of gold coins. The head of that hero, graced withbeautiful blue locks and eyes, red as those of pigeons, looked like thehead of a horse cut off in a Horse-sacrifice and placed on thesacrificial altar.[172] Sanctified by his prowess and the death heobtained at the edge of the weapon, the boon-giving Bhurisravas, worthyof every boon, casting off his body in great battle, repaired to regionson high, filling the welkin with his high virtues.'”

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