Chapter 144

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Tell me, O Sanjaya, what did my warriors do afterthe heroic ruler of the Sindhus had been slain, by Arjuna.’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Beholding the ruler of the Sindhus, O sire, slain inbattle by Partha, Kripa, the son of Saradwat, under the influence ofwrath, covered the son of Pandu with a dense shower of arrows. Drona’sson also, on his car, rushed against Phalguna, the son of Pritha. Thosetwo foremost of car-warriors began from their cars to shower fromopposite directions upon the son of Pandu their keen arrows. Thatforemost of car-warriors, viz., the mighty-armed Arjuna, afflicted bythose arrowy showers of (Kripa and Drona’s son) felt great pain. Withoutdesiring, however, to slay his preceptor (Kripa) as also the son of (hisother preceptor) Drona, Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, began to act like apreceptor in arms. Baffling with his own weapons those of bothAswatthaman and Kripa, he sped at them, without desiring to slay them,shafts that coursed mildly. Those shafts, however (though mildly), shotby Jaya struck the two with great force, and in consequence of theirnumber, caused great pain to Kripa and his nephew. Then Saradwat’s son, Oking, thus afflicted with the arrows of Arjuna, lost all strength andswooned away on the terrace of his car. Understanding his masterafflicted with shafts to be deprived of his senses, and believing him tobe dead, the driver of Kripa’s car bore Kripa away from the fight. Andafter Kripa, the son of Saradwat, had thus been borne away from thebattle, Aswatthaman also, from fear, fled away from the son of Pandu.Then the mighty bowman, Partha, beholding the son of Saradwat afflictedwith shafts and in a swoon, began to indulge, on his car, in piteouslamentations. With a tearful face and in great dejection of heart, heuttered these words: Beholding all this (in his mental vision), Vidura ofgreat wisdom had, on the birth of the wretched Suyodhana, thatexterminator of his race, said unto Dhritarashtra, ‘Let this wretch ofhis race be soon killed. Owing to him, a great calamity will overtake theforemost ones of Kuru’s race.` Alas, these words of the truth-tellingVidura have come to be true. It is for him that I behold my preceptortoday lying on a bed of arrows. Fie on the practices of Kshatriya! Fie onmy might and prowess! Who else like me would fight with a Brahmana thatis, besides his preceptor? Kripa is the son of a Rishi; he is, again, mypreceptor; he is also the dear friend of Drona. Alas, he lieth stretchedon the terrace of his car, afflicted with my arrows. Though not wishingit, I have still been the means of crushing him with my shafts. Lyingsenseless on the terrace of his car, he paineth my heart exceedingly.Even though he afflicted me with shafts, I should still have only lookedat that warrior of dazzling splendour (without striking him in return).Struck with numerous shafts of mine, he hath gone the way of allcreatures. By that he hath pained me more than even the slaughter of myown son. Behold, O Krishna, to what plight he hath been reduced, thuslying miserably and in a senseless state on his own car. Those bullsamong men that give desirable objects unto their preceptors afterobtaining knowledge from them, attain to godhead. Those lowest of mortalson the other hand, who, after obtaining knowledge from their preceptorsstrike the latter, those wicked men, go to hell. Without doubt, this actthat I have done will lead me to hell. I have deeply pierced my preceptoron his car with showers of arrows. While studying the science of arms athis feet, Kripa told me in those days, ‘Do not, O thou of Kuru’s race,ever strike thy preceptor. That command of my righteous and high-souledpreceptor I have not obeyed, for I have struck, the very Kripa himselfwith my shafts. I bow to that worshipful son of Gotama, to thatunretreating hero. Fie on me, O thou of Vrishni’s race, since I havestruck even him.’ While Savyasachin was thus lamenting for Kripa, the sonof Radha, beholding the ruler of the Sindhu slain, rushed towards him.Seeing the son of Radha thus rushing towards Arjuna the two Panchalaprinces and Satyaki suddenly rushed towards him. The mighty car-warrior,Partha, beholding the son of Radha advancing, smilingly addressed the sonof Devaki and said, ‘Yonder cometh the son of Adhiratha against the carof Satyaki. Without doubt, he is unable to bear the slaughter ofBhurisravas in battle. Urge my steeds, O Janardana, towards the spotwhither Karna cometh. Let not Vrisha (Karna) cause the Satwata hero tofollow in the wake of Bhurisravas.’ Thus addressed by Savyasachin, themighty-armed Kesava, endued with great energy, replied in these opportunewords, ‘The mighty-armed Satyaki is singly a match for Karna, O son ofPandu! How much superior then will this bull among the Satwatas be whenhe is united with the two sons of Drupada! For the present, O Partha, itis not proper for thee to fight with Karna. The latter hath with him theblazing dart, like a fierce meteor, that Vasava gave him. O slayer ofhostile heroes, he hath kept it for thy sake, worshipping it withreverence. Let Karna then freely proceed against the Satwata hero. Iknow, O son of Kunti, this wicked wight’s hour, when, indeed, thou wilt,with keen shafts, throw him down from his car.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Tell me, O Sanjaya, how the battle took placebetween the heroic Karna and Satyaki of the Vrishni race, after the fallof Bhurisravas and of the ruler of the Sindhus. Satyaki had been carless,upon what car then was he mounted? And how also did the two protectors ofthe wheels (of Arjuna’s car), viz., the two Panchala princes, fight?’

“Sanjaya said, ‘I will describe to thee all that happened in thatdreadful battle. Listen patiently to (the consequences of) thy own evilconduct. Before even the encounter, Krishna knew it in his heart that theheroic Satyaki would be vanquished by the stake-bannered (Bhurisravas).Janardana, O king, knoweth both the past and the future. For this,summoning his charioteer, Daruka, he had commanded him, saying, ‘Let mycar be kept equipped tomorrow.’ Even this had been the command of thatmighty one. Neither the gods, nor the Gandharvas, nor the Yakshas, northe Uragas, nor the Rakshasas, nor human beings, are capable ofconquering the two Krishnas. The gods with the Grandsire at their head,as also the Siddhas, know the incomparable prowess of those two. Listen,however, now to the battle as it happened. Beholding Satyaki carless andKarna ready for battle Madhava blew his conch of loud blare in theRishabha note.[176] Daruka, hearing the blare of (Kesava’s) conch,understood the meaning, and soon took that car, equipped with a loftystandard of gold, to where Kesava was. With Kesava’s permission, uponthat car guided by Daruka, and which resembled the blazing fire or thesun in effulgence, ascended the grandson of Sini. Ascending upon the carwhich resembled a celestial vehicle and unto which were yoked thoseforemost of steeds, capable of going everywhere at will, viz., Saivya andSugriva and Meghapushya and Valahaka, and which were adorned withtrappings of gold, Satyaki rushed against the son of Radha, scatteringcountless shafts. The two protectors of (Arjuna’s) car-wheels, viz.,Yudhamanyu and Uttamaujas, abandoning Dhananjaya’s car, proceeded againstthe son of Radha. Radha’s son also, O king, shooting showers of shafts,angrily rushed, in that battle, against the invincible grandson of Sini.The battle that took place between them was such that its like had neverbeen heard to have taken place on earth or in heaven between gods,Gandharvas, Asuras, Uragas, or Rakshasas. The entire host consisting ofcars, steeds, men, and elephants, abstained from the fight, Beholding, Omonarch, the stunning feats of two warriors. All became silent spectatorsof that superhuman battle between those two human heroes, O king, and ofthe skill of Daruka in guiding the car. Indeed, beholding the skill ofthe charioteer Daruka standing on the car, as he guided the vehicleforwards, backwards, sidelong, now wheeling in circles and now stoppingoutright, all were amazed. The gods, the Gandharvas, and the Danavas, inthe welkin, intently watched that battle between Karna and the grandsonof Sini. Both of them endued with great might, each challenging theother, those two warriors put forth their prowess for the sake of theirfriends. Karna who looked like a celestial, and Yuyudhana, O king, rainedupon each other showers of shafts. Indeed, Karna ground the grandson ofSini with his arrowy downpours, unable to put up with the slaughter (bySatyaki) of the Kuru hero, Jalasandha. Filled with grief and sighing likea mighty snake, Karna, casting angry glances on the grandson of Sini inthat battle, and as if burning him therewith, rushed at him furiouslyagain and again, O Chastiser of foes! Beholding him filled with rage,Satyaki pierced him in return, shooting dense showers of arrows, like anelephant piercing (with his tusks) a rival elephant. Those two tigersamong men, endued with the activity of tigers and possessed ofincomparable prowess, mangled each other furiously in that battle. Thegrandson of Sini, then, with shafts made entirely of iron, repeatedlypierced Karna, that chastiser of foes, in all his limbs. And he alsofelled, with a broad-headed arrow, the charioteer of Karna from his nichein the car. And with his keen shafts, he slew the four steeds, white inhue, of Adhiratha’s son. And then cutting into a hundred fragments thestandard of Karna with a hundred arrows, that bull among men made Karnacarless in the very sight of thy son. Then all thy warriors, O king,became cheerless. Then Vrishasena, the son of Karna, and Salya, the rulerof the Madras, and Drona’s son, encompassed the grandson of Sini from allsides. Then a confusion set in, and nothing could be seen. Indeed, whenthe heroic Karna was made carless by Satyaki, cries of Oh and Alas arose,among all thy troops. Karna also, O king, pierced by Satwata with hisarrows and exceedingly weakened ascended the car of Duryodhana, sighingdeeply, remembering his friendship for thy son from his childhood andhaving striven to realise the promise he had made about the bestowal ofsovereignty on Duryodhana. After Karna hath been made carless, thy bravesons, headed by Duhsasana, O king, were not slain by the self-restrainedSatyaki because the latter wished not to falsify the vow made byBhimasena. Desirous also of not falsifying the vow formerly made byPartha (about the slaughter of Karna), Satyaki simply made those warriorscarless and weakened them exceedingly, but did not deprive them of life.It is Bhima that hath vowed the slaughter of thy sons, and it is Parthathat, at the time of the second match at dice, vowed the slaughter ofKarna. Although all those warriors headed by Karna made strong effortsfor slaying Satyaki, yet those foremost of car-warriors, failed to slayhim. Drona’s son and Kritavarman and other mighty car-warriors, as alsohundreds of foremost Kshatriyas, were all vanquished by Satyaki with onlyone bow. That hero fought, desirous of benefiting king Yudhishthira theJust, and of attaining to heaven. Indeed, Satyaki, that crusher of foes,is equal to either of the two Krishnas in energy. Smiling the while, hevanquished all thy troops, O best of men! In this world, there are onlythree mighty bowmen, viz., Krishna, Partha, and Satyaki. There is nofourth to be seen.’

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘Ascending on the invincible car of Vasudeva thathad Daruka for its driver, Satyaki, proud of the might of his arms andequal in battle unto Vasudeva himself, made Karna carless. Did Satyakiride any other car (after his encounter with Karna was over)? I amdesirous of hearing this, O Sanjaya! Thou art skilled in narration. Iregard Satyaki to be endued with unbearable prowess. Tell me all, OSanjaya!’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Hear, O king, how it had happened. The intelligentyounger brother of Daruka soon brought unto Satyaki another car, dulyequipped with all necessaries. With shafts attached to it by chains ofiron and gold and bands of silk, decked with a thousand stars, deckedwith banners and with the figure of a lion on his standard, with horses,fleet as the wind and adorned with trappings of gold, yoked unto it, andwith rattle deep as the roar of the clouds, that car was brought untohim. Ascending upon it, the grandson of Sini rushed against thy troops.Daruka, meanwhile, went as he listed to Kesava’s side. A new cat wasbrought for Karna also, O king, unto which were yoked four steeds of thebest breed that were decked in trappings of gold and white as conchs ormilk. Its kaksha and standard were made of gold. Furnished with bannersand machines, that foremost of cars had an excellent driver. And it wasfurnished with a profusion of weapons of every kind. Mounting on thatcar, Karna also rushed against his foes. I have now told thee all thatthou hadst asked me. Once more, however, O king, learn the (extent ofthe) destruction caused by the evil policy. Thirty one of thy sons havebeen slain by Bhimasena. Having Durmukha for their foremost, they wereconversant with all modes of warfare. Satyaki and Arjuna also have slainhundreds of heroes with Bhimasena as their foremost, and Bhagadatta also,O sire! Even thus, O king, hath the destruction commenced, caused by thyevil counsels.’

Chapter 145
Chapter 143
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