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Chapter 148

Mahabharata English - DRONA PARVA

“Dhritarashtra said, ‘After the ruler of the Sindhus had been slain inbattle by Savyasachin and after the fall of Bhurisravas, what became thestate of your mind? After Drona also had been thus addressed byDuryodhana in the midst of the Kurus, what did the preceptor say unto himthen? Tell me all this, O Sanjaya!’

“Sanjaya said, ‘Loud wails arose among thy coops, O Bharata, after theslaughter of Bhurisravas and the ruler of the Sindhus. All of themdisregarded the counsels of thy son, those counsels in consequence ofwhich leaders of men, by hundreds, were slain, As regards Drona, hearingthose words of thy son, he became filled with grief. Reflecting for ashort while, O monarch, he said these words in great affliction.

“Drona said, O Duryodhana, why dost thou pierce me thus with wordyshafts? I told thee before that Arjuna is incapable of defeat in battle.Protected by the diadem-decked Arjuna, Sikhandin slew Bhishma. By thatfeat, O thou of Kuru’s race, the prowess of Arjuna in battle hath beenwell-tested. Beholding Bhisma who was incapable of being defeated by thegods and the Danavas, actually slain in battle, even then I knew thatthis Bharata host is doomed. Upon the fall of him whom of all persons inthe three worlds, we had regarded to be the very foremost of heroes, whoelse is there upon whom we are to rely? Those dice, O sire, with whichSakuni formerly played in the Kuru assembly, were not dice but keenarrows capable of slaying foes. Even those arrows, O sire, sped by Jaya,are now slaying us. Though Vidura characterised them to be such, thoudidst not yet understand them to be so. Those words, again, that the wiseand high-souled Vidura, with tears in his eyes had then said unto thee,those auspicious words recommending peace, thou didst not then hear. Thatcalamity which foretold hath now come. That frightful carnage, ODuryodhana, hath now come as the result of that disobedience by thee ofVidura’s words. That man of foolish understanding who, disregarding thesalutary words of trusted friends, followeth his own opinion, soon fallsinto a pitiable plight. O son of Gandhari, this great evil, viz., thatdragging in our very sight to the Kuru assembly of Krishna who neverdeserved such treatment, who hath been born in a noble race, and whopractiseth every virtue. Know that all this is but little, for in thenext world dire consequences yet will be thine. Vanquishing the Pandavasat dice by deceit, thou hadst sent them, into the woods, attired indeer-skins. What other Brahmana, except myself, in this world, would seekto injure those princes that are ever engaged in the practice of virtueand that are to me even as my own sons” With the approval ofDhritarashtra, in the midst of the Kuru assembly, thou hadst, with Sakunias thy help-mate, provoked the ire of the Pandavas. United withDuhsasana, Karna then fanned that wrath. Disregarding the words ofVidura, thou hast repeatedly fanned it thyself. With resolute care, allof you had surrounded Arjuna, resolved to stand by the ruler of theSindhus. Why then have all of you been vanquished and why also hasJayadratha been slain? Why, when thou art alive, and Karna, and Kripa,and Salya, and Aswatthaman, O Kauravya, hath the ruler of the Sindhusbeen slain? For rescuing the ruler of the Sindhus, the kings (on thyside) had put forth all their fierce energy. Why, then, hath Jayadrathabeen slain in their midst? Relying upon me, king Jayadratha had expectedhis rescue from the hands of Arjuna. He, however, obtained not the rescuehe had expected. I do not also see my safety for my own self. Until Isucceed in slaying the Panchalas with Sikhandin, I feel like one sinkingin the Dhristadyumna-mire. Having failed, O Bharata, in rescuing theruler of the Sindhus, why dost thou pierce me thus with thy wordy shafts,seeing that I too am burning with grief? Thou seest not any longer on thefield the gold standards of Bhishma of sure aim, that warrior who wasnever tired in battle. How, then, canst thou hope for success? When theruler of the Sindhus and Bhurisravas also have been slain in the verymidst of so many mighty car-warriors, what do you think, will the end be?Kripa, difficult of being vanquished, is still alive, O king! That hehath not followed in the track of Jayadratha, I applaud him highly forthis! When I saw Bhishma himself, that achiever of the most difficultfeats (in battle), that warrior who was incapable of being slain inbattle by the gods with Vasava at their head, slain in thy sight, OKaurava, as also of thy younger brother Duhsasana, I thought then, Oking, that the Earth hath abandoned thee. Yonder the troops of thePandavas and the Srinjayas, united together, are now rushing against me.For achieving thy good in battle, O son of Dhritarashtra, I will notwithout slaying all the Panchalas, put off my armour. O king, go and tellmy son Aswatthaman who is present in battle that even at the risk of hislife he should not let the Somakas alone.[186] Thou shouldst also tellhim, ‘Observe all the instructions thou hast received from thy father. Befirm in acts of humility, in self-restraint, in truth and righteousness.Observant of religion, profit, and pleasure, without neglecting religionand profit, thou shouldst always accomplish those acts in which religionpredominates. The Brahmanas should always be gratified with presents. Allof them deserve thy worship. Thou shouldst never do anything that isinjurious to them. They are like flames of fire. As regards myself, Iwill penetrate the hostile host, O slayer of foes, for doing greatbattle, pierced as I am by thee with thy wordy shafts. If thou canst, ODuryodhana, go and protect those troops. Both the Kurus and the Srinjayashave been angry. They will fight even during the night.’ Having saidthese words, Drona proceeded against the Pandavas and set himself toover-ride the energy of the Kshatriyas like the sun overshadowing thelight of the stars.'”

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